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Celebrating Mystery: 10 Must-Read Books by Agatha Christie

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Simon Owens and Jorge Sette found this witty
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Who doesn't love a good mystery novel? I know that I do! It's been one of my favorite literary genres for as long as I can remember- and I probably started reading them well before I had the proper age to do so. There was something thrilling and exciting about them and the questions they posed: who did it, and why, and how did they do it.


Isn't Agatha Christie one of the names that come to mind when you think of murder, hidden bodies, smoking guns, and clever detectives? Isn't Hercule Poirot synonym for all things that have to do with unravelling the stories behind unnatural deaths trying to pose as natural?    


My mom bought me my first novel by Agatha Christie when I was 10 years old. She had told me about her, the woman that wrote stories where the culprit usually was the character you least expected to be guilty of anything. Like the smiling butler or the very polite maid, the foreign daughter in law or the grieving widow. For the past fifteen years, I've left Mrs. Christie take me with her in a number of adventures that have both surprised me and rendered me speechless. Her writing and plots are always clever and interesting, and her style and wit are to match! 


The following is a list of the cases written by Mrs. Christie that have impacted me the most. Some I've read when I was 10, others during my secondary school years, and others I've come across now that I am a little bit older.  Every time I revisit their pages, I remember why I fell in love with mystery novels in the first place and why I think this is a genre worth celebrating.

Murder on the Orient Express

A facsimile first edition hardback of Poirot's most famous book, published to mark the 80th anniversary of his first appearance. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. With tension mounting, detective Hercule Poirot comes up with not one, but two solutions to the crime. To mark the 80th anniversary of Hercule Poirot's first appearance, and to celebrate his renewed fortunes as a primetime television star, this launch title in a collection of facsimile first editions is the perfect way to experience Agatha Christie. Reproducing the original typesetting and format of the first edition from the Christie family's own archive, this book sports the original cover which has been painstakingly restored to its original glory.

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After the Funeral

The master of a Victorian mansion dies suddenly - and his sister is convinced it was murder...When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard's funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard's will, Cora was clearly heard to say: 'It's been hushed up very nicely, hasn't it...But he was murdered, wasn't he?' In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Considered to be one of Agatha Christie s most controversial mysteries, "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" breaks all the rules of traditional mystery writing. A widow s suicide has stirred rumors of blackmail, and of a secret lover named Roger Ackroyd, who was found stabbed to death in his study. The case is so unconventional that not even crack detective Hercule Poirot has a clue as to how to solve it."

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4.50 from Paddington

Agatha Christie's audacious mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman's throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away.But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses... and no corpse.

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THREE BLIND MICE AND OTHER STORIES

A blinding snowstorm--and a homicidal maniac--traps a small party of friends in an isolated estate. Out of this deceptively simple set-up, Agatha Christie fashioned one of her most ingenious puzzlers, which, in turn, would provide the basis for The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in history. From this classic title novella to the deliciously clever gems on its tail (solved to perfection by Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple), this rare collection of murder most foul showcases the inimitable Christie at her inventive best, proving her reputation as "the champion deceiver of our time."

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The ABC Murders

Agatha Christie's world-famous serial killer mystery, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. There's a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim's corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place. Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught - until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans...

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HALLOWE'EN PARTY

A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples... At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the 'evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer...

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Third Girl

A perplexed girl thinks she might have killed someone...Three single girls shared the same London flat. The first worked as a secretary; the second was an artist; the third who came to Poirot for help, disappeared convinced she was a murderer.Now there were rumours of revolvers, flick-knives and blood stains. But, without hard evidence, it would take all Poirot's tenacity to establish whether the third girl was guilty innocent or insane...

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Third Girl

A perplexed girl thinks she might have killed someone...Three single girls shared the same London flat. The first worked as a secretary; the second was an artist; the third who came to Poirot for help, disappeared convinced she was a murderer. Now there were rumours of revolvers, flick-knives and blood stains. But, without hard evidence, it would take all Poirot's tenacity to establish whether the third girl was guilty innocent or insane...

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Hickory Dickory Dock

There's more than petty theft going on in a London youth hostel...An outbreak of kleptomania at a student hostel was not normally the sort of crime that aroused Hercule Poirot's interest. But when he saw the list of stolen and vandalized items - including a stethoscope, some old flannel trousers, a box of chocolates, a slashed rucksack and a diamond ring found in a bowl of soup - he congratulated the warden, Mrs Hubbard, on a 'unique and beautiful problem'. The list made absolutely no sense at all. But, reasoned Poirot, if this was merely a petty thief at work, why was everyone at the hostel so frightened?

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So if you're looking to immerse yourself in a narrative that is both complex and compelling and always leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat, wanting more, these books are a great place to start.

Bilingual (Spanish and English) creative writer and editor with a BA in Publishing and Editing from the University of Buenos Aires.

Found this article relevant?

Simon Owens and Jorge Sette found this witty
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