Reading Lists

Book Bloggers Recommend

Inline Sad Cypress

Each week, readers, writers and reviewers share their thoughts on their favourite crime fiction books. Social media is awash with brilliant recommendations, classic, new and undiscovered, which we love to see. To celebrate this online encyclopaedia of suggestions, we asked book bloggers about their love of Agatha Christie, and which book they’d recommend to others. Enjoy!

And Then There Were None

Sanne, Bookstagrammer, The Netherlands

“Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine ..."

And Then There Were None was the first book I read by the Queen of Crime and I've never stopped reading her work since (I'm even in an Agatha Christie book club called the Maidens of Murder). Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island off the coast of England. They're trapped there, accused of murder and then killed off one by one. As the story unfolds, we find out that each of the guests harbour a deep, dark secret. I remember reading the book on a stormy, candlelit night and I just couldn't put it down (I was also a bit too afraid to get up). Dame Agatha Christie sure knows how to create an atmosphere! You feel as trapped as the characters on the island and it's safe to say that I was baffled at the end. And Then There Were None is a captivating and terrifying whodunnit and I would highly recommend it.

The Murder at the Vicarage

Emily and Audrey, Book Bloggers at The Year of Agatha, USA

Though it’s nearly impossible to pick just one, one of our favourite stories is The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha’s first Miss Marple novel. When a town blowhard is murdered right in the affable vicar’s study, all the drama of St. Mary Mead is revealed as Miss Marple’s skills of perception aid the police in solving the crime. One of the things we came to realise about Miss Marple stories over the course of The Year of Agatha was that her tales have a uniquely clever tone and engaging pace. Perhaps because Agatha saw a bit of herself in Miss Marple, or a bit of some favourite neighbours, there's always something of a twinkle in Miss Marple's eye. No matter how silly or fanciful others think she is, she's actually two steps ahead of them at every turn, but never crows about it. She just bides her time, deducing all the way, until her conclusions are undeniable. Often, people in her circle start out annoyed by her nosiness and pronouncements about human nature, but she always wins them over by the end. Her spunk and quiet confidence are refreshing and charming, and The Murder at the Vicarage is a classic example of this.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Andrew, Book Blogger at The Pewter Wolf, UK

As someone who feels like they have only just discovered Agatha Christie this year, it’s been hard to pick my recommendation. There are in fact two stories, which are the reason why I plan to read more Agatha Christie over the coming months.

But the title I want to recommend is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Now, I knew the ending before I listened to this one, but I didn’t know the story. So, going into this, I was always on the hunt for clues, for tricks, that would explain the final, genre-breaking and jaw-dropping twist. If I hadn’t known the ending, I know I would have gone “Wait - WHAT?! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” and either think Christie was a genius or cry foul and would re-read the book, determined to find out how I was tricked, only to find clues and go “No, wait, she knew this all the long! How did I miss this?!”

I love how this novel sucked me in, and I powered through it in two short days. It has me excited to try more Christie and I can’t wait to see what other mystery fans recommend. I will be making lists for my 2019 reading, and wait with baited breath. Bring those sucker-punch twists on!

Evil Under the Sun

Sahiba, Crime Fiction Blogger at Dumb Witnesses, UK

One of Christie's most brilliant works and my all time favourite, is Evil Under the Sun. It is less well-known than Murder on the Orient Express or And Then There Were None which is why I think it is her best book to start with if you're new to Christie. The plot is extremely tight and the storyline is brisk, with the perfect amount of clues and red herrings thrown in. There's sun, sand, love triangles, gruesome murders and best of all, Poirot on a sea tractor! The revelation, explained with all the twists and turns, is absolutely ingenious, horrifying and satisfying all at once.

What makes it so utterly brilliant is that it has the same level of gravitas as Christie’s more prominent books but is still a light read and is perfect build up to the big guns in her bibliography. The ideal read to evoke summer, it will leave you gasping and flipping through pages faster than you can say piña colada.

Parker Pyne Investigates

Aisha, Bookstagrammer at Pages & Cup, USA

Hercule Poirot will always be my all-time favourite Christie character, but Parker Pyne is now a very close second. Unlike Poirot, whose “little grey cells” help him solve murder after murder, Pyne excels at solving matters of the heart.

The short story collection, Parker Pyne Investigates, was originally published in 1934 as a collection of 12 short stories. Two other Parker Pyne stories ('Problem at Pollensa Bay' and 'The Regatta Mystery') were published separately and originally were Poirot mysteries. This edition includes all 14 short stories.

Like any short story collection, there are stories I loved even more than others. My favourites were 'The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife', 'The Case of the Distressed Lady', 'The Case of the Rich Woman', 'Have You Got Everything You Want?', 'The House at Shiraz', 'The Pearl of Price', 'The Oracle at Delphi', 'Problem at Pollensa Bay' and 'The Regatta Mystery'.

I highly recommend this collection to those who already love Agatha Christie, and are in the mood for something just a little less murder-y.

Sad Cypress

Yakof Isaac Debono, Bookstagrammer at The Bearded Reader, Malta

Sad Cypress is by far my favourite Poirot case ever! The case opens with a frightened woman, Elinor Carlisle, facing the death penalty for the murder of her alluringly beautiful distant cousin, Mary Gerrard (dead with morphia poisoning). Elinor’s engagement to her fiancee had recently been broken off, because Mary had mesmerised him. An ideal motive for murder...

This novel is my favourite work by Agatha Christie because she went outside the box, whilst remaining within the box. The plot involves three people entangled in a love triangle; however, a Dr. Peter Lord soon becomes the fourth member in this triangle (now a love square!). This book excels in its descriptive elements of human emotions and psyche, and also showcases love as a catalyst for evil. From a writing perspective, the use of letters increased the intimacy between the characters. Such intimacy through letters allows the reader to understand further the minor characters, as people can often express themselves better in writing. The ending of the book depicts Christie’s dramatic flamboyancy, as she portrays Poirot’s theatrical qualities. The reader experiences a Shakespearean closure, leaving them to adore the Queen of Crime.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

Steph, Book Blogger, UK

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is one of my favourite books by Agatha Christie and it’s one we read in December at Maidens of Murder. It has all the elements of a classic Christmas murder mystery - a large manor house, a family reunited each with their own secrets, an elderly, domineering patriarch, and a murder on Christmas Eve - all written in a uniquely Christie way, with many twists and turns. It’s arranged in seven parts, each a day in December from December 22nd to December 28th, making it even more fun to read during Christmas time. A great short story to read alongside it is The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, also starring Hercule Poirot. As Agatha Christie herself says in the Foreword: “it recalls to me, very pleasurably, the Christmases of my youth.” Two perfect Christmas crime reads to cosy up with during the festive season, even if there’s nothing cosy about them...

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