US Titles

 

I have been re-reading the collection of short stories which introduced Miss Marple to the reading public.

The English edition is entitled The Thirteen Problems while the US edition is called The Tuesday Night Club. This got me thinking about how often in Christie the US title differs from the English one with which I am familiar. A quick bit of research (Wikipedia so it must be true) revealed that though the collections of short stories frequently differed both is to title and the stories collected together, prior to 1931, the novels invariably carried the same name but, thereafter, the use of different titles in the UK and US markets became quite common as summarised below:

1931 The Sittaford Mystery (UK) = Murder at Hazelmoor (US)

1933 Lord Edgware Dies (UK) = Thirteen at Dinner (US)

1934 Murder on the Orient Express (UK) = Murder on the Calais Coach (US)

This change was made to avoid confusion with Graham Greene’s 1932 novel Stamboul Train which was published in the US under the title Orient Express.

1934 Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (UK) = The Boomerang Clue (US)

1935 Three Act Tragedy (UK) = Murder in Three Acts (US)

This features a change in the killer’s motive in the US version too, so you have been warned.

1935 Death In The Clouds (UK) = Death In The Air (US)

This was also serialised in an abridged form under the title Mystery In The Air.

1936 The ABC Murders (UK) = The Alphabet Murders (US)

1937 Dumb Witness (UK) = Poirot Loses a Client (US)

This was again serialised in the UK in abridged form under the title Mystery at Littlegreen House.

1938 Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (UK) = Murder for Christmas (US) which was itself changed to A Holiday for Murder in the US paperback edition.

When serialised in the UK the name underwent a further transformation to become Murder at Christmas.

1939 Murder is Easy (UK) = Easy to Kill (US)

1939 Ten Little Niggers (UK) = And Then There Were None (US)

The US went to this alternative title straight away given that “nigger” was already at that time an abusive term there. As the term became more offensive in the UK the title underwent a temporary change to Ten Little Indians  before that two was determined to be unacceptable and racist.

1940 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (UK) = An Overdose of Death (US)

The US paperback edition was issued under the title The Patriotic Murders.

1942 Five Little Pigs (UK) = Murder in Retrospect (US)

1944 Towards Zero (UK) = Come and Be Hanged (US)

1945 Sparkling Cyanide (UK) = Remembered Death (US)

This was an expansion of an earlier short story Yellow Iris.

1946 The Hollow (UK) = Murder After Hours (US paperback edition)

1948 Taken at the Flood (UK) = There is a Tide (US)

1952 Mrs McGinty’s Dead (UK) = Blood Will Tell (US Detective Book Club edition and serialisation)

1952 They Do It With Mirrors (UK) = Murder With Mirrors (US condensed version for Cosmopolitan magazine)

1953 After The Funeral (UK) = Funerals Are Fatal (US)

The UK paper back edition released as a film tie-in took the film title Murder At The Gallop and, unlike the film, did not change the detective from Poirot to Miss Marple.

1954 Destination Unknown (UK) = So Many Steps To Death (US)

This was then changed again when serialised in the US to Destination X.

1955 Hickory Dickery Dock (UK) = Hickory Dickery Death (US)

1957 4:50 From Paddington (UK) = What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw (US)

The US title was changed to Murder She Said for the film tie-in version and, when serialised, to Eyewitness to Death.

Thereafter the practice ceased and UK and US titles once again co-incided.

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