Readersforum's Blog

May 6, 2011

Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie lead list of UK’s top-earning crimewriters

Agatha Christie has The Mousetrap to thank for much of her fortune – it has been playing on the West End stage since 1952. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Dead authors are still making a fortune, while John Grisham and Dan Brown lead the US rankings.

By Maev Kennedy

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, has beaten Agatha Christie to the title of most successful – and highest earning – British crime writer of all time.

The first crime writers rich list, prepared for the crime drama digital TV channel Alibi, is based on recorded sales, box office returns, licence fees and company accounts. It reveals that many dead writers, including Fleming and Christie, live on as flourishing brands.

It puts Fleming in first place at more than £100m, with more than 100m copies of the Bond books sold worldwide. Christie comes a close second at £100m exactly, including ticket sales from The Mousetrap, the longest running stage play in the world, a fixture in London’s West End since 1952.

But both were beaten hands down by the American writers John Grisham, at $600m (£366m), and Dan Brown, at $400m.

                                                                                                                                                …read more

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