complete

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite writers. I remember being introduced to her in elementary school. At that time, I was sure I was going to be a detective when I grew up because I was able to solve Donald J. Sobol’s Two-Minute Mysteries without having to flip the book to figure out whodunit and how! I fancied myself as the living incarnate of Encyclopedia Brown.

One day, finding myself with nothing to read, I stumbled upon an Agatha Christie omnibus. I’ve been trying to recall what stories they were. It may have had three novels- or five. It may have included Cards on the Table, Thirteen at Dinner, Elephants Can Remember, or any or none of those combinations. All I know for sure was that it introduced me to the Belgian detective with his egg-shaped head, famous mustache, and amazing deduction skills using his “little grey cells.”

I didn’t understand everything I was reading then- especially the French words- and I still don’t- but I was hooked. Agatha Christie is able to tell a story that’s just so well-crafted everyone can enjoy it. The more I read of her books, the more amazed I was. I tended to read mostly the Poirot mysteries but have read a few of her stand-alone books, including some Miss Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

When Harper Collins began republishing her entire work, I knew I wanted to start collecting them! It would give me a reason to read everything she’s written. According to her website, she’s written 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, 19 plays, and 6 novels written under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott- the latter weren’t reprinted so I didn’t include them. I was looking forward to enjoying the books and perhaps learn a thing or two about how to write great stories from “the Queen of Mystery!”

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Here I am nerding out in the Agatha Christie room!

I had no specific timeline to complete this reading challenge but I felt it was going to take me forever if I didn’t step up my game! All I knew was that I wanted to read them in chronological order. As a reward for completing it, I wanted to stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel– at their Agatha Christie room, of course!- where a friend had taken me to tour the place a few years ago and fell in love with the place. (I had since gone back to stay at the Dr. Seuss room earlier this year.) I also wanted to see if I could donate my books to them.

After five years, I finally completed my Agatha Christie Reading Challenge! I’ve developed even a greater respect for what she has accomplished- stories that continue to entertain and astonish readers decades after their first publications. It was interesting to see how her style and subject matters reflected her time period- through war, the advancement of cars and airplanes, and the modernization of the world.

Hercule Poirot continues to be by far my favorite character of hers. I was new to her skills as a playwright and delighted in getting to experience them the first time. I can say without hesitation that my least favorite novel of hers is Passenger to Frankfurt. Other than that, readers really can’t go wrong with an Agatha Christie story and there are some that will be classics forever.

The Reviews

The Mysterious Affair at Styles- 5 stars
The Secret Adversary- 4 stars
The Murder on the Links- 4 stars
The Man in the Brown Suit- 4 stars
Poirot Investigates- 3 stars

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle, #1)The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie. While she is one of my favorite writers, it was mostly because I liked her Hercule Poirot mysteries so much. This thriller, although not featuring any of her other famous detectives, was still much praised. Fun and full of likable characters, brilliant with twists and turns befitting her classic novels, it did not disappoint. It left me racing through the pages to see what would happen next.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven’t been reviewing any of the Agatha Christie novels I’ve been reading but this is such a genius piece of work which is why she is undoubtedly hailed as the Queen of Mystery.

The Big Four- 4 stars
The Mystery of the Blue Train- 3 stars
The Seven Dials Mystery- 3 stars

Partners in Crime (Tommy and Tuppence #2)Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually don’t write reviews for Agatha Christie books since how many times can I say how much I liker her and how brilliant she is.

While I enjoyed the characters of husband and wife adventurers, Tommy and Tuppence, and the humor of using the different detecting skills of various famous sleuths including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, the mysteries were kind of weak and basic.

The Mysterious Mr. Quin- 2 stars

Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. This is the first novel featuring her other famous detective, Miss Marple. The story’s enjoyable narrative, interesting characters, style, and solution is classic Christie and I will definitely check out more Miss Marple.

The Sittaford Mystery- 3 stars
Peril at End House- 4 stars

The Tuesday Club MurdersThe Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sigh, I don’t like Miss Marple nor do I like Agatha Christie’s short stories.

Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All my favorite characters (Poirot, Hasting, and Japp) are back in this delightful and genius mystery.

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels have been consistently diabolical in their ingenuity. I am always in awe of her genius.

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?- 4 stars

Parker Pyne InvestigatesParker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maybe I just don’t like Agatha Christie’s short stories. It doesn’t help if it doesn’t feature Hercule Poirot. But I was surprised to see familiar names like Miss Lemon (who would later work for the Begian detective) and Adriadne Oliver (the novelist who I’ve never been quite fond of.) These are more along the lines of Alexander McCall Smith “mysteries.”

Three Act Tragedy- 3 stars
Death in the Clouds- 3 stars

The ABC Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13)The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[Off the Shelf Reading Challenge]
[Agatha Christie Reading Challenge]

Poirot and Hastings have teamed up again to catch a serial killer working his way through the alphabet! I’ve reread this one multiple times.

Murder in Mesopotamia- 3 stars
Cards on the Table- 3 stars
Dumb Witness- 4 stars

Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot, #17)Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Classic Christie! A large cast of memorable characters. A murder most baffling. And Hercule Poirot with his little grey cells to work things out only he can.

[Agatha Christie Reading Challenge]
[Off the Shelf Reading Challenge]

Murder in the Mews- 3 stars
Appointment with Death- 4 stars

Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot, #20)Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t really like this one. Maybe it was because I remembered who the murderer was so the clues seemed heavy handed. Plus this edition needed better editing which bothered me. Still brilliant, though.

Murder is EasyMurder is Easy by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was more 2.5 stars.

Even though I was wrong about who the murderer was, I still felt it was predictable. The red herrings were obviously red herrings. The main character wasn’t likable and not very smart- and not in an endearing way.

And, I can’t stand anything were relationships are so fragile that people are willing to cheat all for the name of “love.”

And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want brilliance in whodunit- or in storytelling in general- look no further than the Queen of Mystery’s classic caper!

The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot, #21)The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve said it before but I’m not really a fan of Agatha Christie’s short stories- unless they feature Hercule Poirot, which makes them slightly tolerable- especially if they feature the other detectives I don’t care of like Parker Pyne (which there are two) and Miss Marple (which thankfully there’s only one).

Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot, #22)Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s always great to read or reread Agatha Christie! I thought since this was a reread, I would have guessed whodunit but I was still wrong!

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe- 3 stars

Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot, #24)Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect summertime read!

On a cozy vacation spot, a beautiful woman sets up the stage for drama resulting in her own murder. Fortunately, Hercule Poirot is there to set things right, to make right all the evil under the sun!

N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)N or M? by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun revisiting these characters. Agatha Christie always manages to keep readers on their toes!

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really dislike Miss Marple so I didn’t enjoy having to reread this as part of my Agatha Christie reading challenge.

Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot #25)Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was originally just going to give this 3 stars because I thought I had things figured out- or, to be honest, I thought I remembered the twist. But that’s the thing about Agatha Christie’s genius. She will manage to surprise you all the time.

The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #4)The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t really feeling this since I can’t stand Miss Marple. Even when I started to like the narrator, the fact that she was part of the story, ruined it for me. I felt she was completely unnecessary. The solution was surprising even though it seemed like it was going to be someone else. I would have given it four stars but… Miss Marple.

Towards Zero (Superintendent Battle, #5)Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the story structure of this novel. It felt a bit different from Agatha Christie’s other books. The characters were fascinating but the plot and resolution seemed too convenient- and admittedly a bit confusing. My favorite parts were any recollections of Hercule Poirot by his good friend Superintendent Battle.

Death Comes As the EndDeath Comes As the End by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised to discover this was an Egyptian historical murder mystery. Something I never expected from Agatha Christie. And despite me having a slight trepidation of actually reading it, I didn’t absolutely hate it. I was engrossed and fascinated by the mastery of the Queen of Mystery’s ability to make this kind of story work.

I do have to say this version needed serious editing!

Sparkling Cyanide  (Colonel Race, #4)Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s always fun to run across Agatha Christie’s secondary characters in other novels. In this case, it’s Colonel Race (and a mention of Superintendent Battle.) Sharing a plot with one of her short stories, this was like reading just an extended version of it which I didn’t particularly enjoy since I kept comparing the two. It still managed to fool me in regards to whodunit.

The Hollow (Hercule Poirot, #26)The Hollow by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not only does this feature my favorite detective doing what he does best but Agatha Christie has managed to write characters who are fascinating and complex and who you wouldn’t want to be victims or murderers!

The Labors of Hercules (Hercule Poirot, #26)The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An entertaining idea but I’ve never really been fan of short stories.

Taken at the Flood- 4 stars

The Witness for the Prosecution and Other StoriesThe Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit I’m not a fan of short stories but this contains one of Agatha Christie’s most popular one. “Philomel Cottage” is a must read!

Crooked House- 4 stars
A Murder Is Announced- 3 stars
Three Blind Mice and Other Stories- 3 stars
They Came to Baghdad- 4 stars
The Under Dog and Other Stories- 3 stars
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead- 4 stars
They Do It with Mirrors- 3 stars

After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot, #31)After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the most fun Hercule Poirot mysteries with memorable characters and, of course, an ingenious plot.

A Pocket Full of Rye- 3 stars
Destination Unknown- 3 stars
Hickory Dickory Dock- 3 stars
Dead Man’s Folly- 3 stars
4:50 from Paddington- 3 stars
Cat Among the Pigeons- 4 stars
The Pale Horse- 3 stars
Double Sin and Other Stories- 3 stars
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side- 3 stars
The Clocks- 4 stars
A Caribbean Mystery- 3 stars
At Bertram’s Hotel- 2 stars
Third Girl- 3 stars

Endless NightEndless Night by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the cool things about my Agatha Christie Reading Challenge is getting to read books of her I normally wouldn’t have. Endless Night is quite different from her other books but then again that can be said with the ones when wrote later on in her career. An interesting read.

By the Pricking of My Thumbs- 3 stars
Hallowe’en Party- 3 stars

Passenger to FrankfurtPassenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

WTF? When I started this, I told myself to have an open mind and go along for the ride. But then things got even more preposterous and I struggled to finish. This has got to be Agatha Christie’s worst novel.

Nemesis (Miss Marple #12)Nemesis by Agatha Christie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This took forever for me to read. And the only thing that got me going was that I thought this was the final Miss Marple novel. (Unfortunately, I’m mistaken!) The mystery took forever to start and the plot was predictable.

The Golden Ball and Other StoriesThe Golden Ball and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was an collection of mostly supernatural or romance short stories.

Elephants Can Remember- 3 stars

Postern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence, #5)Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The last Tommy and Tupence mystery was also the last novel Agatha Christie wrote. A bit too meandering for my liking.

Curtain (Hercule Poirot, #42)Curtain by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodbye Poirot and Hastings! Even though I’ve read this a couple of times before, I was still surprised by the solution. And maybe because I was reading this after so many years, it seemed like a real goodbye.

Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple #13)Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yay! The last Miss Marple! The story started out like it was going to be a whole other genre at first (like a supernatural thriller) but it reeled itself back and became a mystery. While supposing to be the final mystery featuring Miss Marple, this was written a couple decades ago so it almost read as an earlier case. Some of the reasons behind certain actions were hard to swallow.

The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories- 3 stars

Star over Bethlehem: Poems and Holiday Stories- 2 stars
The Mousetrap and Other Plays- 4 stars

Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological MemoirCome, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir by Agatha Christie Mallowan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my goal to read all my Agatha Christie books in chronological order, it was time for this nonfiction. Knowing her from mostly mysteries, this took a little bit of getting used to but it was a fascinating read regardless. It doesn’t feel like a textbook since she focuses on her experiences. It’s like a travelogue more than anything.

Agatha Christie: An AutobiographyAgatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After being a fan of her books for forever it seems, I really didn’t know much about Agatha Christie. This was my final book to read for my reading challenge and a part of me didn’t want it to end. The fact that it was over 500 pages sometimes made it seem like it was never going to end.

It was such a wonderful glimpse into her life- from childhood to her seventy-fifth year. I was surprised by how much traveling she actually did- even surfing in the beaches of Hawaii! My favorite parts were her talking about her work and seeing what experiences inspired them.

This edition came with a CD of her dictating her autobiography and it was wonderful to hear her voice!

That’s it!

I’m tempted to extend this challenge by reading her Mary Westmacott novels, rewatching the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series starring David Suchet and maybe other series or movies, the adaptations by Charles Osborne, or the continuations by Sophie Hannah. But that will be for another time if I do decide to do that!

Here are some other books about Agatha Christie that I read:

The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie: A Biographical Companion to the Works of Agatha ChristieThe Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie: A Biographical Companion to the Works of Agatha Christie by Charles Osborne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had copies of this book over the years depending on how fanatic I was about my Agatha Christie obsession. I loved it as a resource of her novels (without ruining the surprise of any of them) and all the adaptations of her stories (up to the book’s publication). It also provided a biography of Agatha Christie’s life. A must have for Agatha Christie fans and Charles Osborne really knew his stuff. He also adapted three of her plays into novels.

Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha ChristieAgatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon this while browsing a new comic books store. I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie but didn’t really know much about her life. This was a quick overview of that with her major disappearance as the center point. Fun for fans are when her characters make appearances. Enjoyable.

Agatha Christie (Little People, Big Dreams)Agatha Christie by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love any biography series where they focus on the not-already-written-about-multiple-times subjects. And with Agatha Christie being my favorite writer of all time, I was excited for this one. I didn’t learn anything new but people will get the important details of her life and work- creating mysteries (and the detectives who solve them) that have entertained readers for almost a hundred years!

Little Grey Cells: The Quotable PoirotLittle Grey Cells: The Quotable Poirot by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A collection of quotes by my favorite detective of all time- Hercule Poirot.

A Mystery of My Own

There is a short story I want to read that is only available overseas. The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding (alternatively known as The Theft of the Royal Ruby) was expanded from a short story Christmas Adventure which starts “The big logs crackled merrily in the wide, open fireplace…” If anyone has access for me to read it, please let me know. There was a site that claimed to have it but it was poorly formatted and had whole sections out!

12 thoughts on “Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Completed!

  1. Wow!! That’s so much reading. I know I read a ton of Agatha Christie starting in middle school. I always loved the chance to try and solve the mystery. Poirot was my favorite.

  2. Both my mom and my grandmother have loved Agatha Christie for years. So I think when I was younger, I thought of her books as something for old people. I love this post and I’m going to have to read my first Agatha Christie book in 2020. Thanks for sharing, Earl!

  3. I’m also a fan of Agatha Christie, although Miss Marple is my favorite and Poirot on the bottom! (But the bottom of Christie is still pretty high up.) Congratulations on finishing your quest, and I hope the hotel wanted your collection so you can visit it again!

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