2020 marked the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Dame Agatha Christie’s first novel. What followed can only be described as extraordinary.
Fascinating Facts about Agatha Christie
- Agatha Christie produced 66 crime novels, 6 non-crime novels, 19 plays, 4 non-fiction books, and 150 short stories.
- Over 2 billion copies of her books have been published. Only the Bible and Shakespeare have outsold her.
- Ms. Christie’s books have been translated into over 100 languages, making her the most translated writer ever.
- Her play The Mousetrap had the single longest run of any play from its debut in 1952 through over 27,000 performances until 2020 when coronavirus shut down all theaters in London.
- Movies and TV series are still being created using her works, including a much-anticipated version of Death on the Nile slated to be released later in 2022, starring Kenneth Branagh and Gal Gadot.
Are you ready to discover Agatha Christie?
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on September 16, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, South West England. In 1914, she married Archie Christie.
Agatha spent time working in a hospital dispensary during WWI. During that time, she wrote The Mysterious Affair at Styles in response to a bet from her sister that she couldn’t construct a mystery the reader wouldn’t be able to solve. When the novel was finally published, she received a review in the Pharmaceutical Journal for her detailed description of the use of poison, something she learned while working at the dispensary.
I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserably, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.Agatha Christie
In 1926, Agatha’s mother, Clara, passed away, and her husband asked for a divorce. What followed was a time of despair and genuine struggle for the author. Still, she kept writing and traveling, which eventually led her to meet Max Mallowan, an archeologist who became her second husband in 1930. They were married until her death in 1976.
Ms. Christie created some of the most well-loved detectives in fiction, including Hercule Poirot, a fastidious Belgian, and Miss Jane Marple, an elderly spinster whose eagle eyes never miss a detail. If you love a good detective story, no one does a mystery better than Christie.
With such a massive collection of works to choose from, how can we choose favorites to recommend? Among our favorites are the books that incorporate her talent for mystery writing and her passion for travel and archaeology. Here are 5 that perfectly capture both:
Death Comes as the End
Because this book features neither Poirot or Marple, it’s never reached the notoriety of some of her other titles. Nevertheless, it’s a fabulous story.
Death is set in ancient Egypt and features ancient Egyptian characters who fall into disarray in the face of intrigue and murder. The plot is clever and well researched, including the use of poison. This novel is unlike anything else she wrote, but also thoroughly Christie.
They Came to Baghdad
When a secret summit of superpower’s plans for an unidentified secret weapon, spies and murder collide, Christie is there to tell the tale. Baghdad is the setting for this story, and Agatha truly transports her readers to the dusty streets of this bustling city where she and her husband Max spent so much time. What makes this novel significant is that it’s not strictly a whodunnit; it’s also a spy thriller, a genre you might not associate with Christie.
Murder in Mesopotamia
Poirot embarks on an archeological expedition, only to find his adventure interrupted by a murder. Our favorite detective relies on one blood spot as his only clue to solve an intractable crime set in the Iraqi desert.
Agatha Christie used her experiences in the Middle East to fill this mystery with rich detail and fascinating characters, many of which were loosely based on real people. One interesting fact is that the draughtsman from Mallowan’s digs, Robing Macartnay, illustrated the book jacket for the Collins Crime Club edition, demonstrating clearly how intertwined this book is with Christie’s personal life.
Death on the Nile
When the tranquility of a Nile cruise is shattered by the brutal murder of Linnet Ridgeway, a young, stylish, beautiful, girl with everything to look forward to, Poirot must use his exceptional detection powers to make sense of a crime that seems truly senseless. Ms. Christie peppers her most popular mystery with geographical and historical details gleaned from her time spent in the region. Not only will you love this mystery, but we’re fairly certain you’ll be yearning to take your own Nile cruise before the story ends.
Appointment with Death
Reviewers remarked when this book was published that this mystery was twice as brilliant as Death on the Nile, which was brilliant. Once you read it, we think you’ll agree.
This story takes you from Jerusalem to the cliffs of Petra in Jordan, where the detestable Mrs. Boynton is found dead with a single puncture mark on her wrist. Poirot gives himself one day to solve the murder. The plot is clever, the descriptions are full of regional flavor. The mystery keeps readers guessing until the final characteristic Poirot denouement. You’ll love it.
Discover Agatha Christie
Have you read an Agatha Christie mystery lately? If it’s been a while, it’s time to dive in and remember why millions of people continue to love them. No one does a solid whodunnit better than Ms. Christie, the master of her craft.
If you are looking for other great mystery authors, see our History of Mystery post or our Mystery Books by Black Authors post.
Discover the books of Agatha Christie at Discover Books. With free shipping on orders of $12 or more and prices as low as $3.85, choosing which books to order will be the only challenge. Plus, she wrote so many, you won’t have to worry about what to read next for a very long time. Shop and save today.