What better gift for the la dame of mystery on her birthday than to resurrect her world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
The family of mystery writer Agatha Christie has allowed British poet and novelist Sophie Hannah to reboot the character of Poirot in her book The Monogram Murders.
The book was launched at the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay. Most reviews of the book have been positive.
For those who have grown up on a menu of Christie's murder mysteries, the word 'detective' is synonymous with her Belgian detective. With his egg-shaped head and finely trimmed, but twirled-up moustache, Poirot works his 'grey cells' to find the culprit amidst confounding clues.
It is the psychology of the crime that he focusses on, more than the physical clues his lesser contemporaries go chasing with lens and brushes.
Sprinkling his conversations with Mon amis and Bon jour, Poirot is quick to point out his identity as a Belgian.
Much as he cannot tolerate even a speck of dust on his person, so also Poirot cannot stand the smallest of details that upsets a neatly built theory of crime. He becomes perturbed.
His compassion nothwithstanding, he will not let the murderer get away as he stages his finale at the end of each story, assembling all the persons involved, and causing each person in turn to blanch as he unveils the grand plot.
Starring in more than 30 of Christie novels, Hercule Poirot was 'killed' by the author in her last book. But now, he is back again.
The new novel, Monogram Murders, opens in London in 1929 as Poirot teams up with a Scotland Yard policeman, Edward Catchpool, to investigate a triple murder at a swanky hotel. The story is replete with clues and the grand finale — Poirot style.
Hannah has invented the first person narrator in Catchpool, but this one is different from Christie's Hastings, who is Poirot's Dr Watson.
Catchpool is a bit unsure of himself, and worries people are going to see through him all the time, Hannah told The Telegraph. For Hannah, who grew up on a Christie diet, it was a natural choice to pick the murder mystery baton. Rereading the 30 odd novels helped.
She hopes David Suchet, 67, who has played Poirot for 24 years can be persuaded to take up the baton once again.
Christie was born in Devon in 1890 and spent many years here. She wrote 80 novels and short story collections and to date, her books have been published in 50 languages.
Besides Poirot, she invented the bright, unassuming character of a spinister Miss Marple, who solves murders without ever visiting the scene of the crime.