Agatha Lives!

Need a break from holiday stress?

Take a few minutes off, and read a previously undiscovered short story by Agatha Christie.

"The Incident of the Dog’s Ball" appears in the Strand magazine, on newsstands through January.

Here’s how it was found: When Christie’s daughter Rosalind Hicks died in 2004, her home was left to the National Trust. In it were Christie’s notebooks, and one contained this story, which features Hercule Poirot.

Christie later expanded the story into a novel called The Dumb Witness. "The Incident" shows how cleverly she developed a story from slight beginnings and how useful her pharmacist training was.

The Strand, which was published from 1890 to 1950, published several of Christie's stories. The current issue celebrates its 10th anniversary in its reincarnated form.

Harper plans to publish Christie’s notebooks in the U.S. next year.

The story itself, a model of economy, starts with a dithering letter written by an elderly woman and sent to Poirot. It’s got classic Christie elements… the old lady who doesn’t want to make a fuss, the cryptic clue, the companion given to spiritualism, the unimaginative Capt. Hastings and, of course, the genius detective who puts it all together.

What fun for fans to find!

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