The name “Agatha Christie” is nearly synonymous with British murder mysteries — and for good reason. Christie set the standard for the genre in more than 60 novels, plays and dozens of short stories, creating two iconic detectives along the way: the fastidious Hercule Poirot and the perceptive Jane Marple. And while her knack for weaving very possible clues into what appears to be an impossible situation garnered her titles like “Duchess of Death” and “Mistress of Mystery”, Christie’s own mysterious disappearance in December of 1926 has never been solved, leaving us to wonder. And that’s just what author Marie Benedict has done in her latest novel, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. A novel of literary suspense and verve that fluidly mixes fact and fiction, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie gives us a glimpse into Agatha’s “unreliable narration” of her own life, and a formidable take on what really could have happened during one of the most notorious events in literary history.
In the spirit of all things Agatha Christie and this newest fictionalized account of a highly scandalized period of her life, we’ve compiled our hands-down, utterly essential, must-read Agatha Christie list. And if you’re lucky enough to have already read these thrilling tales, we have a few more chillers for you to cozy up with this winter.
If you’re new to Agatha Christie — start here. We’re extremely jealous of anyone who gets to experience this perennial favorite for the first time. There is a world of “stranded on an island” literature on the bookshelves, but not many that are also considered one of the bestselling books of all time. Even the great Agatha Christie cites that this one was difficult to plan out, making it an absolute must for any mystery enthusiast.
Beware of deadly snowdrifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests — ’tis the season after all! For those wondering what Agatha Christie thought about the holidays and winter, in general, tuck into a hot beverage and this collection of stories — and leave the front porch light on. This chilling compendium of short stories also includes the original version of Christmas Adventure, which had previously not been released in the United States.
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Ahh! The allure of travel. More specifically the novel and almost exotic appeal of travel by train. There’s something to be said for those posh cabins and cozy spaces. What could go wrong, right? Thankfully, Agatha Christie put her famous detective Hercule Poirot on the trip. Can you hear the train’s whistle? Climb aboard for one of the greatest twists ever written in the history of mystery stories.
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Do you want a head-scratcher of a mystery where you will spend the whole novel trying to figure out “whodunnit”? Then start here. Consider it you, the reader versus Hercule Poirot. Who will break the case first? We both know the answer. And we also know how much you’ll love this story, one that is considered among the best crime novels ever written.
To read Agatha Christie is to get to know Hercule Poirot. The most famous mystery author puts one of the most famous detectives in literary history on a cruise ship down the Nile. A sweeping tale of love, jealousy, betrayal — and murder (of course)! Kenneth Branagh reprises his role as Hercule Poirot in this latest film adaptation coming to theaters next year.
And what to read next…
The Thursday Murder Club
So much fun! A mystery that’s cheeky and full of surprises. At the same time, a loving tribute to getting older and the relationships we all form, from best friends to spouses. After reading this, all I know is that when I grow up, I want to live in Coopers Chase retirement community solving cold cases with my fellow septuagenarian.
Take your favorite delicious treat: Is it an ice cream sandwich? An Oreo cookie? Something where the outside is as good as the inside and you don’t know which part to eat first? That’s what you get with Anthony Horowitz’s latest Susan Ryeland/Atticus Pund novel. A mystery novel wrapped around a whole other mystery novel. This is not a two-for-one special — but instead, an extremely fun and compulsive read that will satiate the most devoted mystery fan as well as convert the, you know, finicky eaters.
One by One
A suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain — yes, please! David Baldacci has called Ruth Ware “the Agatha Christie of our generation.” And this one is definitely giving us flashbacks to And Then There Were None. So, get cozy, pull yourself up to the fire and get ready for an adrenaline-fueled cat-and-mouse game you will not be able to put down.