Agatha Christie’s Novels Edited to Remove Offensive Language

Agatha Christie’s novels are the latest books to be edited to remove offensive language this week. 

According to The Guardian, novels including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple written between the 1920s all the way to 1976 had passages edited, reworked, or removed in new editions by Harper Collins. Writing that was deemed offensive or racist to modern audiences was removed with many of those coming occurring outside the UK. 

Agatha Christie author
Agatha Christie

These edits were made with the help of sensitivity readers. The changes can be seen in the digital versions of the new editions. 

Many Authors Have Seen Their Novels Undergo Changes 

Christie is one of many recent authors that has seen her books undergo these changes. Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming also saw similar changes in new editions.  

Changes were made to references to ethnicity and how the protagonist described them. Some examples include black, Jewish, Gypsy, Indian, and oriental. Racist terms were also removed and the word “natives” was replaced with the word “local.” Other changes include how female characters were described.  

And Then There Were None Title Changed 

And Then There Were None book cover
And Then There Were None novel

This isn’t the first time Christie’s novels have undergone change for being offensive. Her 1939 novel And Then There Were None was released under a different name. That name included a racist term and was used for the last time in 1977. 

Necesarry Changes 

People do not like books being censored or changed and that is understandable. But sometimes it is necessary when a book is filled with racist and offensive language. And yes, there are some changes that are unnecessary. There isn’t going to be a perfect balance but that is a fine price to pay for a book to not be filled with racist and sexist descriptions. 

Something that many people do not consider is that when books were published in the past, very few people of color and women were involved. The target audience were not people of color and were not catered for them.  


We have all read older books that included racist and offensive language and accepted it because “it was a different time.” But that shouldn’t be the case. We shouldn’t become desensitized and excuse language that is clearly outdated.  

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