Reading Lists

Stories for Spring

Thumbnail Spring2021

From short stories to factual accounts, these books feature new beginnings, the natural world and a host of sleuths that will help put a spring in your step.

Poirot’s Early Cases

Despite being published in 1974, this short story collection recounts a variety of cases from the days before Poirot was famous. Narrated by Hastings, expect stories of theft, deceit, kidnap and murder (of course!) Great for fans of Sherlock Holmes, there are a couple of stand-out spring stories to choose from too.

'How Does Your Garden Grow?'
Hercule Poirot receives a letter requesting him to investigate a delicate family matter, but when he responds he discovers that the sender dead. He is convinced that she has been murdered and sets to work to solve the mystery.

'The Affair at the Victory Ball'
The fifth viscount, Lord Cronshaw, accompanies his friends to the Victory Ball, the party are dressed as characters from the commedia dell’arte. Poirot is called upon to assist Inspector Japp’s investigation, when two of the group are found dead. (NB. In America this story features in The Underdog and Other Stories)

The Thirteen Problems (US collection is called The Tuesday Night Murders).

Featuring Christie’s first written account of Miss Marple, this collection of short stories aims to test the wit of the reader, as well as the members of The Tuesday Night Club. The group come together to discuss unsolved cases, beguiling ‘acts of nature’ and rumoured supernatural goings-on. There are plenty of puzzles to uncover, including:

'The Blue Geranium'
Mary Pritchard lives in fear of a psychic’s message: blue primrose is a warning, blue hollyhock is danger, and the blue geranium is death.

'The Herb of Death'
A young woman dies after being poisoned at a dinner party. But everyone else was taken ill, so was she really the intended victim? Miss Marple investigates!

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

Don’t let this collection’s festive title fool you – this book is an ideal accompaniment to the start of spring. Christie describes it in her Preface as ‘a selection of Entrées’ with two main courses and a sorbet to finish. What begins with Poirot at Christmas ends with a Miss Marple mystery about new beginnings, and the dangers of starting afresh.

'Greenshaw’s Folly'
Raymond West gets drawn into a deadly adventure when he visits the eponymous Folly. The lady of the house is drawing up a will, but when she is murdered a few days later, all the suspects have alibis. Can West's aunt, Miss Marple, solve the case?

An Autobiography

Described as 'Agatha Christie’s most absorbing mystery'*, An Autobiography is an unmissable book. Part VIII of the book, entitled 'Second Spring', recounts Christie’s solo trip aboard the Orient Express to Baghdad. Along the way we meet fellow travellers, from the polite to the peculiar, and learn about a fascinating chapter of the writer’s life, which went on to inspire many of her works.

*Daily Mail

Sad Cypress

This Poirot novel begins with Elinor Carlisle in the dock, accused of killing Mary Gerrard. The motive is simple: jealousy. The story is far from easy to unpick though, as we learn through narrative flashbacks. It will take Poirot's little grey cells to make sense of the family secrets, and to ensure an innocent woman isn't hanged. Hope will flourish in unexpected places, and this novel is as concerned with love as it is with envy.

We hope you find a story to settle down with. Need more reading recommendations? Ask us on Twitter, we'd be happy to help.

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