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Reading Lists

Location in Christie's Stories

Setting plays a vital role in the story, especially when it is the scene of the crime. It provides a backdrop to the action, adds colour to the narrative, and helps to showcase the unfolding plot. Agatha Christie’s settings are no different. A writer of considerable scope, Christie has plotted tales which take place in a huge variety of locations – from the conventional country house, to the unexpected place of worship. We collect together some of the stories where the location really sings.

Country house

What to read: Dumb Witness

Miss Emily Arundell enjoys a quiet life at Littlegreen House. A wealthy woman in her 70s, she lives with a suffering companion, and her beloved terrier, Bob. But when her grasping nieces and nephew come to stay, it seems plenty of people would be better off with her dead.

We also recommend: And Then There Were None

Holiday

What to read: A Caribbean Mystery

Miss Marple’s trip to St Honoré is another generous gift from her nephew, Raymond West. Rather than luxuriating in the peacefulness, Jane finds herself bored by the relentlessly fine weather, and the constant, beautiful surroundings. Her interest is piqued by Major Palgrave’s rumours of a murder… Then the Major suddenly dies.

We also recommend: Death on the Nile

English village

What to read: The Moving Finger

Jerry Burton plans to recuperate from his injuries in the quiet village of Lymstock, with the help of his patient sister. He hadn’t counted on the poison pen letters, or the death of one of their recipients. Expect colourful characters, a dose of local gossip and a fine performance from Miss Marple.

We also recommend: Murder is Easy

Hotel

What to read: At Bertram’s Hotel

A nostalgic stay at an old fashioned London hotel is supposed to be a treat for Miss Marple, who remembers its pre-war heyday. Guests range from a well-known adventuress to a racing driver, American tourists to colonels and clergymen. Jane’s suspicions are aroused though, as things just seem a little bit too good to be true at Bertram’s…

We also recommend: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Transportation

What to read: The Mystery of the Blue Train

Six years before her characters boarded the Orient Express, Christie set another murder mystery on board a train. Bound for Nice, wealthy heiress the Hon. Mrs Derek Kettering is found dead when the train arrives in the south of France. Her priceless rubies have been stolen. Luckily for the local police, a Monsieur Poirot boarded the train in Paris.

We also recommend: Death in the Clouds

Sports venue

What to read: Cat Among the Pigeons

International espionage threatens to disrupt the lives of those at Meadowbank, a famous girl’s school, as young Jennifer Sutcliffe returns from an trip abroad with unknown treasures amongst her possessions. As term commences, an unpopular Games Mistress is found shot dead in the brand new Sports Pavilion. Who killed her, and why? Only the little grey cells can unravel these seemingly disparate incidents.

We also recommend: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans

Religious building

What to read: Sanctuary

The Vicar’s wife discovers a dying man on the chancel steps, the last words he utters are “sanctuary”. She must consult her godmother, the shrewd Miss Marple, to help unravel the mystery of this unfortunate stranger who came to seek help at the church. This short story features in Miss Marple’s Final Cases (UK and US) and Double Sin and Other Stories (US).

We also recommend: The Murder at the Vicarage

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