A Catalogue of Bodies

Gracia Haby
A Catalogue of Bodies (Second Edition)
June, 2014
Digital print zine
Edition of 50

 

A 10.5cm X 15cm, 91 page B&W zine with colour covers and blood red spine.

(Contains spoilers, naturally.)

This is the second edition of A Catalogue of Bodies harvested from the television adaptations (1989-2013) of Agatha Christie’s stories featuring Hercule Poirot as played by David Suchet. Included in this grisly catalogue, pretend deaths (such as Magdala ‘Nick’ Buckley’s staged overdose in Peril at End House and Norma Restarick’s staged suicide in the bathtub in The Third Girl, and what appears to be Arlena Stuart’s strangled body on the beach but is actually Christine Redfern in disguise in Evil Under the Sun), suicides, deaths, and murders. In some cases, where the body is not shown, the moment just prior features, giving us Dorothy Craddock, having been earlier injected with bacteria, falling ill in Egypt in Cards on the Table; Rosaleen and Gordon Cloade just before the bomb blast in Taken at the Flood; Major Richard Knighton shown standing on the train tracks at mystery’s culmination in The Blue Train; and because both were simply too good not to include, on a newspaper in Hastings’ hands, a headline announcing Felix Bleibner’s mysterious death in The Egyptian Tomb, and Lady Muriel in the play attended by Poirot and Arthur Hastings in The Third Floor Flat.

Whilst several pretend deaths have been included, any thwarted attempts and near misses have been left out of the catalogue as they did not produce an actual body to document. For example, Nurse Hopkins’ thwarted attempt to poison Poirot (Sad Cypress), Mrs Rendell’s failed attempt to push Poirot before a train (Mrs McGinty’s Dead), Miss Phyllida Campion being “pushed down the moving stairs” (The Case of the Missing Will), and in order to throw suspicion onto others, Miss Gilchrist’s illness as a result of consuming a non-fatal, self-poisoned piece of wedding cake (After the Funeral). Deaths referred to in conversation only, such as Richard Abernethie from After the Funeral, have also not been included in this catalogue.

The second edition of A Catalogue of Bodies, as per the first, is ordered by original publication as opposed to televised adaptation. It now includes the final five television adaptations recently screened: Elephants Can Remember (1972), The Big Four (1927), The Labours of Hercules (1947), Dead Man’s Folly (1956), and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975). A further 23 bodies have been added to this catalogue, including death by a falling stage curtain, an electrified chess table, and an explosion. The collection is now complete.

 
 

'The number is complete,' said Poirot. 'Everyone is here.' There was a ring of satisfaction in his tone.
(from Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)

Editions of A Catalogue of Bodies (Second Edition, 2014) have been exhibited as part of George Paton Gallery: Artist's Books (reprised) (George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne, 2014) and PAGE.PRINT.POST: 50 years of Artists Books (Post Office Gallery, Federation University Australia, 2014).