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Crime writer McDermid can’t be ‘Queen of Crime’
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30 Aug 2022 / people Print

Scottish writer McDermid can’t be ‘Queen of Crime’ can’t be ‘Queen of Crime’

Crime writer Val McDermid has revealed that she has been threatened with legal action if she uses the phrase ‘Queen of Crime’ – because it has been trademarked by Agatha Christie's estate.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the best-selling Scottish novelist said that she had received a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter.

According to a report in The Scotsman, she said that the Christie estate had warned her publisher against using the phrase to describe the writer after she was asked to write a new Miss Marple story for a new authorised book.

McDermid said that, as well as the recent legal threat, she had been contacted by the writer’s great-great-grandson to express dismay that she was using the title on her books.

Short stories

The Scotsman says that McDermid is one of 12 writers – described as “remarkable best-selling and acclaimed authors” on the official Agatha Christie website – to have contributed to the collection of short stories.

She has credited the Miss Marple story The Murder at the Vicarage with inspiring her to become a crime writer, after reading it at the age of seven.

McDermid was being interviewed by broadcaster Allan Little at the book festival, when he asked her about quotes referring to her as the ‘Queen of Crime’ on the back of her new novel 1989, the second in a series focusing on the journalist Allie Burns.

Little referred to The Scotsman’s description of McDermid, which stated: “Further evidence that her Queen of Crime status will not be challenged.”

According to the paper, McDermid told Little: “Yeah, well, that’s not right, is it, because it has been challenged.”

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland