Agatha Christie has sold an estimated 2 billion to 4 billion books, putting her in second behind William Shakespeare on the list of the world’s bestselling fiction authors, according to Words Rated.
More than 30 of Christie’s books have been turned into films, per Movie Web. “Death on the Nile” was released in early 2022, and “A Haunting in Venice,” which was based on Christie’s “Hallowe’en Party” was released this past September.
For those who are curious about Christie’s other 74 novels, the following five are some of the best she ever wrote.
What are the best Agatha Christie books to read?
1. ‘And Then There Were None’
Publication date: 1939
Agatha Christie’s website describes this book’s plot: “1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.”
“The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again...”
This novel is widely accepted as Christie’s best work, and Criminal Element describes the plot as “tightly constructed and masterfully executed.” They continue, “The telling is spare — there are no extraneous scenes, characters, or clues. As such, the reader gets yanked deep into the tale from the start, with no letup through the entire reading experience.”
Notable quote: “There was something magical about an island—the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world—an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.”
2. ‘Crooked House’
Publication date: 1949
In a rich London suburb, “Aristide Leonides lies dead from barbiturate poisoning. An accident? Not likely. In fact, suspicion has already fallen on his luscious widow, a cunning beauty fifty years his junior, set to inherit a sizeable fortune, and rumored to be carrying on with a strapping young tutor comfortably ensconced in the family estate. But criminologist Charles Hayward is casting his own doubts on the innocence of the entire Leonides brood. He knows them intimately. And he’s certain that in a crooked house such as Three Gables, no one’s on the level...,” Goodreads describes.
Notable quote: “It is always a shock to meet again someone whom you have not seen for a long time but who has been very much present in your mind during that period.”
3. ‘Endless Night’
Publication date: 1967
Abigail Endler, Senior Publicist at Penguin Random House, gave “Endless Night” a 5/5 on her blog, Crime By The Book.
“Strapped by a chauffeur’s wages, Michael Rogers’ want of a better life seems out of reach. Especially elusive is a magnificent piece of property in Kingston Bishop—until a chance meeting with a beautiful heiress makes his dreams possible. Marrying her is the first step. Building the perfect home is the next. Unfortunately, Michael ignored the local warnings about the deadly curse buried in the tract of land, and living out his dreams may exact a higher price than he ever imagined,” Endler described the plot.
This book is less of a whodunit mystery than a domestic thrilled. Endler included, “Readers fall in step with a young couple, and observe as their relationship blossoms and lives are merged in marriage. But, as any crime fiction reader knows, no one is without secrets—and the haunting (and possibly haunted) backdrop of Gypsy’s Acre soon plays the instigator for the unearthing of the darkest parts of this couple’s past.”
Notable quote: “One of the oddest things in life I think is the things one remembers.”
4. ‘Murder on the Orient Express’
Publication date: 1934
Barnes and Nobles explains this mystery’s plot: “An international cast of suspects, all passengers on the crowded train, are speeding through the snowy European landscape when a bizarre and terrible murder brings them to an abrupt halt. One of their glittering number lies dead in his cabin, stabbed a mysterious twelve times. There is no lack of clues for Poirot - but which clue is real and which is a clever plant? Poirot realises that this time he is dealing with a murderer of enormous cunning and that in a case frought with fear and inconstencies only one thing is certain - the murderer is still aboard the train waiting to strike again.”
Notable quote: “But I know human nature, my friend, and I tell you that, suddenly confronted with the possibility of being tried for murder, the most innocent person will lose his head and do the most absurd things.”
5. ‘Death on the Nile’
Publication date: 1937
Goodreads calls “Death on the Nile” Christie’s “most daring travel mystery” and continues to describe the plot: “The tranquility of a lovely cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life.
“Who is also on board? Christie’s great detective Hercule Poirot is on holiday. He recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Despite the exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems…”
This mystery was made into a movie in 2022, directed by Kenneth Branagh who also directed this year’s “A Haunting in Venice.”
Notable quote: “Love can be a very frightening thing. That is why most great love stories are tragedies.”