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A beauty journey inside Agatha Christie's novels

The link between Queen of Crime Agatha Christie and the world of beauty seems tenuous at first, but if you look at her beginnings as a novelist, it starts making sense. In 1966, she told the New York Times: "I got my plots in the tub, (…) just sitting there thinking, undisturbed, and lining the rim with apple cores." Hot baths did indeed bring her inspiration, the fruit of her imagination then scribbled in notebooks she scrupulously left in her bathroom and every room of her home, Greenway House, in Devon. The result? 66 crime novels, of which more than two billion copies were sold worldwide.

The link between Queen of Crime Agatha Christie and the world of beauty seems tenuous at first, but if you look at her beginnings as a novelist, it starts making sense. In 1966, she told the New York Times: "I got my plots in the tub, (…) just sitting there thinking, undisturbed, and lining the rim with apple cores." Hot baths did indeed bring her inspiration, the fruit of her imagination then scribbled in notebooks she scrupulously left in her bathroom and every room of her home, Greenway House, in Devon. The result? 66 crime novels, of which more than two billion copies were sold worldwide.

Following Christie’s trail, L’Officine’s products form a treasure hunt. Each is inspired by one of the fabulous mysteries and is a homage to her dark world, where a cup of tea served in the library evokes English Honey and other remedies, where gentleman detective Hercule Poirot grooms his luxuriant moustache with great skill and obsession, where the Orient Express becomes the stage of a tragedy, with matches and monograms the only clues where travels to Egypt and archaeological digs in the Middle East lead to the unearthing of unpleasant truths, and where roses are more intoxicating than they seem. Now is the time to put your grey matter to work and, like Poirot, follow the beauty trail in Dame Agatha’s works.

"Poetry is not the most important thing in life… I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets."

Dylan Thomas

HERCULE POIROT, BARBER-DETECTIVE

 

There’s no doubt at all about what the man’s profession has been. He’s a retired hairdresser. Look at that moustache of his." Doctor Sheppard’s rather cavalier description of Hercule Poirot, the brilliant Belgian detective created by Christie, in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926). Poirot’s perfectionism and skill don’t stop at solving the most complex mysteries. He also excels in other areas, with a sure taste for order and Art Deco, impeccable attire even in the middle of the desert, and a perfectly groomed moustache that became an integral part of his personality. In Murder on the Orient Express (1934), he’s described as "A little man with enormous moustaches". To groom such an extraordinary feature, L’Officine would recommend a pocket comb, perfect for impromptu fixes, such as Le Rebel, as well as that indispensable tool for a precise shave: our shaving brush with a beech handle.

The look would not be complete without perfect hair: a feat for which The Methodical comb, available in two colours, ivory and tortoiseshell, will be ideal, both in name and in purpose. Its elegant, square design reflects Poirot’s reasoning skills: "It is so mad, my friend, that sometimes I am haunted by the sensation that really it must be very simple… But that is only one of my 'little ideas'…"

"If you must have a moustache, let it be a real moustache–a thing of beauty such as mine."

Hercule Poirot to Arthur Hastings in Peril at End House, 1932


It’s not a complete surprise that the detective Christie imagines is such a meticulous man. During World War I, the novelist enlisted as a volunteer nurse before becoming a pharmacist’s assistant in 1917. The knowledge she acquired was of tremendous use when she had to design poisonings of every kind and describe impeccable hygiene standards. It is easy to imagine her using all kinds of soaps – one of her novels, Sleeping Murder, even features soapy water as a weapon of last resort used by Miss Marple to stop a murder attempt. What better choice, then, than L’Officine’s Savon Superfin Miel d’Angleterre, with its honey, musk and cedarwood notes, to restore the atmosphere of a library mystery?

"A bath! The receptacle of porcelain, one turns the taps and fills it, one gets in, one gets out and ghoosh-ghoosh—ghoosh, the water goes down the waste-pipe."

Hercule Poirot in Evil Under the Sun, 1941

CLUE N°1 : THE ORIENT EXPRESS 

 

In the famous 1934 novel, someone is murdered one night on the luxury train from Istanbul. Hercule Poirot happens to be on board, along with a Russian princess, a Swedish missionary, a Hungarian count, an English colonel, and many others. The atmosphere evoked by this mythical train, going full steam between the Orient and Europe, is perfectly embodied by L’Officine’s Eau Triple Medina Oud and its oud, rose, saffron and amber notes.

Hercule Poirot uses all his skill to decipher every clue, including a delicate handkerchief embroidered with the mysterious letter "H" – not unlike the Baumes des Muses marked with their owner’s initials.

"It is, my friends, an extremely expensive handkerchief—an objet de luxe, hand-made, embroidered in Paris. Which of the passengers, apart from the initial, was likely to own such a handkerchief?"

Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, 1934

 

In the victim’s cabin, Poirot finds two types of matches, one flat, one rounded, the butt of a cigar and a burnt piece of paper. What would he have thought of the remains of one of L’Officine’s scented matches, the kind that delicately perfumes the atmosphere in one swift gesture?

"Poirot was feeling in the pockets of Ratchett's clothing. Presently he pulled out a box of matches. He compared them carefully with the burnt ones."

Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, 1934

CLUE °2 : MYSTERIES IN EGYPTE

`

A traveller at heart, Christie spent a lot of time in the Middle East, particularly with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she married in 1930. She stayed almost a year at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan and visited the temples at Abu Simbel to create the background of her novel Death on the Nile (recently adapted for the screen by Kenneth Branagh). She describes Egypt and its treasures as 19th-century scholars dreamt and discovered. An atmosphere brought to life by two scents by L’Officine, Retour d’Égypte, a bewitching home perfume with deep notes of jasmine, amber, musk and rose, and Alexandrie, a green scent of lemon, blackcurrant and mint tea spiced with ginger and softened by vanilla, both available as Scented matches or Alabasters.

"And, as I say, we’ll go to Egypt for our honeymoon. Damn the expense! I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt all my life. The Nile and the pyramids and the sand..."

Death on the Nile, 1937

CLUE N°3 : ARCHEOLOGISTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Christie often followed her second husband where his archaeological digs took him, providing her with colourful, detailed settings for her plots. Murder in Mesopotamia (1936) takes place on a British Museum excavation site at the Royal Cemetery at Ur, in Iraq, while Appointment with Death is set in Petra, in Jordan. The original covers of the two books were designed by the very architect of these expeditions, Robin Macartney. In Death on the Nile, Christie explains, as Poirot, the link between archaeology and crime fiction: "Once I went professionally to an archaeological expedition – and I learnt something there. In the course of an excavation, when something comes up out of the ground, everything is cleared away very carefully all around it. (…) That is what I have been seeking to do – clear away the extraneous matter so that we can see the truth – the naked shining truth."

Beneath its warm geranium, patchouli and cardamom notes, L’Officine’s scent Al Kassir reveals a heart of sandalwood, a sacred tree in the East, a "gift from the gods", believed to stimulate the opening of the third eye chakra. Al Kassir can be enjoyed, among others, as a Huile Antique and as a Savon Superfin, a perfect start for a sumptuous journey to the splendours of the East.

"Now the road wound upward from the Jordan, twisting and turning with clumps of oleanders showing rose-coloured flowers... 'One can't help wishing that there were a little shade', she murmured. 'But I do think all this emptiness is so wonderful, don't you' Sarah nodded. Yes, she thought, the emptiness was marvelous... Healing... Peaceful..."

Appointment with Death, 1938

CLUE N°4 : TEARS AND ROSES

Among her many talents, Agatha Christie was a gifted gardener. She wrote an ode to the craft, My Flower Garden, and used a rose as a significant plot device in one of her novels, Sad Cypress, where a witness claims to have been scratched by a thorn from a scented rose tree… which doesn’t bear thorns, the Zephyrine Drouhin. To this rose, we prefer the Damask Rose, a scent crafted like a bouquet, and available as a Huile de savon, a Huile Antique, a Lait Virginal or an Eau Triple. Perfume itself is one of the traces left by the murderers in Evil Under the Sun (1941), a scent that Hercule Poirot, with his extraordinary sense of smell, recognises instantly as the fictitious perfume "Gabrielle 16".

All of Christie’s investigations culminate in a dramatic grand finale, where all the suspects are invited to gather and listen to Poirot’s announcement of the culprit’s identity, which led to many a tear. To recover from the sleepless nights spent reading Dame Agatha’s virtuoso crime novels, the best remedy is L’Officine’s Vide Poche, a toning eye serum boosted with plant-based and essential oils, the perfect aide when you’re ready to dive into the "Duchess of Crime"'s imposing work.

"She wept with more vehemence than ever. Poirot continued to pat her gently on the shoulder. 'There—there—I comprehend—I comprehend everything—everything, I tell you. I will ask you no more questions. It is enough that you have admitted what I know to be the truth.'"

Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, 1934

The methodical

Regular price 33,33 €
Regular price Sale price 33,33 €
Barber comb
The methodical

The methodical

Ivory

This large barber comb with refined bevelled lines is suitable for moustaches, beards and short hair. Le Méthodique enables a very gentle disentangling: as beautiful...

33,33 €

Savon Superfin English Honey

Regular price 29,17 €
Regular price Sale price 29,17 €
Dermatological soap scented with honey, musk and cedar.
Savon Superfin English Honey

Savon Superfin English Honey

A woody and powdery scent, where honey and cedar are delicately tinged with musk for this dermatological soap which cleanses the skin without parching it.

29,17 €

Eau Triple Medina Oud

Regular price 125,00 €
Regular price Sale price 125,00 €
A fragrance crafted with accords of agarwood, rose, saffron and amber.
Eau Triple Medina Oud

Eau Triple Medina Oud

Eau Triple Medina Oud, a unique water-based perfume with accords of agarwood, rose, saffron and amber. The heavenly accord enfolds the skin like velvet without...

125,00 €

Baume des Muses Ivory

Regular price 33,33 €
Regular price Sale price 33,33 €
Moisturizing, repairing lip balm made with natural ingredients
Baume des Muses Ivory

Baume des Muses Ivory

Red Shagreen

Made only with natural ingredients, our Baume des Muses is chock-full of moisturizing, repairing and protective organic ingredients. The elegant box is meant to be...

Regular price 33,33 €
Sale price 33,33 € Regular price

Scented Matches Alexandrie

Regular price 13,33 €
Regular price Sale price 13,33 €
Scented matches with bewitching lemon, blackcurrant, mint tea, and vanilla accords.
Scented Matches Alexandrie

Scented Matches Alexandrie

Coated with a scented solution with intense notes of mint tea, lemon, blackcurrant, ginger and vanilla, the Officine’s matches elegantly perfume the atmosphere in the...

13,33 €

Scented matches Retour d'Egypte

Regular price 13,33 €
Regular price Sale price 13,33 €
Scented matches exhaling an elating jasmine, amber and musk fragrance
Scented matches Retour d'Egypte

Scented matches Retour d'Egypte

Coated with a scented solution with notes of jasmine, amber, musk, and rose, the Officine’s matches elegantly perfume the atmosphere in the room with one...

13,33 €

Alabaster Retour d'Egypte

Regular price 58,33 €
Regular price Sale price 58,33 €
Home fragrance diffuser with jasmine, amber and musk accords.
Alabaster Retour d'Egypte

Alabaster Retour d'Egypte

By far the most elegant and delicate way to perfume a room, the alabaster is made of three elements: a porcelain box, a stone and...

58,33 €

Savon Superfin Al Kassir

Regular price 29,17 €
Regular price Sale price 29,17 €
Dermatological soap with an exotic scent of sandalwood, cardamom, and patchouli.
Savon Superfin Al Kassir

Savon Superfin Al Kassir

An exotic scent of sandalwood, enlivened with geranium and cardamom for this dermatological soap which cleanses the skin without parching it.

29,17 €

VIDE POCHE

Regular price 25,00 €
Regular price Sale price 25,00 €
Toning eye serum “bye-bye under-eye circles”
VIDE POCHE

VIDE POCHE

With a combination of plant and essential oils, this nourishing treatment reduces under-eye dark circles and puffiness. The gaze regains its freshness.

25,00 €
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