Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is known for her collection of sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short stories featuring the ingenious fictional crime-fighters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. This English author’s impressive contributions to the mystery genre have rightfully earned her the title of “The Queen of Crime.”
Agatha Christie has left a lasting mark within the literary world, reaching beyond the genre of crime and mystery thrillers. With over two billion copies sold around the world, Agatha Christie is currently the best-selling novelist of all time and the third-most-widely published of all authors, falling directly behind the Bible and Shakespeare.
These honors are well-deserved. Agatha Christie approaches the genre of crime and mystery thrillers with acute assiduity crafting cleverly creative stories charged with perplexity, mystery, and just enough surprising plot twists.
Agatha Christie’s fame was established through the best-known of her novels, some of the most famous of mystery novels today. These works not only demonstrated the potential for the creative range of intrigue and uncertainty which drives the mystery genre, but they also earned Agatha Christie her place as “The Queen of Crime”:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles is Agatha Christie’s debut novel. The first among her many successful stories, this novel was well-received and appraised in England.
This debut work introduces Agatha Christie’s highly-celebrated fictional Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
The Mysterious Affair of Styles depicts the suspicious death of the elderly Emily Inglethorp—owner of Styles Court in Essex, England—upon the return of Captain Arthur Hastings. Her questionable death is surrounded by confusion and uncertainty: what was the cause of her murder and who could the killer be among the treacherous occupants of Styles Court.
With such an ample pool of suspects—the unappealing new husband, her indolent stepsons, her husband’s daughter-in-law, a family friend’s daughter taken in by Emily Inglethrop, the local toxicologist—no one but the prestigious and unorthodox detective Hercule Poirot could unravel this mysterious affair.
And Then There Were None (1939)
And Then There Were None is Agatha Christie’s most popular novel. With over 100 million copies sold globally, it is Agatha Christie’s best-selling novel, the world’s best-selling mystery novel, and one of the best-selling books of all time.
In this novel, eight ostensibly random people receive invitations from a Mr. Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs. Una Nancy Owen for a weekend getaway on their island located off the Devon coast of England. Upon arrival by motorboat, each guest is welcomed by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the estate’s recently hired butler and housekeeper. No one on the island knows the hosts, who are absent upon everyone’s arrival, though they left detailed instructions for the Rogers to execute until their arrival.
The characters find a framed copy of the nursery rhyme called the “Ten Little Indians” hanging in their separate rooms along with ten “Indian” figurines set out on the dining room table, listen to a recorded string of murder accusations, and then begin to die one by one until there were none.
Murder on the Orient Express (1960)
Murder on the Orient Express is widely considered one of Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery novels. This popular novel has undergone several adaptions: two separate Murder on the Orient Express films, one in 1974 and another in 2017, as well as an episode by the same title in the British television series Poirot.
Hercule Poirot returns as the detective in this mystery novel. The story takes place while Poirot is traveling on the Orient Express. Sometime shortly after midnight, the train comes to an immediate stop en route between train stations due to a snowdrift. That same night, someone stumbles upon the body of one of the train’s passengers, an American tycoon. The man was stabbed twelve times while sleeping in his locked compartment.
Trapped in an unmoving train, the murderer remains among the passengers of the Orient Express. Hercule Poirot takes advantage of this isolation, knowing that the murderer is on board without any means to escape, and begins his investigation. Thirteen passengers and only a minute matter of time for Poirot to discover the murderer on the Orient Express.
Is your interest piqued? If so, and you want to know more about the plethora of mystery thrillers written by “The Queen of Crime,” check out this website listing details on each and every one of Agatha Christie’s works: https://www.agathachristie.com/stories
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