Today I want to talk about the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie!
My sister and I are huge Agatha Christie fans. My sister owns practically all her books and while I was living with her, I couldn’t stop reading the books over and over again. At first, it was nice coming back to a book after reading several of the others and remembering what the plotline was all over again, rediscovering the mystery all over again.
Even after we’ve read all her books so many times, knowing exactly what happened still didn’t dampen our enjoyment of reading those stories. I think it’s mainly due to the way Agatha portrays her characters – some of them are annoying, some of them are lovable, but there’s always a diverse cast of people, all with something at stake or something to hide, and always up to something – and that’s what makes them, as in the words of Marigold from L.M. Montgomery’s Magic for Marigold, ‘so int’resting!’
And whether it’s old Miss Marple investigating village crime or the dashing ‘60s duo, Tommy and Tuppence, swinging it at nightclubs while running their detective agency, or Hercule Poirot assisting the wealthy and the political in solving their mysteries, whenever I read an Agatha Christie book, I feel this great sense of comfort as if I’ve just been tucked up in a comfy flannel blanket next to a roaring fire while the rain howls outside and someone (a butler?) is about to bring me a good old-fashioned English breakfast – a cup of tea with some fried ham and eggs on toast!
Here are four of my favourite Agatha Christie books: (although it was hard just picking four – I think I love most of them!)
- Here’s an easy pick – Murder on the Orient Express. Just the words ‘the Orient Express’ alone brings a sense of romanticism to the story. An assortment of different people riding on a train through Eastern Europe that comes to a standstill in a snowdrift – and a dead body discovered! Leaving those very same assortment of people asking among themselves – whodunit?
- The Pale Horse is another one of my favourites – mainly because of its spooky themes – village witches, occult rites and the inn with its picture of a pale horse and its ghostly rider. Here, I don’t think it’s so much the supernatural element hinted at in the book that’s scary but the way Christie writes it – the way her characters experience the spookiness as they investigate some mysterious and seemingly innocuous deaths which appear to be completely unconnected in any way – except in one – they are all connected in some way to the mysterious Pale Horse Inn.
- The Man in the Brown Suit combines hilarity with crime against the backdrop of London and South Africa. The protagonist, Anne, a young, penniless orphan with plenty of charm and chutzpah, sets sail to South Africa in pursuit of adventure, romance – and a dangerous killer known as the Man in the Brown Suit. Anne’s dry manner lends plenty of humour to the story but it’s really Sir Eustace Pedler’s hilarious diary entries that steal the show.
- Rounding out my top four is Crooked House. Charles Hayward is back from the war and ready to marry his fiancé, Sophia Leonides. But before he can do so, he must confront Sophia’s large and peculiar family, and find out which one of them killed Aristides, the cunning Greek millionaire who was Sophia’s grandfather and the highly influential patriarch of the family.
And if you’re like me and just can’t get enough Agatha Christie, then you’re in luck because the Agatha Christie official website and Facebook page are some of the most active fan communities on the web. There’s book covers, illustrations and pictures, writing competitions, anagrams and trivia questions and so much more!
So brew a nice cup of tea and pull up a chair, wrap a rug around you and lose yourself in some of the best whodunit mysteries in the world!