Agatha Christie's impact on literature cannot be overstated. Her books, short stories, and plays are essential to the mystery genre and continue to intrigue readers the world over. Nevertheless, the sheer size of her catalog can be intimidating to first-time readers, or even to third-, fifth- or eighth-time readers—after all, she wrote 66 novels alone. So we’ve taken on the case and assembled a lineup of the best Agatha Christie books.
It’s a real murderer’s row of mystery thrillers. Whether or not these books are your personal Christie favorites, we guarantee you’ll discover a riveting tale in each selection.
10. Death Comes as the End
Death Comes as the End
Death may come as the end, but it’s a staple of the beginnings of Agatha Christie novels. This time, though, her novel opens with a reappearance: An Egyptian father returns to his family, albeit with a new concubine in tow. That concubine part makes a bit more sense when you consider that this novel is set in ancient Egypt. That’s an unusual choice for Christie, as is the fact that there are no European characters in this book. All of this makes for a refreshingly unique take on Christie’s trademark mystery format.
9. Endless Night
You could read Agatha Christie’s mystery novels for years and still find delightful new details. Endless Night marks a bit of a departure from the master's signature style. Reportedly one of Christie’s own favorites, this standalone mystery maintains suspense in a manner above and beyond the typical Christie novel. Endless Night is more gothic horror than mystery, but it’s still essential Christie.
8. Curtain: Poirot's Last Case
Curtain: Poirot's Last Case
Published in 1975, this book represents a triumphant end to the adventures of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective and beloved recurring protagonist. It was the last book published by Christie before her death in 1976, and rather than shy away from it, the novel tackles aging head on. The greying Poirot finds himself back at the country mansion where he solved his first murder. A killer is on the prowl, and Poirot must sniff out the culprit before the final curtain drops.
7. Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie's murders are always happening in confined spaces, but that’s only because she knew as well as any writer who ever lived that claustrophobia and a short list of suspects are key ingredients to an engrossing mystery story. And if there must be a confined space, why not do it in style? Christie’s fictional victims often fell on secluded islands (And Then There Were None), tour boats (Death on the Nile) and, in Murder on the Orient Express, a famous real-life train. Perhaps the most iconic of her works, no list of Agatha Christie’s best books would be complete without the Orient Express.
6. The A.B.C. Murders
The A.B.C. Murders
If you alphabetized Christie’s published novels, The A.B.C. Murders would come first. That would also make it the first victim of the killer who stalks its pages. Poirot is in this one, but this time he’s working against the clock: The murderer is giving advanced warning, taunting the detective even as he kills victims for each letter of the alphabet in order.
5. A Murder Is Announced
A Murder Is Announced
Christie was a living legend by the time A Murder Is Announced hit shelves, but the book's unforgettable hook—a newspaper announcement sharing news of an upcoming murder before the fact, much to the surprise of the owner of the business at the address given in the ad—is proof that Christie wasn’t resting on her laurels. A Murder Is Announced is also notable for featuring Miss Marple, the recurring Christie detective protagonist every bit as delightful as the slightly more famous Poirot.
4. Crooked House
Crooked House is one of two novels that Christie herself cited as a personal favorite (the other is Ordeal By Innocence). It’s a family drama and murder mystery that features a wealthy London family, a poisoned patriarch, and a possibly unfaithful wife. Great mysteries love putting suspects in proximity; here, ingeniously, Christie does that with family ties instead of her usual isolated locales and moving vehicles.
Related: 11 Authors Like Agatha Christie
3. Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile
One of Christie’s most famous books, this one features Hercule Poirot, a bitter love triangle, and–of course–a series of murders. In a confined and dangerous space, Christie spins a short list of suspects into a web of confusion and suspicion. Despite (or perhaps because of) the deliberate mess, her ending is satisfying and smart.
2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
This novel stars Christie’s recurring detective hero, Hercule Poirot. Despite its famous protagonist, it’s not the best-known Christie novel among casual fans. But die-hards and critics consider it one of her best and most important. If you’re looking for a better sales pitch than “critics dig it,” here’s one: The twist ending is unforgettable.
1. And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None
Christie’s masterpiece was marred by its original title, which was a reference to a racist British song used in blackface minstrel shows. The title and the words of the song have been changed in modern reprints, but the rest of And Then There Were None holds up very well in modern readings. Each member of Christie’s ensemble cast of questionable characters has been lured to a remote island, and each that remains is a suspect when they start disappearing one by one.
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