The “Queen of Crime”, Agatha Christie, has enthralled generations with her crime novels revolving around fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. A lot of her stories continue to be transformed into feature films world over. If you have not read her novels yet, here are 15 novels we recommend. Which one is your favorite?
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Hercule Poirot, the fictional Belgian detective, debuts with this novel. It is a classic whodunnit that sees Poirot solving an unique case of poisoning at the Styles Court. Readers are introduced to Poirot’s detection methods that cemented Christie’s name in history.
The Secret Adversary (1922)
Readers are introduced to Christie’s dynamic duo, Tommy and Tuppence, who embark on a thrilling adventure riled with espionage and political intrigue. The enemy is a mysterious person who goes by the name, Mr. Brown.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
One of the most celebrated and controversial of Christie’s novels, the story finds Dr. Sheppard retelling about the death of a wealthy widower and the owner of Fernly Park, Roger Ackroyd. Ackroyd is found dead and no one knows how. Poirot investigates the family to discover hidden secrets. The story ends with an ingenious twist that challenged the conventional wisdom of detective fiction.
Peril at End House (1932)
Poirot and Hastings are vacationing in Cornwall when they are called to investigate the death of a young woman. Was the death accidental or was she murdered? As Poirot digs deeper into her relationships, a web of hidden motives, love and betrayal, and a meticulously planned crime emerges to the shock of many.
Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
A wealthy American is found murdered while traveling on the Orient Express. Poirot takes over and finds that every passenger has a brutal past connecting them to the dead American. The final reveal leads to a morally ambiguous conclusion, beckoning the question of natural justice.
Cards on the Table (1936)
If you thought high-stakes card games were the panache of Ian Fleming’s flamboyant 007 James Bond, you will be surprised. Cards on the Table is a showcase of Christie’s mastery in storytelling and creating intricate plots. The premise is simple: how deadly can high-stakes card games become? Read to find out.
The A.B.C Murders (1936)
Poirot faces a clever adversary, a serial killer murdering people with alliterative names and in alphabetical order. The case tests Poirot’s skill of deductive reasoning and he must race against time to predict the murderer’s behavioral pattern and stop the next murder in time.
Death on the Nile (1937)
You probably have watched many movies based on this novel. But, nothing beats reading the original story. Christie’s description of the breathtaking backdrop of ancient Egypt and the skill in navigating the complex labyrinth of motives, betrayal, and love is worth reading.
Appointment with Death (1938)
Mrs. Boynton is a sadistic and domineering matriarch found dead on a trip to Petra. Her demise sparks a complex investigation into the family’s history, complex dynamics, long-buried secrets, and hidden greed. The psychological demeanor of the characters adds layers of mystery Poirot encounters in the exotic Middle-East landscape.
And Then There Were None (1939)
It is the best-selling crime novel of all time. It has been adapted into movies, radio plays, television shows, and theaters in multiple languages all over the world. Eight guests are lured into an island off the coast of Devon with a personal invitation. They succumb to mysterious deaths, surrounded by guilt and paranoia. The final reveal is a masterpiece of moral reckoning.
Evil Under the Sun (1941)
In the idyllic and secluded setting of Devon, a young woman is found dead in a hotel. Arlena was a flirtatious young woman disliked by the guests at the hotel. The idyllic setting brilliantly juxtaposes with the darkness of human nature. Poirot reveals a story of unfulfilled desires, revenge, and jealousy.
Five Little Pigs (1942)
Caroline Crale dies in prison, convicted of murdering her husband Amyas Crale. She professes her innocence in her last letter from prison. Poirot is called by their daughter to reinvestigate a murder that happened 16-years ago. He reconstructs the past and unveils a poignant story of love and betrayal.
The Hollow (1946)
Affluent guests gather at The Hollow one weekend. Fraught with emotional undercurrent and murderous intent, a tragic crime happens and Poirot is called to solve the murder. He unravels the complex and hidden motives and relationships of the affluent guests. The author blends mystery and psychological insight to write a meticulous story.
A Murder Is Announced (1950)
A murder is announced before it even takes place. The local paper publishes an advertisement revealing the time and place of a murder. Jane Marple, our detective, is intrigued and gets involved in this theatrical crime. The line between reality and fiction blurs, leading to a cathartic revelation.
In the final novel of Poirot’s career, the story becomes a fitting tribute to his illustrious career as the detective par excellence. The story delves into the themes of sacrifice and justice, and the complexity of human thinking. Poirot solves the case with an ingenious solution that baffles everyone and leads to unexpected consequences.