Agatha Christie wrote 66 crime novels, 14 short story collections, three works of nonfiction, and several dozen plays over the course of life, making her one of the most successful writers in history. With her 126th birthday approaching on Sept. 15, 2016, this is the perfect time to revisit some of Agatha Christie's must-read novels.
Christie knew how to create the perfect twist of events. She knew how to craft a surprise that'll actually make your jaw drop. She created iconic, unforgettable characters you'll never forget like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Though she's been dead for 40 years, her legacy lives on in her books.
While most of her work is within the mystery and crime genres, there's a little bit of something for everyone in each of her stories. And if you haven't yet picked up one of her incredible novels, I urge you to do so! Because it's her birthday, and because, well, they're fantastic books. Here are 10 of her best mysteries to get you started:
1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
One of Agatha Christie's best selling and most popular novels has a twist you definitely won't see coming. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the perfect place to start if you've been meaning to read a Christie novel. The titular character, Roger Ackroyd, is a man who knows too much. He knew the woman he loved poisoned her husband. He knew she was blackmailed. He knew she took her own life. It isn't long before those secrets catch up to him, and before you know it, Ackroyd is dead. That's when the real mystery begins.
2. The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
This is the first (and arguably one of the best) Miss Marple stories. It begins with the murder of Colonel Protheroe. The picturesque English village of St. Mary Mead is filled with suspects, and Miss Marple — a gentle, white-haired older woman — is on the scene to discover the truth.
3. Endless Night (1967)
Michael Rogers yearns for a better life, but he can't budget for much on a chauffeur's wage. When a beautiful heiress steps into his life, he jumps at the chance to marry her and become the owner of her gorgeous parcel of land. But as they say, more money, more problems. Unfortunately, Rogers ignores all the rumors that the land is cursed. But fortunately (for readers), that makes for one captivating mystery novel.
4. A Murder is Announced (1950)
When Miss Marple spots an advertisement in the local paper that says: "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6:30 p.m", she can't ignore it. Unable to ignore such a mysterious invitation, the town gathers, the lights go out... and something happens that will keep you flipping the pages well into the night.
5. And Then There Were None (1939)
If you're a fan of the game Clue, and love feeling like you're a part of a big investigation and mystery, you'll love this book. Ten strangers are summoned to one private island by a secretive, anonymous millionaire host. Then the guests begin to drop dead — one by one by one.
A handsome man meets his end when he plummets off a cliff. He leaves behind some very strange last words: "Why didn't they ask Evans?" Bobby Jones and Frances Derwent are eager to solve this mystery, but their amateur skills lead them down a dangerous road. Like the best of her novels, this one contains a twist you'll be thinking about for weeks.
7. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
The luxurious Orient Express stops in the middle of the night because of a snowdrift. By the time morning comes, one passenger is dead in his car, stabbed a dozen times. The car is locked from the inside. Luckily, Detective Hercule Poirot is on the train, and he's determined to figure out who did it.
8. Five Little Pigs (1943)
Sixteen years ago, Caroline Crale was convicted for poisoning her husband. Her daughter, however, wants Poirot to examine the case. He pinpoints five possible suspects — the five little piggies: the stockbroker, the amateur herbalist, the divorcée, the governess, and Caroline's half-sister. Poirot — of course! — gets to the bottom of the mystery by the end of the book, but will you figure it out first?
9. Crooked House (1949)
Criminologist Charles Hayward doesn't believe Aristide Leonides' death was an accident. The the suspicion naturally falls on the spouse, who is set to inherent quite a sum of money because of Leonides' death, but Hayward isn't convinced. This story if full of scheming relatives, suitors, heirs, gold-diggers, and desperate outsiders — searching fruitlessly for a pathway into the glamorous life of the rich.
10. The ABC Murders (1936)
There's a serial killer on the loose, and he's making his way through an alphabet of victims. This is a shocking tale with insane schemes and even wilder conclusions.