HERCULE Poirot is to return in a new novel backed by the family of Torquay-born Queen of Crime Dama Agatha Christie.
Her most famous creation will be brought to life in an as-yet-untitled book by crime novelist and poet Sophie Hannah, which will be published in September, 2014.
It will be the first official novel to continue Agatha Christie's work.
Hannah told the BBC Christie was the writer who made her 'fall in love with mystery fiction' at the age of 13.
She said: "I read and collected all her novels within a year and have been a passionately — some might even say obsessively — devoted fan ever since.
"It was Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple who, between them, made me want to devote my working life to crime fiction and it was Christie's brilliant plotting and deep understanding of the human psyche which shaped my identity as a crime writer.
"Therefore, it is almost impossible to put into words how honoured I am to have been entrusted with this amazing project — in fact, I still can't quite believe this is really happening.
"I hope to create a puzzle which will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters."
Dame Agatha died in 1976, and according to her grandson Mathew Prichard, it was 'pure serendipity' which led to Hannah being commissioned.
He said: "Her agent happened to approach HarperCollins in exactly the same week my colleagues and I had started discussing a new Christie book."
Agatha Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay.
She wrote 80 crime novels and short story collections, two autobiographies and eight novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.
She has sold more than two billion books worldwide.