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Book Recommendations by Francesca: We (Heart) Hercule Poirot | Manolo for the Big Girl

Book Recommendations by Francesca: We (Heart) Hercule Poirot

According to People magazine, J.K.Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is “[s]lowly creeping up on Agatha Christie as the most read author not named Shakespeare.”

Francesca loves a good mystery, and has 2 bookshelves devoted to the work of Agatha Christie. Christie (1890-1976) produced 80 superfantastic mystery novels, most of which take place in England, France, or in what was formerly the British Empire. Francesca finds that her work from the 20’s and 30’s is most entertaining.

Christie created two of the most famous and beloved detectives of all time: Hercule Poirot and Miss (Jane) Marple.

Today we recommend the mysteries of Hercule Poirot! He is Belgian! He is little and has an egg-shaped head, and a huge mustache! He is exceedingly prim and neat and obsessed with symmetry! He uses his “little grey cells” to produce order and logic! He has a tremendous ego! He is Hercule Poirot!

Here, in order they were published, Francesca’s favorites:

Murder on the Links (1923) A Frenchman begs Poirot to come to him, but by the time Poirot arrives it is too late: The man has been killed, and his body dumped near a golf course. His wife has also been attacked; the son is in South America; the only male servant was recently dismissed; the female staff heard nothing. What is going on?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd(1926) Considered a masterpiece of the genre. Mrs. Ferrar was suspected of having killed her husband. Now she, too, is dead. And then her fiancee, Roger Ackroyd, dies as well. Who among the multiple suspects is the killer?

Murder on the Orient Express (Also titled Murder on the Calais Coach) (1934) Traveling home by train from Istanbul, Hercule Poirot cannot sleep . . . he sees and hears much activity throughout the night . . . and in the morning, the man next door is dead, with multiple stab wounds. The evidence points wildly in many different directions – to 13 suspects in all! Can Poirot tease out the truth?

Death in the Clouds (Also titled Death in the Air) (1935) Once again Poirot is on his way home, this time from France to England by aeroplane, when a woman across the aisle and just a few seats behind him is murdered! Someone has killed her, practically under his nose . . . if only he hadn’t been snoozing in order to still the effects of air sickness! Which of the passengers has blood on his, or her, hands?

Death on the Nile (1937) Poirot really shouldn’t travel so much; everytime he goes away, he encounters murder. This time he’s on a boat, and the beautiful, recently married Linnet Ridgeway is found in her bed, with a bullet wound to the head. Has her former best friend, Jacqueline, lost her mind out of jealousy for the man they both loved? Or does someone else on the boat have a motive to get Linnet out of the way?

Five Little Pigs (Also titled “Murder in Retrospect”) (1942) Sixteen years after a woman is convicted of killing her husband, their daughter approaches Poirot and asks him to clear her mother’s name. Can Poirot solve a mystery based purely on witnesses’ testimony, with no extant physical evidence?

Happy reading!

xoxo, Francesca

13 Responses to “Book Recommendations by Francesca: We (Heart) Hercule Poirot”

  1. bonnie-ann black November 15, 2007 at 4:18 pm #

    i am sure the discerning and so intelligent Francesca knows of the other wonderful british mysteries of the 20s and 30s… the Albert Campion series by the Marjorie Allingham and the ever captivating Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries by Dorothy Lee Sayers… they are to be highly recommended and are excellent for the losing of one’s self in the glamour of former days.

  2. Bridey November 15, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    Just chiming in with a “yay!” and a wholehearted seconding of Francesca’s recommendations, with perhaps the addition of “The A.B.C. Murders,” an early and chilling example of a serial-killer mystery.

  3. Francesca November 15, 2007 at 4:32 pm #

    Yes, “The A.B.C. Murders” almost made Francesca’s list, but she couldn’t include everything!

  4. bristlesage November 15, 2007 at 5:24 pm #

    ‘ooray for Hercule! I, too, love Ms. Christie’s works and especially the little Belgian. Oh, and Tommy and Tuppence, who are so very. Anyway, I’m glad to see him highlighted here!

  5. me November 15, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    If you like Agatha Christie, I would recommend Dorothy L. Sayers and her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.

  6. Scarlett November 15, 2007 at 7:28 pm #

    And don’t forget Josephine Tey! She is the superfantastic mistress of the surprising denouement! I love Christie and Sayers more than is strictly wise, but I generally solve the mystery about a hundred pages before Poirot and Wimsey – but I’ve never outfigured Inspector Grant.

  7. Awesome Mom November 15, 2007 at 8:28 pm #

    I love Poirot! My parents were both fans so I read all the books at a very tender age.

  8. Joyce Morrison November 15, 2007 at 9:36 pm #

    As for AChristie, Ten Little Indians aka And Then there were none. 10 people invited to an island….

    But the best of the Brits: Dorothy M. Sayres hands down followed by Josephine Tey.
    For more contemporary writers, PDJames is consistently good. Minette Walters for that kind of creepy psychological mystery. And Det. Banks in anything by Peter Robinson.

  9. de November 16, 2007 at 9:18 am #

    Ah, The Joyce has mentioned my very first Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None.

    So enamored with Madame Christie was I, that when younger I had a potted plant that I named Agatha. *sigh*

    Now De must run and dig out her novels to read again…at least the weather is getting nice and chilly. A good mystery novel, a warm blanket and some hot cocoa…yum!

  10. Rachael November 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    I LOVE Agatha Christie! My grandma got me hooked on her books (especially Poreit) when I was in high school. I’m 21, and no one my age has even heard of her, even the readers. It’s tragic.

  11. Viatrix November 18, 2007 at 10:27 pm #

    Hurrah for M. Poirot and his little grey cells! Rachael, it’s sad to hear that there are some in our generation who’ve not heard of Agatha Christie! Very sad indeed.

  12. Jessica November 20, 2007 at 12:53 pm #

    And Then There Were None is by far the best non-Poirot Christie book.

    I forget the name of it, but one Christie non-Poirot is set in ancient Egypt. I have no idea how accurate the Egyptology is, but it’s fairly fascinating. Death Comes as the End, perhaps? Another one is the jauntiest take on British colonialism you’ll ever read, with characters cheerfully talking about going to Rhodesia. (I had to look up what Rhodesia was.) It stars a woman paleontologist, or anthropologist, named Anne.

    I’d say Murder on the Orient Express is the best Poirot. Underrated is … damn it, the one set in a girls’ school. All the titles blur together. I think Cat Among the Pigeons. Also Evil Under the Sun.

    Best Miss Marple: trickier. Perhaps Nemesis, or Pocket Full of Rye.

    Worst Poirot by a mile: Hallowe’en Party. It’s very late — 1960s — and not only is Christie reacting to the counterculture at tiresome length, but the denouement comes out of nowhere and makes no sense, which is a grievous sin for a Christie book.

  13. Sarah November 28, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I think And Then there Were None is indubitably the best novel by Agatha Christie.