And Then There Were None: Woke Censors Come for Mystery Writer Agatha Christie

In this 1963 file photo, mystery author Agatha Christie is shown in London. (AP Photo, file)

When the woke bowdlerizers came for Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Ian Fleming (James Bond), they became the recipients of a torrent of ridicule, but that didn’t stop them. On the contrary, they’re just getting started. Their latest target is mystery writer Agatha Christie, who has sold two billion copies of her novels, making her the best-selling novelist of all time; she is also the author of the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap. Future generations, however, are going to find it difficult to discover what the fuss was all about, as Christie’s works have now gone under the woke knife to bring them into line with contemporary Leftist sensibilities. It’s clear now: no books will be spared.


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The UK’s far-Left Independent reported Monday that Harper Collins’ new editions of Christie’s books have been “rewritten for modern sensitivities,” and “the n-word and the term ‘Oriental’ are among the language being removed from new editions.” Now, if you’re nodding your head at this point and thinking that such words are a bridge too far and are rightly expunged from the new editions, think again. As offensive as people today find such language, to erase it from the writings of authors who lived in a different age, with sensibilities that differed significantly from those of our own day, is to set out on an extremely dangerous path. Once we accept the idea that the works of any writer can and should be altered to suit ourselves, we have opened the door to changes that are not just cosmetic, but substantive. Before too long, Agatha Christie could sound like Robin DiAngelo.

And that’s just the idea. The woke censors don’t just want to protect modern readers from having their ever-so-delicate sensitivities triggered by cloddish, bigoted older writers who didn’t have our contemporary all-encompassing awareness of how everything, literally everything, is racist. The woke censors want to make it impossible for you to think anything they don’t want you to think, by closing off your access to any writer or thinker who might give you an idea of which they do not approve.


That’s why these new censorship initiatives are so disturbing, and dangerous. Leftists envision, and are actively working toward, a world in which everyone thinks, acts, and speaks exactly the way they do. This involves not only demonizing, marginalizing, silencing, and ultimately criminalizing political dissent, but also even rewriting the literature (and the non-fiction will be in for the same treatment too, eventually) of the past so as to foreclose on the possibility of people realizing that the world once was, and could again be, something other than the bug-eating, own-nothing future the Left is preparing for us.

This involves going over the literature of the past with the utmost care and a hair-trigger sensitivity. In Christie’s case, the 1937 mystery novel Death on the Nile originally contained a passage that described “a Black servant as grinning because he understands the need to stay silent about an incident.” But in the new edition, we are no longer told that the servant is black, or that he is smiling. Instead, he is just “nodding.” Apparently the woke censor thought it was a case of unacceptable Uncle-Tomism to have a black servant who would be so lacking in racial consciousness as to smile at Whitey, and, in fact, intolerable to have a black servant at all.


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Apparently it is not only no longer allowed for a black person to be smiling; black people cannot even have good teeth: “In a new edition of the Miss Marple novel A Caribbean Mystery (1964), the narrator praises a West Indian hotel worker’s ‘lovely white teeth’. This has now been cut, along with similar references to ‘beautiful teeth.’” Even references that were clearly intended to be complimentary are gone: a female character once had “a torse of black marble such as a sculptor would have enjoyed,” but no longer. If the new editions really want to be in tune with contemporary sensibilities, the new version of A Caribbean Mystery should say that this character had a torso like Lizzo’s.

Agatha Christie’s novels, along with the works of Dahl and Fleming, are just the beginning. Several comments on the Independent’s story ask if the woke censors will take their knives even to the Bible, and the answer is: of course they will. In fact, the Bible is likely quite high on their list, as it, more than virtually any other book, is likely to inspire thoughts that Leftists find abhorrent. Keep your hard copies well hidden.



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