5 Agatha Christie novels every mystery fan should read

5 Agatha Christie novels every mystery fan should read

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Agatha Christie is a British icon.

Regarded as the best selling fiction writer of all time, she has sold an estimated 2 billion books worldwide.

As well as this, Christie also holds the record for the longest-running West End show with her infamous murder mystery The Mousetrap having run continuously since its debut in 1952.

However, with over 66 mystery novels to choose from, embarking on an Agatha Christie reading expedition can seem a bit of a daunting task. 

To help you on your way, we have put together a handy list of five classics from the Queen of Crime that we believe every mystery literature fan should read.

1. And Then There Were None

A classic.

Labelled as the world’s best selling mystery book of all time, And Then There Were None is undoubtedly Christie’s best.

In 2015, And Then There Were None topped an international online poll

to determine the world’s favourite Agatha Christie Book.

It won the title with 21% of the vote.

Ten strangers are summoned under various false pretenses to an isolated, private island. Once there, they are each publicly accused of a crime and one by one begin dying in grisly circumstances.

Their fates mimic an ominous nursery rhyme that hangs in each guest’s room. In rhyming verse, it counts down the perilous fates of ten unlucky ‘“soldier boys’” each expiring in turn until none remain.

Who is the killer? Who will survive? What does it all mean?

And Then There Were None is one story guaranteed to keep you gripped and guessing until the very last word. An absolute must-read.

2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

One of Christie’s most original and highly praised tales, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is famous for it’s twist ending.

The ultimate whodunit, the novel investigates and sets out to solve the titular murder. It negotiates many twists and turns along the way, while in true Agatha Christie fashion, introducing a convoluted ensemble of complex characters.

This is a book that will leave you stunned once all is revealed.

A book that will make you question everything you thought you knew.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd will inhabit your brain for days to come; perhaps even forcing you to immediately read the whole thing over again, in an attempt to spot all the clues you might have missed.

3. Murder on the Orient Express

Our number three pick is Agatha Christie’s most well known story. If you were to ask someone on the street to name you an Agatha Christie novel, chances are their reply would be Murder on the Orient Express.

There have been two film adaptations of the story, the first in 1974 with a cast including Sean Connery and Lauren Bacall, and the second more recently in 2017, starring A-Listers such as Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Olivia Coleman, and Penelope Cruz.

It has also been made into a video game and twice adapted for television.

So why is the story so popular?

The action takes place aboard a luxury train which is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift.

This antiquated and nostalgic form of travel envelops the reader, immediately transporting them to the isolated location existing wholly within the trapped locomotive.

A wealthy passenger is found murdered in his compartment. He has been stabbed 12 times yet his compartment door is locked – from the inside.

Everyone is a suspect, but who is the murderer?

A riveting read and one that features Christie’s infamous Belgian hero Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express is a classic mystery that will keep your intrigue from beginning to end, and every page between.

4. The ABC Murders

Another of Agatha Christie’s more well-known titles, The ABC Murders is one of the first examples of the previously non-existent notion of a serial killer.

Once again featuring the investigative work of enigmatic, retired Private Detective Hercule Poirot, The ABC Murders tells the tale of three seemingly random murders, linked through their alliteration. 

First to go is Alice Ascher in Andover, then Betty Barnard of Bexhill, and finally Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churchston. Left beside each victim is a copy of the ‘ABC Rail Guide’.

Whilst every individual with the initials DD looks over their shoulder, can Poirot catch the serial murderer?

A definite page turner, The ABC Murders is a book where your accusations will

change at the end of every chapter.

And even when you’re sure you’ve got it right, you’ll still be wrong.

An absolute masterclass in mystery fiction, The ABC Murders prompted the Time Literary Supplement of January 1936 to comment, “if Mrs Christie ever deserts fiction for crime, she will be very dangerous”.

5. The Moving Finger

Our final pick is also the first introduction into this list of Agatha Christie’s second infamous character creation, the shrewdly intelligent yet pleasantly endearing, Miss Jane Marple.

Typical of an Agatha Christie mystery, The Moving Finger is set in a quiet town with an ensemble cast of eccentric characters. It tells the story of the costly fallout of a spate of anonymous, accusatory letters – all typed by someone using only one finger.

The Moving Finger is a story that has everything – inflammatory gossip, siblings accused of being lovers, death by cyanide, bodies in cupboards, makeovers, stakeouts, heads in gas ovens, typewriters, blackmail and of course – murder.

Though perhaps somewhat less well-known and highly praised as the previous titles on this list, this story is nonetheless gripping.

One of Christie’s personal favourites, The Moving Finger is sure to leave you feeling duly satisfied once the mysteries have been so elegantly untangled and the guilty party pleasingly exposed.

What do you think of our list?

Do you have a favourite Agatha Christie novel that you think should be included?