Reading Lists

A Dose of Romance

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Themes of love and romance appear in a plethora of Agatha Christie’s novels, plays and short stories. Love acts as a motive for murder, it is a driving force for adventure, can be a comfort in old age, as well as distraction from the real world. Renowned for her crime writing, readers can be forgiven for missing out on some of Christie's prolific stories of love and longing. We've collated some of our favourites to celebrate that warm fuzzy feeling... We can't promise there won't be a dose of danger though too!

The Secret Adversary [1922]

Expect international spies, two world wars, murders, and thefts as Tommy and Tuppence uncover adventure at every turn. Tuppence leads the way with her charismatic nature, while Tommy’s slow, considered manner provides the perfect foil. Together they form the 'Young Adventurers Ltd.' Christie’s most well-known couple begin their adventures in 1922 in The Secret Adversary, Christie’s second published novel. Over the course of 50 years Tommy and Tuppence appear in three further novels and a short story collection. They are Christie’s only characters to age in real time, starting their journey with marriage in the 1920s, we travel with them into their retirement in 1973’s Postern of Fate. Discover the full list of Tommy and Tuppence stories here.

The Mysterious Mr Quin [1930]

It had been a typical New Year’s Eve party. But as midnight approaches, Mr Satterthwaite - ­­a keen observer of human nature – senses that the real drama of the evening is yet to unfold. And so it proves when a mysterious stranger knocks on the door. Meet the unusual pairing, Mr Quin and Mr Satterthwaite, in 12 short stories. With his seemingly supernatural foresight, Mr Quin leads Satterthwaite as he untangles feuds, love affairs, and the occasional murder! Mr Satterthwaite’s new friend is an enigma. Throughout this book he seems to appear and disappear almost like a trick of the light. In fact, the only consistent thing about him is that his presence is always an omen – sometimes good, but sometimes deadly.

The Mary Westmacott novels [1930-1956]

Agatha Christie published six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. The idea sprung from Christie's desire "to write something other than a detective story." It would be 15 years after the publication of her first Westmacott novel, Giant's Bread (1930), that her identity was revealed. Examining crimes of the heart, these stories explore family ties, love and passion, childhood and parenting, loss and indiscretion. Agatha Christie's daughter, Rosalind Hicks said the following about the novels, "They are not ‘love stories’ in the general sense of the term, and they certainly have no happy endings. They are, I believe, about love in some of its most powerful and destructive forms."

Parker Pyne Investigates [1934]

Known as 'The Love Detective', Parker Pyne's newspaper advertisement promises to make his clients happy. From miserable lovers, to those in search of adventure, Pyne has a solution - and plenty of staff to help him pull it off! Featuring six stories set in his London office, and eight that take our detective (and the reader) further afield, this collection is packed full of excitement, adventure, and of course romance. Will one of Christie's sleuths ever be able to take a holiday in peace? Probably not.

'The Manhood of Edward Robinson' [1934]

Sensible Edward Robinson secretly dreams of fast cars, adventurous women and danger, but his fiancée, Maud, believes in common sense. When Edward wins some money in a newspaper competition, he secretly buys the sleek car of his dreams, "It stood to him for Romance, for Adventure, for all the things that he had longed for and had never had." Adventure swiftly ensues, as he is embroiled in high society scandals that lead him to a significant transformation. The story is an ode to a motorcar, which Christie confessed in her autobiography was one of the two things that excited her most in her life - she had a Morris Cowley. This short story features in The Listerdale Mystery (UK), and The Golden Ball and Other Stories (US).

Inline Mr Quin

Love from a Stranger [1936]

Cecily Harrington has behaved properly, worked hard, and waited five years to marry her fiancé Nigel, and now she’s won big in a sweepstake. Nigel’s return from the Sudan doesn’t go according to plan, as Cecily has bumped into a charming bachelor, Bruce Lovell. Determined for an adventure of her own, Cecily and Bruce kickstart a whirlwind romance and move to a remote cottage, far from family and friends. But how much does she really know about her new husband? The play, adapted by Frank Vosper, is now available from Concord as part of The Collection. It is based on the Christie short story, Philomel Cottage.

Death on the Nile [1937]

At the heart of this story lies a dangerous love affair, bitter jealousy, resentment of rivals and a betrayal of the heart. When a tranquil river cruise is clouded by the devastating discovery of the body of the beautiful Linnet Ridgeway, it doesn't take long for word to spread of a murderer on board. Thankfully Hercule Poirot is here and he recalls hearing a rather telling outburst from one of his fellow passengers earlier on the cruise: "I'd like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger." But who said this? Was it Linnet's rival in love, Jacqueline or her devoted husband, Simon? Was it romance novelist Salome Otterbourne who has a character terribly similar to that of Linnet or was it one of the other passengers on board the Karnak? Discover the secrets of the Nile in this deadly novel.

Evil Under the Sun [1941]

Arlena Stuart is a woman of beauty, unable to evade the eyes of all those around her. Seeing her basking in the sunshine on the beach is not an unusual sight, but today she is not sunbathing...she has been strangled. Everyone at the holiday resort has a motive to kill Arlena: there's her step-daughter, her husband, her husband's ex-lover and numerous other suspicious characters. Arlena's death is thought to be a "crime of passion" but Hercule Poirot knows best and he believes something far more evil lies beneath the surface of her death.

The Hollow [1946]

Hercule Poirot has been invited to lunch. Prolific hostess Lady Angkatell has several weekend visitors, but she's worried about the guest-list. There'll be Doctor John Christow and his wife Gerda, her cousin Midge is staying, and David Angkatell is down from Oxford (or is it Cambridge?). Plus Edward the heir, Veronica the actress, and Henrietta the sculptor (she usually causes a stir), and the famous detective, Hercule Poirot. A crime scene is staged in Poirot's honour, but the mock-victim sadly loses his life for real. His last words as the gun falls into the swimming pool? "Henrietta"... The Hollow is a country house murder with romantic liaisons at its heart.

A Deadly Affair [2022]

This unexpected selection of short stories explores the Queen of Crime's focus on love throughout her works. From dangerous dalliances to crimes of passion, these are love stories with a twist. Explore 14 stories, featuring Hercule Poirot, Parker Pyne, Miss Marple, Mr Quin and Tommy and Tuppence - that's a lot of Christie detectives to sink your teeth into. Uncover deadly love triangles, expose hidden secrets and enjoy these unique themed stories with caution... Happily ever after is never guaranteed!

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