Reading Lists

The 1920s : A Reading List

Outset 1920s RL

Agatha Christie’s first decade of writing is rich with excitement, character introductions and plenty of mysteries. The 1920s was a period of recovery and change, which is reflected in the life stories of Hercule Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence, published at this time. We see the Queen of Crime getting into her stride with detective fiction, experimenting with espionage and thriller novels, as well as developing some engaging short story collections.

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles [1920]

After sustaining injuries on the front line in World War One Hastings is invited to spend some time at the picturesque Styles Court. This is the last place he expects to find himself in the midst of a fatal poisoning. Fortunately, former Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is living in the village.

The Secret Adversary [1922]

In the post-war struggle for work, Tommy and Tuppence boldly launch themselves into the unknown and develop a daring business scheme. Upon receiving their first assignment, however, they quickly realise they may be in a little over their heads. Set in the heart of London, the adventurous pair enter a world of dangerous secrets.

Two young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused.
The Secret Adversary, Agatha Christie

The Murder on the Links [1923]

An ill-fitting coat, a desperate love letter, and it can’t be… two identically murdered corpses? In Poirot’s second novel he is called to France, and accompanied by Captain Hastings, must work quickly to untangle the web of clues and prevent further murders from taking place.

The Man in the Brown Suit [1924]

Introducing Anne Beddingfeld: orphan; dreamer; adventuress. Despite a difficult start, our heroine is determined to chase a bold, bright future. This leads
her to London, and on to South Africa to solve the mystery of three sudden deaths, with an unlikely group of travel companions to share her story with.

Poirot Investigates [1924]

In Christie’s first short story collection Poirot and Hastings take on 11 challenging cases, from the mystery of an absurdly cheap flat and a seaside jewel robbery, to a suspicious death in a locked room and the abduction of a Prime Minister.

The Secret of Chimneys [1925]

Anthony Cade agrees to travel to London on a suspicious assignment for a hefty fee. Meanwhile, politician George Lomax coaxes his friend Lord Caterham to host an unusually staged gathering at Chimneys. What follows is a series of deadly misfires that threaten the British establishment and the fate of the country Herzoslovakia.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd [1926]

Roger Ackroyd’s downfall was that he knew too much. He knew the woman he loved kept a deadly secret, he knew it drove her to suicide, but there was one thing he didn’t know. The identity of her blackmailer. All would be disclosed in tonight’s evening post, only Roger Ackroyd wouldn’t live to open the revealing letter. Deemed one of Christie’s greatest literary works, this is a must read for crime fiction enthusiasts.

The English people, they have a mania for the fresh air. The big air, it is all very well outside, where it belongs. Why admit it to the house?
Hercule Poirot, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Big Four [1927]

Captain Hastings’ surprise return to England disrupts Poirot’s voyage to South America. The pair become embroiled almost immediately in solving incidents of international espionage, deadly dealings and money-making schemes. The Big Four are at the heart of them all - but what will it cost the duo to uncover these secrets?

The Mystery of the Blue Train [1928]

On board the luxurious Blue Train which has just pulled into Nice, a guard attempts to wake Ruth Kettering from her deep slumber. Only she is not asleep, she has been brutally murdered, and her precious rubies have been stolen. Poirot believes the solution lies within re-enacting the journey… but with the murderer still on board, is Poirot tempting fate to strike again?

The Seven Dials Mystery [1929]

We return to Chimneys for another deadly party. A practical joke sours when a man perishes surrounded by alarm clocks. Bundle Brent, alarmed by another death at her family home, ventures into the heart of London’s Seven Dials to try to make sense of the tragedy, and discovers a web of secrets.

Partners in Crime [1929]

On their second adventure, Tommy and Tuppence are trusted with taking over Blunt’s International Detective Agency. Through a series of short stories the dynamic pair solve cases involving stolen jewels, poisoned chocolates, cryptic clues and more. With each tale parodying a great crime writer of the time or a famous fictional detective, there are plenty of Easter eggs for crime fiction aficionados to uncover.

‘Different kinds of danger suit different kinds of people,’ said Lord Caterham.
The Seven Dials Mystery, Agatha Christie

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