'Ten Little Niggers'

'Ten Little Niggers'
Cover of first US 1940 edition

The worst poison pen letter of them all?

Ten Little Niggers (1939) is regarded by many as her finest mystery and it is said to be the best-selling of her novels. But it also revealed Agatha Christie as hopelessly insensitive on racial matters (see the original book cover below).


American publishers rejected the title and so Christie renamed it And Then There Were None, but later Broadway productions (1944-) undid this good deed by retitling it Ten Little Indians.

Worse, racist artwork persisted in the U.K. well into the 1980's (the book cover below is from 1963 through 1981). At the time of writing this, you could find used copies of this book offered by most online and rare book retailers. Was whoever designed (and approved) this Golliwog image back then for Fontana simply clueless or were they cynical and racist?


An excellent web resource is this site: christiecoverart.blogspot.com. Here is the Ten Little Niggers page. Thanks Jane Stanley for the tip.