Sunday, September 27, 2015

Printer's Devil or Ignorant Editor?

Santosh has reminded me that I intended to mention in passing a particularly egregious error I came across in my 1933 reprint edition of The Z Murders reviewed only a few days ago on this blog.

I did in fact mention it on the internet, but in a comment on someone else's blog. So here it is for my readers' entertainment. Along with photographic proof of the embarrassing error.

On page 95 of my edition Richard is attempting to broach a topic and wants to start the conversation in a way that will catch her off guard. He fails miserably:


I was so appalled I took out my mini Post-It note pad, scrawled off this note and stuck it to the page as a reminder to bring it up in my review.

But the Post-It got moved to the inside cover (see above) and that in turn was covered by an index card. So I never saw it and I forgot to write about it.

I'm wondering why no eagle eyed editor caught that error. True, as my note remarks there had only been seven Poirot novels published by 1933 when this reprint came out, but you would think that someone at Collins might know the correct spelling of a fictional character by one of their own authors who was selling a lot of books by that time.

I have been told that the error does not exist in the 2015 reprint British Library Crime Classics edition. At least in the 21st century someone was on the ball.


  1. Could "Poiret" be a deliberate suggestion that Richard doesn't think very clearly or accurately? It ties in with his other thoughts in the same passage. Or was Poirot not yet well enough known for the mistake to be obvious?

  2. It seems that Agatha Christie derived the name Hercule Poirot from two other fictional detectives of the time, Marie Belloc Lowndes' Hercule Popeau and Frank Howell Evans' Jules Poiret, borrowing the first name from one and the surname from the other. However, she modified the surname from Poiret to Poirot.
    Incidentally, many stories by Frank Howell Evans featuring Jules Poiret are available as kindle editions at Amazon. Jules Poiret's assistant and friend was Captain Haven.