The chief literary precedent for detective and crime fiction is Edgar Allan Foe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), and his other "tales of ratiocination," with their emphasis on logical deduction in solving a crime. Closer to Christie is Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes tales. Conan Doyle introduced the eccentric amateur detective, his less sharp-witted chronicler (Poirot's Watson is Captain Hastings), the atmosphere of the English countryside and of London, the importance of careful observation, and the detective story as intellectual exercise. Indeed, since Conan Doyle, the detective story has been the favorite popular genre of intellectuals. During the so-called Golden Age of detective fiction — the 1920s and 1930s — when Christie came to popularity, other writers of the genre used the similar "classic" form, in particular Dorothy Sayers, and the tradition continues to the present in the books of Ruth Rendell.
Christie's work has been adapted for the stage and screen many times; she herself adapted seven of her tales for the stage, including The Mousetrap which has broken all records for a consecutive run, and Witness for the Prosecution which received an award in New York for the best foreign play of the 1954-1955 season. At least twenty films have been made of her work, including the famous Margaret Rutherford series of Miss Marple films and the more recent and expensively produced Murder on the Orient Express (1974) directed by Sidney Lumet. Television adaptations have included both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot stories, the most recent being the PBS Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson in the lead role (1986-1987). A musical spoof of And Then There Were None titled Something's Afoot appeared on Broadway in 1976; the climactic number, sung by the entire cast, was "I Owe It All to Agatha Christie."