Bantam Books Agatha Christie Collection

AlexBarryAlexBarry Wisconsin, United States Investigator
Hello!  Greetings from a new member here, looking forward to future interaction with a world-wide group of fellow aficionados.  To begin, I'd like to ask a question.  Some time ago I came across a large collection of the well-known Bantam imprint (black leatherette hard covers, issued to member subscriptions).  Over the years I have been fortunate to acquire additional volumes here and there and have added to the original trove until I now have a total of 74 volumes.  I have them proudly displayed on the top two shelves of my best bookcase, in their order of publication.  Now and then I select the next unread volume in chronological order and begin a new adventure.  What I seek to find out is if anyone knows the absolute, definitive, comprehensive and indisputable number of volumes published by Bantam for their collection, and what titles are represented.  I have researched this matter myself, and have referred to one such list, purported to be accurate, but found that I have on my shelves no fewer than 5 titles not even included on said list (Star Over Bethlehem, Akhnaton, Three Blind Mice, Cards on the Table, and The Harlequin Teaset).  On the other hand, I find many other titles named in Miss Christie's publication history (such as The Hound of Death, The Listerdale Mystery, et al) that do not seem to appear in the catalog of Bantam publications.
Thus I find myself rather confused.  Of course, I wish to add to my collection until I have every volume published in the Bantam series, but I seem to need the help of an expert.  If anyone in the forum here can provide me with a really, really, REALLY exhaustive and complete listing of the Bantam editions, please do let me know.  Thanks SO much!
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Comments

  • I don't know the answer to the question, but I wish to welcome you to the site! 
    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • Hi Alex,

    I have been looking to complete the entire collection myself, and after some extensive research and help from some friends, I have come across a list of books from this collection. There are some missing (that I have discovered), but the entire works are there, including the alternate titles. I can send you the file if you'd like. I believe there are 125 books in total, a set of bookends and a medallion. The 125 includes alternate titles and all publications, which includes same titles, but different years and the engagement diaries/calendars.

    Best of luck on your search,

    Ricky
  • AlexBarryAlexBarry Wisconsin, United States Investigator
    Hello Rickster and thanks for the offer of help.  I finally did come up with some information on my own, which amounted to a list of 113 titles and 12 alternate titles, so it would seem your list and mine match numerically.  As it happens, I need to find and purchase something like 16 volumes to complete my collection, exclusive of the alternate titles which I'll not go after.  There are some sellers on eBay and elsewhere who seem to have ready supplies of most of the titles I need, at usually modest prices.  I propose to gradually add to my collection as opportunity presents.  I wish you well with your similar quest!
  • MelGard79MelGard79 New Jersey, United States Investigator
    @the_rickster_33 would you please send me the file with the list of all 125 books? I believe I only need 5 more to complete the set, but would like to be sure. Thank you Melissa
  • I would be very appreciative if someone could send me a complete list of all of the 125 books.  I have most of them, but there may be some I still need.  Since I do not what all the titles are, I may be missing some.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.
    Mary
  • Hello 

    I am also new to this website and also would really appreciate a list of the 125 books in this collection.  Like others before me, I am not sure which I am missing!

    Thank you,
    Julie
  • I don't have a list. However, my aunt passed away recently and I now have about 65 of these. If anyone is interested in purchasing a particular title, please let me know. She NEVER read them. They were for display only and are like brand new.
  • AlexBarryAlexBarry Wisconsin, United States Investigator
    Mary, Julie and Katrina, I have what I believe to be a definitive list of titles in the series.  113 originals and 12 re-titled versions of some of the same stories.  I have them in an Excel spreadsheet, which can be sorted into alphabetical or chronological order.  If any of you would still like a copy, please message me privately with an email address and I'll be delighted to send it to you.

    Katrina, there are half a dozen or so titles I still need.  I'll send you a message with my list, in case any are among your Auntie's collection and you'd like to negotiate a sale.  Thank you!
  • Laura AnnLaura Ann Investigator
    Hello Fellow Christie Fans!

    I, too, have a collection of these Bantam Books. I remember seeing an ad for the series in a magazine when they were new, but they weren't in my budget at the time and I sadly had to pass. Luckily, I was able to pick up a set on Craigslist quite cheaply a few years ago. (Slightly musty unfortunately, but you can't have everything.) I'm really surprised to learn that there are so many titles in this series!  I own 83 of these books and had been under the impression that I was missing four (The Harlequin Tea St, The Unexpected Guest, Star Over Bethlehem, and Black Coffee), but it sounds like there are still others. How many Mary Westmacott books are there? (I own Absent in the Spring) How many are short story collections that contain repeats? (By the way, The Listerdale Mystery and The Hound of Death are both short stories included in "The Golden Ball and Other Stories.") Personally, I only need one copy of a book with multiple titles. Also, I'm not going to bother with Black Coffee because I thought it was dreadful, clearly not written by Christie.

    My one complaint with the Bantam editions is that they often exclude the Cast of Characters in the front. I always found those to be helpful. But it's so nice to have a matched set, and whenever I am in the mood to read any particular book of Dame Agatha's, it is right there at my fingertips.
  • AlexBarryAlexBarry Wisconsin, United States Investigator
    Hi Laura Ann, and welcome to the discussion!  If you have 83 volumes, I believe you have the majority of the titles. Many of the volumes, as pointed out, are retitled editions of the same books, and 12 others are actually reissues by the Literary Express imprint.  It's a bit of a muddle trying to figure out exactly what one needs to assure a complete collection, but I daresay you're well on the way.

    As I mentioned above, I managed to put together a spreadsheet of the volumes, and it also references the alternate titles and the reissued editions.  You're welcome to it if you care to message me with contact information.

    I can't say right offhand how many are short story collections, but as you know, many are.  I've had some success in sorting through everything by searching titles on Wikipedia, where a pretty authoritative body of information is available.  I believe with Absent in the Spring you have the only Mary Westmacott title in the collection.  

    Funny what you say about Black Coffee.  It must be an exceptionally scarce title in the collection, because I have seen it rarely available for purchase, and always at exceedingly high prices.  

    I agree that inclusion of the cast of characters would be a benefit.  I do not know if Dame Agatha's other publishers did that consistently, or indeed if she wrote such a list for each book, but every now and then one gets a cast roster at the beginning of a story, but most times not.  Also I find it odd that I have found one volume so far that included footnoted translations of Messr Poirot's French words and phrases, but that one book was certainly the exception to the rule.


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