Thumbnail Read Christie2021 May
May's Read Christie choice is A Pocket Full of Rye

Reading Lists

Read Christie 2021

Welcome back to Read Christie 2021. To receive your copy of the Read Christie list which you can print off (or use digitally) to record your progress throughout the year, simply sign up to our newsletter. Sign up here If you’re already a subscriber, you should have received your copy of the Read Christie list in your most recent newsletter from us.

This month's theme is 'A story featuring tea’ and we have chosen a marvellous Miss Marple story, to help celebrate the comfort (and danger) of this delightful brew. We will be exploring food and drink in Christie this month, as well as sharing some of our favourite quotes about the power of a cup of tea!

Our May choice: A Pocket Full of Rye

What's it about?

Rex Fortescue, a wealthy businessman is sipping a cup of his preferred tea in the office when he is taken ill. His usually level-headed secretary Miss Grosvenor is taken aback by the violent reaction to his drink, but he eventually makes it to hospital where he sadly dies. Inspector Neele is on the case immediately. Such a sudden death was bound to cause suspicion, but his investigation into the victim suggests that there are plenty of those who might want him dead. Will meeting his young widow, interviewing the staff of Yewtree Lodge, and getting to know his children help him to solve this seemingly deadly poisoning? And does it matter why he died with a pocket full of rye?

‘There wasn’t anything wrong with the tea,’ said Miss Grosvenor. ‘There couldn’t have been.’ ‘I see,’ said Inspector Neele.
Agatha Christie, A Pocket Full of Rye

Alternative stories

If you’d prefer to pick up a different book this month, we highly recommend Poirot’s deadly case One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, 4.50 from Paddington or At Bertram’s Hotel. All three of these feature tea (and scandal).

How to get involved?

We'll be sharing quotes, clips and trivia on Facebook, and at #ReadChristie2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Join in via our social media posts, ask questions about the text, and chat with other fans who are also taking part in the challenge.

The book clubs

We will host our May book clubs on Facebook and Instagram on Thursday 27th April. Timings and details will be announced shortly.

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April's Read Christie 2021 choice is Murder is Easy

April 2021

This month's theme is 'A story set before WWII'. This category allows readers to choose between any novel, short story collection or play written and published prior to 1939. We loved picking some really intriguing themes this year, but also wanted to include a few, more open categories, so readers could pick from the huge number of Christie stories available to them. We hope this enables you to revisit an old favourite, or to start a Christie you've been meaning to read for the first time.

Our April choice: Murder is Easy

What's it about?

When Luke Fitzwilliam returns to England from police service abroad for the last time, he is disconcerted, and a little regretful for leaving his active life behind. His train trip to London introduces him to a suspicious elderly lady, Miss Pinkerton, who believes she is on the hunt for a killer. Dismissive at first, Luke is roused into action when this seemingly harmless whistle-blower is killed. With an alias in mind, and an accomplice in the inquisitive Bridget, Luke Fitzwilliam heads to Wychwood under Ashe to explore a series of accidental deaths, and to finish what the late Miss Pinkerton started - a search for the truth.

The old lady nodded vigorously. ‘Yes, murder. You’re surprised, I can see. I was myself at first . . . I really couldn’t believe it. I thought I must be imagining things.
Miss Lavinia Pinkerton, Murder is Easy

Alternative stories

If Murder is Easy isn't what you are looking for this month, may we recommend you join HarperCollins US in their reading of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, one of her finest ever novels. If you're in need of a bit of escapism we think The Man in the Brown Suit, The 13 Problems and The ABC Murders are all excellent examples of Christie's pre-WWII writing which would work for this category.

How to get involved?

We'll be sharing quotes, clips and trivia on Facebook, and at #ReadChristie2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Join in via our social media posts, ask questions about the text, and chat with other fans who are also taking part in the challenge.

The book clubs

We will host our Murder is Easy book club on Facebook and Instagram, on Thursday 29th April. This month we will be running one at 9am BST (7pm AEDT, 1:30pm IST, 9am CET) on Facebook and Instagram, and one at 5pm BST (9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm CET) on Facebook and Instagram, as per in March, to help accommodate multiple time zones.

Our US publishers, HarperCollins, are hosting a book club too, on Friday April 30th at 3pm (Eastern, US & Canada, 12pm PDT, 8pm BST). It will be free to attend (we will be there), and is part of our promise to deliver book clubs in different formats and time zones in 2021. Register to join bestselling author and Agatha Christie fan Lucy Foley along with crime fiction experts Abby Endler (Crime by the Book) and Molly Odintz (CrimeReads) for a live virtual book club discussion of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Book club attendees will be incorporated into the conversation through a live chat and on screen to share their opinions and thoughts about Christie’s masterpiece. There will also be a lightning trivia round and you’ll be entered to win a Christie prize pack upon registration for the event. Register here

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March's Read Christie 2021 choice is Lord Edgware Dies

March 2021

This month's theme - a story featuring a society figure - offers an embarrassment of riches. From Lords and Ladies, to actors and actresses, artists to socialites, Agatha Christie's works often feature these types of people. They add intrigue and glamour, but also showcase the fact that no one is too grand to be embroiled in a murder plot. We are excited to read Lord Edgware Dies this month.

Our March choice: Lord Edgware Dies

What's it about?

The story begins with an introduction from Captain Hastings, who promises to recall the finer details of this Poirot case. In the opening chapters we meet both Carlotta Adams, a comic impressionist, and Lady Edgware, an actress who Carlotta is currently impersonating on stage. Lady Edgware, aka Jane Wilkinson, approaches Poirot later that evening, to ask for his assistance in her divorce from the eponymous Lord Edgware. The Lady is used to getting what she wants, and it seems the Belgian detective is determined to help her too (much to Hastings' dismay). But when George Alfred St Vincent Marsh, fourth Baron Edgware, is found dead before a divorce is granted, there's only one suspect who everyone is focused on... Packed with society figures of all kinds, this intriguing read felt like the perfect pick for March.

I know her, you see. She’d kill as easily as she’d drink her morning tea. I mean it, M. Poirot.
Bryan Martin, Lord Edgware Dies

Alternative stories

If you have recently read Lord Edgware Dies, or fancy choosing a different title this month, we recommend the following other stories: Three Act Tragedy, Sparkling Cyanide or The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side.

How to get involved

We'll be sharing quotes, clips and trivia on Facebook, and at #ReadChristie2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Join in via our social media posts, ask questions about the text, and chat with other fans who are also taking part in the challenge.

We will host our Lord Edgware Dies book club on Facebook and Instagram, on Thursday 25th March. This month we have taken your votes on when you would like the book club to be hosted, and will be running one at 9am GMT (8pm AEDT, 2:30pm IST, 10am CET) on Facebook and Instagram, and one at 5pm GMT (10am PDT, 1pm EDT, 6pm CET) on Facebook and Instagram.

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February's Read Christie 2021 choice is Parker Pyne Investigates

February 2021

This year our book prompts celebrate popular settings, scenes and tropes from Agatha Christie’s works. This month - a story featuring love. Christie’s stories feature a whole host of couples, romances, attachments and types of love. The passion a person feels might be for another person, for money or for power, it might lead them to revenge, or even murder. Looking at the variety of love which emerges in Christie’s oeuvre is fascinating, and we’ve chosen to explore its variety using the short stories of Parker Pyne.

Our February choice: Parker Pyne Investigates

Inline Parker Pyne Advert

What’s it about?

Parker Pyne’s newspaper advertisement attracts a wide-ranging selection of people, looking for solutions to unrequited love, to their thirst for adventure, or to their desire for self-improvement. Parker Pyne makes for an ideal confidant, promising to help his clientele but giving so few details as to how, so readers can take the same leap of faith that his clients do. Can Parker Pyne solve the issue of a wayward partner? Can he inject a bit of life into the bored bank clerk, or the disappointed soldier? You’ll have to read this series of cases to find out... It is a fascinating exploration of love, human drive, and statistics! Expect to meet a few familiar faces too.

In a way, I can understand a clever beautiful woman getting fed up with an ass like me.
'The Case of the Discontented Husband', Agatha Christie

Alternative stories

If you’ve already read Parker Pyne Investigates, or just fancy choosing a different book for this month, we recommend the following alternative stories: The Secret Adversary, Sad Cypress or Giant's Bread, A Daughter's A Daughter (both Mary Westmacott novels).

How to get involved

We'll be sharing quotes, clips and trivia on Facebook, and at #ReadChristie2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Join in via our social media posts, ask questions about the text, and chat with other fans who are also taking part in the challenge.

We plan to host our second book club on Facebook and Instagram, on Thursday 25th February at 4pm (GMT).

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January's Read Christie choice is The Hollow

January 2021

Introducing the 2021 challenge

Welcome to Read Christie 2021, our third official reading challenge. To receive your copy of the Read Christie list which you can print off (or use digitally) to record your progress this year, simply sign up to our newsletter. Sign up here

If you’re already a subscriber, you should have received your copy of the Read Christie list in your most recent newsletter from us. Not received yours? Simply email us at generalenquiries@agathachristie.com and we will send it to you.

This year our book prompts celebrate popular settings, scenes and tropes from Agatha Christie’s works. We begin with the ever popular crime category - a story set in a grand house!

Our January choice: The Hollow

What’s it about?

An unlikely (and not entirely likeable) collection of guests are brought together at Lord and Lady Angkatell’s house, The Hollow, for a relaxing weekend. Dr John Christow sets off keenly, with his reluctant wife Gerda in tow, excited to spend time with his hostess, and his beloved Henrietta. Midge Hardcastle eagerly awaits Edward’s arrival, though he too has eyes only for the beautiful Henrietta. David Angkatell is up (or down) from college, no one is quite sure why, and Lucy is nervously anticipating an additional guest, the Crime man with the egg-shaped head.

I’ve asked the Crime man to lunch on Sunday. It will make a distraction, don’t you think so?
Lucy Angkatell, The Hollow

Alternative stories
If you’ve already read The Hollow, or just fancy choosing a different book to begin the year with, we recommend the following alternative stories: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Body in the Library, Crooked House or Curtain.

How to get involved

Simply download and print the Read Christie 2021 postcard. Select your first book, and read it this month. We'll be sharing quotes, clips and trivia on Facebook, and at #ReadChristie2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Join in on social media, via our social media posts, ask questions about the text, and chat with other fans who are also taking part in the challenge. Our first book club will be hosted on Thursday 28th January at 4pm (GMT), on Facebook and Instagram.

Our 2021 reading choices

Puzzling over which titles to choose? We will be reading the following stories throughout 2021. We've kept a couple secret, as we know Christie fans enjoy a surprise.

If you'd like to try a different selection, we recommend the following stories for each category (although some of the prompts have endless choices)

A story set in a grand house: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Body in the Library, Crooked House or Curtain

A story featuring love: The Secret Adversary, Sad Cypress or Giant's Bread, A Daughter's A Daughter (Mary Westmacott novels)

A story starring a society figure: Three Act Tragedy, Sparkling Cyanide or The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

A story set before WWII: Any Agatha Christie book published before 1939

A story featuring tea: Murder is Easy, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe or At Bertram's Hotel

A story featuring a garden: The 13 Problems, Five Little Pigs or Nemesis

A story starring a vicar: A Murder is Announced, 4.50 from Paddington or The Pale Horse

A story set by the seaside: Peril at End House, And Then There Were None or Evil Under the Sun

A story featuring a school: Towards Zero, Crooked House or Hallowe'en Party

A story set on a mode of transport: The Man in the Brown Suit, The Mystery of the Blue Train, The ABC Murders or Death on the Nile

A story set post WW2: Any Agatha Christie book published after 1945

A story set during bad weather: Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None or Midwinter Murder

This list is by no means exhaustive, but aimed to help you decide on some new reads, and old favourites to accompany you through the year. Picked something different? We want to hear from you! Join in the conversation on social media using #ReadChristie2021.

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