SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, today announces plans to publish the first-ever new Agatha Christie novel, fully authorized by the Christie estate, to be penned by international bestseller Sophie Hannah. The deal for World English rights was negotiated by Daniel Mallory, VP, Executive Editor at William Morrow, and David Brawn, Estates Publisher at HarperCollins UK with Hilary Strong, Managing Director at Christie rights manager Acorn Productions Ltd/Agatha Christie Ltd, the UK based rights holding production arm of RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq:RLJE) and Hannah's agent Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. The novel will be published in September 2014 by HarperCollins worldwide.

The new novel will feature Hercule Poirot in a diabolically clever murder mystery sure to baffle and delight Christie's fans, and those who have never read her work. Agatha Christie introduced the Belgian detective to the world in her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, published in 1920. It has been 38 years since Agatha Christie's last novel, Sleeping Murder, was published in 1976, and 39 years since the final Poirot, Curtain.

"It was pure serendipity that led to Sophie Hannah being commissioned to write this book," notes Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd and grandson of Agatha Christie. "Her agent happened to approach HarperCollins in exactly the same week that my colleagues and I started discussing a new Christie book. Her idea for a plot line was so compelling and her passion for my grandmother's work so strong, that we felt that the time was right for a new Christie to be written."

Hannah, a leading writer of psychological crime fiction who is published in 24 countries, says, "It is almost impossible to put into words how honored I am to have been entrusted with this amazing project—in fact, I still can't quite believe that this is really happening! I hope to create a puzzle that will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters."

"In the years since William Morrow began publishing the world's bestselling novelist, we have seen astounding results across a range of formats and promotions," notes Mallory. "Sophie Hannah's spellbinding novel marks a new stage in our relationship with Agatha Christie, and along with our colleagues at Harper UK, Acorn, Agatha Christie Ltd, and of course Mathew Prichard and the family, we are looking forward eagerly to bringing whole new generations of readers to this legendary author."

Hilary Strong, Managing Director of Acorn Productions Limited, which manages the rights to the Agatha Christie estate, added: "This book is an important initiative for Acorn and RLJ Entertainment, and we are delighted to be working with a writer of Sophie's caliber and with HarperCollins. The new novel is the first of a number of exciting initiatives we have planned to bring Christie's work to new audiences worldwide."


Sophie Hannah is the internationally bestselling author of eight psychological thrillers, which have been published in more than 20 countries and adapted for television.  Last year, her novel Kind of Cruel was shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards Crime Thriller of the Year.  Sophie is also a poet, and has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.  Sophie lives in Cambridge, and is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.  Her website is and you can follow her on Twitter at @sophiehannahcb1.  


Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in foreign languages. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 19 plays (including The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in history), and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott. Agatha Christie was made a dame in 1971, and died in 1976.


Acorn Productions Limited is the UK based rights holding production arm of RLJ Entertainment, Inc (Nasdaq:RLJE), a premier independent licensee and distributor of entertainment content and programming in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia with over 5,300 exclusive titles. Acorn Productions Limited manages intellectual property rights including the rights to the Agatha Christie estate and Foyle's War.


RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq:RLJE) is a premier independent licensee and distributor of entertainment content and programming in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia with over 5,300 exclusive titles.  RLJE is a leader in numerous genres via its owned and distributed brands such as Acorn (British TV), Image (feature films, stand-up comedy), One Village (urban), Acacia (fitness), Slingshot (faith), Athena (documentaries), Criterion (art films) and Madacy (gift sets).  These titles are distributed in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, digital streaming, broadcast television (including satellite and cable), theatrical and non-theatrical.

Via its relationship with Agatha Christie Limited, a company that RLJE owns 64% of, RLJE manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to some of the greatest works of mystery fiction, including stories of the iconic sleuths Miss Marple and Poirot.  And through its direct-to-consumer business, RLJE has direct contacts and billing relationships with millions of consumers.

RLJE leverages its management experience to acquire, distribute, and monetize existing and original content for its many distribution channels, including its nascent branded digital subscription channels, and engages distinct audiences with programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests.  RLJE has proprietary e-commerce web sites for the Acorn and Acacia brands, and owns the recently launched Acorn TV digital subscription service.


HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corp (Nasdaq:NWS), (Nasdaq:NWSA); (ASX:NNC), (ASX:NNCLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children's books, cookbooks, narrative nonfiction, mystery, romance, reference, pop culture, design, health, wellness, and religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history, HarperCollins has published some of the world's foremost authors, including winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and the Caldecott Medal. HarperCollins is consistently at the forefront of innovation, using digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of its authors. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers online at:


Agatha Christie Limited owns or controls rights in most of Christie's works. It is 64% owned by Acorn Productions Limited. Mathew Prichard (Chairman) and his family and family trusts own the remaining shares.
CONTACT: HarperCollins Contact:         Danielle Bartlett         Publicity Director         212-207-7011                  RLJ Entertainment, Inc. Contact:         Chad Campbell         Publicity Director         301-608-2115 *138

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