Agatha Christie Reading Challenge

My progress in 2012:

The Agatha Christie Reading Challenge is run by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. I don’t think of it as a Challenge – it’s really a reading project, as it is quite simply to read Agatha Christie’s books. I’m not reading them in order of publication but as I come across them.

The full list of the 45 novels that I’ve read is on my Agatha Christie Reading Challenge page.

My favourite this year is One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, but with the exception of Postern of Fate I thought they all made fascinating reading.

This year I’ve read 11 books, which I’ve listed below in the order of publication:

  1. 1923 The Murder on the Links – this is the third book she wrote and the second featuring Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie had the idea for the book after reading newspaper reports of a murder in France, in which masked men had broken into a house, killed the owner and left his wife bound and gagged. From these facts she then invented her plot, setting the book in the fictional French town of Merlinville.
  2. 1933 Lord Edgware Dies – this is the eighth Poirot book and is narrated by Captain Hastings. Poirot is at his best, relying on his knowledge of psychology, the ‘˜employment of the little grey cells‘˜, which gives him such mental pleasure.
  3. 1936 Murder in Mesopotamia (I haven’t written a post on this book). In 1936 Agatha Christie was with her husband Max Malloran at his archaeological dig in the Middle East and this book is the first she wrote set in that part of the world – in this case in that part of Iraq formerly known as Mesopotamia. The murder victim is the wife of the archaeologist!
  4. 1940 One, Two, Buckle My Shoewritten in 1939, this book reflects the economic and political conditions of the time, with a definite pre-war atmosphere of a world on the brink of war.  Hercule Poirot and Inspector Japp investigate the apparent suicide of Mr Morley, Poirot’s Harley Street dentist.  Each chapter is entitled after a line of the nursery rhyme and the first line contains an important clue.
  5. 1947 The Labours of Hercules. This is a collection of 12 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot, first published in 1947. Poirot is thinking of retiring, but before he does he wants to solve 12 more cases and not just any cases. These have to correspond to the Twelve Labours of Hercules, specially selected problems that personally appeal to him.
  6. 1953 After the Funeral, another Poirot book, full of red herrings, complicated family relationships and one where the motive for the crime is skilfully concealed.
  7. 1955 Hickory Dickory Dock brings the first appearance of Miss Lemon, Poirot’s secretary, in a full length novel. Set in a crowded London house, owned by Mrs Nicolstis, a Greek, with a mixed group of young people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, where one of the students commits suicide ‘“ or is it murder?
  8. 1965 At Bertram’s Hotel, where Miss Marple stays for a week as a gift from her nephew and his wife. There’s a long build up to any crime being committed and It’s only towards the end of the book that a murder occurs. Miss Marple’s presence is vital to solving the mystery.
  9. 1967 Endless Night this is a psychological study with a suffocating air of menace throughout the book, and more than one twist at the end.
  10. 1973 Postern of Fate the fourth of the Tommy and Tuppence Beresford mysteries. It begins with the ageing couple, now retired and living in a new home. They investigate the fate of Mary Jordan who had lived there many years earlier. Not one of Agatha Christie’s better books.
  11. 1976 (but written in the 1940s) Sleeping Murder Agatha Christie had written this book during the Second World War. Miss Marple’s last case in which she investigates a murder that had happened 18 years earlier.

I have been trying to fill in the gaps and still have some of her earlier books to find (I haven’t listed her short stories):

  1. 1925 – The Secret of Chimneys
  2. 1927 – The Big Four
  3. 1930 – The Murder at the Vicarage
  4. 1931 – The Sittaford Mystery
  5. 1935 – Three Act Tragedy
  6. 1936 – Cards on the Table
  7. 1938 – Appointment with Death
  8. 1939 – Ten Little Niggers
  9. 1940 – Sad Cypress
  10. 1941 – N or M?*
  11. 1942 – Five Little Pigs
  12. 1942 – The Moving Finger*
  13. 1944 – Towards Zero
  14. 1944 – Death Comes as the End
  15. 1945 – Sparkling Cyanide
  16. 1950 – A Murder is Announced*
  17. 1952 – Mrs McGinty’s Dead
  18. 1952 – They Do It With Mirrors*
  19. 1954 – Destination Unknown
  20. 1958 – Ordeal by Innocence
  21. 1959 – Cat Among the Pigeons*
  22. 1966 – Third Girl*
  23. 1971 – Nemesis*

* books I own

5 thoughts on “Agatha Christie Reading Challenge”

  1. Margaret – I’m impressed! You’ve done quite a job with this challenge. I don’t blame you for liking One, Two… as much as you did. It’s got some great characters and some classic Christie twists…

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  2. You’re doing well there Margaret – I am definitely going to try and read more of her work next year, but I’m still debating whether to follow your approach, and read them as I see them, or whether to try and be more structured.

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