Publication History

The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection (also known as the Agatha Christie Hardback Collection) is a book club set that was released by Bantam between 1983 to 2000. Typically, the volumes feature leatherette hardcover boards with gold lettered titles on the spine and a uniform silhouette of Christie and the series title on the front cover. The colour of the boards is called “Sussex Blue”, which is a very dark navy that often looks black in certain lighting. The decorative endpapers for each volume were designed by Peggy Skycraft with book design by Barbara N. Cohen. Books are approximately 5.75″ x 8.75″. Akhnaton and Absent in the Spring were released without the silhouette on the cover.
agatha christie bantam books cover
agatha christie bantam books endpapers

How many books are there in the complete series?

The first set of 81 volumes was published by Bantam between 1983 to 1990. A second and third set of 18 titles were published by Literary Express between 1992 to 2000, and Bookspan during the last few months of 2000. The later titles included 7 new volumes, 13 books that were renamed under their UK title variants, and several re-releases of previously published titles. The covers of the second set have the Bantam name and logo on the spine, but different information on the copyright page of the books. Many early volumes in the series had multiple printings (at least 15 in some cases), and there are also a few variants in the titles and authors for these editions. So it depends how you define ‘complete’ to get the exact number of books in the series. If you just want a copy of each book, then you would be looking at 88 volumes. If you want to collect all the different titles, then you are looking for at least 101 books, or around 125 if you include all the variants including re-releases, the bookends and the numerous engagement diaries that were released in series binding between 1989 to 1999.

agatha christie mystery collection square
bantam agatha christie mysteries packing box 300
agatha christie bantam ephemera 900

Variations include Come, Tell Me How You Live which was released in two versions with either Agatha Christie and Agatha Christie Mallowan listed as the author, and Witness for the Prosecution which has only 9 stories while the far rarer The Witness for the Prosecution contains two additional stories to make a total of 11 tales (note a missing ‘the’ in the former title). For the true completionist, publication details are different for those volumes that were published after Dodd, Mead & Company sold the rights to Christie’s novels to the Putnam Berkley Group in the late 1980s, just before collapsing in 1989. Unfortunately, variants typically have the same ISBN, so you will have to view the specific book you are purchasing if you are keen to get these additional volumes. 

Bookends and Deluxe Editions

In addition to the engagement diaries noted above, a special set of matching bookends featuring the cover silhouette and endpaper design were also released during the early days of the series release. And finally, a small number of ‘deluxe’ versions were also released for many of the volumes in the first wave of books. These editions were bound in genuine leather with gilt-edged pages. They are more sturdy and well-made than the standard volumes and are really quite lovely, but also more rare than the standard leatherette editions so not always easy to find. 

    Is this series truly “complete”?

    Because Bantam Books is an American publishing company, this series was based on the American releases of the Christie books, so there are a few UK titles that were not included. Most of these are short story collections (where the stories were included in different volumes in the US) or works that were cowritten with other authors. Examples of titles not printed in the Bantam series include Poirot’s Early Cases (a short story collection), The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (more short stories), The Spider’s Web (a play adaptation by Charles Osborne) and The Floating Admiral (a collaborative novel written by the members of The Detection Club).

      Which books are the rarest (and what are they worth)?

      Most of the volumes in this series are readily available second-hand, so they can be obtained fairy cheaply from around $3 to $20 or so each (depending on condition) if you are interested in collecting a set. However, the later publications (those published from 1992 onwards) are much less common, with a few truly rare volumes commanding prices of $100 plus. I have seen complete sets of 101 or more volumes sell in excess of $1500, but these high prices are usually due to the presence of all the rare variants which would otherwise be difficult and time-consuming to track down. 

      A couple of volumes are hard to find if you shop online because they were released with different US and UK titles using the same ISBN, including The Sittaford Mystery Murder at Hazelmoor, and There is a Tide… / Taken at the Flood. Very confusingly, a couple of completely different titles were released with the same ISBN, namely Evil Under the Sun (common) and The Harlequin Tea Set (very rare).

      Hard to track down volumes include the UK variant titles such as Death in the Clouds (US title: Death in the Air) and Murder in the Mews (US title: Dead Man’s Mirror) which typically sell for $100 plus.  The Witness to the Prosecution variant mentioned above goes for >$500. And the two rarest UK variant titles (published last in October 2000) hardly ever appear so sellers often command what they will, including Hickory Dickory Dock (Hickory Dickory Death is the common US title) and After the Funeral (equivalent to the US title Funerals are Fatal). Less common volumes are those that were published in the later ‘wave’ that had no earlier equivalent in the US, namely Star Over Bethlehem, Poems (usually sells for >$25), The Unexpected Guest (usually >$50)Black Coffee (usually >$200), and The Harlequin Tea Set (very hard to find, another volume where sellers charge what they want). 

      What’s in the Engagement Diaries?

      I’ve had a few questions about the engagement diaries, so I’m adding a bit of information about these and a few pics here as well. The first ‘Engagement Calendar’ book was released in series binding (including decorative endpapers) in 1987, and one followed each year thereafter. In 1990 a ‘Special Centennial Engagement Diary’ was released, featuring a different portrait to replace the familiar silhouette. From 1991 onwards, the books returned to the original binding design except they were were renamed as an ‘Engagement Diary’. In the mid 1990s, the font style also changed to a more decorative style. The last diary was printed in 1999.

      The diaries were intended to be used as daily planners, and are larger in size than the novels. The contents of each book is slightly different. Weekly spreads contain excerpts from her writing, and often other tidbits such as highlighting dates that her plays opened etc. The front and back matter also includes additional information such as photos of Christie and a list of her works as well as more space for personal information (birthdays, anniversaries, addresses) and other info.

      Complete List of Books in the Series

      You can sort the table below by the US title, variant (usually the UK title), or date of publication. Clicking on the linked titles or ISBNs will take you to AbeBooks if you are trying to track down a specific book in the series. Variant editions are listed where available, and the notes column includes information about rarity, alternative titles under which the books have been published, and other details (Note: special thanks here are due to collector Jonathan W, who has generously shared details of some very rare volumes from his own collection.)

      US TitleVariant EditionsISBNOriginal Publication DateBantam Publication DateNotes
      The Mysterious Affair at Styles 0-553-35004819201983 (Jun); 1997 (Feb)Later variant (same ISBN, different publishing date) published in arrangement with the Putnam Berkley Group February 1997, same ISBN (rare).
      The Secret Adversary0-553-35028-519221985 (May)
      Murder on the LinksMurder on the Links (Literary Express variant)0-553-35037-4

      LE variant: 1-581-65017-5
      19231985 (Oct); 1998 (Mar)Later variant published by Literary Express.
      Poirot Investigates0-553-35031-519241985 (Apr)
      The Man in the Brown Suit0-553-35077-319241988 (Aug)Variant editions, both listed as August 1998 with the same ISBN - one has Dodd, Mead & Company listed as publisher (Hardcover Collection), the other with The Putnam Berkley Group (Mystery Collection) as publishers. Variant with no printing key.
      Poems0-553-35103-619251996 (Oct)Published in arrangement with the Putnam Berkley Group, no earlier edition.
      The Secret of Chimneys0-553-35064-119251987 (Sep)
      The Murder of Roger Ackroyd0-553-35001-319261983 (Mar)
      The Big Four0-553-35041-219271986 (Feb)Variants both with Feb 1986 date. First printing states Bantam as publisher, variant has Bantam Doubleday bell and no number line.
      The Mystery of the Blue Train0-553-35068-419281985 (Dec)Unhelpfully, the same ISBN was re-used by Random House for their BBC Radio Drama publication of this novel.
      Partners in Crime0-553-35008-019291983 (Oct)
      The Seven Dials Mystery0-553-35051-X19291986 (Nov)
      Black Coffee 1-58165-078-719301998 (Sep)Published by Literary Express - no earlier Bantam edition was published.

      Novelisation of Christie's play by Charles Osborne. Rare.
      The Murder at the Vicarage0-553-35006-419301983 (Aug)
      The Mysterious Mr Quin0-553-35043-919301986 (Mar)
      The Sittaford Mystery The Murder At Hazelmoor (variant title)0-553-35024-219311984 (Nov)Variant editions with the UK / US titles. Inconveniently, both were issued with same ISBN. 1st and 2nd printings published as 'Murder at Hazelmoor', 3rd and later published as 'The Sittaford Mystery'.
      Peril at End House 0-553-35073-019321988 (Apr)
      The Tuesday Club MurdersThe Thirteen Problems (Literary Express variant)0-553-35048-X

      LE variant: 1-581-65133-3
      19321986 (Jul), 2000 (May)Variant Literary Express edition published May 2000 with UK title. Rare.
      Thirteen At DinnerLord Edgware Dies (title variant)0-553-35076-5

      UK title variant: 0-553-35099-4
      19331988 (Jul), 1996Earlier title published by Bantam July 1988 (Mystery Collection), later variant published by Bantam/Putnam Berkley Group 1996 under the UK title (Hardcover collection). UK title uncommon.
      Mr Parker Pyne, Detective0-553-35061-719341982 (Jun)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Parker Pyne Investigates'.
      Murder on the Orient Express0-553-03000-019341983 (Jan)A 'prototype' edition marketed as part of the Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection was also released in July 1982 (same ISBN, quarter faux-leather binding).

      The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Murder on the Calais Coach'.
      Why Didn't They Ask Evans? 0-553-35005-619341983 (Jul)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'The Boomerang Clue'.
      Death In The AirDeath in the Clouds (Literary Express variant)0-553-35047-1

      LE variant: 1-581-65130-9
      19351986 (Jun), 2000 (Mar)Later Literary Express variant published using UK title (March 2000). Rare.
      Murder In Three Acts Three Act Tragedy0-553-35069-219351988 (Jan)Both titles listed with January 1988 publication with the same ISBN, but later variant published by Bantam/Putnam Berkley Group under the UK title. UK title uncommon.
      Cards on the Table0-553-35025-0

      LE variant: 1-58165-131-7
      19361984 (Nov)
      2000 (Jan)
      Murder in MesopotamiaMurder in Mesopotamia (Bookspan variant)


      19361985 (Mar), 2000 (Jul)Variant edition published by Bookspan in July 2000. Very rare. Inconveniently, appears to have the same ISBN as Death in the Clouds.
      The ABC Murders0-553-35002-119361983 (Apr)
      Akhnaton0-553-35102-819371996 (May)Play. Uncommon. Published without the silhouette on the cover.
      Dead Man's Mirror Murder in the Mews (Literary Express variant)0-553-35074-9

      LE variant: 0-553-35093-5
      19371988 (May), 1997Variant Literary Express edition using the UK title. Rare.
      Death on the Nile0-553-35003-X19371983 (May)
      Poirot Loses a Client Dumb Witness (variant UK title)0-553-35033-1
      UK title variant: 0-553-35098-6
      19371985 (Jun)Both titles listed as 1985 publication with the same ISBN, but later variant published by Bantam/Putnam Berkley Group under the UK title. UK title uncommon.
      A Holiday for Murder 0-553-35035-819381985 (Aug)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas'.
      Appointment with Death0-553-35062-519381987 (Jul)
      And Then There Were None0-553-35000-519391983 (Feb)The novel was also published elsewhere as the very politically incorrect 'Ten Little Indians' / 'Ten Little Niggers'.
      Easy to Kill 0-553-35055-219391987 (Jan)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Murder Is Easy'.
      The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories0-553-35079-X19391986 (Nov)Short story collection. Variants with Bantam on copyright page (first printing) and Bantam Doubleday Bell (no printing key).
      Sad CypressSad Cypress (Literary Express variant)0-553-35023-4

      LE variant: 1-581-651457
      19401984 (Nov), 2000 (Jul)Later Literary Express edition (2000).
      The Patriotic Murders0-553-35042-019401986 (Mar)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'One, Two, Buckle My Shoe'
      Evil Under the Sun Evil Under the Sun (variant publisher) 0-553-35010-219411983 (Nov), 1998Later variant published by Literary Express using the same ISBN. The same ISBN was also used for the 1988 edition of 'The Harlequin Tea Set'. Variants of the 1983 edition include Bantam in copyright (first printing), and Bantam Doubleday Bell (second), both listed as part of the Hardcover Collection, and a third version with no printing key described as part of the Mystery Collection.
      N or M?0-553-35072-219411988 (Apr)
      The Body in the Library0-553-35058-719421987 (Mar)
      Murder In Retrospect Five Little Pigs (UK title, Literary Express variant)0-553-35038-2

      LE variant: 1-581-65016-7
      19431985 (Nov), 1998 (Mar)Variant Literary Express edition, published March 1998, with alternate UK title (uncommon).
      The Moving Finger 0-553-35009-919431983 (Oct)
      Absent in the Spring 0-553-35082-X19441992 (Jun)Tragedy. Author listed as Mary Westmacott, no silhouette on the cover. Uncommon.
      Towards Zero 0-553-35011-019441983 (Dec)
      Death Comes As The End0-553-35013-719451984 (Feb)
      Remembered DeathSparkling Cyanide (UK title, Literary Express variant)0-553-35030-7

      LE variant: 1-58165-015-9
      19451985 (Mar), 1998 (Mar)Variant Literary Express edition published under UK title (March 1988). Uncommon.
      Come, Tell Me How You LiveCome, Tell Me How You Live (variant author)0-553-35049-819461985 (Nov)Variant volumes feature alternate author names: Agatha Christie or Agatha Christie Mallowan. Confusingly, they have the same ISBN.
      The HollowThe Hollow (Bookspan variant)0-553-35050-1

      Bookspan: 1-581-65154-6
      19461986 (Aug), 2000 (Sep)Variant Bookspan edition published Sep 2000 by special arrangement with J.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

      The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Murder After Hours'.
      The Labors of Hercules The Labors of Hercules (Literary Express variant)0-553-35019-6

      LE variant: 1-581-651449
      19471984 (Aug), 2000Later Literary Express variant.

      The novel was also published elsewhere as 'The Labours of Hercules'.
      There Is a Tide... Taken at the Flood (variant titles)0-553-35066-819481987 (Nov)Alternate titles for UK / US editions. Confusingly, they have the same ISBN. 1st and 2nd printings published as 'There is a Tide' (US title), later printings published as 'Taken at the Flood' (UK title).
      Witness for the Prosecution and Other StoriesThe Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (Literary Express variant)0-553-35007-2

      LE variant: 1-581-65121-X
      19481983 (Sep), 1989 (Apr), 1999 (Aug)Short story collection.

      1st printing Sep 1983 Bantam, 'Witness' Hardcover collection, 9 stories. Another printing Sep 1983 Bantam Doubleday Bell, 'The Witness' Mystery collection, 11 stories, no printing key. 2nd printing Apr 1989, 'The Witness' Mystery collection 11 stories. Variant Literary Express edition 'The Witness' published in Aug 1999 11 stories.

      Crooked House Crooked House (Literary Express variant)0-553-35054-4

      LE variant: 1-581650795
      19491986 (Dec), 1999Later variant published by Literary Express.
      A Murder is Announced0-553-35040-419501986 (Jan)
      Three Blind Mice and Other StoriesThree Blind Mice and Other Stories (Literary Express variant)0-553-35080-3

      LE variant: 1-581-65110-4
      19501988 (Sep), 1999Later variant published by Literary Express. The novel was also published elsewhere as 'The Mousetrap and other stories'.
      The Underdog and Other Stories0-553-35070-619511988 (Feb)
      They Came to Baghdad 0-553-35034-X19511985 (Jul)
      Mrs McGinty's Dead 0-553-35059-519521987 (Apr)
      Murder with Mirrors 0-553-35027-719521985 (Apr)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'They Do It With Mirrors'.
      A Pocket Full of Rye0-553-35044-719531986 (Apr)
      Funerals are Fatal After the Funeral (Bookspan variant)US: 0-553-35016-1

      Bookspan: 1-581-65153-8
      19531984 (May), 2000 (Oct)Later variant published by Bookspan (October 2000) using the UK title. Rare.
      So Many Steps to DeathDestination Unknown (Literary Express variant)US: 0-553-35052-8

      LE variant: 1-581-65129-5
      19541986 (Oct), 2000 (Feb)Later variant published by Literary Express (February 2000) using the UK title. Rare.
      Hickory Dickory DeathHickory Dickory Dock (Bookspan variant)US: 0-553-35012-9

      Bookspan: 1-58165-152-X
      19551984 (Jan), 2000 (Oct)Later variant published by Bookspan (October 2000) using the UK title. Very rare.
      Dead Man's FollyDead Man's Folly (Literary Express variant)0-553-35078-1

      LE variant: 1-581-65005-1
      19561988 (Sep), 1998 (Feb)Later variant published by Literary Express.
      What Mrs. McGillicudy Saw!0-553-35018-819571984 (Jul)The novel was also published elsewhere as '4:50 from Paddington'.
      Ordeal by Innocence0-553-35067-619581987 (Nov)
      The Unexpected Guest1-58165-110-419581999 (Sep)Published by Literary Express Sep 1999, there was no earlier Bantam edition. Uncommon.

      Play. Adapted by Charles Osborne.
      Cat Among the PigeonsCat Among the Pigeons (Literary Express variant)0-553-35014-5

      LE variant: 1-58165-146-5
      19591984 (Mar), 2000 (Aug)Later variant published by Literary Express (uncommon).
      Double Sin and Other Stories 0-553-35057-919611987 (Feb)
      The Pale HorseThe Pale Horse (Literary Express variant)0-553-35046-3
      Variant: 1-581-65106-6
      19611986 (May), 1999 (May)Later variant published by Literary Express (uncommon).
      The Mirror Crack'd0-553-35015-319621984 (Apr)
      The Clocks 0-553-35071-419631988 (Mar)
      A Caribbean Mystery0-553-30532-819641985 (May)Variant editions, both listed as May 1985 with the same ISBN - one has Dodd, Mead & Company listed as publisher (Hardcover Collection), the other with The Putnam Berkley Group (Mystery Collection) as publishers. Another variant copy with the same ISBN has May 1995 listed as the publication date.
      At Bertram's Hotel 0-553-35063-319651987 (Aug)
      Star Over Bethlehem & Other Stories0-553-35104-419651996 (Oct)Short stories. Uncommon. Author listed as Agatha Christie Mallowan.
      Third Girl 0-553-35060-919661987 (May)
      Endless Night0-553-35039-019671985 (Dec)
      By the Pricking of my ThumbsBy the Pricking of my Thumbs (Literary Express variant)0-553-35021-8

      LE variant: 1-58165-1228
      19681984 (Oct), 1999 (Aug)Later variant published by Literary Express. Very rare.
      Hallowe'en PartyHallowe'en Party (Bookspan variant)0-553-35020-X

      Bookspan: 1-58165-149-X

      19691984 (Sep), 2000 (Aug)Variant Bookspan edition published Aug 2000. Very rare.
      Passenger to Frankfurt 0-553-35075-719701988 (Jun)Variant editions, both listed with 1988 publication date and the same ISBN - one has Dodd, Mead & Company listed as publisher (Hardcover Collection), the other with The Putnam Berkley Group (Mystery Collection) as publishers.
      Nemesis0-553-35022-619711984 (Oct)
      The Golden Ball and Other Stories 0-553-35065-X19721987 (Oct)Short stories.
      Elephants Can Remember0-553-35017-X19721984 (Jun)Variant editions, both listed with 1984 publication date and the same ISBN - one has Dodd, Mead & Company listed as publisher (Hardcover Collection), the other with The Putnam Berkley Group (Mystery Collection) as publishers. Variant with no printing key.
      Postern of Fate0-553-35056-019731987 (Jan)
      Curtain: Poirot's Last Case Curtain: Poirot's Last Case (Literary Express variant)0-553-35026-9

      LE variant: 1-581-65014-0
      19751984 (Dec), 1998 (Mar)Variant Literary Express publication.
      Sleeping Murder0-553-35036-619761985 (Sep)The novel was also published elsewhere as 'Miss Marple's Final Cases'.
      An Autobiography 0-553-35081-119771990 (Nov)Non-fiction
      The Harlequin Tea Set and other stories 0-553-35010-219771998 (Feb)Very rare. (No earlier Bantam equivalent, only the later Literary Express edition. (Also, inconveniently released with the same ISBN as 'Evil Under the Sun').
      Agatha Christie Engagement Diaries1989-1997 (1990 special commemorative edition)Produced in series binding during the early 1990s.


      I'm the founder and operator of the Beautiful Books website ツ


      Laura Lee Skrumbellos · 30 August 2021 at 3:03 am

      I believe I have 87 of the gilded leather set, with many of the rare titles. How can I go about listing these to sell, what market, how do I find collectors?


        Daisy · 2 September 2021 at 1:17 pm

        If you have time, leave your post here for a bit and a collector may get in touch with directly. Alternatively, many collections do sell by auction (eBay being the most common) but just make sure you are clear that you have the higher quality gilded leather set. You may also find you are better off selling the rare titles individually, because many collectors will already have the other titles but be hanging out for one or two to complete their ‘set’. Good luck!

      Mary · 27 June 2021 at 9:17 am

      I have just been offered a set of 82 leather bound Agatha Christie books – never even been
      read – and I have no idea how much they are worth. The owner just said, “Make me an offer.”
      I am a HUGE Christie fan, but I only have books in paperback, so I need some guidance here.
      Any help?

        Daisy · 27 June 2021 at 7:37 pm

        Sounds great! Your best bet to get an idea of value is to look at completed eBay listings for a similar set. Things to look out for that might change the value are if there are any rare volumes on the set (these titles are listed on the article) and also if any of them are the deluxe leatherbound volumes (with the gilt edges) or if they are all normal series bindings. Good luck!

      Priscilla · 9 June 2021 at 3:13 pm

      I tried a search to see if this was mentioned anywhere in the numerous comments, but I didn’t get any hits, so hopefully I’m not repeating some well-discussed point. I found two books from this series at a local thrift shop and purchased them to read as the titles were such Inhad not yet read. Just now I was reading through one, The ABC Murders, and then switched to an audiobook from the library in order to continue listening while moving about. However, when I went back to find my spot in the book to continue reading, I found there was a significant chunk missing. I looked over the book and confirmed there are no notes about it being abridged and yet it must be. The closest confirmation, other than the missing text, I can find is that most editions of this title are around 250 pages and this one is only just past 200.

      I deeply dislike abridged editions and I’m disappointed to find this to be the case halfway through my reading of this book. I will continue with a complete text but I thought I’d leave my observations here for anyone who might be concerned about these editions being abridged. I don’t know how the other books compare, but it seems like an important detail and I’m disappointed the publisher didn’t see fit to make a note of it anywhere on the book.

        Daisy · 9 June 2021 at 4:12 pm

        Ouch! I also find abridged editions annoying, although I do know with Christie novels that several of the books are (sometimes substantially) different depending on whether you are reading/listening to the US or the UK text. Thanks so much for posting – I will include your observation about The ABC Murders in the main text on this page (be great if you could add what was missing!), and I think I should probably update the article with the other national variations I know of so people aren’t surprised. For some of these titles, both versions are available in the Bantam series, but for others only the American edition was published. In case you’re interested, these are:

      • Easy to Kill (US) vs Murder is Easy (UK) – similar to your experience with The ABC Murders, the US edition of this book is about 20% shorter than the UK edition – this is because the US edition was based on the original serialised version that was published in the Saturday Evening Post the year previously, while the UK edition used the completed manuscript. Since The ABC Murders was also first published in the US as an abridged serialised version in Cosmopolitan magazine this may be the same issue? The UK serialised version was missing chapters 26, 32 and 35, as well as parts of chapters 7 and 20, but I think the US serial wasn’t missing quite so much – out of interest, are any of these the areas that were different between the versions you compared?
      • Murder in Retrospect (US) and Five Little Pigs (UK) – another instance where the US edition used a serialised version and the UK a finished manuscript – the main difference is Five Little Pigs is divided into three ‘books’ which in turn contain chapters related to the nursery rhyme, while the US version doesn’t have any of this framing and just has ten equal length chapters.
      • The US edition of The Moving Finger is substantially abridged compared to the UK edition (e.g. missing Chapter 1, Part 1 which contains a lot of relevant background information, along with about 20% of the book)
      • Murder in Three Acts (US) vs Three Act Tragedy (UK) – the motive for the killer was actually changed for the US edition (I know, crazy right?), so the text in the last chapter is different
      • Poirot Investigates (US edition has 14 stories, UK has 11 – the missing stories are The Chocolate Box, the Veiled Lady and The Lost Mine which in the UK were included in Poirot’s Early Cases instead)
      • Dead Man’s Mirror (US) vs Murder in the Mews (UK) – the US edition is often missing one of the short stories (The Incredible Theft)

      Jonathan · 19 March 2021 at 12:42 pm

      Hi, Daisy

      In case you missed it, I’m just dropping a line to let you know I replied a couple weeks ago to a reply you posted to me last November. In other words, you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it. A brief re-cap: After several years of searching I finally found a pristine copy of the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Engagement Calendars. I also provided some information about a few books which were sold to members of The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection as compliments to the collection which I thought you (or someone) might find interesting.

      Any updates on the discussion board?

      Have a great day,


        Daisy · 3 April 2021 at 7:17 pm

        Jonathan! Hello! Thanks for letting me know about the comments – there was indeed an issue with my site, as I also wasn’t getting notified (I constantly have these problems. One day it will all be worked out…) – but I am hoping that this is now fixed and you get an email with this reply directly… Thanks so much for your new info – it’s always interesting, and I will update the list over this long weekend. I am still testing the discussion board – I have it running but am still struggling to manage the spam issue… Have been away with work for the past six weeks, but hopefully will have some more time to experiment with it this weekend. In fact, a question arose for you on one of the other pages – someone was asking about the Bantam Bookshelf that she was offered after receiving her final book in the series. Do you know anything about this? Thanks and warm wishes, Dx

          Jonathan W · 11 May 2021 at 5:48 am

          Hi Daisy,

          I just noticed my reply to your last message hasn’t shown up here, so I’ll try again. I apologize for the long delay in writing. I’ve been taking chemotherapy and it’s left me somewhat out of working order, to put it mildly. But it’s over for now so perhaps I can resume some semblance of normalcy. About the bookshelf– I am sorry to say I have neither read, seen nor heard anything about a bookshelf having been offered by Bantam Books. I have scoured the internet searching for any information about it and so far I’ve come up with nothing. I will keep searching, however, as giving up is not in my nature.

          I don’t recall if I mentioned it before, but in 1990 when the Centennial Engagement Diary and “An Autobiography” were released, Bantam also sold to members of the Agatha Christie Mystery Collection an over-sized, brass coated coin/medallion. The back side is blank, but on the face side it says Agatha Christie 100th Birthday Celebration. The profile of Christie on the coin is the exact profile/silhouette depicted on the front of the 1990 Engagement Diary. The profile image and surrounding wreath is the exact image printed on the covers of the mass market paperbacks published by Berkley for their Agatha Christie 100th Anniversary Edition collection. I recently ran across a listing for one of them recently and bought it, so now I have four of them. Anyway, as they were released by Bantam as a part of the collection I thought you (or someone) might be interested.

          Thank you and have a great day,


            Daisy · 15 May 2021 at 7:15 am

            Oh Jonathan, I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through – it’s very generous of you to keep sharing your expertise and collecting journey with us here despite such a grueling and scary experience. I hope all has gone well and your recovery is swift. I also haven’t been able to find reference to the bookshelf, but the collector who contacted me remembers getting a letter about it when her subscription ended, so it will be interesting if something turns up. I should definitely include the medallion in the list, that’s a great idea! Will update it this weekend. Take care, and I hope you stay well. Dx

      Bobby · 21 January 2021 at 10:57 am

      Thank you for this website! It has been an essential tool in figuring out that I still needed three books to complete my collection (excluding variant editions and the datebook). I’ve already purchased two of them, and hoping to add the final book in the next week. But I’ll still visit this website regularly, I’m sure.

        Daisy · 21 January 2021 at 10:59 am

        Thanks for letting me know – it’s always such a pleasure to hear people get some value out of the list 🙂
        And congrats on (almost) completing your collection!
        D x

        Carol Sena · 18 March 2021 at 9:51 am

        I have a collection of Agatha Christie hard cover books I would like to sell if interested please email me

          Tracy · 10 September 2021 at 11:42 am

          If you still have the collection … are they the Bantam collection? If so how many volumes and which titles. My set is incomplete and went through 3 hurricanes in 2004. How much are you asking? Only interested if they are the Bantam collection.

      Gabsy · 29 October 2020 at 9:31 am

      Just wanted to say thanks for this fantastic web site. The information is precise, concise and extremely helpful. I was lucky enough to purchase a Bantam collection of 79 unique titles (that is, without the reprint or alternate UK names) and just completed it this weekend with the addition of Black Coffee, The Harlequin Teaset and The Witness for the Prosecution. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of this web site. Thank you!

        Daisy · 4 November 2020 at 2:16 pm

        Congrats on completing the collection, and thanks for the kind words on the website – it’s always a thrill for me to hear that people have found my little spot on the web and that it has helped people with their own libraries 🙂

      Jonathan Wall · 4 October 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Daisy,

      The last time I checked this site there hadn’t been any updates or changes and I was afraid you had vanished off the face of the Earth, so I’m very happy to see you are still among us!

      I mentioned before I had acquired 8 titles which have variant information on their copyright pages vs their “normal” counterparts, and none of them having a printing key/number line, yet all of them saying they were printed in the ’80’s. As a refresher, I’ll re-list the titles here:

      The Man In The Brown Suit
      Elephants Can Remember
      Passenger To Frankfurt
      A Caribbean Mystery
      The Big Four
      The Regatta Mystery And Other Stories
      The Witness For The Prosecution
      Evil Under The Sun

      Since *all* of the books published by Bantam have a number line and *none* of the books published by Literary Express (or Bookspan) have a number line, I have been suspicious the whole time that the 8 books might have been printed by Literary Express. But since all 8 books say on the copyright page they were published by Bantam (and make no mention of LE) I couldn’t prove it. But now I think I can.

      I have before me another copy of The Man In The Brown Suit which is missing the number line and is identical to the other copy I have (that is missing the number line) in every way except one– the first keyless copy I acquired says Bantam Books on the bottom of the main title page, but this copy says Literary Express, Inc. on the bottom of the main title page. So even though on the copyright page it says “A Bantam Book” and gives a publication date of August 1988, I know the copyright page is a lie because Literary Express didn’t print or publish anything in The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection until February 1998…. ten years later. Also, all 8 of the titles say they were published by arrangement with The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.

      I had suspected for a long time The Man In The Brown Suit got reprinted by Literary Express but I could never prove it because I couldn’t find it, and now I know why. I was relying on information printed on the copyright page and it never once occurred to me to examine the main title page. Why would it?

      Meanwhile, thank you very much for the honorable (I say honorable because I take it as an honor) mention in the article. I certainly never expected that! I remember vividly how frustrating and confusing and often hopeless it seemed when I first started collecting the books in this collection. I had absolutely nothing to go by other than endless searching on eBay and Abe Books hoping I might find a title I didn’t have and, very often, didn’t even know about. Then in ’18 this section of Beautiful Books showed up and it was like a miracle from the mystery gods from above. lol So I am very happy to have contributed whatever information I have and hope to contribute more. Your site has been a blessing to me and a lot of other people… perhaps more people than you know, because I’ve noticed your name and/or Beautiful Books (and also bits of information from the site copied and pasted) in eBay listings on numerous occasions.

      Anyway, I hope the Literary Express edition of The Man In The Brown Suit is helpful to you. I have a very strong suspicion there may be copies of Evil Under The Sun just like it. So the search continues.


        Daisy · 4 November 2020 at 2:15 pm

        Oh you clever detective you! This is brilliant work, I have checked with my stash and I think you have correctly solved one of the mysteries of this collection – Agatha would be proud! And thank you for the very kind words – I’m always so happy when some of my research helps others, and your research is definitely a huge contribution here. I’m working on setting up a small discussion board on the site (it’s taking longer than I anticipated because putting spam control in place is quite involved!) – I’m hoping you would be interested in becoming a moderator for the Agatha Christie section, since you have been so generous with your knowledge here and there seem to be a lot of people interested in learning about these books. I’ll let you know more details when I have it operational 🙂

          Jonathan · 6 March 2021 at 3:25 pm

          Hi, Daisy

          So sorry for taking so long to reply. For some unknown reason I no longer receive emails alerting me to knew postings here. Anyway, should you set up a discussion board on this site I would definitely love to be a moderator! Any help I can possibly be to you and also to other collectors who might have questions or are seeking advice would be an honor.

          Since last I wrote I have managed to acquire pristine copies of the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Engagement Calendars and a copy of the 1997 Engagement Diary, as well as duplicate copies of the 1990-’91-’92-’93-’96 and 1998 Engagement Diaries. I’ve yet to find any proof of the existence of Engagement Diaries for 1994, 1995 and 2000. I’m having serious doubts that the latter three actually exist. I *almost* had a copy of the 1999 Diary but, sadly, it escaped me.

          Other than the aforementioned books, I have also acquired four books which were sold to The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection subscribers. These books include The Life & Times of Miss Jane Marple (Bantam, 1989/ISBN 0-553-05781-2), New Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie (The Ungar Publishing Company/Second Edition/ISBN 0-8044-6725-0). New BB & A has been reprinted countless times. Third, The Mystery of Agatha Christie by Charles Osborne. Apparently this book was first published by The Rainbird Publishing Group, London, in 1982. It was published in the US in 1983 by Holt Rinehart & Winston, Inc. Bantam then got permission to print the book in 1984 as a part of The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection (ISBN 0-03-062784-2) and at the bottom of the dust jacket (back flap) says The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection, Bantam Books Inc., 666 Fifth Avenue, New York 10103. On the publication page it also says the book was Printed and Bound by Hazell Watson & Viney Limited, Member of the BBPC Group, Aylesbury, Bucks. This book was somewhat tricky to track down because it has clearly been printed several times within a short time span, and it appears twice in England and twice in the US… but only one of the printings has anything to do with Bantam and The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection. I found multiple listings for the book, but only one that specifically mentions The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection and Bantam.

          There is a fourth book which also was sold to The Collection members, and that is Agatha Christie: The Art of Her Crimes, by Julian Symons, John Fowler and Tom Adams. Published 1981 by Dodd, Meade & Company (ISBN 0-896-96144-3).

          Well, those are the only new additions to The Collection since I last reported. Please keep me posted on any new developments regarding the chat forum. And any other new developments, for that matter!

          Thank you,


      Scott Eldridge · 7 September 2020 at 8:34 pm

      I have a small collection of 12 books from the Agatha Christie mystery collection that I would like to sell. The list goes as this… The Hollow, By The Pricking Of My Thumbs,And Then There Were None,Sparkling Cyanide,Murder At The Vicarage,Murder In Mesopotamia,The Witness For The Prosecution,Crooked House,Death In The Clouds, Hickory Dickory Dock,Black Coffee and finally The Harlequin Tea Set. I’ve done my research for the past 8 months.And I would hope ask collectors you would be truthful and forthcoming has to a price on these. I would like to sell them all as a package deal. thank you

        Daisy · 20 September 2020 at 11:10 pm

        Hi Scott – unfortunately it’s hard to set prices because it depends on you finding a knowledgeable collector who is missing the books you have for sale in order to realise their value. I am investigating the option of adding a discussion board to this site to enable collectors to better share information and offer rarities for sale. Hopefully soon!

      Jonathan Wall · 6 July 2020 at 10:19 am

      Hi, Daisy,

      I’m not sure you got my message about the book ‘Cards On The Table’, so here is the publication information again.

      A Literary Express, Inc. book
      (a subsidiary of Doubleday Direct, Inc.)
      Reprinted by special arrangement with G.P. Putnam’s Sons,
      A member of Penguin Putnam, inc.

      Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/November 1984
      The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/January 2000

      ISBN: 1-58165-131-7

      It only took me three years to find a copy and then a few weeks later I miraculously found another copy in pristine condition. Aside from that the only advances I’ve made towards completing the collection have been finding a copy of the 1997 Engagement Diary and also another (4th) set of matching bookends.


        Daisy · 20 September 2020 at 11:20 pm

        Hey Jonathan! I missed your last message, I’m so sorry. (My annoying website host keeps not passing on messages – it’s so frustrating.) I’ve now updated the table with the details (and also put some belated credits to you in the article for the wealth of interesting information on variants you have shared with us!). The comments section on this page is getting a little unwieldy, so I am looking into ways to create a discussion board where we can all share pictures and other fun things (e.g. I have a few extra pieces of ephemera but don’t really want to make the original article even longer than it already is!). Hopefully I’ll be able to get this running soon… In the meantime, how is your collection going? Did you ever hear any more about your rumours on the LE variant of Appointment With Death/Partners in Crime? I still haven’t found anything more about them. (Too funny that you found two copies of the LE Cards on the Table book within the same month after all that searching, but I’m so pleased you tracked it down!) Daisy x

      Mike Allen · 6 July 2020 at 3:00 am

      Hi Daisy,

      I am actually in possession of the entire Agatha Christie Mystery Collection published by Bantam with one exception as you detailed above – The Harlequin Tea Set. I have a copy of it but it was near the end of the run and has Literary Express printed on the binding instead of Bantam. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might be able to find a copy of this extremely difficult to find title?

      Thank you so much for your information above and any help you may be able to provide.

      Mike Allen

        Daisy · 20 September 2020 at 11:24 pm

        Hi Mike – so sorry for not replying earlier – this thread is long and I missed your post!

        It sounds like you do have the complete set, as Harlequin Tea Set was only ever printed under the Literary Express imprint and there is no Bantam equivalent. One of the funny quirks of this series 😉

        Daisy x

      Jonathan Wall · 26 March 2020 at 12:11 pm

      Hi, Daisy

      Since last I wrote I’ve discovered a few new additions to my collection, so I thought I’d give an update. I recently purchased an amazing lot (and amazingly cheap, at that) of titles of The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection. With the exception of After The Funeral and the first four “new” titles (Poems, Star Over Bethlehem, etc., ), the lot contains every regular title printed in the ’90’s and 2000- Death In The Clouds, Hickory, Dickory, Dock, The Thirteen Problems, Lord Edgware., etc., and also contains all but two of the 14 Literary Express/Bookspan variants I know for sure exist (because I have them)… Halloween Party, Murder In Mesopotamia, Crooked House and so forth. The only two variants missing are The Pale Horse and The Witness For The Prosecution.

      Along with those titles the lot also includes A Caribbean Mystery 1995 and The Mysterious Affair At Styles 1997. Additionally, the lot also includes the variant printing of The Man In The Brown Suit and Elephants Can Remember, both having NO printing key.

      Better still, the lot also includes 4 more titles which have NO printing key. Just like the keyless versions of Brown Suit, Elephants and Passenger To Frankfurt, these four books have some different information on their copyright pages than their “normal” counterparts. Here are the titles and the differences.

      The Big Four (normal) 1st printing:

      Dodd, Mead & Company
      Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/ Feb 1986
      It offers matching bookends
      ISBN: 0-553-35041-2
      Bantam only— no Doubleday Dell

      The Big Four (keyless):

      The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.
      The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Feb 1986
      It offers additional titles
      ISBN: Same
      Bantam Doubleday Dell
      Does NOT say printed in the USA
      No number line

      The Regatta Mystery (Normal) 1st:

      Dodd, Mead & Company
      The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Nov 1986
      It offers bookends
      ISBN: 0-553-35079-X
      Bantam only– no Doubleday Dell

      The Regatta Mystery (keyless):

      The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.
      The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Nov 1986
      It offers additional titles
      ISBN: Same
      Bantam Doubleday Dell
      Does NOT say printed in the USA
      No key

      Evil Under The Sun (normal) 1st:

      Dodd, Mead & Company
      Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/ Nov 1983
      It offers neither bookends nor additional titles
      ISBN: 0-553-35010-2
      Bantam only– no Doubleday Dell

      Evil Under The Sun (normal) 2nd:

      Dodd, Mead & Company
      Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/ Nov 1983
      It offers bookends
      ISBN: Same
      Bantam Doubleday Dell

      Evil Under The Sun (keyless):

      The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.
      The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Nov 1983
      It offers additional titles
      ISBN: Same
      Bantam Doubleday Dell
      Does NOT say printed in the USA
      No key

      Note: I find it interesting that both the 1st and 2nd printings of the normal editions say “Hardcover” while the keyless one says “Mystery”.

      Witness For The Prosecution (normal) 1st:

      Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc.
      Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/ Sept 1983
      It offers neither bookends nor additional titles
      ISBN: 0-553-35007-2
      Bantam only– no Doubleday Dell
      9 short stories

      The Witness For The Prosecution (1989):
      Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc.
      Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Sept 1983
      Second Printing April 1989
      It offers bookends
      ISBN: Same
      Bantam Doubleday Dell
      11 short stories

      The Witness For The Prosecution 1999:

      A Literary Express, Inc. Book
      (A subsidiary of Doubleday Direct, Inc.)
      Reprinted By Special Arrangement with the Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.
      Agatha Christie Mystery Collection Edition/ Sept 1983
      Agatha Christie Mystery Collection Edition/ Aug 1999
      It offers additional titles
      ISBN: 1-58165-121-X
      Printed in the USA
      No key

      The Witness For The Prosecution (keyless):

      The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.
      Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/ Sept 1983
      It offers additional titles
      ISBN: Same as Witness and 1989 The Witness
      Bantam Doubleday Dell
      Does NOT say printed in the USA
      No key
      11 short stories

      Note: The deluxe 1st of Witness has identical info on the copyright page as it’s “normal” counterpart. I’ve never seen a 2nd printing of either, so I can’t vouch for those.

      So, Witness/The Witness was printed 5 times instead of 4. o_O This keyless copy is the only edition of The Witness I have ever seen printed in 1983. I’ve always wondered how Bantam could say The Witness 1989 is a second printing when the title is changed and it has 11 short stories instead of 9. Now I can wonder no more! Actually that’s not entirely true because I suspect there’s more to this than meets the eye. You know better than I there is very little about this collection that can really be that simple. lol

      Well, I hope you found this helpful. And the quest continues…


      J'aime · 28 February 2020 at 2:27 am

      Just wanted to say thank you because this post has been invaluable. Though I do have an extensive book collection (4600+), I wasn’t interested in collecting this full series with variants. I just wanted her books to read and a matching set is always nice to have. It was very helpful knowing which books were really duplicates with different titles (e.g. Sittaford/Hazelmoor). I avoided overpaying for a rare title when the common was readily available. Only 9 more to go… thanks again!

      Jonathan Wall · 24 October 2019 at 12:15 pm


      It’s been a while since I’ve written, so I thought I’d post an update on my new findings. First, just today I received an odd copy of Elephants Can Remember which, like The Man In The Brown Suit and A Caribbean Mystery, has no printing key. Unlike the ordinary version it says Mystery Collection on the copyright page instead of Hardcover Collection. It also says published in arrangement with The Putnam Berkley Group instead of Dodd, Mead. The ISBN is 0-553-35017-X.

      Second, I also just today received a variant of The Hollow published September 2000 by Bookspan. It says reprinted by special arrangement with J.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc. The ISBN is 1-58165-154-6.

      Third, you asked earlier if I had heard of a 1997 release of The Mysterious Affair At Styles. At the time I had not, but tomorrow I should be receiving a copy of it. I don’t know the ISBN offhand, but I do know it says The Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/June 1983, February 1997. This copy actually has a printing key, stating the book is a 3rd printing.

      Later this week I should be receiving an upside down copy of Hallowe’en Party, which will go nicely with my upside down printings of Murder In Mesopotamia and What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!.

      In the meantime, I have heard rumours there may be variants of Partners In Crime, Appointment With Death and Cards On The Table. Have you heard any such rumours?

      Lastly, I would like to ask if you are sure there is a 1998 variant of Evil Under The Sun by Literary Express? I ask because I absolutely cannot find a copy. I have written to countless sellers on Abe Books, Biblio and third party Amazon sellers whose listings *say* LE 1998, but in every case they have said the listings are wrong and they only have 1983 copies. I’m seriously doubting the book exists, but I wanted to check with you before I abandon my search for it. You know infinitely more about this collection than anyone else I’ve ever encountered, so I trust your information and value your opinions.

      Thank you for your time,


        Daisy · 29 October 2019 at 1:57 pm

        Hi Jonathan – thanks so much for your valuable updates – your collection sounds so fantastic! I am pretty sure the 1998 LE variant of Evil exists, because although I don’t have a copy myself, I made sure that I had sighted the copyright page before adding it to the list. I’m not sure where I put all the photos right now, but I will go through my archives and put a pic up for you to confirm when I find it. For the variants, yes, I have heard of some additional variants, but haven’t seen physical proof – and as you mentioned in your hunt for the Evil variant, it’s frustrating but I find you really do need to see the book to be sure as people list all sorts of crazy stuff online! I would say I have high confidence there is probably a LE variant for Cards on the Table, but am not so sure on the others. I look forward to hearing about the 1997 release of Styles as well! Warmest wishes

          Jonathan Wall · 30 October 2019 at 10:34 am


          Yes, I would like to see the copyright page of Evil 1998 if you can find it. Meanwhile, the 1997 Styles book arrived. It says it was published in arrangement with the Putnam Berkley Group. In the publication history section it says Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/ June 1983, February 1997. The ISBN is 0-553-35004-8. It actually has a printing key, showing it to be a 3rd printing.

          I made a mistake before when I told you about the LE re-release of Murder In Mesopotamia. It was published by Bookspan instead, and in July 2000… which is very odd since Cat Among The pigeons was re-released by LE in August 2000. Then Bookspan re-released The Hollow in September 2000. After The Funeral and Hickory Dickory Dock were published by Bookspan in October 2000.

          I have also learned by someone who claims to have it that Hallowe’en Party was re-released by Bookspan, but I have seen no proof of it yet.

          I have taken pics of the “prototype” copy of Murder On The Orient Express and also of the copyright pages of all the other books I’ve mentioned if you would care to see them so you can have visual proof of their existence.


          Jonathan Wall · 21 January 2020 at 1:16 pm


          I haven’t made much progress since last I wrote, but I have at least managed to find two additions to my collection. I mentioned earlier the odd copies I’d found of The Man In The Brown Suit and Elephants Can Remember, neither of which have a printing key and both having several differences on their copyright pages than their counterparts…. well, I found a copy of Passenger To Frankfurt that’s just like them. No printing key and with variant information on the copyright page.

          Meanwhile I managed to acquire a variant copy in pristine condition of Hallowe’en Party published by Bookspan, August 2000. Reprinted by special arrangement with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc. Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/September 1984, The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection/August 2000

          ISBN: 1-58165-149-X

          I still cannot find a copy of Evil Under The Sun 1998. The addition of Hallowe’en Party brings my total of re-releases to 14.

          Dead Man’s Folly
          Three Blind Mice
          Murder On The Links
          The Pale Horse
          Crooked House
          By The Pricking Of My Thumbs
          The Witness For The Prosecution
          Sad Cypress
          Cat Among The Pigeons
          The Labors of Hercules
          Murder In Mesopotamia
          The Hollow
          Hallowe’en Party

          If I find any more titles I’ll keep you posted.


            Story Goblin · 22 January 2020 at 11:06 am

            Hi Jonathan

            (Yes, it’s still Daisy here – I changed my icon on twitter and it updated here, so I still have to fix it – have been battling the fires and smoke here in Oz, so have fallen rather behind on website maintenance this month!)

            Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, it’s fantastic and a lot of fun building up the details. I finally found my archives on the Evil Under the Sun 1988 edition and according to my notes it was included in a publications list by Literary Express (although their records are not at all reliable) and I authenticated its existence via email to a library in the US who confirmed they held it. However, given that this is one of the volumes with a duplicate isbn, and your difficulties in tracking it down, I am going to renew efforts to find physical evidence as well to confirm – I don’t have all my old emails so I’m not sure which library I contacted, but I will go through the process again and let you know how it pans out. Fingers crossed…

              Daisy · 22 January 2020 at 3:14 pm

              PS – I’ve been meaning to double check the ISBN on your Bookspan copy of Murder in Mesopotamia. You mentioned that it was 1-58165-130-9, which was also the ISBN used for the Literary Express edition of Death in the Clouds – so this is another instance of the publishers re-using the same ISBN for two different publications, yes?

              Jonathan Wall · 24 January 2020 at 6:25 am

              Yes, I just double checked to make sure I didn’t make a mistake and the Bookspan variant of Murder In Mesopotamia and the Literary Express variant of Death In The Clouds do indeed have the same ISBN: 1-58165-130-9.

              Another thing that is odd about the Bookspan Mesopotamia is it was released in July 2000…. but the Literary Express variant of Cat Among The Pigeons was released in August 2000. If Bookspan took over LE in July, then how did LE publish Cat Among The Pigeons in August?

              On a different note, Bantam was certainly busy in the ’80’s what with printing the Agatha Mystery Collection and the Louis L’Amour collection. Bantam also printed another collection in 1984-85 (mostly in 1985) called The Collection Of Mystery Classics. These include novels by a variety of authors, including Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Doyle, Sayers, etc.

              The Agatha Christie novel they chose to print was/is The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, and it references The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection on the copyright page. The book was published by Bantam by arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company. Just beneath that it says Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection/March 1983, and beneath that The Collection of Mystery Classics/July 1985.

              Credit for the end page design goes to Peggy Skycraft even though it is not at all the same design. Curiously, The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd is one of the only (if not the only) volumes in the collection to mention Skycraft. Credit for the book design goes to Nicola Mazzella, and Nicola is mentioned in all the volumes.

              Bookends were made available for this collection as well, and the address to write to for them is the same Hicksville, NY address given in the Agatha Mystery Collection.


        James · 18 January 2020 at 10:07 pm


        My wife started a collection of the Agatha Christie Mystery Collection and she has two copies of the “Partners in Crime”. The variations exist on the Publisher page where the ISBN’s are identical but one has a printing key of “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3” and supplies an address for ordering bookends from “Bantam Books, P. O. Box 957, Hicksville, New York 11802” while the other has a printing key of “0 9 8 7 6 5 4” and supplies an address for ordering additional titles from “Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036”.

        Because we seal these books as new and unread, I did not investigate further as to any other differences. We do not want to break the binding nor damage the pages. So, we only look into the publisher page for specific information.

        We hope this was helpful to you.

        James and Bonnie

          Story Goblin · 21 January 2020 at 8:55 am

          Thanks so much for sharing James!

          Jonathan Wall · 21 January 2020 at 12:50 pm

          James and Bonnie,

          Thanks to you both for the input. There are so many oddities in this collection it’s incredible. Just the other day, for example, I noticed that on the copyright page of An Autobiography it says Agatha Christie Hardcover Mystery Collection. All the other books say either AC Hardcover Collection or AC Mystery Collection (and in both cases sometimes preceded with a ‘the’ and sometimes not), but never both.

          Anyway, the variant of Partners In Crime I’m looking for, if it exists, I suspect was published in 2000 by either Literary Express or Bookspan and would have no printing key at all. The same goes for Cards On The Table. The variant of Appointment With Death, if it exists, may have been published by Literary Express in 1999 and likewise have no printing key.

          Thank you both again for the information. I had never noticed the differences between those copies and each new discovery only makes this collection all the more interesting and fun!


      Cathy · 7 August 2019 at 7:40 pm

      So happy to find this wonderful website, Daisy. Thanks ever so much for the wealth of information. I do have a question about the Agatha Christie Engagement Diaries. Are those a series of her appearances that were put into the Bantam Books Mystery Collection? I can find no other information anywhere on these. I appreciate any help you can lend…thx again!

        Daisy · 7 August 2019 at 7:55 pm

        The diaries were more intended as books in which the reader puts their own appointments for the year. But each page has excerpts from her writing, and often other tidbits such as highlighting dates that her plays opened etc. The back matter also includes additional information such as photos of Christie and a list of her works as well as more space for personal information (birthdays, anniversaries, addresses) and other info.

          Cathy · 7 August 2019 at 11:07 pm

          Wonderful, TY.

      Terry Waggoner · 28 July 2019 at 1:48 pm

      In trying to complete my wife Agatha/Bantam collection(I’m missing three or four depending in your answer) “The Harlequin Tea Set”? She has the LE version……..but is there a Bantam Book version?

        Jonathan Wall · 29 July 2019 at 2:14 am


        No, there is only the Literary Express edition. I wondered the same thing for a long time, but eventually came to realize there is only the LE version. The Harlequin Tea Set is one of the 7 “new” titles printed in the 90’s (and the only one of the 7 to say LE on the spine) and none of them were published in the 80’s under any other title.

        The only other title which has LE on the spine is Five Little Pigs, but it says Literary Express, Inc., whereas The Harlequin Tea Set is missing the “Inc”. Keep in mind there are 2 versions of Five Little Pigs- one has Bantam and the Bantam logo on the spine and the other has LE, Inc. on the spine, but they were both published in March 1998.

        I hope this was helpful to you.


          Terry Waggoner · 31 July 2019 at 2:52 am


          Thank you for your response…….


      Jonathan Wall · 19 July 2019 at 9:26 am


      I must say your site has been invaluable to me in my quest to collect all the editions of the Agatha Christie Mystery Collection. Your information has helped me so much I cannot properly express how grateful I am!! When I first started collecting these books (long before I found this site) I was clueless as to what I was getting into. This has been at times a very confusing, frustrating, maddening and also exciting challenge.

      To date I have all 80 original titles, all 80 in deluxe form as well, the second copies of Come, Tell Me How You Live and The Witness For The Prosecution (1989 and also 1999), the Autobiography, the 7 new titles from the ’90’s, all 13 of the books released under the original British titles, 6 of the 12 engagement calendars/diaries, the 100th birthday over-sized coin/medallion, a set of the bookends and just today discovered a matching address book.

      Of the Literary Express variants you mentioned I have all but Crooked House. But here’s my dilemma: I have 5 Literary Express variants you do not have listed, and those are By The Pricking Of My Thumbs (1999), and in 2000 I have Cat Among The Pigeons, Murder In Mesopotamia, Sad Cypress and The Labors of Hercules. I also have a 1998 variant of Five Little Pigs with Literary Express, Inc on the spine.

      Since I have stumbled across these titles which you do not have listed, am I left wondering just how many more there might be. Any ideas as to how I might find a listing of all the volumes published by Literary Express? My fear is I may never know if my collection is truly complete. As it is I have 200 volumes, plus what appears to be a prototype of Murder On The Orient Express (Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection, July 1982), so I’m saying 201 volumes.

      Thank you again for your wonderful and incredibly helpful site!

        Daisy · 19 July 2019 at 12:17 pm

        Hi Jonathan

        Thanks so much for writing, and sharing your wonderful collection (particularly the deluxe editions, which are a really special collection in my opinion) and knowledge. The list I had of Literary Express variants I had sourced from the publishers directly back in the early 2000s, and cross-checked with a collector who bought them on subscription as they were released. However, neither the publisher records nor the subscriber records included the additional volumes you have found! Mind you, given some of Literary Express’s other issues, like re-using isbns and other dubious record-keeping practices – I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Publisher and subscriber records are the most reliable way I have found to build collection databases, but when the publisher has incomplete records then I guess it is up to collectors like ourselves to pool our knowledge! (It seems tracking down everything in this collection is a mystery in itself…) Are you able to share the isbns of your additional volumes so that I can update the list here for other collectors?

        I’m also very interested in your prototype – does it have the same cover image/isbn? I was told anecdotally by another collector that they recalled the deluxe leather-bound volumes were initially advertised as the ‘hardback collection’ (vs the leatherette which was initially advertised as the ‘mystery collection’) – although I haven’t seen any leaflets or anything in this regard so can’t confirm directly. Also, as far as I can tell from my research, the books were published with ‘Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection’ on the copyright page up until around April 1986 (from first printings of the books published up until Pocket Full of Rye), then somewhere between April and December 1986 they began changing their copyrights to read ‘Agatha Christie Mystery Collection’ (from the first printing of Crooked House, and then for the later reprints of earlier books). Does this tally with the books in your collection also?

        Thanks again for taking the time to write and share your findings, db x

          Jonathan Wall · 20 July 2019 at 6:26 am


          Thank you very much for replying. I don’t know anyone personally who cares a thing about my book collecting, so I’ve stopped discussing it what for boring people to tears. Hopefully you and other readers here will find my rambling at least marginally interesting.

          Here are the ISBNs for the variants I mentioned earlier:

          Sad Cypress- 1-58165-145-7 July 2000
          Cat Among The Pigeons- 1-58165-146-5 August 2000
          By The Pricking Of My Thumbs- 1-58165-122-8 August 1999
          Murder In Mesopotamia- 1-58165-130-9 July 2000
          The Labors Of Hercules- 1-58165-144-9 June 2000
          Five Little Pigs (with Literary Express, Inc on spine)- 1-58165-016–7 March 1998

          Curiously, Five Little Pigs with Bantam on the spine has the same ISBN and both books were released in March 1998. Also, none of the above books have a printing key and all of the books say Published Simultaneously in The United Sates and Canada and also Printed in the United Sates of America *except* for both copies of Five Little Pigs, which say neither of those things.

          I have a couple other oddities here as well. I have 2 regular copies of The Man In The Brown Suit. One says it was published in arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company, August 1988. On the copyright page it asks if bookends are of interest. It does not say Published Simultaneously in The United Sates and Canada but *does* say Printed in The United Sates and it has a printing key, and this copy being a first printing.

          The second copy says published in arrangement with The Putnam Berkely Group, August 1988. On the copyright page it makes no mention of bookends and instead asks if additional titles are of interest. This copy *does* say Published Simultaneously in The United States and Canada but *does not* say Printed in the United States and it has no printing key. Both have the same ISBN- 0-553-35077-3

          Another oddity is A Caribbean Mystery. Here I am looking at a first printing leather copy which has the title and author centered on the spine. It says published in arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company, May 1985. It says Published Simultaneously in The United Sates and Canada, printed in the United States of America and has a printing key. It makes no mention of bookends or additional copes. It is also referred to as Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection.

          The regular copy says it was published in arrangement with The Putnam Berkely Group. It asks if additional titles are of interest, it says Published Simultaneously in The United States and Canada and also Printed in The United Sates of America but it has NO printing key.

          Also, the second copy has the title and author written out together on the spine with the diamond separating the two. This copy says Agatha Christie Mystery Collection and it says it was published (by Bantam) in May 1995… 10 years after the other book. Both copies have the same ISBN- 0-553-30532-3.

          But here before me is yet another copy. This a first printing regular format version. It says published in arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company, Agatha Christie Hardback Collection, May 1985. It asks if bookends are of interest, says Published Simultaneously in The United States and Canada, Printed in The United States and it has a printing key. On this copy the lettering on the spine matches that of the leather version and this copy shares the same ISBN as the other two copies.

          These are just a couple of examples illustrating how finding/collecting the volumes of this collection have been so confusing and often difficult. All three copies of A Caribbean Mystery are distinctly different than one another because of the information on the spines and on the copyright page.

          I will have to resume my rambling later as I am currently pressed for time. I will close for the moment with this: I wonder if Agatha Christie would be annoyed or amused to learn that her greatest mystery of all is the Bantam Agatha Christie Mystery Collection…?

          Thank you for your time,


            Daisy · 23 July 2019 at 4:26 pm

            Thank you so much for sharing those details – and you have definitely found an audience here with the same fascination for solving literary mysteries and finding all these little details! Sorry to take to long to reply – had to find all my research, ha! Thrilled to share notes with you – it’s the terrible record keeping in the 1990s that is the killer. Then I can update the list here more thoroughly after we have seen what we can piece together!

            From my research, we have the first subsidiary publishing experiment ‘Absent in the Spring’ in 1992 (published by ‘Bantam in arrangement with Rosalind Hicks’, with the ‘Harold Ober’ mailing address for more information) which has the Bantam spine but a blank cover. Then I think the Putnam Berkley Group references first appear in May 1996 with Akhnaton (again, Bantam spine/blank cover, but back to Bantam with the BDD series mailing address). The silhouette cover returns in October with ‘Star Over Bethlehem’ and ‘Poems’. My copy of ‘Lord Edgware Dies’ lists only the year (1996) with no month, but I assume it is later than than these others based on the cover design and mailing address, as well as a new reference to ‘Agatha Christie Mystery Collection’ in the series information, which was also used in the 1997 ‘Murder In the Mews’ (the earlier editions use ‘Agatha Christie Collection’). Also, I have seen an ebay listing for a 1997 edition of Mysterious Affair At Styles, but did not see the copyright page so can’t confirm – can you confirm the existence of this edition?

            February 1998 appears to be the first official use of the Literary Express subsidiary group (and they also frustratingly stop including the printing line so it is all guesswork about what is a first or later printing). The first few LE designs seem to have had no publisher details on the spine (no rooster icon, no bantam) for Dead Man’s Folly (Feb 98), Three Blind Mice (Feb 98), Murder on the Links (Mar 98) and Curtain (Mar 98). Then we have two which have Literary Express on the spine – Harlequin Tea Set (Feb 98) and Five Little Pigs (Mar 98). And then Sparkling Cyanide (Mar 98) seems to be the first of the LE editions which return to the original Bantam spine (along with subsequent reprints, from which we presumably get your Five Little Pigs with Mar 98 date but Bantam on the spine).

            Sep 98 we have another crossover with Black Coffee and St Martin’s Press (first time this title was printed in the US I think). Then August 1999 the publisher changes again (GP Putnam Sons) and the address for Putnam Berkley Group moves to 375 Hudson St.

            If you were able to wade through all that, please let me know how this tracks with your collection???


              Jonathan Wall · 26 July 2019 at 5:04 am


              Everything in your first paragraph matches up with my own books exactly. I will add that Murder In The Mews, even though printed in 1997, says Hardcover Collection. I only have one copy of Lord Edgware and it, too, gives no month of publication and only the year (1996).

              Another thing I’ve noticed (aside from what you have mentioned) about Akhnaton, etc., is that Star Over Bethlehem, Poems and Absent in the spring all three use the British printing key (or one of them): 13579108642, but Akhnaton does not. Curiously, Dumb Witness also uses the British printing key. And then of course The Harlequin Tea Set, The Unexpected Guest and Black Coffee have no printing key at all.

              I have never seen a later printing/re-release of The Mysterious Affair At Styles, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It could be a bizarre re-release from Bantam like what happened with A Caribbean Mystery. But I’ve done a bit of poking around and have learned there were two editions of The Mysterious Affair printed in 1997, but neither have anything to do with this collection. Collins published an edition in 1997 and so did Dover Publications as a part of the Dover Mystery Classics collection.

              I have the four LE re-releases which list no publisher on the spine and as far as I know they are the only ones. I’m guessing the copies of Five Little Pigs with Literary Express, Inc on the spine must have been the first off the printing press and then Five Little Pigs with Bantam on the spine the second since, as you pointed out, every edition after that has Bantam on the spine. It seemed odd to me at first that both editions were released in March of 1998, but there are so many odd things about this collection I don’t know why I thought anything of it!

              Another odd thing is The Harlequin Tea Set says Literary Express *without* the “Inc”, but Five Little Pigs has the “Inc” added on. To my knowledge those are the only two volumes which have LE on the spine… do you agree?

              Yes, as far as I can tell it was August 1999 when GP Putnam returns as a division of The Putnam Berkley Group and the address changes to 375 Hudson St. This/that book is the August 1999 LE re-release of By The Pricking Of My Thumbs, ISBN 1-58165-122-8 and no printing key.

              Going back to the ’80’s, there is something curious which you might be able to shed some light on. I have never seen a 3rd or higher printing of There Is A Tide (only 1st and 2nd printings) and I have never seen a 1st or 2nd (or 4th or higher) printing of Taken At The Flood- only 3rd printings for Flood. Likewise, I have only seen 1st and 2nd printings of Murder At Hazelmoor and only 3rd printings of The Sittaford Mystery. BUT, I have both 1st and 2nd printings of Poirot Loses A Client and Dumb Witness. It’s as if the 3rd printings of Taken At The Flood and The Sittaford Mystery *are* the first printings for both titles. Why, then, did they not do the same for Poirot Loses a Client and Dumb Witness?

              The address book I mentioned in my last post arrived yesterday. It’s beautiful and matches the books exactly, except for being much smaller. It has gold gilt pages and a small matching pen (black and gold) which slips down into two leather loops. The top loop is attached to the underside edge of the front cover and the lower loop the back. The small matching pen slips down through the loops to keep the book closed. I knew about (and have) the 100th birthday coin/medallion and the matching bookends, but the discovery of the address book was a total surprise.

              In a bit I will reply to your previous post, as there some things there I’ve neglected to address. I hope at least something of what I’ve written today has been helpful or of interest.


          Jonathan Wall · 26 July 2019 at 7:21 am


          According to my collection, the last title to say Hardcover Collection is A Pocketful Full Of Rye in April 1986, and the first to say Mystery Collection is The Pale Horse in May 1986. I haven’t looked at every single book after that, but as far as I know every title printed since (and including The Pale Horse) says Mystery Collection except for Murder In The Mews, 1997.

          Oh! That reminds me. Murder In The Mews is the only other book (that I know of) besides Lord Edgware Dies which does not list the month of publication. Weird.

          Anyway, I don’t know how to determine at what point exactly the later printings of titles published prior to May 1986 were changed to Mystery collection. I’ve looked at random titles (I have a LOT of spares) but doing so isn’t really telling me anything. Here’s an 8th printing of Roger Ackroyd and it says Hardcover Collection. Here’s a 3rd printing of Towards Zero and it says Mystery Collection. The list goes on, but, and again, I don’t see a way to tell if the change started with the publication of The Pale Horse or Crooked House or perhaps somewhere in between.

          But here is another oddity. I’ve looked at later printings of various titles from The Pale Horse and onward and they all say Mystery Collection except one: So Many Steps To Death. The 1st printings of the deluxe and regular versions say Mystery Collection, as they should, but the 2nd printings of both the deluxe and regular versions revert back to Hardcover Collection. I have no idea what to make of that.

          I do not know anything about the deluxe versions being recalled because they said Hardcover Collection. I have all 80 titles in deluxe format and they all say Hardcover Collection until the publication of The Pale Horse. The deluxe versions switching from Hardcover to Mystery correspond exactly with the regular versions.

          The book I am referring to as a prototype looks only partially like the other books in the collection. The binding is not completely encased in padded leather. The faux leather is not padded and only covers the spine and then outward onto the cover (front and back) about 2 inches. The rest of the cover (front and back) is the marbled paper like the inside of the covers and the end pages of the other books. The marbling is the same design, but a bit darker and with a bit of blue in it. The marbled paper wraps neatly around to cover the inside of the cover (front and back) and then is followed by the glossy marbled end pages like the rest of the books. No mention is made of Peggy Skycraft or Barbara N Cohen.

          If you look at the spine only you cannot tell the difference between it and any other volume. Same faux “black” leather with Murder On The Orient Express in gold followed by the gold diamond and Agatha Christie following that. Also, the faux “black” leather isn’t made to look like leather at all; it’s shiny *and* it’s more like true Sussex blue. At a glance (or even stared at) it looks black, but it’s much easier to see the blue in all sorts of lighting whereas the other books really have to have just the right lighting to see the blue.

          The copyright page reads A Bantam Book/Published by arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company. Printing History- Agatha Christie Hardcover Collection, July 1982.Then there is the usual information and says Published Simultaneously in The United Sates and Canada. Then at the bottom it says Printed in the United States of America and under that the printing key 0987654321.

          The ISBN is 0-553-03000-0

          I hope any of that was helpful!


            Daisy · 7 August 2019 at 8:23 pm

            All super helpful – thanks again so much for sharing!

            Yes, the only copies I have ever seen with LE on the spine are The Harlequin Tea Set with LE and Five Little Pigs with LE Inc. There Is A Tide and Taken At The Flood were released with the same ISBN, similarly Hazelmoor and Sittaford, which is why their printing runs are consecutive; while Client and Witness have different ISBNs, so they have their own printing runs. However, as to your deeper question of why they were treated differently, I can only assume that when the first two were reprinted, the person in charge didn’t know that they were *supposed* to issue new ISBNs (it’s the responsibility of the printing house, and they don’t always follow protocol, especially because they have to pay for each new ISBN). Of course, even worse are the two different books with the *same* isbn, which rather supports the theory someone didn’t know what they were doing…

            The address book sounds lovely – you have certainly found such a wonderful number of rarities for your collection, I’m so impressed!

          Lori Kushner · 10 October 2019 at 5:12 am

          I have the complete mystery collection printed by bantam books. My mother’s collection. My question is where do I find out their value? Where would I sell them? They are in excellent condition. Thank you very much.

            Daisy · 12 October 2019 at 8:37 am

            Hi Lori – it depends what you mean by a ‘complete’ collection. If you have some of the really rare variant editions (these are highlighted in in the article) it would be worth trying to find a collector for just those volumes, as only a collector would appreciate their specific value. If you have a more standard set, then I suggest looking at Ebay and Abe Books to get an idea of price in your area (postage for a collection that size would be an issue). You are then better armed to decide whether you would like to sell through a second-hand bookshop (who might buy the whole set, or sell on consignment for you), or look at other options such as online auction (Ebay) ordirect sale (e.g. Craigslist). Best of luck!

      Susie · 17 July 2019 at 10:48 am

      Thank you so much, Daisy, for compiling this list. As mentioned by others, I’ve been collecting these for years, but with only rare success. In changing to a new book store, I was able to put my name on their contact list when more came in. I just bought 2 BOXES of them this month! Now that I finally have the complete list, I know how much space I need on my bookshelves! What fun! As I start to read them all, i make time for other books in between, especially since I only have 49 of them to-date. I have a ways to go yet… Thanks again!

        Daisy · 17 July 2019 at 12:14 pm

        Hi Susie – thanks so much for taking the time to write – I love to hear about collecting journeys! I find that the collections I’ve built over time are the most fun – it’s always a thrill to get a new one in the series (and two boxes sounds like a pretty amazing score!). ?

      Melissa · 25 June 2019 at 7:53 am

      Thank you so much for this list and full details of these sets! I have searched for years for a definitive list to no avail until today. I began collecting this set after a copy of Come Tell Me How You Live was given to me by my grandmother (I had bought it for her many years before) as she knew of our mutual love of Agatha Christie stories. I began maintaining a spreadsheet but it quickly became messy with all the variants. Your list and site will be an invaluable resource to me as I continue to grow my collection.

        Daisy · 25 June 2019 at 8:14 am

        So glad the list is helpful, and lovely of you to take the time to leave a comment about it – best of luck growing your collection ?

      Alex Barry · 23 January 2019 at 6:21 am

      Nancy, thank you for this exhaustive summary of the Bantam collection. It will serve as an invaluable resource. I’m fortunate to have all but a handful of the books, and am currently reading The Harlequin Tea Set as the final volume of my several year project of reading each book in its order of publication. I must say, for all I love her stories, after that project I am pretty well Christie’d-out! Now I can resume reading nonfiction of my primary passions, histories of medieval Europe, the Crusades, and the Byzantine Empire.

      By the way, I was referred to your blog by Beautiful_Books, a fellow member of a Christie fansite

        Daisy · 23 January 2019 at 7:13 am

        Sounds like a fascinating project, but I can imagine it would be a little exhausting to read them all in a relatively short time! Medieval history was one of my college majors so I’ve always been fascinated by this era as well, although I’m probably more partial to Arthurian fiction these days! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment ?

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.