All Hail the Queen

Nowadays everyone’s all, “OMG have you read Gone Girl?!?” and “Duuuude, you have to read The Girl on the Train!” I’ve read each of these works and confess that I enjoyed them both thoroughly; who doesn’t love a good thriller?
Impressed as I am though by the gripping prowess of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and so many other authors doing great things in this genre, they don’t yet for me hold a candle to my all-time favorite author. She was blowing minds as far back as the 1920s, slaying the scene in her decades of writing with epic twists, dizzying turns and bombshell endings you never saw coming. Her collected works comprise a list of almost 100 titles and it is my life’s mission to own each and every one of them. I’m of course talking about the original Queen of Crime: the one, the only, the incomparable Dame Agatha Christie.  

Whether you’ve recently dabbled in the mystery/thriller category or are a seasoned fan of the genre, if you haven’t yet given ol’ Aggie a try, there is no time like the present. Her works are rife with that healthy dose of suspense you crave, wrapped in the unique literary ingenuity of Christie’s own.

Here are my five favorite Christie masterpieces, complete with links to purchase your very own copies in the format of your choosing. Now get cracking!

1.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Let me tell you how hard I want to drop a plot spoiler on you right now. Hard. Set in the village of King’s Abbot, this tour de force features famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who comes out of retirement to investigate the suspicious death of the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. Christie deftly drops a trail of breadcrumbs from beginning to end that will lead you in a hundred different directions, each one more convincing than the last until you’re plum baffled and begging to know who dunnit. Then comes the grand reveal and you’re like, “Whaaaaaat?”

Read it, read it now. Click here. Do it fast.

2.  And Then There Were None
This one was just about tied with my number one choice for its creepy mind-blow potential. The plot: ten people each receive a suspicious invitation to an island and are then slowly murdered one by one after arriving. It keeps you guessing at the edge of your seat the entire time, a flawless example of Dame Agatha’s penchant for a psychological thriller with an unexpected mind f*ck ending. Interesting fact: the original titles for this work include Ten Little Niggers and Ten Little Indians. Glad we stuck with the title as it stands now.

And then there was your own copy, which you can purchase here

3.  Murder on the Orient Express
I first became a fan of Murder on the Orient Express before I’d ever read or even heard of it; I was actually cast as Mrs. Hubbard in my sixth grade class production of this famed Christie classic, and in case you’re wondering: of course I stole the show. Set aboard the Orient Express, the glamorous train service best known for its service from Paris to Istanbul, it once again features Hercule Poirot as he tries to solve the perplexing mystery of a murder committed on board. This piece has been turned into a film not once but twice and is featured as an episode on British television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

As Monsieur Poirot would say, cliquez ici! (click here)

4.  A Murder is Announced
So I’ve always had a thing for smart & sassy old ladies (hence my obsession with Sofia Petrillo and the rest of the Golden Girls crew). My favorite spunky senior though has got to be Miss Marple. This dowager detective of Christie’s is not really a detective at all but rather a sharp-witted spinster from the fictitious village of St. Mary Mead; she is especially known for using observations of small-town life to solve complicated crimes. In A Murder is Announced, a murder is (you guessed it) announced mysteriously in the village of Chipping Cleghorn’s gazette, complete with date, time and location. The town’s locals show up out of curiosity expecting perhaps a fun little murder-mystery parlor game. It’s not a game at all, and Miss Marple is called upon to find a killer.   
Read the announcement here.

5.  Crooked House
The last but not least of my bunch of favorites has an ending initially considered too bold and shocking even for the likes of Agatha Christie. It is the tale of the Leonides family who all live together in Crooked House, and among them lies one guilty of the poisoning of patriarch Aristides. Like in And Then There Were None, the murder represents a dark interpretation of a nursery rhyme and will give you a mean case of the Oh-No-She-Did-Nots. It made me blurt, “Oh SNAP!” out loud in a coffee shop, so you know it’s going to be good.
Get in on the crooked fun here.

So that’s my list!  I have my eighth grade teacher to thank for introducing me to dear old’ Aggie, and I often wonder if Mrs. Geraldine Nau knows she changed my life forever when she did. In any case, I’m ever thankful for the suggestion and hope that you will be as well. Happy reading!
Bookishly  yours,