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?