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Happy 120th birthday, Agatha Christie!

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(Read caption) One hundred and twenty years after Agatha Christie's birth, her novels have never been out of print. They still sell about a million copies a year.

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It's "Christie week" this week and celebrations are planned around the globe intended to mark the birthday of Agatha Christie. The woman that readers worldwide honor as the mother of the modern murder mystery was born 120 years ago today, on Sept. 15, 1890.

One of the more interesting tributes being paid to Christie today comes from Google. Throughout Britain, users of google.co.uk today are enjoying the latest Google Doodle, whose letters have been transformed into a kind of miniature Christie "who done it." The capital letter G, naturally, is a tiny replica of Christie detective Hercule Poirot, with perfect Belgian mustache immaculately in place.

Christie publisher HarperCollins, meanwhile, is reported by The Guardian to be "marking the occasion with a new book deal to become the author's exclusive worldwide English language publisher, with plans to push her sales to 'even greater heights' around the world."

"Greater heights"? It's hard to imagine how an author who has sold 2 billion books in over 45 languages worldwide – outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible, her publisher says – could go much higher.

But there's nothing wrong with hoping. Christie's fans, perhaps, will argue that, in the next 120 years to come, her uniquely genteel style of sleuthing will be needed more than ever.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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