What is the title of this novel?

I'm spelling my way through an Arabic translation of a novel by Agatha Christie. In Arabic it is called "The Fingerprints". It starts like this (at least the translation does,- somtimes they cut some passages ) :
"I still remember that macabre/dreadful day when I discovered the corpses of two killed persons"
What is the English title?


  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    Camelfreak, could you please provide a little more information?  Is Poirot or Miss Marple in the book?  Is there a brief summary of the book on the cover?  I notice that the first line of the translation is "I still remember..." Does that mean that it's in the first person?  
  • No summary on the cover, only general information about Agatha Christie. The story is told by the secretary ("Tony") of Thatcher Colt and takes place in the U.S. It made me think that perhaps it was a novel by Anthony Abbot disguised as an Agatha Christie novel?
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    I think that you're absolutely right!  I did some research, and Thatcher Colt is the creation of Anthony Abbot.  Anyway, none of Christie's novels took place in the U.S., at least, not for more than a brief scene of two.  I didn't know Anthony Abbot's name, but I am familiar with some of his work under his real name, Fulton Oursler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_Oursler).  He wrote eight Thatcher Colt novels: 
    • About the Murder of Geraldine Foster (1930) aka The Murder of Geraldine Foster
    • About the Murder of the Clergyman's Mistress (1931) aka The Crime of the CenturyThe Murder of the Clergyman's MistressThe Mysterious Murder of the Blonde Play-Girl
    • About the Murder of the Night Club Lady (1931) aka The Night Club LadyThe Murder of the Night Club Lady
    • About the Murder of the Circus Queen (1932) aka The Murder of a Circus Queen
    • About the Murder of A Startled Lady (1935) aka The Murder of a Startled Lady
    • About the Murder of A Man Afraid of Women (1937) aka The Murder of a Man Afraid of Women
    • The Creeps (1939) aka Murder at Buzzards Bay
    • The Shudders (1943) aka Deadly Secret

    So, unfortunately I'm not familiar with his work, so I can't say which of the works it is.  But I think that you've made an incredible discovery!  It seems that books by other mystery novelists are being translated into Arabic and sold under Christie's name.  This is really, really interesting.  What is the publisher of the book?
  • It is quite an old book, - anyway : the publisher is Dar Music, postbox 11/8492 Beirut, Lebanon ("telex MUSIC 45328 LE). However, I think that there are other publishers as well.
    In a bibliography the publisher is listed as Dar Miyuzik (=Music). The title in Latin letters is basamat al-asabi (The Fingerprints)
    It must be Abbot's "The Murder of the Clergyman's Mistress". Of course a novel with that name can't be sold in the Middle East, so it was renamed :-). Thank you for your effort.

  • edited May 2015
    The book is still sold on the internet www.neelwafurat.com There it is named "  'bsmat ala'saba  ".  The publisher is obviously still existing: Dar Music lil-sihafa wa al- nashr. The  cover picture  is a clergyman and a woman, but I have seen another cover picture on the internet as well (with a ship), so there must be (an)other edition(s) in Arabic.
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    Thank you for this information!  I wonder if any of Abbot's other books were published under Christie's name, or if any other authors's books are attributed to Christie.  This is really interesting.
  • Yeah I do remember I read once that this is a Christie work and later I discovered it's not!! However @Camelfreak if you want to buy christie's books in Arabic I strongly recommend ( al-jarir ) translation it's just perfect ,nice covers and same translation as the English script no cut offs also the titles aren't changed so you easily recognize the English title,
  • Thank you for your information, Maryam :-)

  • Agatha Christie; Oliver; Jew.
    This is all I know about the novel - there is a Jew called Oliver in it.
    Does anyone know the title?

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Three-Act Tragedy? That has an Oliver in it.
  • Could be. Oliver is not quite identified as Jewish, but when Egg rails at him "You Shylock" Mr. Satterthwaite decides he is jewish.

  • By the way - I checked through a lot of AC's books once, to see how she sees Jews. There is no overt antisemitism in her books, but Jews are quite stereotypical -usually loud, flashy, clever financially, and/or oriental looking. As an Israeli Jew I don't hold it against her, but it is kind of uncomfortable. However, we all have our stereotypes - overt or covert, and maybe seeing this was a wakeup call to me to check up on my own hidden prejudices!
  • I suppose a diversity of races and nationalities come in for stereotypical treatment at AC's hands - as do the various social orders. Stereotyping of the French, the Belgian, the Irish and the Carribbeans is there, but this applies, as we all know, to much of what has been written, in Britain, pre 1970. Poor Hercule Poirot experiences a good deal silly prejudice. Like me, he finds Oliver Manders a delight, and wants to help along his romance with Egg, and right an injustice being plotted against him. Might I ask, Tali, do you think the fact that old grandfather Leonides has had a portrait painted whilst wearing a skull cap denotes that, in the AC novel, The Crooked House, the family are Greek/Jewish in origin. I really wasn't quite sure about the skull cap tradition.
  • Griselda, I absolutely agree with you. There are not only a lot of stereotypes, but a lot of fun is poked at stereotypes and stereotyping - e.g. in "Cat among the Pigeons" Mrs. Chadwick seeing the french teacher as "sly", and the headmistress saying that Mrs. Chadwick always thinks the french teachers are sly. As for Leonides in "The Crooked House" - I think that certain types of skull caps were worn by various Mediteranian people - even the pope wears one! There is a cap that is very close to a skull cap but higher and typically richly embroidered, that is worn in various Balkan Countries, and a similar cap is worn as a skull cap for Jewish religious reasons (my husband wears one for the Friday night prayers).
  • MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom
    Us Scots are always described as being" FEY"......Which can be quite gloomy and having a sense of doom...
    Admittedly,i do have my moments !!!!!
  • Sorry I didn't see your detailed reply to my question before, Tali. Yes, you are right, I realise, about fun being poked at stereotyping. I think that is a good example to choose, Cat. Among the Pigeons. There is a good deal of explanation about different customs, and how they are mixed and enjoyed at school.i know some posters love this novel, but I always felt if suffered slightly from the action being set in two different zones. I think the mysteries taking place in one small community tend to work very effectively because you can gain an imaginative picture of what everyone else would be doing at the time of some other action being described. Murder at the Vicarage is a key example, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun. It was all a bit much for me to imagine, princes, spies, a completely different rhythm to life and set of circumstances in the abroad setting in C A the P. The bit with the blackmailer going into town worked most effectively for me. I actually wondered if the increase accessibility of television as fact of life and a cultural influence impacted on AC' s writing in this novel. It is very cinematic, with the groping about in the dark, and the racquet. A bit of a fast action caper at times - less reflective. In Death in the Nile, the nice impoverished gentlewomen describes Linnet as fey, in the sense of cruising for a fall by being almost too happy and elated with her fortunate position. She meant it she explained to Poirot, didn't she in an almost supernatural way - about to be brought done by the fates. She said it was a Scottish term. I always think of Fraser in Dad's Army for the doom laden Scot! They certainly didn't mind their stereotypes when they wrote that classic!
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I love Scotland, I spent a Fortnight in Forays once and I have a Friend who lives in Edinburgh which is my Mum's Spiritual Home, I wish AC had set a Book there SPOILER ALERT Characters who said they were going there didn't.
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