More than 40 years after his death, the novelist and british Agatha Christie is as popular as ever. So if you want to work your little gray cells, it has what it takes !
Even today, Agatha Christie is the writer of fiction is the most read of the planet. To give you an idea, his famous Ten little niggers has elapsed to nearly one hundred million copies*. A figure that crosses the milestone of two billion if we add to this the rest of his work since, each year, her stories captivating and easy to read, continue to attract a very large number of readers worldwide.
Sacred “queen of crime” in his lifetime, this novelist in the uk has in effect orchestrated on paper of the hundreds and hundreds of murders. And because of this, it has strongly contributed to the detective genre much more exciting : that this is with the help of detective Hercule Poirot, or with that of the old Miss Marple, his hero a fetish, it puts us every time on the challenge to discover the identity of the murderer before it is revealed in the last chapter. Because if one follows carefully the plot, which contains a quantity of indices, one should in principle be able to get there…
Ready for the challenge ?
1. The mysterious affair at Styles
In this first detective novel by Agatha Christie, which was published in 1920, we can follow the very first investigation of the chubby way detective, the belgian Hercule Poirot. Which takes place in the mansion where the wealthy and obnoxious Mrs. Emily Inglethorp was poisoned on the night of July 16 and 17.
For the little story, Agatha Christie would have begun the writing of this book, the result of a bet : to write a story in which we, the readers, would have a lot of dog to identify the culprit while with all the same info as the principal investigator.
2. The case Protheroe
Published in 1930, this is the first novel featuring Miss Marple, a spinster austere to be able to solve many cases without leaving St. Mary Mead, the small country village where she lives. It is here that colonel Protheroe will choose to sell its old days… even if it will not really have the time to enjoy it : having quickly managed to make it unpopular with the locals, it will soon be murdered. In the office of the pastor, at that ! Then, that dear Miss Marple to discover who could want to eliminate of the way this poor old colonel.
3. The murder of Roger Ackroyd
Here, Agatha Christie invites us to King’s Abbot, a pretty and quiet town in the English countryside. Finally, not so quiet that it’s because Mrs. Ferrars, one of its inhabitants, has very recently chosen to end her days, in absorbing a high dose of véronal. And a misfortune of arriving rarely alone, another citizen of King’s Abbot was not long before he too would die. But in circumstances totally different. To the surprise of all, Roger Ackroyd, is in fact found with a dagger planted in the nape of the neck. Assisted by the doctor from the corner, Hercule Poirot will have to turn its small gray cells at full speed in order to untangle all the threads of the plot.
By the way, it was the first novel of Agatha Christie have been translated into French. It is also one of his best. Good luck to guess the end !
4. The crime of the Orient-Express
For those of you who have never seen the film adaptations of this famous novel, a short summary is needed : while Hercule Poirot is aboard the Orient Express, a rich American is going to get murdered with blows of knife. Twelve, to be more precise. This drama obviously going to seriously undermine all of the passengers, all the more that, due to a big snow storm, the train will have to stay blocked in the middle of nowhere for several days. In other words, Poirot will have all the time necessary to confound with brilliance the murderer.
5. Ten little niggers
Without doubt, our favourite novel of Agatha Christie… even if its title is nothing politically correct ! The title is from a old nursery rhyme popular of which the first verse is ” Ten little niggers went off to dinner. One of them died and there was more than nine. “Yes, very happy with all that. Because, at the tenth verse, there will be no more, all having perished in one way or another. It is this that will be also the characters of the book : invited to spend a few days on the island of the Negro, they will be killed one after the other…
6. Death on the Nile
Another great classic agathachristinien, which allows us to add a little biographical detail : it was during a cruise in the Middle East that the queen of crime has met the archaeologist Max Mallowan, who will soon enough her second husband.
Seven years later, in 1937, it will be seen, and his famous detective, belgian make him also a cruise. Except that things will be much less, because a young woman is found murdered while she barely had time to marry. In the opinion of Agatha Christie in person, this would be the best opus of the series Poirot.
7. Murder in Mesopotamia
Leaves to be in the corner, as much to stay in the Middle East. Then welcome in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), where they will be quickly directed to the excavation site of Tell Yarimjah. A place that would no doubt have been very nice to visitewr… if one of the members of the expedition had not experienced a gruesome end. And as incredible as it may seem, all those present will have an alibi in concrete. But this good old Poirot, who just happened to be passing by there, will not take you long to understand that one of them has necessarily lied…
8. A corpse in the library
Finished, the killings of the egyptians or the mesopotamians ! We returned to England, just in time to witness a scene almost comical : while she is dreaming in the first prize that it could win with its sweet pea, Dolly Bantry is pulled out of bed by the screams of his wife in the bedroom : there is a corpse in the library ! More surprising still, Dolly did not have the slightest idea of who could be the young girl who had been strangled under its roof. On the other hand, she knows someone who could help her see more clearly : Miss Jane Marple !
9. A murder will be committed…
Side titles, I must admit that Agatha Christie lacked a bit of originality. But when it was, as she writes detective novels (more than 80, anyway) for nearly 75 years, it is probably almost natural to return regularly to the word ” murder “. And the one of which we will talk about here will be announced in black and white, with the time and place, in the section of personal views of the Gazette of Chipping Cleghorn. But of course, all the inhabitants of this small community will begin first by thinking that this is just a joke in bad taste. This will of course not be quite the case…
10. The train de 16 h 50
To conclude this folder, you could also choose The mirror broke, The major spoke too much or Hercule Poirot leaves the scene. But we ended up holding it, because the replay we were a bit reminded of The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins : while she is aboard a train to Brackhampton and Milchester, a lady of a certain age will be found briefly in another train a woman. Who is strangled by a stranger are holding back. What more can we say ? Well… another good polar signed Agatha Christie !
* In comparison, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes has sold 60 000 000 copies and the first volume of Millennial to 30 000 000 copies.