Reading Lists

Stories for Spring

Outset Spring Stories

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.

Sinister Spring

Settle into the longer days and warmer evenings with some spring-time mysteries featuring Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, and more of Christie's iconic sleuths. Some highlights include:

'Miss Marple Tells a Story'

Miss Marple presents a problem to be solved including a dead women, a suspected husband and a seemingly impossible murder.

'The Case of the Missing Lady'

Tommy and Tuppence have been tasked with uncovering the whereabouts of a Miss Hermione Crane, who's disappearance has caused great upheaval to her fiancé.

This collection of short stories published in the UK in March 2023 is the third book in the seasonal series, accompanying Midsummer Mysteries and Midwinter Murder

The Thirteen Problems [UK, published in Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories in the US]

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!

Dumb Witness

Emily Arundell's accident on the stairs was blamed on her little terrier, Bob. But the more she thought about it, the more she was convinced that someone in her family was out to kill her. In mid-spring, she wrote her concerns to Poirot but by the time the letter arrived in mid-summer, Emily was already dead. Agatha Christie was able to indulge in her love of dogs when she wrote Dumb Witness.

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.

N or M?

Set during World War Two, Tommy is called in by the intelligence service to undergo a dangerous spy mission. But can he take on the case alone? Sworn to secrecy, he sets off for the British Coast with Tuppence still in the dark. Imagine his surprise when she turns up in the same hotel... Nazis are posing as ordinary citizens in Britain and two of them have just murdered one of the finest agents in the British troupe. How will the pair work together to identify agents N and M?

Taken at the Flood

When an explosion in the London Blitz kills her husband, Mrs Underhay finds herself inheriting the entirety of his fortune. However, the dead man's sister-in-law visits Hercule Poirot to inform him that spirits have sent her a warning: Mrs Underhay's first husband is still alive. Poirot must find this missing person, being guided by the spirt world alone - but what is the real motive behind the woman's actions?

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?

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. [This story features in The Underdog and Other Stories in the US]

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

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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