Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was an English writer of mystery books who perfected the art of the twisty plot and remains the bestselling novelist of all time. Her books include 66 mysteries and 14 short story collections and she also wrote the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap.
We asked her only grandson, Mathew Prichard—who spent decades managing her literary estate—to recommend the best Agatha Christie books to us. Her books have also been recommended across a range of interviews on Five Books, with many modern writers of mystery and crime including her books among their favourites. Agatha Christie’s memoir, based on her trips to the Middle East with her archaeologist husband, Max Mallowan, is also highly recommended.
The novel Agatha Christie herself was most proud of was Crooked House.
Books by Agatha Christie
“She wrote many wonderful books without Poirot or Miss Marple in them. Not only Endless Night, but also the book she was most proud of, Crooked House. She was desperate to write more stories like that. Life was a constant struggle, throughout the 50s, to write the books she really wanted to write.”
Interviews where books by Agatha Christie were recommended
Agatha Christie wrote some 80 mysteries and short story collections, nearly all designed to entertain and delight readers with their ingenious plot twists. Here, her only grandson, Mathew Prichard, who oversaw her literary estate for many decades, recommends books that give a good sense of the range of her work, from Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot to mysteries featuring neither, and including her best short story.
Since the early stories of the 18th and 19th centuries, crime fiction has been an incredibly popular and enduring genre, the investigation of murder somehow capturing the imagination of millions of readers around the globe. Here, Sophie Roell, editor of Five Books, uses strict but simple criteria to pick out the best classic crime fiction, from the Victorian age through to the 1950s.
The journalist, author and editor of the journal Public Archaeology, explains why the history of archaeology is a surprisingly bloody affair – 80% of the Polish archaeological profession died one way or another during WW2
Checkmate to Murder: A Second World War Mystery
by E.C.R. Lorac
Traitor's Purse: The Albert Campion Mysteries
by Margery Allingham
N or M?: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery
by Agatha Christie
Death in Captivity: A Second World War Mystery
by Michael Gilbert
Murder's a Swine: A Second World War Mystery
by Nap Lombard
The ‘golden age’ of detective fiction is usually considered to end suddenly with the outbreak of the Second World War. But many of the era’s leading novelists continued to write prolifically throughout, says Caroline Crampton, creator of the popular Shedunnit podcast. Here she selects five of the best wartime mysteries.
The best murder mysteries set up their stories like a game between the reader and the writer, says Stuart Turton, bestselling author and lifelong mystery fan. Here he highlights five of his favourites, in which detectives make miraculous deductions, or doggedly chase clues until they meet with satisfying solutions.
Thrillers for teens have to be fast paced, exciting and entertaining, argues Kathryn Foxfield, author of YA thriller Good Girls Die First. She recommends some of her favourite teen thrillers, from books published this year to classics of the genre.
With so many works of detective fiction coming out each year, which books stand the test of time? Here, bestselling British author Jeffrey Archer talks us through some of his favourites, the books he found completely unputdownable and made him want to read everything the author had written.
The best mystery books are completely unputdownable and addictive, the entertainment they provide more portable than watching TV and so much more satisfying than looking at your phone. Bestselling author David Baldacci, one of the masters of the genre and a passionate advocate for literacy and reading, talks us through some of the best mystery books ever written—as well as the contemporary authors he most admires.
The Detective Stories of Edgar Allan Poe: Three Tales Featuring C. Auguste Dupin
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Mystery of the Yellow Room
by Gaston Leroux
The Third Bullet and Other Stories
by John Dickson Carr
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
by Agatha Christie
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders
by Ross and Shika Mackenzie (translators) & Soji Shimada
Partly as a response to the horrors of World War I, the 1920s and 30s saw a surge in the writing of whodunnits, a period often referred to as the ‘golden age’ of mystery writing. Here, Martin Edwards, one of the leading experts on the genre, picks out some key works, with a special focus on ‘locked room’ mysteries.
If you’re about to jet off for a relaxing vacation, you might be looking for a page-turning detective story to keep you enthralled on your sun-lounger. Here, Caroline Crampton—creator of the popular podcast Shedunnit—recommends five classic murder mysteries set in glamorous summer holiday locations.
The crime book genre is massive and caters to all sorts of tastes, but once you find a detective or main character you love, there are few pleasures greater than reading the entire series. British journalist Stig Abell, author of Death Under a Little Sky, picks some of the best classic crime, books he’s read over and over again.
In the Golden Age of mystery between the two World Wars, writers loved to devise fiendish plots where seemingly impossible crimes were committed. Tom Mead, author of two ‘locked-room’ mysteries set in the 1930s, introduces us to some of his favourite books in the genre, from the Golden Age itself to books written in more recent decades that pay tribute to its traditions.