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Postern of Fate  
Postern of Fate First Edition Cover 1973.jpg
Dust-jacket illustration of the first UK edition
Author Agatha Christie
Cover artist Margaret Murray
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Crime novel
Publisher Collins Crime Club
Publication date October 1973
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 256 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN 0-002-31190-9
OCLC Number 2736294
Dewey Decimal 823/.9/12
LC Classification PZ3.C4637 Pq3 PR6005.H66
Preceded by Elephants Can Remember
Followed by Poems

Postern of Fate is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1973[1] and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year[2][3]. The UK edition retailed at £2.00[1] and the US edition at $6.95[3].

The book features her detectives Tommy and Tuppence Beresford and is the detectives' last appearance. It is the final novel Christie ever wrote, but it was not the last to be published.


Explanation of the novel's title

The title comes from the poem Gates of Damascus by James Elroy Flecker. The poem is also referenced in the short story The Gate of Baghdad in the 1934 collection Parker Pyne Investigates.

Plot summary

Now in their seventies, Tommy and Tuppence move to a quiet English village, looking forward to a peaceful retirement. But, as they soon discover, their rambling old house holds secrets. Who is Mary Jordan? And why has someone left a code message in an old book about her 'unnatural' death? Once more, ingenuity and insight are called for as they are drawn into old mysteries and new dangers.

Literary significance and reception

Maurice Richardson in The Observer of November 11, 1973 was positive in his review: "Now in their seventies, the Beresfords, that amateur detective couple of hers whom some of us found too sprightly for comfort, have acquired a Proustian complexity. A code message in an Edwardian children's book puts them on to the murder of a governess involved in a pre-1914 German spy case. Past and present go on interlocking impressively. Despite political naivety; this is a genuine tour de force with a star part for Hannibal, the Manchester Terrier."[4]

Robert Barnard: "The last book Christie wrote. Best (and easily) forgotten."[5]

Postern of Fate has been criticized as of lower quality than the bulk of Christie's output. According to The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, this novel is one of the "execrable last novels" where Christie "loses her grip altogether".[6]

Publication history

  • 1973, Collins Crime Club (London), October 1973, Hardcover, 254 pp
  • 1973, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), Hardcover, 310 pp
  • 1974 Bantam Books, Paperback, 276 pp
  • 1974 GK Hall & Company Large-print Edition, Hardcover, 471 pp ISBN 0-81-616197-6
  • 1976, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 221 pp
  • 1992, Ulverscroft large-print Edition, Hardcover, ISBN 0-70-892708-4

References to other works

The book is full with the references to other Tommy and Tuppence books as well as cultural references


  1. ^ a b Collins Crime Club – A checklist of First Editions Chris Peers, Ralph Spurrier and Jamie Sturgeon. Dragonby Press (Second Edition) March 1999 (Page 15)
  2. ^ Cooper and Pyke. Detective Fiction - the collector's guide: Second Edition (Pages 82 and 87) Scholar Press. 1994. ISBN 0-85967-991-8
  3. ^ a b American Tribute to Agatha Christie
  4. ^ The Observer November 11, 1973 (Page 36)
  5. ^ Barnard, Robert. A Talent to Deceive – an appreciation of Agatha Christie - Revised edition (Page 203). Fontana Books, 1990. ISBN 0-00-637474-3
  6. ^ Sage, Lorna (1999). The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-52-166813-1. 

External links



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