Colonel John "Johnnie" Race is a recurring character and an amateur detective in the novels by British mystery novelist Agatha Christie, as well as being a friend to Hercule Poirot.

He serves as a major protagonist in The Man in the Brown Suit and Cards on the Table, the deuteragonist in Death on the Nile, and the main protagonist in Sparkling Cyanide.


Colonel Race is a highly intelligent ex-Army Colonel who had a stint as a leader of the counter intelligence division of the British spy agency MI5. He is immensely rich, having inherited the fortune of "Sir Lawrence Eardsley".

The Colonel starred as an amateur detective in four of Christie's books, and a friend and ally to Hercule Poirot. The Colonel is known for his patience, composure, and ability to quickly detect facts without anyone else noticing.


The Man in the Brown Suit

Cards on the Table

Death on the Nile

Sparkling Cyanide


  • In the 1978 film of Death on the Nile, Colonel Race was played by the late David Niven.
  • In the same book's 2004 TV adaptation for the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot, he was played by James Fox.
  • In the 2006 adaptation of Cards on the Table for Agatha Christie's Poirot again, a new character based on Colonel Race (named "Colonel Hughes"), was improvised. Colonel Hughes was portrayed by Robert Pugh, due to James Fox being unable to reprise his role.
  • In the BBC Radio 4 adaptations of Death on the Nile (1997) and Cards on the Table (2002), Race was played by Donald Sinden.


  • According to the known cast members by far, Colonel Race is most likely omitted from the 2020 film adaptation in Death on the Nile due to lacking an actor portraying him in this version, with his role possibly taken over by Monsieur Bouc, who never appeared in the original source material. It remains to be seen if it is true.
  • Like Poirot, Colonel Race remains unmarried throughout his life. However, in Agatha Christie's Poirot, it was stated that Colonel Race has a son, quite the contrary to the novel's desription.


Agatha Christie's signature Heroes

Main Detectives
Hercule Poirot | Jane Marple
Secondary Detectives
Parker Pyne | Mr. Quin | Tommy and Tuppence Bresford
Amateur Detectives
Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Bobby Jones | Frances Derwent | Arthur Calgary | Reniseb | Charles Hayward | Mark Easterbrook

Righteous Culprits
Mary Debenham | Princess Natalia Dragomiroff | Hector MacQueen | Edward Henry Masterman | Colonel John Arbuthnot | Linda Arden | Count Andrenyi | Countess Andrenyi | Greta Ohlsson | Pierre Michel | Antonio Foscarelli | Hildegarde Schmidt | Cyrus Hardman | Edith de Haviland | Hercule Poirot
Short Stories
Madame Déroulard | Ronnie Oglander

Supporters, Victims & Others
Captain Arthur Hastings | Inspector Japp | Felicity Lemon | Ariadne Oliver | George the Butler | Superintendent Spence | Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Countess Vera Rosakoff | Raymond West | Joyce Lemprière
Victims & Attempted Victims
Alexander Bonaparte Cust | Miranda Butler | Mrs. Otterbourne | Pilar Estravados | Olga Seminoff
Bella Duveen | Colonel Carbury | Dr. Constantine | Dr. Gerard | Dulcie Duveen | Ginerva Boynton | Hori | Judith Butler | Lydia Lee | Miss Bulstrode | Monsieur Bouc | Monsieur Giraud | Nadine Boynton | Rosalie Otterbourne | Sarah King | Sophia Leonides | Stephen Farr | Tim Allerton | Valerie Saintclair | Virginie Mesnard

Adaptational, Homage & Non-canonical
Benoit Blanc | Marta Carbera | Linda Drysdale

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