There may be just handful readers of English novels who may not have read Agatha Christie. The great writer reached out as a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and poet. She is one of the most published and translated authors of all time. She has been translated into nearly 103 languages and her novels have sold roughly 4 billion copies, which makes her mystery novels most-widely published books only behind Shakespeare’s works and the Bible.
The Mousetrap, one of Christie’s stage play holds the record for the longest initial run. The play opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and is still running after more than 25,000 performances.
It is tough to choose the top 10 mystery from her list of 66 detective novels, but here is a feeble attempt to pick the favorites.
10. Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case
This mystery novel was written sometime during the Second World War, but Christie withheld the publication of the novel for nearly 30 years. Her famous and widely loved Detective Hercule Poirot is no longer the lively young wise man he was earlier. He is old, frail and suffers from arthritis. He returns to the country house Styles, which was where his first case took place. Christie brought out every trick from mystery bag to create a heartbreaking and poignant farewell to her beloved character. A must read for all Poirot fans.
9. Cards on the Table
This is one of the best psychological thriller novels coming from Christie. Solving the mystery and identifying the murderer wholly depends on discerning the psychology of the suspects in this story. The novel pitted four detectives, Superintendent Battle, a top detective from Scotland Yard, Colonel Race, a debonair Secret Service agent, Ariadne Oliver, writer of popular detective fiction, and Hercule Poirot, the famed private detective against four suspects Dr Roberts, a successful physician, Mrs Lorrimer, a well-to-do, expert bridge player, Major Despard, a dashing explorer and sport hunter and Anne Meredith, a pretty young attractive woman in her mid twenties. The plot was tightly knit with exquisite clues thrown in to solve the mystery.
8. Five Little Pigs
The murder has been committed 16 years ago; the murderess has been sentenced to life sentence for poisoning her husband and died in the prison. It is great challenge for Poirot to dig up the skeletons of the past and check if the justice had faltered in her steps. He has to find clues through the five different accounts of the murder. The slow unraveling of the happening in the past and the great twist in the end makes it a very gripping novel you have read.
7. Endless Night
Endless night is a novel that does not fit among the other novels written by Agatha Christie. The Times Literary Supplement sums up the novel very well, where it says “It really is bold of Agatha Christie to write in the persona of a working-class boy who marries a poor little rich girl, but in a pleasantly gothic story of gypsy warnings she brings it all off, together with a nicely melodramatic final twist.” The chilling end is something you don’t come across in many of Christie novels. The novel has everything a reader looks for, thrills, mystery, love, deceit, remorse and revenge in equal proportions.
6. Crooked House
This is one of those books you get hooked on to and forget to eat, sleep or even pee. You pick up the book only to put it down when you are done. You work along with the brilliant Chief Inspector Taverner of Scotland Yard to solve this whodunit mystery. We all end up barking up the wrong tree. Not even a great genius would guess how the murders really happened. Finally, the mystery answers itself in a most unexpected way. Agatha proved her skills without the help of Poirot or Marple through this book.
5. Death on the Nile
The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is taken down the Nile River for the mystery action of this amazing novel. It is amazing the way Poirot digs out the truth from perfect alibis of the character. The genius of Agatha Christie comes forth in this novel strewn with greed for money, deception in relationships and love which leads to crime. This is rated among one of the top cases solved by Hercule Poirot.
Also Read: Top 10 best Agatha Christie books
4. Peril at End House
Peril at the End House is an amazing detective fiction featuring Hercule Poirot, as well as Arthur Hastings and Chief Inspector Japp in pursuit of answers. When an impoverished owner of End House hosts a party where fireworks camouflage the shot that kills her cousin, there is no guess as to which of the other guests could be the murderer? The novel runs a perfect speed and clues are very well hidden. The solution seems to be off course unexpected but it has comes with great logical explanation. We get to see the rare emotional side of Poirot in the mystery.
3. Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous stories, which is set on the sensational Orient Express. It’s a complicated mystery involving a group of characters who are presently cut off from the world due to snowdrifts. This is when a murder takes place. The snow outside is un-trodden which tells that the murderer is still among the people on board of the Orient Express. Poirot shows his intellect and compassion in resolving this wonderfully woven mystery. The ending not only has a great twist but it makes the reader feel happy as well.
2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the novel that was voted the best crime novel ever by 600 fellow writers of the Crime Writers’ Association. What more do you want to get the book in your hands? Anything more said about the storyline would cheat the readers of the pleasure of finding the murderer in the end. This book is known to have changed the career of the Mystery Queen.
1. And Then There Were None
No wonder this is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time. It is not the just the mystery of whodunit and how it is being done and how many will be murdered – all act on the psyche of the reader who gets absorbed into the plot. The ending will just let the readers how human intelligence fails to identify a crime when it is well planned. A novel that has creepy hands that reach out and grip you until you reach the end.