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Read Christie 2024

Updated: May 23



The Decades




"Instinct is a marvellous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored." - The Mysterious Affair at Styles


I am super excited for this year's #readchristie2024 challenge. 2023 was a great opportunity to explore the psychology of Christie's books, through methods and motives. This year, we'll explore Christie's work in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s-50s, and 1960s-70s.


Month

Theme

Official Pick

January

1920s

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

February

1920s

The Secret Adversary

March

1920s

The Mystery of the Blue Train

April

1930s

The Murder at the Vicarage

May

1930s

The ABC Murders

June

1930s

And Then There Were None

July

1940s-50s

Taken at the Flood

August

1940s-50s

A Murder is Announced

September

1940s-50s

Ordeal by Innocence

October

1960s-70s

A Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

November

1960s-70s

Third Girl

December

1960s-70s

Elephants Can Remember


Of course, the above are just the official picks for each month. Agatha Christie Ltd will provide a full list of alternative reads if you fancy something different.




Join me each month as I share my thoughts on each book for #readchristie2024


Full information on how to participate can be found on the official Agatha Christie Ltd website and via their socials.





 

Exciting Christie News


Murder is Easy - TV Adaptation


A BBC adaptation of Christie's Murder is Easy aired on the 27th of December 2023! It's based on the 1939 mystery. It may be worth saving the book for April, May or June #readchristie2024





And Then There Were None - UK Theatre Adaptation


I have my tickets booked and ready for April! I am so excited to see this. And then There Were None is probably one of my favourite standalone Christie books. This will be the second play by Christie I'll see; I saw The Mousetrap earlier this year. After this, I need to try to get tickets to see A Witness for the Prosecution.




I will leave the theatre tour dates below!



 

January


1920s


Alternative Picks: The Mysterious Affair at Styles & Murder on the Links



The first three months of this reading challenge will focus on the books published in the 1920s. I decided not to go for the official pick this month, mainly because I only read Poirot Investigates once, so I felt a reread was necessary. This collection of short stories really illustrates Christie's genius through a variety of different puzzles. For me, I mostly enjoyed reading the dynamic between Poirot and Captain Hastings. There were times when you'd feel a bit sorry for Hastings because of how obtuse Poirot could be. I think if they weren't best pals, Hastings wouldn't have the patience for Poirot's "little grey cells."


I had only realised when I finished this book that it was published in 1924 - exactly one hundred years ago. I wonder if Agatha Christie had any idea that people would still be reading her stories a century onwards.


I think Poirot Investigates is a great book to introduce yourself to the world of Hercule Poirot. Although he can be a bit of a difficult one (for the other characters), you cannot help but soften towards him.


"With method and logic one can accomplish anything."

From disappearing prime ministers to stolen jewels, there is only one person who can solve the case - Hercule Poirot...with Captain Hastings of course!



 

February


1920s


Alternative Picks: The Secret Adversary (official pick), Partners in Crime, The Man in the Brown Suit, The Seven Dials Mystery




So far, I've not been keeping with the official picks. But I guess the nick perk with this year's challenge is that it's very flexible. As long as you're reading something published in the appropriate decade, you're good to go. Although I do like The Secret Adversary, if I had a choice between Tommy & Tuppence and Hercule Poirot, I'm going to pick the latter.


It's been nearly 100 years since this mystery was published - it was first released in 1928. There's something about murder mysteries taking place on public transport, like planes, ships, and trains that makes it all the more thrilling. It narrows down our suspects, whilst being faced with an equally puzzling mystery. There could only be so many solutions to the crime, yet Christie always finds a way to surprise me.


This is more of a slow-paced novel in comparison to other Christie books. However, reading this one whilst commuting to work via train really helped bring the story to life. Thankfully, no one has been mysteriously murdered on my morning commute.


'I do not argue with obstinate men. I act in spite of them.'

When the Blue Train arrives in French Riviera, a body is found. Not only is the victim the daughter of an American millionaire, but her jewels are also missing. There seems only one man who can solve the case - Hercule Poirot.



 

March


1920s


Alternative Picks: The Big Four, The Mystery of the Blue Train (official pick), The Secret Adversary, The Mysterious Affair at Styles




When people tell me they haven't read an Agatha Christie book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is probably one of my first recommendations. This book, alongside And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express, is how Christie became one of my favourite writers. I am not exaggerating when I say Christie literally turned the rules of detective fiction upside down with this novel.


When it comes to this book, I recommend reading it twice. First to simply enjoy the story, and second to see if you can spot all the clues you missed the first time. Christie is always fair with her stories; it's rare to come across and outlandish solution that no reader has any chance in solving. All the tools you need to crack the case are there, you just need to use your little grey cells!


If you haven't read this book yet, you are in for a treat. I can't say too much without spoiling it. When people ask why I love Agatha Christie books, I simply ask if they've read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.


'It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting.'

When Roger Ackroyd is discovered violently murdered in his study, retired Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, is asked to solve the case.



 

And Then There Were None - Theatre Adaptation

Directed by Lucy Bailey


Source: @officialagathachristie on Instagram



I know this isn't technically related to #readchristie2024, but I had to mention this show. This recent stage adaptation of And Then There Were None was brilliant. All of the actors had my full attention from the moment the story began. I wasn't 100% sure at first how they were going to adapt this book for the stage, but Lucy Bailey nailed it. I believe a stage adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express is coming in January 2025!


This play alongside The Mousetrap are the only two Christie plays I've seen. The next on my list is a Witness for the Prosecution. I need to get my tickets for those asap.


When I went to see this show, it was on the tail-end of its UK tour. If it does return to theatres (and I hope it does), you must get a ticket!



 

April


1930s


Alternative Picks: Murder at the Vicarage, Lord Edgware Dies, Black Coffee, The Thirteen Problems, Giant's Bread, Why Didn't They Ask Evans?



With April comes the start of a new themed decade. As long as you pick any title that was published in the 1930s, you are good to go. I didn't go for the official pick this time as, like with earlier posts, I hadn't read this book in ages.


Reading Peril at End House reminded me how brutal Poirot could be to his pal Hastings. Their exchanges were always frank, and I found it funny how unashamedly blunt Poirot could be to his companions. His confidence in himself, some might say arrogance, makes him all the entertaining to follow. This mystery is slightly different from others as it centres solving a murder BEFORE it has been committed. Our detective friend must work backwards. A classic whodunnit with a twist - find the murderer before they can commit their crime.


The solution to this puzzle is quite ingenious so if you haven't read it before, you are in for a treat.


"I always think loyalty's such a tiresome virtue."

Whilst visiting the Cornish coast, Poirot meets the young Nick Buckley. Nick has informed Poirot of the several near-death escapes she's experienced. Poirot is not so convinced these are mere coincidences.



 


May


1930s


Alternative Picks: The Mysterious Mr Quinn, And Then There Were None, Cards on the Table, Murder in Mesopotamia, Murder is Easy, Appointment with Death



The ABC Murders is one of Christie's most iconic books. This title alongside The Murder of Roger Ackroyd illustrates the genius of Christie's writing. You'll be hooked on this title from the first chapter. The reason why people always go back to this book is because the solution is simply ingenious. It's interesting reading Agatha Christie, and noticing how she was the pioneer of crime fiction. We reread books like The ABC Murders because they are timeless.


This title is a great start if you're new to Christie's books. You follow a thrilling case of a serial killer with the endearing, and humorous dynamic between Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings. This one is slightly different from other Poirot mysteries. He is regularly taunted and ridiculed by the killer. As the reader, you are fixated on identifying the pattern of the killings. Concise, and engaging writing throughout - you'll always want to read one more chapter.


"A madman in particular has always a very strong reason for the crimes he commits."

There is also a tv show adaptation of this mystery featuring John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot



A serial killer is on the loose, sending Poirot taunting letters before each kill. Can the Belgian detective solve the case?

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