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Agatha Christie Ltd. Recommend

24th October 2018

Here at Agatha Christie Ltd, we are in the privileged position of working with Agatha Christie’s stories daily. In our varied roles, we explore adaptations, future and past productions for film, TV and the stage, short stories and novels, foreign language editions and much more. Who could be better placed then, to recommend a Christie novel to read or gift this Christmas? 

4:50 From Paddington
Lydia Stone, Marketing and Communications Manager

This book has to have one of the best opening set-ups Christie wrote. A woman travelling on a train one evening spots someone being murdered on another train, as the two trains pass. Or does she? And if what she saw was real, where is the body?

Luckily, the woman happens to be friends with Miss Marple, who sets about in true sleuth style to validate her friend’s story and uncover the murderer. Less mobile than she used to be, she engages the aid of Lucy Eyelesbarrow, a highly intelligent young woman who rejected a life of science to make a lucrative living as a professional “domestician”. I find Lucy’s character completely engaging; she stands out as one of Christie’s most interesting independent female characters, although romance does find her in the end!

A familiar country house mystery complete with family politics, 4.50 From Paddington has its fair share of quirks, including a body in a sarcophagus. A Christmas setting also adds to its atmosphere.

Third Girl
Basi Akpabio, Creative Director

I’m going to say the novel Third Girl.  It’s not the most famous book but it’s fascinating to read a Christie story set in the sixties.  Poirot and Ariadne Oliver are both feeling their age, and are grumpy about the swinging younger people.  Christie always reflects brilliantly the time in which she was writing and this is no exception, so you get a snapshot of the sixties plus there is the added subtext of divining how she herself felt about how the world was changing around her.

Death on the Nile
Sarah Thrift, Digital Marketing Manager

I think it’s impossible to forget your first Christie, and Death on the Nile was mine! The luxury and glamour of foreign travel played a key part in my enjoyment of the story as a child, and still does today. I was also fascinated to discover that you didn’t have to like the characters, in order to care what happened to them. One of the most satisfying things about reading this book is getting to know the three involved in the love triangle, and trying to decide your feelings for them. Linnet Ridgeway, Simon Doyle and Jackie de Bellefort evoke different responses in readers. I adore the format of the novel, meeting key characters one by one, and how different the opening is from the central events of the story (a trick Hitchcock would use later for Psycho). Poirot is at his best, and most eccentric too. This is one I recommend to all readers who are new to Christie.  

Towards Zero
Christina Macphail, International Business Development Manager

I am going to choose Towards Zero as my favourite du jour.  I love the conceit of bringing together Nevile Strange’s current and former wife, and the dynamic between the two women.  Although a Superintendent Battle novel, the force of Poirot is still evident as his recollected image points to a major clue.  The causes of the deaths are quite unexpected and, as ever, I was left guessing to the end – vacillating between various suspects but never getting the right one.  I love the opening scene, where the reader is told that murder is the end – the story begins long before – and thus starts the race towards zero, the ultimate end…  Actions are  informed by the psychology of complex human relationships throughout, and Christie can’t resist a note of romance at the end.

Five Little Pigs
Chris Chan, Agatha Christie Expert

Part of my fondness for Five Little Pigs is that it was hard to find!  During the mid-1990's, Five Little Pigs was the only Christie mystery that was out of print in America (only for a few years, but it was at the time that I was reading every Christie book).  I couldn't find it in libraries, but I finally found a brand new paperback copy published some years earlier at a bookstore. I was quickly caught up in the particularly vivid characterisations, the five narrator-suspects telling and retelling the story of the murder, adding new layers to each interpretation of the events.  This was more than just a murder investigation, it was an exploration into five human souls.

The Man in the Brown Suit
Cristina Isoli, Contracts and Royalties Manager

“I had the firm conviction that, if I went about looking for adventure, adventure would meet me halfway. It is a theory of mine that one always gets what one wants.” Agatha Christie, The Man in the Brown Suit

Part romance, part adventure, this is the book to read during the wintertime by the fire place, and daydream of exotic places and great journeys. This book can help you to defy the cold weather, and prepare you for your next summer break. It shows that you can find the partner of your dreams, but without giving up travelling or your independence. I’d recommend it to young adventurers, and to those with a touch of the romantic about them!

And Then There Were None 
Leo Dezoysa, Director of Legal and Business Affairs

And Then There Were None is one of my favourite Christie stories. It is an ingenious and chilling tale that keeps you guessing right until the end. I’ve revisited it a few times over the years and what draws me back is the fascinating exploration of guilt and justice at the heart of the novel. Christie had an astute grasp of the complexities of human behaviour and in particular, our failings. So we not only relate to the characters’ poor judgment but the book also makes you wonder how far you would go to survive such a desolate and terrifying reality. It also asks key questions around morality which are as pertinent today as they were when the novel was first published in 1939. 

We hope you enjoy a Christie this Christmas. Share your reading with us on Instagram for your chance to be included in our regular fan favourite posts.

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