Murder in the Mews and Other Stories is a short story collection by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club on 15 March 1937. In the US, the book was published by Dodd, Mead and Company under the title Dead Man’s Mirror in June 1937 with one story missing (The Incredible Theft); the 1987 Berkeley Books edition of the same title has all four stories. All of the tales feature Hercule Poirot. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the first US edition at $2.00.
References to other works
- The plot device in “Murder in the Mews” is a rewrite of “The Market Basing Mystery”, which first appeared in issue 1603 of The Sketch magazine on 17 October 1923 before appearing in book form in the US first in The Under Dog and Other Stories in 1951 and in the UK in Thirteen for Luck! in 1966 (later appearing in Poirot’s Early Cases in 1974). The similarities between the two stories are in the eventual solution and motive but the setting, characters and the sex of the victim is different between the two versions.
- “Dead Man’s Mirror” uses a similar (almost identical) device to “The Second Gong”, with a number of almost point-for-point matches; as well, Mr Satterthwaite, who is known from the Harley Quin Stories has a small appearance, where he refers to the “Crow’s nest business”, i.e. the novel Three Act Tragedy.
- In “Murder in the Mews”, Poirot refers to Sherlock Holmes and “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. This refers to a statement made by Holmes in the 1892 story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze”.
- “Triangle at Rhodes” uses similar settings as Evil Under the Sun. The beautiful but foolish married woman flirting with a younger man and then getting killed is one such similarity.
- “The Incredible Theft” is an almost verbatim reworking of “The Submarine Plans”, which was later collected in Poirot’s Early Cases.
- 1937, Collins Crime Club (London), 15 March 1937, Hardback, 288 pp
- 1937, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), June 1937, Hardback, 290 pp
- 1954, Pan Books, Paperback, (Pan number 303)
- 1958, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 190 pp
- 1958, Dell Books, Paperback, (Dell number D238), 190 pp
- 1961, Penguin Books, Paperback, (Penguin number 1637), 221 pp
- 1978, Dell Books, Paperback, (Dell number 11699); ISBN 0-440-11699-6, 192 pp
The dustjacket design of the UK first edition was one of four commissioned by Collins from Robin Macartney, a friend of Christie and her husband Max Mallowan (the others being Murder in Mesopotamia, Death on the Nile and Appointment with Death).
All four of the stories in the collection were either previously published in magazines and were reprinted or were expanded versions of far shorter stories which had previously been published under different titles. Each of the stories are of novella length.
- “Murder in the Mews” appeared in Woman’s Journal in December 1936 in a version with differing chapter divisions to those that eventually appeared in the book
- “The Incredible Theft” is an expanded version of the story “The Submarine Plans” which appeared in issue 1606 of The Sketch magazine on 7 November 1923 with all the character names changed and one character – Mrs Macatta – added to the text. The original shorter version was eventually reprinted in book form in Poirot’s Early Cases. The expanded version in the book was serialised in six instalments in the Daily Express from Tuesday, 6 April to Monday, 12 April 1937 (no publication on Sunday, 11 April) with illustrations for each instalment by Steven Spurrier.
- “Dead Man’s Mirror” was an expanded version of the story “The Second Gong” which appeared in issue 499 of the Strand Magazine in July 1932. The original shorter version was eventually reprinted in book form in the 1991 collection Problem at Pollensa Bay. The story is a locked room mystery featuring a wealthy retired man who apparently commits suicide. The character of Mr Satterthwaite who had previously appeared in The Mysterious Mr Quin in 1930 and Three Act Tragedy in 1935 makes a reappearance.
- “Triangle at Rhodes” appeared in issue 545 of the Strand Magazine in May 1936 under the slightly longer title of “Poirot and the Triangle at Rhodes”. This final story in the collection is the shortest of the four and takes Poirot on an island holiday during which a guest is murdered. The story has some similarities to the full-length 1941 Christie novel, Evil Under the Sun, which includes a complicated love-triangle relationship.
In the US the stories were first published as follows:
- “Triangle at Rhodes” appeared in the 2 February 1936 issue of the weekly newspaper supplement This Week magazine with illustrations by Stanley Parkhouse.
- “Murder in the Mews” appeared in Redbook magazine in two instalments from September (Volume 67, Number 5) to October 1936 (Volume 67, Number 6) with illustrations by John Fulton.
No US magazine publications of “The Incredible Theft” or “Dead Man’s Mirror” prior to 1937 have been traced, but the original shorter versions of these stories as described above were first published as follows:
- “The Submarine Plans” appeared in the July 1925 (Volume 41, Number 3) issue of the Blue Book magazine with an uncredited illustration.
- “The Second Gong” appeared in the June 1932 (Volume XLIX, Number 6) issue of Ladies Home Journal with an illustration by R.J. Prohaska.
Murder in the Mews – 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.
|Year||Title||Publisher||First edition/printing identification points|
|1937||Murder in the Mews||William Collins & Sons, London, ||First edition. "Copyright 1937" stated on the copyright page. No statement of later printings. Red or orange cloth lettered in black. Price 7/6.|
|1937||Dead Man's Mirror||Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1937||First American edition. Date on the title & copyright page matches. No statement of later printings. Blue cloth lettered in black. Price $ 2.00.|
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.
Murder in the Mews – First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Guide
First edition bindings and various dust jacket printings identification.