Christie, You Make Me Misty

With little to do in the evening in Siena, I read a few mystery novels before going to sleep. On the jacket of those by Agatha Christie, I found the following:

"The mostly widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare."

What is this supposed to mean? I can understand eliminating the Bible from the rankings, as either:

1) It was written by many authors; or
2) It was written by one author, but it's not really fair for Him to compete with us in a book selling contest. ("Ooh, God, #1 on the NYT's bestseller list again... I suppose you're going to take gold in the Olympic decathlon again, too, aren't you?")

But why isn't Christie number two, and Shakespeare number one? Even if you think it was really the Count of Basie or the Duke of Ellington who wrote the plays, that is still one author, right?


  1. Possibilities: 1. They figure since Shakespeare wrote plays not novels, his "books" don't count, cause they're really scripts. 2. They're subtly implying that Shakespeare, like God, should be disqualified because so many people have to buy his books. 3. They are applying the Borgesian Disqualification to both.

    I favor the third possibility.


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