New Delhi: An essay, written by noted author Agatha Christie, that was commissioned by the the British government in 1945 to praise British crime fiction has finally seen the light of day.
Christie`s essay, which was long lost, has been published for the first time in the UK as the preface to the reissued 1993 collaborative crime novel ‘Ask a Policeman’.
Speaking to The Guardian, David Brawn, publisher at HarperCollins said, "I discovered it in 1997 going through her archive but never had an opportunity to publish it.” "Although it was published in a Russian magazine in 1947, it`s never been seen in the UK before. She was commissioned to write it by the Ministry of Information in Britain in order to seed it out internationally – it`s really a piece of propaganda; they were trying, I guess, to extol the virtues of the British and western way of life, and so the government asked her to write this essay about the crime-writing genre," added Brawn.
The essay has Christie writing admiringly of Arthur Conan Doyle, "the pioneer of detective writing", and also appreciating John Dickson Carr’s work.
Christie describes herself modestly, as able to "lay claim at least to being an industrious craftsman" – although she points out that "a more aristocratic title was given to me by an American paper which dubbed me the `Duchess of Death.”