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Sophie Hannah: 'I love being thought of firmly as a crime writer. I'm snobby about books that aren't crime fiction'

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The poet and bestselling crime novelist talks to Alison Flood about taking on Agatha Christie's Poirot

This month, sitting in a London cafe, his famous moustache exquisite, his little grey cells as busy as ever, Hercule Poirot made his first authorised appearance in a novel since Agatha Christie published Curtain, 39 years ago. And poet turned bestselling crime novelist Sophie Hannah, signed up by the Christie estate to continue the Belgian detective's legacy, pitches him straight into the middle of the action in The Monogram Murders.

A woman, Jennie, runs into Poirot's cafe and tells him that she is "already dead or I shall be soon", that it is "what I deserve"; later that night, Catchpool, Poirot's friend and a policeman at Scotland Yard, will return, horrified, from the scene of a triple murder. Cufflinks monogrammed, naturellement have been placed into the mouths of each of the victims; Poirot makes a link with the terrified Jennie, who had pleaded "Please let no one open their mouths!" And we're away.

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