Three of My Favourite Agatha Christie Books

Reading ‘Agatha Christie’ makes one nostalgic. I wonder how an old-fashioned crime investigation can hold its charm for a 100-years now! Agatha Christie published her first book, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ in 1920 and introduced Hercule Poirot, the detective who appeared in thirty-three of her sixty-six detective novels.

Sherlock Holmes (created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and Hercule Poirot are the two most widely read detectives in fiction. Though Sherlock influenced Christie in creating Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective stands out distinctively for sure. Hercule Poirot is a small man with two points of an upward-curled moustache who studies the psychology of his suspects and depends on the ‘little grey cells of the brain’ to crack a case.

Agatha Christie created Jane Marple too, the elderly female detective but I am not including her books this time (probably another post, sometime soon!).

So here goes my pick for the favourite three Agatha Christie books.

Murder in the Orient Express published in 1934

An intriguing mystery of a murder inside the luxurious first-class coach of the Orient Express that unfortunately gets stranded due to snowdrift, somewhere in Yugoslavia. This coach is sealed out from the rest of the train so the murderer definitely is one amongst the twelve passengers and the wagon-lit conductors. Or, is there an alternate theory of the murderer possibly escaping before the snow locked in the doors?

Hercule Poirot lands on the Orient Express owing to a message from London to return immediately from Turkey. It is difficult for him to secure a berth, though it is an unlikely time for the train to be completely booked. Poirot is finally able to get a berth with the help of a friend, Monsieur Bouc, a director of the railway traveling by the same train. While boarding the train, a rich American businessman, Mr.Ratchett recognizes Poirot and approaches him with the information that he had been receiving death threats.

The coincidence of Poirot’s presence and lack of assistance from Yugoslavian police puts him incharge of the investigation after Mr.Ratchett is found dead on the night of their train journey. Poirot’s classic style of examining the crime scene and the suspect interviews are pure treats to read. The old-world charm of finding clues in a cigar cleaner, red kimono, embroidered handkerchief, and a watch stopped at quarter-past one is sure to keep you riveted.

‘I mean,’ explained Poirot, ‘that if the murderer intended us to believe that he had escaped by way of the window he would naturally make it appear that the other two exits were impossible. Like the “disappearing person” in the cabinet – it is a trick. It is our business to find out how the trick is done.

And Then There Were None published in 1939

Be sure thy sin will find thee out.” Quite prophetic as it sounds! Ten people are invited to the Soldier Island, cut off from the mainland where they meet their end mysteriously. Each of the eight guests to the Soldier island accept the invitation with an expectation of a delightful stay. The other two – husband and wife – are hired as butler and cook at the house to serve the guest just before their arrival.

Soon the guests notice the nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Soldiers’ framed on the wall of every room and ten little soldier toys placed on the dining room table. A gramophone is played that accuses each member inside the house of committing a grave crime. Now the guests come together to try and understand their situation. It seems a mysterious man, Mr. U.N. Owen is the owner of the place but it also appears to be a crazy lunatic’s mere wordplay.

One-after-the-other, the inmates begin to meet their end, and ominously a little soldier toy vanishes on each count. It spooks you out as a reader, the eerie atmosphere of an isolated island, the childish whim of the murderer to follow the nursery rhyme, and unexpected happenings. And, no Hercule Poirot!

Agatha Christie writes in the Author’s note, “It (the book) was well received and reviewed, but the person who was really pleased with it was myself, for I knew better than any critic how difficult it had been.”

Fun fact: The book will remind Indian readers of the old Hindi movie ‘Gumnaam’ released in 1965 starring Manoj Kumar, Nanda, Mehmood, and Helen.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd published in 1926

When you reach the last chapter of this book, you would surely want to go back and re-read the clues, courtesy our ‘unreliable narrator’. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was Christie’s third book featuring Hercule Poirot and she already had him retired to a far-flung village to grow vegetable marrows.

King’s Abbot is a non-descript sleepy village where people have nothing better to while away their time with except gossiping. Enter the scenario of a wealthy Mrs. Ferrars who commits suicide and thereafter, her rich admirer Mr. Roger Ackroyd is murdered. The speculations and conjectures point to Ralph Paton, Mr. Roger’s stepson. Flora, Mr.Ackroyd’s niece is engaged to Ralph who seems restless with the police investigation and seeks Poirot’s help for the case.

Mr. Roger Ackroyd was murdered in his study at a time when the members of his family, secretary and house help were inside the house. Poirot examines the case with his cool temper and composure. And, Dr. Sheppard who was invited for dinner on the night of Mr.Ackroyd’s murder, becomes ‘Watson to his Sherlock’. It is interesting how every time Poirot speaks, there is something added to the clues that turns the investigation to a newer angle.

Every new development that arises is like the shake you give to a kaleidoscope – the thing changes entirely in aspect.

Again, the classic evidences of a murder weapon, the footprints, and alibi confirmations fit like cogs in the investigation. Poirot interviews the suspects with his not-so-important questions to disclose the truth.

You also see shades of Miss Marple in Caroline Sheppard, Dr. Sheppard’s elder sister, a very nosy woman who somewhat turns into an amateur assistant to Poirot.

The twist in the climax of each of these three books will jolt you for sure. As a reader, you would feel like diving deep into the ocean floor and uncorking the bottle with the little note to unravel the mysteries.

Do let me know about your favourite Agatha Christie book? And, maybe drop a recommendation and I would love to read that one pretty soon!

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

108 thoughts on “Three of My Favourite Agatha Christie Books”

  1. These books are indeed some of the best from Agatha Christie. I have read them so many times, yet they hold the same suspense and keep you on the edge of the seat. I also love ‘The Body in the Library’ and ‘The ABC Murders”.

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    1. Yes, even I love The ABC murders and The Body in the Library…it’s just so difficult to pick a few from such an amazing list of Christie books. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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    1. Yes, even I am not fond of reading murder mysteries. Agatha Christie is probably the only exception! Hope your friends would like the recommendations. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  2. I wanted to read so many of your posts but the Dame won over the rest! These are my favourite Christies too. They were the most ingenious and actually started new tropes, never before written. Gumnaam is based on And Then There Were None, though of course it’s an entirely Bollywood-ised version!

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    1. So happy to know that many of my posts could get your attention. And, of course, Christie had to win over hands down! Also, agreed…Gumnaam is as Bollywood-ised as it could get!
      Thank you so much for stopping by.

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  3. My favourite is Murder on the Orient Express. Next is The Mysterious Affair at Styles and And Then There Were None. The ends are really unexpected and shocking. Haven’t read the Murder of Roger Ackroyd but will do now

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  4. Agatha Christie is my favourite author ever and I’ve read all of Miss Marple and quite a few of Hercule Poirot mysteries. 2/3 of your recommendations are spot on, wouldn’t agree with Murder on The Orient Express though. Thanks for writing, I’d come back to read when you write about other Miss Marple books.
    #ReadByPRB

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    1. Sure…would be happy to have you once I write about Miss Marple books. On Murder on the Orient Express, I think many feel it’s bit too dramatic in the end!
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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    1. Sure…there’s no time like now to read Agatha Christie books! They are super pacy and interesting to be squeezed in between our tight pandemic affected schedules…Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  5. It so happens that I’ve read all these three Agatha Christie books. Hercules Poirot is one of my favourite characters, along with Robert langdon, Howard Roark and others. Roger Ackroyd stands out for the twist in the end!

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    1. Exactly Roger Ackroyd blows you away at the end! Planning to write one post on a Dan Brown book later in the series, hope you would like that too. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

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  6. An interesting read. I just love Poirot. With the unconventional appearance and personality given to her lead detective, Christie has been smashing patriarchal stereotypes with subtlety

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    1. Yeah, that’s so true… sometimes I have to read the snippet and then connect with the title to be sure if I have read that particular Agatha Christie book or not. Thank you so much for visiting!

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  7. Quite a detailed review… felt like reading a book by itself! I have been an avid fan of Agatha Christie. Poirot with his moustache is very clearly one of the few characters who are just irreplaceable in the history of literature and thank you for reminding me about one more of his exploits!

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  8. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, two of my favorite sleuths from Agatha Christie. Never too old to read her books, right? I need to check The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Thanks for recommending it.

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    1. Ritu, you know while writing this post, I felt the same that one is never too old to read Agatha Christie and I should go back to her books!
      And, I am sure you will really enjoy reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd…Thank you so much for visiting.

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  9. I am an Agatha Christie fan. I haven’t read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd from your list. Murder in the Orient Express is my favourite. I keep pestering my daughter to start reading Agatha Christie. Reading your post transported me to my school days where we would exchange Agatha Christie books.

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    1. Am so happy the post made you nostalgic! While writing, even I was remembering the school days, exchanging Agatha Christie books with friends…
      I am sure once your daughter begins reading Agatha Christie, she will pester you to get her the entire set! Thank you so much for visiting!

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  10. coincidentally, I am watching the old 90s TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot… even for that time, it is done so brilliantly with such high production values. Murder in the Nile is actually shot on location around Egypt and all… the stories themselves are excellent.

    Godyears.net

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    1. Really…I have not watched anything based on Agatha Christie’s books. Only heard of Murder on the Orient Express and have kept that on my list. Maybe I can watch this series…it will be so nostalgic going back to her stories! Thank you for visiting!!

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  11. Oh you took me way back to my school days girl! Thanks for the nostalh=gic trip down memory lane..those stollen moments of reading even in the classroom under the teacher’s nose.One day I had chalk thrown at me 🙂

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    1. Hahaha…am glad the post made you nostalgic and your comment made me remember my days of reading Agatha Christie during school hours! Thank you so much for visiting.

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  12. I haven’t read Agatha Christie. I remember watching an old Hindi movie called ‘Gumnaam’ many years ago. I really liked it, and I came to know recently that the movie was based on ‘And Then There Were None’.
    Thank you for sharing your favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even I have lost interest in reading mystery now! I guess we go through the Agatha Christie phase and then feel nostalgic about it all through our life. I am yet to watch Orient Express…hopefully will watch it after Alexa. Thank you so much for visiting!!

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    1. Yeah, Agatha Christie was such an integral part of our growing up! Good to know that Murder on the Orient Express is your favourite. Thank you for visiting my blog!

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  13. I don’t why almost everyone’s favourite is And then there were none? I too got attracted to this one while I came out of age reading Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew.
    Yes, after reading that book I watched Gumnaam movie too.

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  14. I have been an avid Agatha Christie fan! I have read the first two and loved them. Definitely adding the third to my list now. Thank you for this lovely and refreshing post and update.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reading about Agatha Christie’s book itself is very nostalgic. Though I don’t remember which one I read, it still brings back the memory of going to the library and finding Agatha Christie’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

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