Best Agatha Christie Books Of All Time
Agatha Christie’s status as one of the top writers of crime is unrivalled, even today. Her mysteries hold up decades after her death so it’s never too late to dive into her works. Whether you’re a new reader or an old fan, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best Agatha Christie books of all time.
This list has been curated so you not only get the best of the queen of mystery’s writings but also the best from each category — Poirot books, Miss Marple stories, Tommy and Tuppence novels and mysteries with other standalone characters. Each one, after all, comes with the writer’s unique charm and is worth exploring!
And Then There Were None
While the rest of this list is in no particular order, And Then There Were None truly deserves its place at the top. With about 100 million copies sold, it is one of the top bestselling books of all time.
The novel follows a group of ten strangers who gather for a weekend away on an island, away from the coast. But when they arrive, the mysterious hosts of the establishment are nowhere to be found. Soon, people begin to die… and there’s no way off the island.
Murder on the Orient Express
Christie’s lovable detective Poirot finds himself on an interrupted train ride, stranded by snow. But there’s plenty for him to think about as the morning finds a man dead in his room, with the door locked from the inside. Which of the remaining passengers is the killer? And why did they stab him twelve times?
Murder on the Orient Express is one of Christie’s best and it’s the tightness of the setting and the jaw-dropping reveal of the killer that puts it there.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
The core mystery of this novel isn’t just the identity of the murderer but the last words of the victim — “Why didn’t they ask Evans?”. Bobby Jones comes across a dying man near his golf course and hears these very words escape his lips.
Later, he and his friend Lady Frances Derwent decide to pursue the mystery and make a very entertaining pair that compensates for the absence of Poirot or Miss Marple.
Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
Miss Marple’s sleepy hometown stirs up when a famous actress moves there and holds a fête — an ill-fated night when a murder takes place. There is doubt over who the real victim was meant to be and, soon after, threatening notes begin to arrive.
Miss Marple then uses her unique skills to set about finding who could kill a woman in the middle of a crowded party. As Miss Marple’s investigations seem haunted by a line from a Tennyson poem, her journey offers a keen look at human nature.
Death on the Nile
One of the things that keep Christie’s novels interesting is the variety of settings they come with. Death on the Nile, as the title suggests, takes place on a cruise heading up the river Nile. Poirot finds himself entangled in the problems of a wealthy socialite named Linnet and a woman named Jacqueline, whose ex-fiance is now Linnet’s husband.
A simple love triangle takes on a much more dangerous tone in Christie’s hands and the wide variety of intriguing characters on the ship makes for some fascinating suspects.
Poirot’s last case has to be on this list. Not only because we get to see an aged version of the detective, restricted to a wheelchair but with all those gray cells in perfect working condition, but also because this case makes him question himself a good deal.
Accompanied by his faithful friend Hastings, Poirot keeps a close eye on all the guests at the country house he’s residing in, for one of them is responsible for five murders. It may sound straightforward but, without revealing too much, Curtain twists the meaning of murder itself.
A family murder is one of Christie’s specialties. The three-dimensional characters, the interpersonal dynamics, the complexity of a family — she gets it all right. Crooked House is one of her best iterations of this concept, with each character hiding a secret and an overall sinister air.
It follows the Leonides family as they deal with the aftermath of their wealthy patriarch, Aristide Leonides’ death. Charles Hayworth, engaged to his granddaughter Sophia, helps out with the investigation. A word of warning, the ending of this one could leave you feeling a little unsettled.
4.50 from Paddington
If your train ran parallel to another and, at that moment, you saw a man strangling a woman, what would you do? This Miss Marple novel explores this when her friend comes to her with this exact story.
With the help of her trusty housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, Marple sets about trying to find out who was murdered and why.
Ordeal by Innocence
Rachel Argyle is murdered and her adopted son is arrested as her murderer. Now, two years later, a man comes forward and provides an alibi for him. Christie navigates the re-opening of this case and its effect on the family members in an intriguing manner, with Calgary offering a solid narrator. At one point, Agatha Christie herself called this book one of her favourites!
Cards on the Table
Another one of Christie’s ingenious setups, this novel has a collector named Mr Shaitana who brings together four crime professionals and four people who, he believes, are criminals who have evaded justice.
When the collector himself is found stabbed, the four professionals work together to identify the murderer. The clincher is that all of the suspects had the opportunity and motive to murder, which makes Poirot focus on the psychology of the murderer. It’s truly fascinating, the way Christie offers a glimpse into the mind and uses it as a means of investigation!
A Murder is Announced
This time, a newspaper ad brings the announcement of murder — not one that’s already taken place but one that will. Christie uses this announcement to build suspense from the very first page as people congregate at the time and place mentioned in the ad. Soon, the lights go out, a mysterious man is seen and shots are heard — and that’s how Christie keeps you hooked.
Even in one of the rare instances where Christie’s murderer is a serial killer, she manages to give it a unique twist. This killer is killing in alphabet order. After Poirot gets mysterious letters signed by ‘A.B.C’ Meanwhile, a third-person point of view details the experiences of a salesman suffering from headaches and blackouts. Christie combines the two perspectives to provide a thrilling mystery!
The workings of the mind are one of Christie’s key elements of interest and it’s never clearer than in Sleeping Murder, where a newlywed woman begins to remember fragments of memory from years ago. With the help of Miss Marple, she and her husband try to seek out secrets of the past, including a possible murder.
This novel, written in the 40’s but published after the writer’s death, definitely gives off moments of spookiness.
The Secret Adversary
Category: Tommy Tuppence
Helmed by the author’s lesser-known detective pair Tommy and Tuppence, this novel follows the couple’s first time as amateur investigators. They look into the disappearance of a woman named Jane Finn. Also involved are a crucial international treaty and an American millionaire.
Pick this novel up if you’re looking for a large-scale mystery and a good dose of excitement courtesy of Tommy and Tuppence.
Absent in the Spring
Category: Mary Westmacott
One of Christie’s truly unique books, Absent in the Spring doesn’t cover a murder at all. Written under the pen name Mary Westmacott, the novel follows Joan Scudamore, who gets stranded at a lonely rest house due to the flooding of railway tracks.
With all the time in the world and no one to share it with, Joan begins to reflect. As she looks back on her life and relationships — and starts to unravel with the realizations — Christie crafts a pure character study. This is Christie’s insight into psychology at its best.
So these we have it, our top picks for the best Agatha Christie’s novels. What are your thoughts? Did we include any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments.