Known as the ‘Queen of Crime’, Agatha Christie (1890-1976), stands out as one of the greatest representatives of the police and detective genre. A well-known British writer, she is also one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century and the best-selling authors of all time. Her detective novels have sold over two billion copies in 44 languages, holding the Guinness World Record for best-selling fiction writer worldwide in the history of literature. Agatha Christie has written books for all ages and with fluidity that doesn’t get you tired. Whether you’re looking for a well-spun gripping murder mystery or curious about Agatha Christie’s writing and all the suspense around her novels, here are all the best books by Agatha Christie. All these books are arranged in order from her first novel to the later and mature masterpieces.
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All the Best Books by Agatha Christie In Order
Agatha Christie has created marvelous characters dedicated to the world of mystery, such as the enduring Belgian detective, Hercules Poirot, and the British Miss Maple. Her other recurring characters include the couple Tommy and Tuppence, Captain Arthur Hastings, Superintendent Battle, Inspector Japp and others.
In her career, Christie wrote more than 90 books; among them were sixty six novels and fourteen short story books, many of which involved her fictional detectives: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. In addition, she also wrote more than two dozen plays, and six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Her play The Mousetrap also remained on the poster for 26,113 continuous performances, thus holding the record for Longest theatrical run.
A revolutionary woman at that time, Agatha Christie has managed to create something unforgettable that, even years later, she is still read and ‘recounted’ as one of the greatest writers in the world. Here are all the best books by Agatha Christie in order for the fans of crime and mystery genres.
1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, resulted from a dare. 1n 1917, Christie’s sister Madge challenged her to create a police plot. And thus came the author’s first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, published three years later. The plot marks the appearance of its most famous character, the Belgian mustachioed detective Hercule Poirot, who would return 32 times more in her later literary works.
Poirot, the slightly arrogant and ever-watchful Belgian refugee during the Great War, happens to be staying in the same village as his old friend, Arthur Hastings, a soldier on sick leave. The two men get caught up in a murder investigation when the woman hosting Hastings—the same woman who sponsored Poirot’s leave of Belgium—is found poisoned in her bed. It’s a classic, murder mystery with lots of intrigues and uncertainty. Everyone has a motive here, red herrings run rampant, and only endearing Poirot has the mind designed to untangle the lies from the truth.
2. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (1922)
Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary is the first book in the Tommy and Tuppence mystery series. Tommy and Tuppence are two young spies of the British government, tied by a deep feeling but above all by the ability to understand and complete each other. They are looking for jobs after the Great War and randomly decide to embark on a daring business scheme ‘The Young Adventurers’.
The couple’s first job sends them into a slew of dangerous situations involving international spies, the wreck of the Lusitania, and a criminal known as Mr. Brown. Can they get the job done and solve the case? The story is fantastically drafted, fast-paced and action packed. It’s definitely one of the best books by Agatha Christie!
3. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (1923)
An urgent cry for help from South American millionaire brings Hercule Poirot to the town of Mérinville in France. But he arrives too late to save his client, Paul Renauld, whose brutally stabbed body now lies on the brink of a freshly dug hole in the middle of the golf field. But why is the dead man wearing a strange overcoat that is too big for him? And for whom was the heartfelt love letter in his pocket? Before Poirot answers these questions, the case is turned upside down when another, identically murdered, corpse was discovered.
Delicately told from Hastings’ point of view, The Murder on the Links is once again a well-built Poirot spectacle. The story has a twisted plot that keeps the reader engaged till the end. Highly recommended for all Agatha Christie fans or a murder mystery fanatic!
4. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (1924)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot Investigates is the third book in the Poirot Series. It is a collection of detective short stories featuring exciting accounts of Hercule Poirot’s adventures involving a variety of mysteries narrated by his faithful companion and friend, Arthur Hastings.
The book contains fourteen pleasantly charming stories; each one is cleverly written, diverse and entertaining. From a jewelry heist to a cursed tomb, Poirot solves each mystery with precision and finesse. Nothing escapes his brilliant mind!
5. The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit is unique in that it is a standalone book with no familiar detective character. Instead, we get a girl searching for adventure when it falls right in her path. What follows is intriguing characters, romance, and a trip to South Africa.
Ann Beddingfield holds the clue to a mystery. With the strange scrap of paper that she discovered, she can forge a link between an accidental death, a diamond robbery, a London tube station, and a murder in a remote country mansion. Definitely worth a read, it’s one of the best books by Agatha Christie.
6. The Secret of Chimneys (1925)
The Secret of Chimneys is more of a spy thriller than the usual Agatha Christie murder mystery, but undoubtedly as intriguing and mysterious as others. By taking on an errand for a friend, Anthony Cade places himself in grave danger. He begins to realize that this simple favor isn’t going to be as easy as he first thought. Finding himself at the large country estate named ‘Chimneys’, he encounters Scotland yard and the French Sûreté , who have joined forces. Their task? To not only find a murderer but to discover the secret of Chimneys!
A grand house, secret passages, mysterious deaths, political intrigues, renowned thieves, compromising documents, stolen jewels, disguised identities—The Secret of Chimneys is the perfect recipe for a whirlwind of excitement!
7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
One of the most celebrated and controversial novels of all time, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered as Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. In fact, it was voted as Agatha Christie’s finest and the British Crime Writers’ Association’s best crime novel ever. Clever, meticulous and so brilliantly written, it was the work that consecrated Agatha Christie as the ‘Queen of Crime’ and where she patented her best not to play with the reader and also not to scatter any major clues for the outcome.
Hercule Poirot’s third full-novel outing finds him in King’s Abbot investigating the murder of Roger Ackroyd, a rich widower. The mystery surrounding Roger Ackroyd’s mysterious death and the suicide of his fiancé is absolutely captivating. Told by Dr. James Sheppard, this twisting tale allows the reader to see Poirot in action rather than be inside his ‘little grey cells’. Written in a typical Agatha Christie fashion, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
8. The Big Four by Agatha Christie (1927)
In The Big Four, Agatha Christie brings a very interesting mix between what is featured in spy novels and police novels, focusing on the investigations and entertaining interactions of Poirot and Captain Hastings. That way, we are able to follow not only a worldwide conspiracy, but Poirot in his everyday work, or almost that, in a similar style to what we found in Canon Doyle’s Sherlock adventures.
The book follows Poirot and Hastings as they work to track down a dangerous secret criminal organization. The Big 4 have their eyes set on world domination, and are the cause of all the crimes happening around the world. Our fastidious detective along with his companion is ready to catch them and uncover their identities to the world. A thrilling and thoughtful book where every detail, every question, and every answer leads to an extremely interesting conclusion.
9. The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (1928)
When millionaire heiress Ruth Kettering embarks on a clandestine journey to rendezvous with the infamous Comte de la Roche, she has no way of knowing that she will arrive at Nice with her face battered beyond recognition, for with her on the carriage are also concealed the famed Heart of Fire ruby and her soon-to-be-murderer. Thus begins The Mystery of the Blue Train, a story set on a mode of transport.
The prime suspect is Ruth’s estranged husband, Derek. Yet Poirot is not convinced, so he stages an eerie re-enactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board. A unique take on a murder mystery, it is definitely one of the best books by Agatha Christie. The story is super engaging, fluid, and we have a correct dose of Poirot!
10. The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie (1929)
Gerry Wade is well known as a champion sleeper who always oversleeps. Jimmy, Ronny, Bill and other guests on vacation at the Chimneys decide to play a prank on him. Eight alarm clocks are carefully placed in his room during the night and are all set to go off in turn from 6:30 a.m. But Gerry is discovered dead the following morning. Also, one clock is missing and the remaining seven have appeared lined up along the mantlepiece. Is there a killer amongst the house guests? And what is the significance of the remaining ‘seven dials’?
Absolutely brilliant and gripping murder mystery, The Seven Dials Mystery keeps you guessing till the end. But this time, instead of Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, we meet Bundle, Superintendent Battle and others. Full of mystery, tickling comedy, and the countless edge-of-the-seat twists, the novel has been hailed by many. It’s definitely one of the must-reads Agatha Christie books!
11. The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (1930)
The Murder at the Vicarage is the first Agatha Christie book featuring Miss Marple and what an introduction! It’s really amazing to see how she sets up her second most significant fictional character in this first of the Miss Marple mysteries. As per usual, Christie is the queen of misdirection and presents a cleverly crafted conundrum to solve, made even more interesting being told from the perspective of the clergymen.
Colonel Protheroe, the local magistrate and overbearing land-owner, is found shot dead in the vicar’s study and it seems to be that the whole village has a motive to want him dead. Now, in order to unravel this murder mystery, Miss Marple must use all her powers of deduction and observation. The novel is meticulously plotted and interwoven with the wonderful erratic array of village characters of a bygone era, all suspected of the murder. Absolutely one of the best books by Agatha Christie in the Miss Marple series.
12. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (1932)
Thrilling to the very end, Peril at End House is one of the best books by Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot is a world class detective, we all know that right? But what does one of the best crime solvers in the world do when the crime has not been committed yet? The culprit challenges him time and again, and most importantly, there is a life at stake. Narrated by Captain Hastings, this case is absolutely Christie. A remote house, a firm group of suspects and Hercule Poirot trying to solve everything with his ‘little grey cells’.
Complex and engrossing, this is a mystery that manages to cheat even detective Poirot. Featuring a missing plot, forbidden loves, secret wills, shaft art dealers and poisoned delicacies; it’s a really memorable story with lots of twists and red herrings to keep you guessing. A real delight for the fans of classic mysteries!
13. Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie (1933)
A mystery involving the aristocracy and the artistic world to be disbanded by the great Hercule Poirot, Lord Edgware Dies is a must-read Agatha Christie book. The murder of Lord Edgware severely baffles the police. The last person who visited him before his death was his estranged actress wife. Further, our fastidious Hercule Poirot himself heard her brag of her plan to ‘get rid’ of him. But how could she have stabbed Lord Edgware at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? Poirot must solve a most confounding conundrum: if the obvious killer, the slain peer’s spiteful wife, didn’t do it, then who did?
Will the owner of the world’s most famous literary mustache be able to crack the case before it’s too late for anyone else and Lady Edgeware ends up hanged for a crime that she didn’t commit? Get the book and find out!
14. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express continues to be one of the most iconic murder mysteries ever. A snow storm halters the magnificent Orient Express on the tracks that is surprisingly full for this time of the year. And in the morning, an American passenger is found stabbed to death. Due to a terrible snow storm, no one has been able to get on or off the train. The murderer must be amongst them. Several fake clues are put on the path of Hercule Poirot to try to keep him out of the picture. However, in a dramatic unfold, he presents not one, but two solutions to crime.
A classic, cozy locked door mystery, it really shows how brilliant Poirot is. Also, the layout of the book is perfect, being split into both parts and chapters. Extremely engrossing and dynamic, Murder on the Orient Express is certainly one of the best books by Agatha Christie!
15. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934)
A dynamic and adventurous story, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? begins with a young man who listens to a shout on the golf course. He at once approaches the cliff, where he finds a boy on the edge of death amongst the stones, who utters his last words: ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’. Was it really a misstep that sent a stranger plummeting to his death from a cliff? Or something more sinister? From that tragic event, the characters wrap themselves up in a crazy investigation to see if it was actually a tragic accident or murder.
With a surprising ending typical of the ‘Queen of Mystery’, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is one of the best mystery books by Agatha Christie. And this time, it is neither Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mystery, but a total standalone, with its own set of characters. And it’s really fun to follow along with their investigation.
16. The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie (1936)
A murderer always looks for ways to foil the detective, but with The A.B.C. Murders, Agatha Christie goes a step ahead. As a mysterious person begins to challenge Poirot, all hell breaks loose as the police, the Scotland Yard and Poirot are caught in this fantastic chase for a faceless maniac. They try to solve a series of murders with the single clue, that is, the names of the victims are in alphabetical order. Our heroes must find the murderer before he kills again!
The book is outstanding, with an overconfident murderer who seems to look at his crime as one looks at their art, or a puzzle only they’re sure of decoding. What happens next is for you to read. Let me assure you that our beloved detective will not be easily tricked and you will not be able to easily put this book down!
17. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie (1936)
One of the brilliant mystery thrillers, Murder in Mesopotamia is a top-notch Poirot yarn. It’s classic murder mystery set around an archaeological dig in the Middle East. Leatheran is hired to act as nurse and caretaker to Louise Leidner, wife of Dr. Eric Leidner who is overseeing the excavation. Louise has been in nervous spirits, and it seems is in fear, so it’s hoped that the nurse will be able to help calm her. No sooner than the nurse is settled, there’s a murder. And then Hercule Poirot is called to attend and get down to the business of solving things.
A very enjoyable read, it’s a classic Christie book in every manner. There’re lots of characters with potential motive, means and opportunity to filter through for the budding armchair detectives out there.
18. Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie (1936)
A flamboyant party host extends an invitation to Poirot for a dinner party with a rather interesting guest list—four people with crystal reputation but all have committed a crime which no one knows about, except perhaps the host. After dinner, the host’s guests gather for a friendly game of cards, but at the end of the game, someone is dead, murdered. Who is the murderer, and how did the host know? Hercule Poirot is determined to find out!
Cards on the Table has so many twists, turns and surprises for the reader. It keeps you guessing till the end. Just when you think you’ve figured out who the murderer is, the possibility is dismissed and then the reader is back to step one. The plot just flies by and is intriguing from the start. Indeed, it is one of the best books by Agatha Christie!
19. Murder in the Mews (1937)
Agatha Christie’s classic book, Murder in the Mews presents four most captivating mysteries that will seriously test the superior skills of the famous Belgian detective. The four short stories in the book include: Murder in the Mews, The Incredible theft, Dead Man’s Mirror, and Triangle at Rhodes. All these mysteries are well-written and interesting.
Be it determining a suicide or murder, the theft of military documents, another suicide or murder case and a love triangle mystery—Poirot comes to the rescue! Also, each story is a miniature classic of characterization, suspense and incident. The relationship between Japp and Poirot also adds an extra layer and highlights why Poirot is so well regarded.
20. Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (1937)
Like every other Christie’s detective fiction, Dumb Witness is an amazing read and even has a dog as a crucial character. Emily Arundell’s death is seen as natural and expected, but there is a little problem. A few weeks ago, she accidentally tripped on a rubber ball that was left on the stairs by her dog. Or, at least that’s what everyone thinks. However, Emily suspects that there is something more to it and writes a letter to Hercule Poirot expressing her convoluted suspicions that she might be in danger. But by the time the letter reaches him, Emily has already been dead for over a month.
Sensing that something is deeply amiss, Poirot sets out to investigate. What follows is a fun-thrilling journey with Hastings and Poirot investigating the facts. Dependably comforting mystery—filled with charming eccentrics and clever sleuthing—it’s a great, engaging read for Christie fans.
21. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (1937)
Death on the Nile is one of Agatha Christie’s most ingenious mysteries. While Christie has definitely penned more ‘twisty’ whodunits, the shifting dynamics between the book’s various players make for a suspenseful story. With an extraordinarily gripping plot, the book adds another feather to Poirot’s hat as he solves the mystery to leave everyone in awe.
The plot revolves around Hercule Poirot’s cruise along the Nile whose tranquility is interrupted when a passenger is found dead. Now, he must abandon everything he has in hand and put all his focus in the case. But so many people on the cruise seem to be keeping Poirot in the dark by not giving him the whole picture. Incredible, gripping and captivating, it’s one of the must-read Agatha Christie books!
22. Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie (1938)
Where Poirot goes, crime follows. Appointment with Death begins with Poirot on vacation in the desert, overhearing, “You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed.” Days later a horrible, manipulative, cruel woman is dead, surrounded by a number of suspects who also happen to be her family. One of the best books by Agatha Christie, it’s a great reminder of the importance of balance, of keeping things in perspective, of being grateful even for the simplest things and to not be blinded by ambition.
This book starts in the most intriguing manner. It’s divided into two parts: first, where all the characters are introduced along with the events, and the second part in which murder sets in and Poirot begins his investigation which is more psychological than technical. If you haven’t read this one, it really deserves a spot in your TBR.
23. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (1938)
In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holiday serves as a backdrop for the drama of the Lee family—when one of the family members ends up dead. The wealthy Simeon Lee has demanded all four of his sons and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not exactly what he has in his mind. He is found dead in a pool of blood. Suspects are many since Lee has a lot of enemies and was not much loved in the family circle. It’s your classic clue: who killed Simeon Lee in his private room and with what? Almost all of the family members have motives and possibly a few of the house employees, too. And to make things even more interesting, the late Mr. Simeon Lee’s uncut diamonds worth billions have gone missing.
This Christmas themed story takes you to England where complicated family dynamics leads to Hercule Poirot spending the holidays solving a murder. Also, there were a lot of twists and turns which makes the story an enjoyable holiday read.
24. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)
Described by Agatha Christie as the most difficult of her books to write, And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling crime thriller, with over 100 million copies sold. When a group of ten strangers, all with shady pasts, are invited to a weekend getaway on a private island, no one expects that they will all end up dead. As secrets from the guest’s past come to light and the murders begin one by one, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.
An unputdownable classic, it is definitely a good book to grab when looking for something to curl up with this winter. It was engaging and the perfect length. Definitely recommended as a novel in general, but to mystery lovers as well. Also, this would be a good book club pick as it has lots of good conversation starters.
25. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (1941)
A quintessential Agatha Christie story with an ingenious solution by the Belgian detective, Evil Under the Sun leaves you thunderstruck! Hercule Poirot takes a holiday in Devon, but does he ever really take a vacation? When someone is murdered at the resort, he’s drawn into the mystery and his little grey cells must solve the crime. The classic British seaside setting, the fiendishly clever plot, the varied characters and, of course, the love story—it really does have all that is worth reading for Christie fans!
Arlena Stuart is the woman all other women hate—she makes all the men’s heads turn her direction. She’s beautiful, seductive, and irresistible. While on holiday at a secluded island resort, she ends up dead. But who killed her? Her new husband or his moody daughter? One of the other women visiting the island or a jealous lover? Is this a crime of passion or something more sinister? And who else but Hercule Poirot, the man who never seems to get a holiday murder-free, to solve the case!
26. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (1942)
Featuring Miss Marple, an inconspicuous elderly lady who can investigate undetected, The Body in the Library offers the perfect cozy mystery to try while having a cup of tea in the evening. It starts with—you can guess it—a body in the library of an older couple’s estate. Neither the Colonel or Mrs. Bantry knows who the dead woman is or how she ended up in their house. Just as the police are summoned, Mrs. Bantry also calls her friend, Miss Marple, to help solve the case.
But with a second murder occurring up and getting tied to this one and a prediction of a third murder from Miss Marple, it all seems an extraordinary business. The second book in the Miss Marple series, it is full of twists and turns and the way she skins off the mystery is quite wonderful. Miss Marple is, no doubt, an ordinary woman with extraordinary intelligence!
27. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie (1942)
A classic in every sense, Five Little Pigs is one of the best books by Agatha Christie. This time Hercule Poirot is called upon to solve, once and for all, the murder which took place 16 years previously. A woman was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the famous nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it. Her daughter believes that the truth behind her father’s death was never properly found out. She is now determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.
There is something queer and enthralling about solving a case of murder that happened years ago. A lot has changed with time. Witnesses have aged and most of the material evidence is also gone. The limited things left at a detective’s disposal are factual evidence, personal depositions submitted by various witnesses and lastly his own understanding of human psychology. Will Poirot be able to solve this interesting, mysterious case?
28. The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1942)
Considered by Agatha Christie as one of her best novels, The Moving Finger features Miss Marple’s invaluable cleverness in resolving the mystery. After an aircraft accident, Jerry Burton and his sister set out to find a place for him to recover and regain some muscle without the excitement of London. Settled in a small town, everything goes smoothly until the anonymous letters begin its poisonous track. With a mysterious suicide, apparently stemming from one of the letters, all start suspecting one another until help arrives from the vicar’s guest, Miss Marple.
The book deceives us from beginning to end, leading to a path only to surprise you in the end. The ‘Queen of Crime’ demonstrates herself a master in the art of disappointment and cheats even her most assiduous fans with the twist. The book is narrated in the first person, making the reader even more immersed in history. Also, it brushes a little romance in the background, making us connect even more with the characters of the little town.
29. Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie (1944)
With the story based in ancient Egypt, Death Comes as the End revolves around an independent case without Poirot or Ms. Marple to conduct the deductions. The book is divided into three parts: Inundation, Winter and Summer. In Egypt of 2000bc, an ancient mystery rips apart, yet brings together in a strange manner, the family of a Mortuary Priest. Agatha Christie lays out complex Insights into human emotions in this book, as in many of her others. No Poirot, no Marple; just plain old human emotions at work. And also some insight into Egyptian culture and myth as well!
The book is an irresistible drama with a mix of mystery. It’s premise is pure Christie, but the setting, Ancient Egypt, is something new. There’s a lot of things to keep you turning the pages, once you get past the initial introduction. If you’re looking to read a good mystery novel, you can definitely pick this one!
30. Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie (1944)
One of the best standalone books by Agatha Christie, Sparkling Cyanide is an enjoyable murder mystery that’ll cheer you up. Rosemary Barton seemed to have it all: beauty, money, a devoted husband. One night at a dinner party she dies by cyanide, being ruled as a suicide. A year later her widower invites all the people who were there that night for dinner to the same restaurant to supposedly celebrate Rosemary’s younger sister’s birthday. Is the dinner out of remembrance, or is there something else in the works?
All guests seems to have their own likely motive for possibly wanting her dead, so was her death in fact a murder? The element of intrigue and suspense builds up right from the beginning and the storyline manages to hold your attention till the very end. Secret relationships, private letters, and true Agatha Christie twists—read this book and find out the truth of that night.
31. The Hollow by Agatha Christie (1946)
The Hollow is a captivating murder mystery, with Christie expertly dropping enough intrigue and red herrings to implicate every character at one point or another. Lady Angkatell invites some guests, including the Belgian detective, to her estate for a weekend house party. His arrival is met with a mocked murder staged for his amusement: a doctor in blood lies next to the swimming pool, his wife stands stunned over his body with a revolver while the other guests look suitably petrified. But it is no longer an elaborate stage; the blood and the corpse are real!
Thus, a weekend at the country estate devolves into a melting pot of romantic jealousies, familial bitterness, and murder. Guest John Christow is shot in broad daylight, leaving a number of suspects in his wake. Among them: a secret mistress, an estranged lover, a devoted wife. What really happened and who is trying to put up the smokescreen? Now it’s Poirot’s task to uncover the truth!
32. Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)
If you are looking for a mystery set in a grand house, Crooked House fits the theme! It’s a standalone Christie (without any appearance by Poirot or Miss Marple). The story revolves around a large and eccentric family, whose patriarch appears to have been murdered. Was Aristide Leonides injected with his own eye-drops in place of his usual insulin by a calculated killer or was it simply an accident? And which of his family members could have been responsible?
As we meet each member of the family, several new motives and tensions emerge, building towards one of Christie’s most shocking reveals. What a treat! The ‘Queen of Crime’ herself proclaimed this book as one of her favorites to write, and she’s on top form in Crooked House. Christie’s characters are wonderfully alive, and her own humor shines through in this family drama.
33. A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (1950)
One of the best books by Agatha Christie, A Murder is Announced features the seemingly unassuming but shrewd Miss Marple. Where Hercule Poirot is proud to announce his intelligence and incomparable detecting skills, Miss Marple goes about her investigation in a more quiet and subtle manner. Placing herself in gatherings or places where gossips abound, she cunningly gets information without the person realizing that they’ve actually divulged more than they intended.
The local gazette publishes an intriguing open invitation to take part in a murder mystery at the house of Letitia Blacklock. People of the village show up merely out of curiosity, then without warning, the lights go out and a gunshot rings. As the police are at their wits end to solve the case, they reluctantly agree to allow Miss Marple to assist after she presents them with a clue that they had missed. As with all Agatha Christie books, this is a quick read and guaranteed enjoyment.
34. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (1953)
In After the Funeral, Agatha Christie pulls off a clever mystery yet again. Richard Abernethie, the master of Enderby mansion dies ‘suddenly’. After his funeral, his sister Cora tells the family, ‘he was murdered, wasn’t he?’. And the very next day, Cora is found dead in her cottage. It all happens in a sequence. It’s like a cause and effect. It’s like a coincidence. Or is it really? Of course, the lawyer Mr. Entwhistle is clearly not convinced. Neither are the family. So, Hercule Poirot is called upon to investigate and bring forth the truth.
What follows is, indeed, the unfolding of mystery. It is a very clever, unpredictable and inventive story. The final chapters are really a treat to the mystery lovers. Also, the book is more of a mystery and less of a vehicle to showcase the talents of Hercule Poirot, although he does, of course, solve the crime in the end. If you’re into a cozy, detective thriller that is fairly short and easy to read then this might be for you. It’s one of the thoroughly enjoyable and best books by Agatha Christie.
35. 4.50 from Paddington (1957)
4.50 From Paddington is a Miss Marple story about a well-off family who are being plagued by a mysterious poisoner. While on the train home, one of Miss Marple’s friends witnesses a murder in an adjacent train, but strangely finds nothing about a murder in the paper the next day. Now, Miss Marple takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of whether a murder actually took place or not, and if so, what happened to the body?
The story quickly morphs into a country house murder, with all the usual elements you’d expect from a good Christie story, like a family competing with each other for an inheritance, secret affairs, and an extra murder or two thrown in for good measure. It’s a devilishly dark, fun and exhilarating novel with a plot that is expertly thought out. Indeed, a Golden Age murder mystery gem that’ll have you guessing right until the very end!
36. Ordeal by Innocence (1958)
One of Agatha Christie’s later novels, Ordeal by Innocence is a classic crime story that handles the murder of Mrs. Argyle, mother of five adoptive children. One of her sons—with a police record and unable to provide an alibi—has been charged with the murder and sentenced. Two years later his alibi, Arthur Calgary, shows up to help the wrongfully imprisoned, albeit a little too late, making members of the Argyle household realize that the murderer is still among them.
A sans Marple or Poirot storyline, but surprisingly, you don’t miss either of these detectives as the story of Jacko Argyle resurfaces. A series of incidents and revelations cause the killer to strike multiple times again. Clearly, no alibi is water tight enough in a murder mystery. A regular Agatha Christie thriller that you simply cannot put down. Although this book centers on a large cast of characters in only ~300 pages, Christie manages to write each character as an individual with believable motivations and depth.
37. Cat among the Pigeons (1959)
A story featuring an exclusive school for girls, Cat Among the Pigeons blends the worlds of academia, espionage, and political unrest. Meadowbanks is where the best families send their daughters to be educated, and it is run by the imposing Miss Bulstrode. The term starts much as usual, with anxious parents dropping off their daughters and trying to gain an audience with the headmistress. But things take a deadly turn when the games mistress, the not-well-liked Miss Springer, is found shot dead in the new sports pavilion. Was it a burglary gone wrong, or is something more complicated afoot?
A bloody revolution in the Palace of Ramat, a case of hidden jewels and mistaken identity, the start of a new term at the prestigious school, and the murder of a games mistress in its new sports pavilion—this sequence of seemingly unrelated events all lead Poirot to believe there is a ‘cat among the pigeons’. An easy read which is full of exciting storylines, it’s one of the best books by Agatha Christie!
38. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (1961)
One of Agatha Christie’s most sinister and darkest crime mysteries, The Pale Horse has been recently adapted for BBC Television by the award-winning team behind And Then There Were None. It’s quite intriguing how Christie combines both superstitious beliefs and the awe over science and technology as smoke and mirrors.
A dying woman entrusts her priest with a list of names and a confession about unspeakable evil, but the priest is murdered on his way home. When the police investigate, they find that most of the people on the list have died recently. The narrator, Mark Easterbrook, is drawn by his connection to the list into a dark mystery that involves an inn called the Pale Horse and three women who might be witches. It’s definitely one of the must-read books by the ‘Queen of Mystery’.
39. The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962)
A short and satisfying mystery, The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side features Christie’s brilliant use of classic misdirection, leading to one of the best mystery twists ever read. It is a story which won’t let you sleep, drink or eat until you finish reading it. After reading this book, one realizes why Agatha Christie is considered as the queen of the most mysterious criminal stories of the fictional world.
The glamorous American actress Marina Gregg and her husband have purchased Gossington Hall from Miss Marple’s friend Dolly Bantry. Gregg and her husband host a fete for St. John Ambulance at Gossington with various local and American guests including local Heather Badcock. Upon meeting Gregg, Heather shares a story about meeting Gregg years ago, her biggest fan. Next thing, Heather suddenly suffers a massive seizure and then is pronounced dead. What happened to Heather’s Badcock? Was she even the target? The police struggle to find clues and Miss Marple joins them to help investigate and find the murderer.
40. The Clocks by Agatha Christie (1963)
More thriller-ish than a puzzle mystery, The Clocks is one of the best books by Agatha Christie. There are multiple mysteries interlinked with each other and a marine biologist turned into some kind of military spy called ‘Colin Lamb’, who is also a friend of Hercule Poirot. The book starts in an extremely intriguing way, building an air of confusion that drags you along with it.
Sheila Webb, a secretary, is on her way to Miss Pebmarsh’s house to do some typing work for her. When she enters, she is surprised to find an unidentifiable man stabbed on the floor and too many clocks, all set to the same time—thirteen minutes past four. And to make things even more complicated, Miss Pebmarsh denies having called for a typist in the first place. So who did? And who murdered the man? Also, what are the clocks for?
41. Third Girl by Agatha Christie (1966)
Thrilling and confusing all the same, Third Girl is a great cocktail of humor, suspense and mystery. Three single girls share the same London flat. The first works as a secretary; the second is an artist; the third comes to Poirot seeking out his help. Thus begins the story.
A perplexed young girl has strange memories of herself committing a murder, but she doesn’t know if it’s in her past or yet to come. As Poirot tries to protect her, he finds more and more strangeness surrounding her and tries to pick out knot after knot. A spirit at a séance declares Captain Trevelyan dead. As Major Burnaby rushes to check on his friend, the Captain finds him dead at the exact time declared at the séance. Is it a supernatural foe or something closer to home? And then Hercule noticed a thing nobody ever has!
42. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (1967)
An outstanding standalone, Endless Nights is quite different from Christie’s other novels. The book packs a punch—it’s engaging, unexpected, and a little disturbing but not enough that you can’t sleep at night. There are the usual elements, such as murders, poison, suspicious domestics, and a full cast of questionable characters. But this is more of a gothic novel overall, complete with Gypsy curses and foreboding warnings.
This story is about evil disguised in the sweetest circumstances. The narrator of the story is Michael, a normal naïve person who comes to know about an enormous elegant land called Gipsy Acre, which is about to be sold at auction the next day. Unexpectedly, he meets an affluent girl Ellie who later becomes the love of his life. She bought the Gipsy Acre to lead their lives peacefully in a bewitching place although the land is called to be cursed. Everything seems to be going absolutely well until some strange things start happening. Christie’s novels always contain clever misdirection, and this one is no exception in that regard, but the technique is unique.
43. By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968)
Unleash your inner sleuth with By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie. This book features Tommy and Tuppence determined to find out the cause of an old woman’s mysterious disappearance. We see them get involved in an unusual mystery with unexpected happenings. They are a little older here, and a little wiser. But they still get into scrapes. With diamonds, gangs of criminals, serial killers and dead children, this is one of the most convoluted and scary of Christie’s books.
While Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are visiting his elderly aunt at an old folks’ home, one of the other residents asks Tuppence, “Was it your poor child behind the fireplace?” Soon after that Tommy’s aunt dies and they discover that the woman Tuppence talked to has also been removed by her family. Finding the circumstances suspicious, they decide to investigate. A must-read, this fourth book in the Tommy & Tuppence series is utterly gripping!
44. Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie (1969)
A Halloween themed book from the Queen of mystery! Hallowe’en Party is one of the last novels that Agatha Christie wrote and it feels very different from her earlier ones. Through Poirot, Christie discusses aging (she was 79 when it was published) and the changes in the world around her.
The famous author Ariadne Oliver attends a children’s Halloween party in which a teenage girl is found dead in an apple bobbing tank after she’s overheard bragging about once witnessing a murder. Who committed this crime? Why have there been other mysterious deaths in this village? Who is behind these tragedies? With the help of her friend Poirot, Ms. Oliver attempts to solve two murders before the murderer can strike again.
45. Nemesis by Agatha Christie (1971)
One of the best books by Agatha Christie, Nemesis is a cozy murder mystery with Miss Marple as the leading detective. The book has it all—love, revenge, betrayal, murder and justice. It’s an intriguing read with so much character exploration.
The story begins with a letter that Miss Marple receives from one of her recently deceased acquaintances, Mr. Jason Rafiel. An elderly Miss Marple reads the letter in utter disbelief since it asks for her willingness to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem is that he has failed to give her any details relating to the crime or it’s nature. Soon she is faced with the ultimate crime—murder. Provided the clues and other facilities by Mr. Rafel, Miss Marple embarks on a quest to find out the criminal and solve the crime case.
46. Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975)
The final Hercule Poirot novel, Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case is the cleverest and genuinely amazing Agatha Christie novel. She actually wrote this book in the 1940s, but it wasn’t published until the 1970s, a couple of years before she died. The crime-investigating careers of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings have come full circle—they are back once again in the same house in which they solved their first murder mystery together.
The narrative is initially told by Hastings, who is called by an old and ill Poirot at Styles House. Poirot is certain that a murder will occur and in his ill health, he needs Hastings to be his eyes and ears. Despite being crippled with arthritis, there is nothing wrong with the Belgian detective’s ‘little grey cells.’ The inevitable murder does occur, in fact many murders, and the narrative is then picked up by Poirot, who tells us everything we failed to see in Hastings’ story. And Poirot is well aware that he must do something to prevent a sixth murder before the curtain falls…
47. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (1976)
Sleeping Murder is one of the best books in the Miss Marple series, and Christie certainly thought so too, locking away this novel for 30 years to be published after her death. Paced at a breakneck pace and with a fantastic solution that’s quintessentially Christie, the book relies on psychology and overheard phrases having more than one meaning.
In the book, a newlywed couple moves into a house for the first time, only for the wife to have a chilling feeling that she has been there before. Not only that, but she also seems to possess memories of living in the house as a child and witnessing a murder at the time that has apparently been all but forgotten as time has moved on. This sets in motion an investigation into a murder that happened almost 20 years ago. Miss Marple herself steps onto the scene almost from the very start of this book, and she is quintessentially herself through the whole story. A last book in the Miss Marple series, it’s worth reading!