N-word is removed from title of Agatha Christie novel in France

N-word is removed from Agatha Christie’s Ten Little N****** murder mystery in France following request from the author’s great-grandson

  • Agatha Christie’s book And Then There Were None was originally published in the UK using the title Ten Little N****** after a minstrel song 
  • UK dropped the title in 1980s, but it is still used in France as Dix Petits N***** 
  • But that will be changed to Ils Etaient Dix, or They Were Ten in latest edition
  • Christie’s great-grandson said he doesn’t want to use words ‘that upset people’ 

The French translation of an Agatha Christie Novel will change its name to remove the N-word from its title, the author’s great-grandson has said.

Dix Petits N*****, or Ten Little N****** as it was originally called in English, will instead become Ils Etaient Dix, or They Were Ten, once the new edition is printed.

A similar change was made to the English-language version decades ago, which now goes by the title And Then There Were None.


Agatha Christie’s 1939 murder mystery novel Dix Petits N*****, which means Ten Little N****** (left), will have the title when the latest French edition is published to Ils Etaient Dix, or They Were Ten (new cover pictured right)

The original title comes from a minstrel song that was popular when the book was first published in 1939. 

The decision to change the title was taken by Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, who heads the firm that owns literary and media rights to her works. 

Not using words ‘that upset people’, Prichard said, ‘just seems to me a very sensible position to have in 2020’.

But the changes won’t just stop at the title, the text will also be changed to remove uses of the word. 

The N-word word had appeared 74 times in the French version of the book but will be replaced with the word ‘soldat’ or ‘soldier’ in the latest translation by Gerard de Cherge, said RTL.

The original title came from a minstrel song that was popular when Christie (pictured) first wrote the book in 1939, but has since been changed in multiple countries including the UK which altered it in the 1980s

The book gained its current English title in Britain in the 1980s, following the example of the US edition which used the non-offensive And Then There Were None title as early as its first publication in 1940.

It has also appeared in the US under the title ‘Ten Little Indians’, a racially-loaded term which in itself is controversial in America nowadays.

The book has sold over 100 million copies, making it one of the best-selling novels of all time.

France, which is in the midst of a debate about alleged racism in the police and society at large, was one of the last countries to continue using the original title.

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