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The Hound of Death (1933) – Agatha Christie | First Edition Identification Guide

Agatha Christie - Hound of Death 1933 UK
Agatha Christie – Hound of Death 1933 UK

The Hound of Death and Other Stories is a collection of twelve short stories by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom in October 1933. Unusually, the collection was not published by Christie’s regular publishers, William Collins & Sons, but by Odhams Press, and was not available to purchase in shops.

This was the first time that a Christie book had been published in the UK but not in the US, although all of the stories contained within it appeared in later US collections (see US book appearances of stories below). Unusually, most of these are tales of fate and the supernatural, with comparatively little detective content. This collection is most notable for the first appearance in a book of Christie’s short story “The Witness for the Prosecution“. The author subsequently wrote an award-winning play based on this story which has been adapted for the 1957 film and twice for television.

List of stories

  • “The Hound of Death”
  • “The Red Signal”
  • “The Fourth Man”
  • “The Gypsy”
  • “The Lamp”
  • “Wireless”
  • “The Witness for the Prosecution”
  • “The Mystery of the Blue Jar”
  • “The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael”
  • “The Call of Wings”
  • “The Last Séance”
  • “SOS”

Publication history

  • 1933, Odhams Press, October 1933, Hardcover, 252 pp
  • 1936, Collins Crime Club (London), February 1936, Hardcover, 252 pp
  • 1960, Pan Books, Paperback (Great Pan G377), 218 pp
  • 1964, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 190 pp

First publication of stories

The first UK magazine publication of all the stories has not been fully documented. A partial listing is as follows:

  • The Red Signal: First published in issue 232 of The Grand Magazine in June 1924.
  • The Fourth Man: First published in issue 250 of The Grand Magazine in December 1925.
  • Wireless: First published in the Sunday Chronicle Annual in December 1926.
  • The Mystery of the Blue Jar: First published in issue 233 of The Grand Magazine in July 1924.
  • The Last Seance: First published under the title of The Stolen Ghost in issue 87 of The Sovereign Magazine in March 1927. The illustrator of the story was not named.
  • SOS: First published in issue 252 of The Grand Magazine in February 1926.

In addition to the above, in the US The Witness for the Prosecution was published in the 31 January 1925 issue of Flynn’s Weekly (Volume IV, No 2), under the title of Traitor Hands, with an uncredited illustration; and the first true printing of The Last Seance also occurred in the US when it was published in the November 1926 issue of Ghost Stories under the title of The Woman Who Stole a Ghost.

The Hound of Death – First Edition Book Identification Guide

The books are listed in the order of publication. While the majority of Agatha Christie’s books were first published in the UK. There are many titles that were first published in the US. The title of the book may differs from the UK edition in some cases.

YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1933The Hound of DeathOdham Press, London, [1933]First edition. "Copyright 1933" stated on the copyright page. No statement of later printings Orange cloth lettered in black. ALSO: William Collins & Sons, London, [1936]. Collins reprint. "Copyright 1936" stated on the copyright page. No statement of later printings. Two issues, same dust jacket: A) English trade. Red cloth, lettered in gold and black. B) Colonial export edition. Black cloth lettered in red. No US edition. Price 7/6. Not published in the US.

Note about Book Club Editions (BCE) and reprints:

UK: You can see statements of later reprint dates or of book club on the copyright page.

US: The US reprint publishers usually use the same sheets as the first edition and are harder to identify by looking at the title page or the copyright page. One may identify a BCE by looking at the DJ, which doesn’t have a price on top of the front flap and a “Book Club Edition” imprint at the bottom. If the dust jacked is clipped at both the top/bottom of the front flap. You can safely assume it’s a BCE . If the book is missing the dust jacket. Later BCE editions can be identified by its plain boards, while first printings are issued in quarter cloth.

Please refer to the gallery for detailed images of true first edition bindings and dust jackets.

The Hound of Death – First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Guide

First edition bindings and various dust jacket printings identification.


BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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