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Agatha Christie Book List

Updated on April 2, 2013

Agatha Christie Books - The Mother Of Mystery

One of the most prolific detective writers in the genre, her 80 plus books sell in their hundreds of millions, and have been converted into more foreign tongues than all the writings of William Shakespeare, which is an incredible achievement. (Photo Creative Commons.)

Only the work of Disney has passed the number of publications in other languages. She also wrote romance stories by a second writing name, Mary Westmacott, but is of course mostly known for her crime fiction and her many theater plays in the West End.

Christie laid the ground work for millions of detective thriller novels that were to follow in the genre? Full of intrigue, the underdog detective always got his man and displayed a wonderful eccentricity in the process!

By User:Homonihilis (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By User:Homonihilis (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Christies' 'Mousetrap' Stands The Test Of Time

Her play written for the stage, The Mousetrap, has the prestigious record for the longest primary run anywhere in the world, debuting at the Ambassadors Theater, London on 25th November nineteen fifty two, and more than 20,000 performances to it's credit.

Agatha Christie books sales have been estimated at over four billion, a number that has only been exceeded by Bible sales. A few of her notable novels include ' The Secret Adversary ' in 1922, ' The Mysterious Affair at Styles ' in 1920, ' The Man in the Brown Suit ' in 1924 and 'Murder on the Links' in 1923.

Agatah Chrsitie Plays On Amazon

The Mousetrap and Other Plays (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection (Paperback))
The Mousetrap and Other Plays (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection (Paperback))

Read the world famous 'Mousetrap' - the longest run for a main stream theater play anywhere in the world! (Plus some of Agatha Christie's other plays in a bargain package.)

 

Main Characters - Two Detectives With Different Styles

The two main fictional characters featured in her stories have become the iconic crime detectives who use their intellect, instead of muscle power, to foil the killers - in particular Hercule Poirot the eccentric detective from Belgium and Miss Marple. Poirot has two companions in his hunt for the bad men, his secretary Miss Lemon (a delightfully ridiculous title) and his good friend Captain Arthur Hastings. Hastings typifies the stiff upper lipped English upper class gentlemen who is constantly at a loss to comprehend the Belgian sleuth.

Without a doubt, Poirot is highly idiosyncratic, and without doubt he is much brighter than his colleagues and without doubt, he always gets the killer. His kudos is made to be even more prominent by contact with the local police representative, who is not the most intelligent policeman on the force, which is one way of putting it.

By Bantam Books, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Bantam Books, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Miss Marple the Unbeatable British Sleuth

Miss Marple is a woman who never parried and resides in the hamlet of St Mary Mead, and she can unerringly retrieve memories from her own past of a character that she has come across who is exactly like the criminal they are looking for. She is always noting people's behavior, noting their characteristics and motives for seemingly insignificant actions.

Although the murderer hides all of the clues, Miss Marple needs only a tiny clue to give imagination what she requires - her knowledge of human frailty and her stickability make sure that the killer has little chance at all to get away with it.

A great number of movies have been made showcasing her books and characters, and especially her two most celebrated creations, Poirot and Marple - films include adaptations of 4.50 From Paddington, Murder on the Orient Express, and Death on the Nile. Additionally, the stories have been made into serials for television in many countries around the globe.

Hercule Poirot

'Detectivising' The Belgian Way

Poirot is perhaps Agatha Christie's most loved detective character, featured in more than 80 books and stories. The character has been portrayed on radio, and for films and TV, by a huge number of great actors, like Peter Ustinov, Albert Finney, and David Suchet, who acts in the television series for the BBC.

Hercule Poirot works as a typically conventional crime fighter in his early books, gathering little clues and the ever-present logic thought process to get killer and names this method using my "the little grey cells".

For reasons unknown, for the early books, Agatha Christie chose to make Poirot keep his discoveries close to his chest and secret from his good friend, Captain Arthur Hastings, possibly to create Hastings' taciturn objections and give extra tension to the story. This doesn't appear so much in later stories ...

Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories
Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories

This gem of a book contains all 51 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot in all his peculiar glory!

 
By Allan warren (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Allan warren (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hercule Poirot Broke The Mold

After some time in the Poirot series of books, he distances himself from the accepted Sherlock Holmes way of solving the crime, during which a number of small clues are gathered and put together like a jigsaw puzzle, and favors the examination of the characters of the deceased, the probable reason for the murder and the psychological characteristics of the killer - in this way, Christie was in advance of her time. Poirot has been played on film by several notable actors. (Photo: Actor Peter Ustinov)

Poirot enjoyed getting witnesses to speak to him, which the majority of people seem very pleased to do. He appears to be like to be a listening fatherly kind of man, who young women especially confide in. He can also tell the odd untruth to win the details he needs about an affair, nothing is out of bounds when it comes down to catching the killer. Very often, ordinary folk find themselves telling everything they know to this peculiar small detective, even at the first meeting!!

Actot David Suchet By Phil Chambers from Hamburg, Germany (IMG_6979.JPG) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Actot David Suchet By Phil Chambers from Hamburg, Germany (IMG_6979.JPG) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Poirot, Hastings and Miss Lemon

Poirot additionally uses of his foreign appearance and manner to let some people wrongly suspect that he doesn't read or speak English correctly, and so can get a bit muddled. This idea fits in really well with the British concept of class and their endemic suspicion of foreign people. If others, and especially the killer, think he is not worth bothering with, or a nit-wit, then it's far simpler for the detective to quietly circle around for the kill when the killer isn't expecting it. A peculiar hallmark of Poirot's style is to get all the involved people into one room right at the end of the book and explain who the killer is. (Actor David Suchet opposite played Poirot for BBC TV)

Captain Arthur Hastings, a old British Army officer, is Poirot's lifelong companion and is featured in many of the Poirot novels and stories. Hastings is not a very good detective, in Poirot's humble estimation, but is very helpful as he can be easily hoodwinked by the murderer, but now and again stumbles onto the truth by accident, which gives Poirot that small extra snippet of a clue that he is looking for. Poirot's has a secretary, Miss Felicity Lemon, who he himself characterizes as being ' Unbelievably ugly and incredibly efficient '.

Photo Courtesy Amazon
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Miss Marple - A Singularly British Character

Miss Jane Marple, appears in 12 of Agatha Christie's novels and 20 short stories. She is mature lady who was never wed and resides in the hamlet of St. Mary Mead, in England. Although presented as part time crime fighter, her prowess is well known. She is perhaps the most celebrated of the her fictional characters and has been portrayed many times on TV and in the by famous actresses. She first appeared in Christie's books in 1930 - The Murder at the Vicarage .

Miss Marple strikes us as very much a caricature - inevitably dressed very decently in Scottish tweed and is happiest when knitting a jumper or pulling weeds in her garden. It's been noted that Agatha Christie developed Miss Marple with her grandmother as the model. Marple may sometimes appear a bit eccentric and muddled, but she is definitely on the ball when it comes to mysteries. Her finest talent is her insight into human kind, with it's strong and weak points. Include her wonderfully incisive logical thought processes, undisturbed by any distractions, and the poor criminal has no chance ...

By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Miss Marples The Fussy Detective

As is common in many detective stories, the local police man is repeatedly made to look foolish and wrong footed by the sharp Miss Marple. Christie once said that Miss Marple is a bringing together of many old ladies that she came across in communities all over England - she is very much a multi-faceted creation.

The author brilliantly fuses the fussy, inquisitive characters of women like these, with the watching skills, sharp thinking and tenacity of the dedicated detective. In later work, the Miss Marple character changed quite a bit into a more approachable woman. In the early books, we could feel that she is fascinated in lazy or malicious tittle-tattle.

We don't have the impressions that she is a nice person at all, but it's not sure if Christie intended to give this idea, or if she had to get some stories written before Marple develops into that nicer person.

Miss Marple On Amazon

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories: A Miss Marple Collection (Miss Marple Mysteries)
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories: A Miss Marple Collection (Miss Marple Mysteries)

Short stories are a great way to 'get into' an author and demonstrates the skill of a good story teller. Agatha Christie shows why she was known as the Queen of Detective Stories

 

Miss Marple Gets Her Man

The residents of St. Mary Mead appeared to like her but were a little tired of her nosy manner and her expectation of people behaving have in a bad way towards other people, being suspicious of criminal behavior in us all. In the later stories, Marple is more modern, more approachable and definitely more likeable.

Without doubt, her keen thinking aids her in solving the crimes, but it appears that life of her community has also given her miraculous insights into the seamier side of human kind. She is repeatedly recalling memories of past events from the country area and it's residents for clues in her detective activities. Her pathological reference to acquaintances, places and events in the past in St. Mary Mead push her friends and neighbors to their limit, but these ramblings inevitably lead Miss Marple to the killer.

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      FarmerTom 4 years ago

      I love Agatha Christie stories, especially the Miss Marple short stories. Of the Poirot actors, David Suchet must be the best, and as for actresses who played Miss Marple, Margaret Rutherford is the most fun! Her films are hysterically funny, although only (very loosely) based on Christie. Enjoyed reading your lens! Now I want to watch Murder at the Gallop again!