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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 April, 2004, 03:58 GMT 04:58 UK
Whodunits to be computer games
Sir Peter Ustinov
Sir Peter Ustinov played Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in five films
Anyone who has ever fancied themselves a detective to rival Poirot can test their mettle when Agatha Christie's murder mysteries become PC games.

Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, has given permission for computer game experts to develop a series of five computer games over the next six years.

He hopes it will bring her many novels to life for a whole new audience.

"My grandmother was always very keen on using new ways to reach people who wanted to enjoy her work," he said.

Belgian detective

The 1930s thrillers Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express could be among the mysteries players will be able to solve.

Which of Christie's 79 novels and short story collections will be adapted has not yet been decided.

Generations of readers and television viewers came to love her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, played by the late Sir Peter Ustinov in five films.

Mathew Prichard (left) with
Christie's grandson (left) wants her work to find a new audience

The author, who died in 1976, enjoyed a career which spanned more than half a century and is the world's best known murder mystery writer.

Her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920 and was the first to feature Poirot.

More than 2bn of her books have sold worldwide so far, in more than 45 languages.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds will be spent developing her works for games on CD-Rom.

A spokesman for Chorion, the intellectual property company which has masterminded the deal, said: "Agatha Christie is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare - her work is totally timeless.

"In the computer games you will be the detective solving the crime. You follow the crime, examine the clues and interview the suspects."

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