Agatha Christie was an English writer from Torquay in the United Kingdom who lived between the years 1890 and 1976. She wrote 66 detective novels,14 short story collections, and the world’s longest-running play – The Mousetrap, during her time as a writer. She remains the best-selling author of all time over 45 years after her death.
Agatha was a renowned murder-mystery writer, and she explored the true depths of that art in her writings and created many best-sellers, including And Then There Were None which was her biggest novel, and Murder on the Orient Express, amongst others. She was an absolutely amazing writer, probably the best writer of her generation, and if you’re looking to get your hands on some of her books and you have no idea how to navigate through her art, this article is just for you.
This article brings to you the best Agatha Christie books you should definitely read if you wish to delve into her writings and will also give a brief history of each of her best books and will also concisely narrate the plot of each story listed in this article. Keep reading to tap into the true essence of Agatha Christie’s art.
1. Murder On The Orient Express
This remains one of the greatest novels Agatha Christie ever wrote. The novel was first published in 1934, and it is a murder-mystery-themed novel that involves the death of an American Tycoon who is found dead in his apartment, stabbed a dozen times, and his door locked from the inside. The duty of resolving the murder case falls on Agatha’s ever-famous detective – Hercule Poirot, who has to identify the murderer in their midst in case they decide to strike again.
Agatha Christie’s comment on the book – “The impossible could not have happened. Therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” This book is definitely an amazing read and a great way to get into Agatha Christie’s works.
2. The Mysterious Affair At Styles
This was Agatha Christie’s first-ever novel and was hilariously a product of a dare by Agatha’s sister Madge who challenged her to write a story. It was published in 1920, and the story features Hercule Poirot, who goes on to feature in several others of her novels. The story is centered around the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp, who is found dead due to poisoning after the arrival of Hastings at his friend John Cavendish’s court after fighting in the first world war. Suspicion is raised on the family and an old friend for the murder, and Poirot is invited to investigate the murder.
The book is an amazing read and got several outstanding reviews, including one from New York Times – “Though this may be the first published book of Miss Agatha Christie, she betrays the cunning of an old hand.”
3. The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd
Published in 1926, this is another Hercule Poirot mystery. Described as the story that changed Agatha Christie’s career, this book is a thriller that keeps the readers at the edge of their seats the whole time. The main character of the story, Roger Ackroyd, knows way too much, and the woman he loved who poisoned her first husband has just killed herself by a substance overdose.
He knows someone blackmailed her, ultimately leading to her death, and the evening post is going to expose the culprit. However, before he browses through the entire post, Ackroyd is stabbed through his neck in his study. This is another tough mystery for Poirot.
This book is magnificent and is embellished with lots of cliffhangers, a worthy read. Hercule Poirot – “The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it.”
4. Poirot Sul Nilo
Translated as Death on the Nile, this is another of Agatha Christie’s books that definitely deserves its spot as one of her best books. It was first published in 1937, and the plot of the story is another murder whose mystery is to be solved by Hercule Poirot.
Linnet Ridgeway is brutally murdered by a headshot on a cruise along the Nile river. Poirot is very suspicious of a passenger who had previously threatened the young lady as the culprit. However, nothing seems to be what it is on this particular cruise. Get your hands on this book for a suspense-filled thriller.
“It is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.” – Hercule Poirot, Death on the Nile.
5. The A.B.C. Murders
This was one of the three Agatha Christie books that were published in 1936. She skillfully explores the use of a serial killer as the main focus of her plot in this book. The serial killer is also an alphabet-obsessed maniac who murders people in a thorough alphabetical manner that includes both their names and their residential areas.
The serial killer leaves this obvious clue in his pattern of murders to taunt the proud Poirot and keeps making his way around the country in his eccentric murder pattern. Read this book to see how Poirot deals with a weird serial killer who throws a challenge directly into his face.
“Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.” – Hercule Poirot, The ABC Murders.
6. Five Little Pigs
This book was published in the middle stages of Agatha Christie’s writing career in the year 1942. Poirot solves a murder case with the most unusual case – a nursery rhyme that he couldn’t get out of his head. Caroline Crale has been convicted of poisoning her husband.
However, there are five other suspects: Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market, Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home, Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee), who had roast beef, Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none, and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister) who cried ‘wee-wee wee’ all the way home. It took 16 years but read how Hercule Poirot solved this confusing mystery in five little pigs.
“One does not employ merely the muscles. I do not need to bend and measure the footprints and pick up the cigarette ends and examine the bent blades of grass. It is enough for me to sit back in my chair and think.” – Hercule Poirot, Five Little Pigs.
7. The Murder At The Vicarage
This epic story was published in 1930. Agatha Christie makes use of her other detective character Miss Marple for this story. The story is founded on a careless statement made by the Parson while brandishing a carving knife – “Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a favor!”
This statement took no time in coming back to haunt the clergyman as the Colonel was found shot dead in the clergyman’s study a few hours later. All fingers point directly to the clergyman, but Miss Marple soon discovers that the entire village, in fact, had a motive to kill the colonel. Read how Miss Marple solves this case in The Murder at the Vicarage.
8. Crooked House Agatha Christie
This story has gone as far as being adapted as a movie. First published in 1948, this book stands tall and high in Agatha Christie’s catalog. A rich businessman from Greece is found dead in his home, Aristide, who resides with his family in his magnificent mansion, has lived a happy life so far until he is found murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.
All eyes unavailingly stare at the wealthy man’s widow as she is fifty years younger than he is. However, there is another suspect hiding in plain sight. Avail yourself the opportunity to be thrilled by reading Crooked House.
“Curious thing, rooms. Tell you quite a lot about the people who live in them.” – Chief Inspector Taverner, Crooked House.
9. The Secret Adversary
This was Agatha Christie’s second book ever written. It was published in 1922. The plot is centered around two young men who, in search of fun, adventure, and excitement, offer themselves to do anything. Tommy and Tuppence of Young Adventurers Ltd. find themselves in much more trouble than they can imagine when the sinister Mr. Whittington plunges them into serious danger. This is a fast-paced story that is absolutely worth the read.
“Never tell all you know – not even to the person you know best.” – Sir James Peel Edgerton, The Secret Adversary.
10. The Murder On The Links
This was Agatha’s third novel and the second appearance of Hercule Poirot, first published in 1923. Poirot receives an emergency call from France but arrives a little too late to save his client, who is callously stabbed to death and is buried in a shallow grave on a golf course. So many clues and irreconcilable pieces of evidence are left flying around on the dead body, but before Poirot can place two and two together, a second identically murdered body is discovered. Find out how Poirot deals with this dilemma in The Murder on the Links.
“Mon Ami, two people rarely see the same thing.” – Hercule Poirot, The Murder on the Links.
11. Endless Night
This novel was written towards the twilight of Agatha Christie’s writing career, first published in 1967. This is a true masterpiece by Agatha Christie. Michael Rogers has bright plans for his life, and he has found just the perfect place to build on his dreams. However, his land of dreams is actually a land of nightmares as he soon realizes he probably should have listened to the locals who already told him Gipsy’s Acre is no place for fun. Find out what happens to Michael Rogers in Endless Night.
“I just woke up feeling happy this morning. You know those days when everything in the world seems right.” – Michael Rogers, Endless Night.
12. A Murder Is Announced
This is another Miss Marple story Agatha Christie wrote in the middle ages of her writing career. This book was first published in 1950, and it was Agatha Christie’s 50th published book. This book is truly one for the ages as it takes crime fiction to its peak.
An advertisement in the local gazette turns the entire village upside down. No one can genuinely hide their curiosity as the advertisement reads – “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.” A crowd gathers at Little Paddocks at the appointed time to witness what will satisfy their curiosity then the lights go out. Find out what happens and how Miss Marple solves this case in a Murder is Announced.
“One is alone when the last one who remembers is gone.” – Miss Marple.
13. The Mystery Of The Blue Train
Published in 1928 and one of Agatha Christie’s earlier releases with Hercule Poirot as the main detective. This novel narrates how Poirot has to solve the murder case of a pampered millionaire’s daughter Ruth Kettering who is brutally murdered on the luxurious Blue Train traveling from London to Rivera and has her very expensive jewelry stolen. Time is not on Poirot’s side, and the Train is not stopping until it reaches its destination. Find out how Poirot uncovers the culprit in The Mystery of the Blue Train.
14. Hallowe’en Party
Published in 1969, this is one of the novels Agatha Christie wrote towards the end of her writing career and shortly before her death. It is a Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver story. Joyce-a hostile thirteen-year-old, boasts about having witnessed a murder in the past at a Halloween party, of course, no one believes her, she storms home, fuming with frustration. Her corpse is found hours later in an apple-bobbing tub. Poirot is called in that night to resolve the murder, but he first has to figure out whether he is looking for a murderer or a double murderer. Discover what happens in this crime fiction in Hallowe’en Party.
“For me, it is truth I want. Always truth.” – Hercule Poirot, Hallowe’en Party
15. Peril At End House
The popularity of this particular novel knows no bounds, and it has gone as far as the novel been adapted into a murder mystery game. First published in 1931, this is another Hercule Poirot story. A beautiful young woman with an unconventional name, Nick Buckley, has had a weird life so far.
Poirot observes several things happening around her, including an oil painting falling and almost crushing her in bed, a bullet in her sun hat, and a falling boulder missing her by inches, and Poirot decides she needs his protection while resolving a murder case that is yet to happen. This case pushes Poirot to the limits of his intelligence. Read this Agatha Christie thriller for a memorable experience.
“Evil never goes unpunished, Monsieur. But the punishment is sometimes secret.” – Hercule Poirot, Peril at End House.
These 15 novels are the very best of Agatha Christie’s catalog of 66 novels. Reading them would give a thrilling and fun experience. The intentional artistry behind these books keeps the reader at the edge of their seat the whole time and brings to light the pinnacle of detective intelligence.