HarperCollins is releasing new editions of Agatha Christie's classic mysteries, including Miss Marple and Poirot novels, with passages and descriptions altered or deleted to cater to modern sensitivities. The changes reflect a growing trend in publishing, where popular works from the past are edited to better align with contemporary values. Previously, books by Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming have undergone similar edits.
From The Telegraph:
In the 1937 Poirot novel Death on the Nile, the character of Mrs Allerton complains that a group of children are pestering her, saying that "they come back and stare, and stare, and their eyes are simply disgusting, and so are their noses, and I don't believe I really like children".
This has been stripped down in a new edition to state: "They come back and stare, and stare. And I don't believe I really like children".
Vocabulary has also been altered, with the term "Oriental" removed. Other descriptions have been altered in some instances, with a black servant, originally described as grinning as he understands the need to stay silent about an incident, described as neither black nor smiling but simply as "nodding".
In a new edition of the 1964 Miss Marple novel A Caribbean Mystery, the amateur detective's musing that a West Indian hotel worker smiling at her has "such lovely white teeth" has been removed, with similar references to "beautiful teeth" also taken out.
I wonder if unexpurgated editions of Christie novels will start to command higher prices in the book collectors' market.