2020 marks 100 years since the publication of Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles —the book that introduced Hercule Poirot to the world.
I remember I first read a Christie mystery in the sixth grade when I discovered Poirot in the yellow-paged books of our school’s library. My bibliophilia only grew stronger from there. Agatha Christie’s novels were a big part of my life growing up.
Christie delineated her detective characters quite differently from other similar characters of those days, focusing more on the psychology of crime than material evidence and that’s something I really liked about her books. So in this edition of ‘On My Bookshelf’, I present to you my top 5 Christie mysteries.
Don’t worry there are NO spoilers!
And Then There Were None
This is the book that started my absolute love of the mystery genre. I am in awe of this book and it’s almost a tradition for me to read it every year around Halloween. Between the poem, the deserted island, the plot twist, the count-down, the pure clandestine suspense… it couldn’t get any better. If you’ve never read Agatha Christie, let this be your first. You will almost know what would happen next because of the sequence and yet, had have no idea how it would come about.
Murder on the Orient Express
One train. One murder. And multiple suspects. Everyone has an alibi and everyone has a motive. How did this seemingly impossible murder occur?
I was stumped by the climax. But with good reason as this plot twist will have your knickers locked down (and not just in a bunch!).
The plot is just too delicious. The characters are fascinating. No modern-day electronics. No ability to research anything other than by asking questions. And Christie wrote this nearly 100 years ago.
The A.B.C. Murders
This was my first Agatha Christie novel.
One of the most engrossing Poirot stories. It has a great beginning and as the plot progresses you stay glued trying to make a sense of it all. Tantalizingly, clues are scattered loosely to off-track you. And then finally with a flourish, Poirot reveals the murderer you are left gaping at the cleverness of the author in steering such a plot. I feel a bit foolish when she dangles bait in front of me, and although I guess it for what it is, I take it anyway. And yet, if ever it felt good to be played the fool, it’s while reading a good mystery.
Agatha Christie is such a crafty devil that midway through a novel she might have you believe that YOU are the murderer! 😂
A Murder Is Announced
An idyllic village in the English countryside is waking up, its quirky residents about to start their day with their favorite newspaper, where an invitation to murder is waiting for them. Can you think of anything more interesting? Leticia, the ‘’queen’’ of the village, is completely unaware of the play supposedly staged in her house, but what the heck, let’s go with the flow. And a murder does take place but not in the way everyone has imagined. Thus, everything is ready for one of the finest mysteries by Queen Agatha.
Cat Among The Pigeons
A revolution in one of the Middle East countries let to the death of its ruler which lead to his jewels missing which led to everybody and their sister hunting for them which led to some dead bodies appearing in the premier school for girls in Great Britain which led to Poirot taking matters in his hands which led to him discovering the culprit. Clear enough?
Contrary to popular opinion, I include this one in my top 5. While there are better stories written by Christie, this one presents a good example of how Christie focused on the psychology of crime. I was entertained by this novel with touches of espionage along with lots of murder.
When it comes to traditional mysteries almost nobody can rival Dame Agatha. Here’s to the woman and stories of a lifetime.
Thank you for reading. Hope to see you in the next one. Till then, don’t forget that you’re amazing.