Reading Lists

The Top Ten Poirot Novels

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Written by Agatha Christie expert Chris Chan

If you're looking for a compelling Poirot story, then there's no better place to start. Here are ten page-turners perfect for celebrating 100 years of the great detective. They're listed in publication order, not ranked order, and there's the opportunity to choose your favourites at the end too.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Why not start at the beginning? It is the middle of World War I, and Hastings is home on leave, staying with friends at their country estate, Styles. There, he meets his old friend Poirot, a retired Belgian detective who is now a refugee. When the wealthy benefactor who is providing Poirot with shelter is poisoned, he steps in to find the truth, with the killer most likely to be a member of the victim’s household.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Christie became a literary superstar with the publication of this book. When a notorious widow dies, old rumours resurface about her killing her husband. Soon afterwards, Roger Ackroyd is stabbed to death, but is his murder connected with the two earlier deaths? A village doctor partners with Poirot, who retired to the country to grow vegetable marrows, but quickly realized he is more suited to detecting than gardening. With a massive inheritance, stolen money, secret relationships, and illegal drugs thrown into the mix, there are plenty of mysteries to solve in this case.

Murder on the Orient Express

On the detective’s journey back from crime-solving in the Middle East, Poirot is approached by a man who wants the Belgian sleuth to protect him. Taking an instant dislike to the man, he declines, and soon afterwards the unpleasant fellow is stabbed to death in his train cabin, and the eponymous train is snowbound. The Orient Express has a diverse group of characters onboard, from all walks of life, and there are almost too many clues and suspects. This is one of Agatha Christie’s most impressive works.

The ABC Murders

A serial killer challenges Poirot. The great detective receives a number of taunting letters, and suspects a lethal motive behind them. As several seemingly unconnected individuals are murdered in alphabetical order, Poirot and Hastings travel the country for clues, and collect an eclectic team of allies along the way. Meanwhile, our heroes’ investigation is interspersed with scenes from the life of an enigmatic man named Alexander Bonaparte Cust.

Death on the Nile

Linnet Doyle, a gorgeous heiress, is on her honeymoon… and her former best friend is out for revenge after her fiancé left her for Linnet. As tensions rise amongst the love triangle, Poirot tries to prevent a crime before it happens as they all sail on an Egyptian river cruise. One night, everything goes awry with a drunken altercation, a jewel robbery, and a shocking murder. Poirot must find a killer amongst the eclectic group of passengers, before more lives are lost.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

A dysfunctional family holiday you won’t forget! There’s a lot of friction and not much love shared between the Lee family and their controlling patriarch, Simeon. When the extended clan gathers for Christmas, no one’s having a jolly time, but then their host is found in a locked bedroom with his throat cut and his diamonds stolen. Who is behind this? Poirot is called in to investigate, and finds out that family secrets can be fatal…

Evil Under the Sun

Will Poirot ever have a relaxing getaway? When visiting a seaside resort, Poirot observes a developing flirtation between two individuals who are both married to other people. As Poirot digs deeper, he discovers that a love pentangle is in play, an explosive situation that culminates in strangulation. With drug-smuggling, witchcraft, and a plethora of suspects, Poirot must break the perfect alibi to solve this coastal crime.

Five Little Pigs

A young woman hires Poirot to prove that her mother didn’t kill her father over a decade ago. Poirot investigates the long-closed case, and starts to wonder if his client’s mother was wrongfully convicted. There are five other suspects, and each of them has a very different take on the death of a famous artist. Poirot has to comb through their accounts carefully to find out what really happened, because even with five witnesses, no one’s telling the whole truth.

After the Funeral

When a rich man dies suddenly, his family gathers to pay their respects… and to collect their inheritance of course. The atmosphere is shattered by his sister Cora’s inconvenient question: “But he was murdered, wasn’t he?” Everyone dismisses silly old Aunt Cora, until she’s brutally murdered. Poirot is summoned to investigate a family plagued by secrets, lies, and madness; and everybody has something to hide.


In the last Poirot novel Christie published, Poirot and Hastings return to where it all began– Styles, which is now a boarding house. Poirot is suffering from health problems, but his grey cells are still at full power, and he’s determined to track down a multiple murderer known only as “X.” The loyal Hastings is at his side, this time juggling his parental duties along with his investigative work. Tensions are high amongst the residents of the boarding house, but as the death toll rises, are these demises suicides, natural deaths… or murders? If you’re planning to read all the Poirot stories, you can read Curtain last! If you are going to read ten Poirot stories in your life, Curtain should be one of them. Warning – it does contain spoilers for a handful of earlier novels.

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