Agatha Christie started me on my life long love affair with mysteries. I read my first one when I was 12, and just re-read the whole series this year. Her books are the perfect wholesome junk food (think granola bars) for the mind. They have everything: murderromanceintriguehigh societygoodevil!, plus, many of them feature two of the most iconic detectives in the history of mysteries, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple (no offense to Mr Holmes, and Lord Peter Wimsey).

Only the Bible has sold more copies (and the Guy who wrote that has a great PR department!)

Fun Fact: AC is one of the two best-selling authors of all time (and she is in exalted company, Willy Shakespeare is the other one)

I used to be all about Poirot, his quirks and affectations were easy to love. However, the fluffy old maid Miss Marple was less accessible and, in fact, I had never read any of the Miss Marple stories. Then , in 2007, I had one of my periodic bouts of completion-ism, and decided the time had come to read ALL the Agatha Christie books. Well, old Miss Jane became a particular friend of mine, maybe liking her comes with age. Speaking of age, it delights me that both of Christie's main sleuths are old. And I'm not talking 50ish. From the very first books M. Poirot and Miss Marple are described as elderly and infirm, and they frequently use this to their advantage, purposely appearing old and confused to trick a vital clue from a witness or trap a killer. Christie's detection is done in the mind, not searching out the fingerprint or cigar ash, but relying on brains and experience. The idea that the mind improves with age is a comforting and novel thought, especially in today's youth-obsessed culture.

This man is the definition of the word dapper.

Fun Fact: M. Poirot is the only fictional character to have been given an obituary in the New York Times.

I started with Death on the Nile, and recommend that's where you start too. Although, there is a vocal minority here at Kards Unlimited that votes for Murder on the Orient Express (I just really like the movie, that's all! - Chris). Death on the Nile wins my vote because of its rich cast of "characters" in the truest sense (some of these people are odd, no doubt about it!) In fact, one of the best things about AC's books is her speedy, but thorough character development. And of course, that the killer is almost always a surprise. Sometimes shockingly so. Although AC is no longer my favorite English mystery writer, (that would have to beDorothy Sayers, her literary creation Lord Peter Wimsey is my true love) she remains my go-to girl for the times I want to kick back and turn off my brain, without the unpleasant aftertaste that so much popular fiction leaves.

Read on for a list of my Agatha Christie faves:

Poirot:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Peril at End House, Murder on the Orient Express, Murder in Mesopotamia, Death on the Nile, An Appointment with Death, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Five Little Pigs, Cat Among the Pigeons (not much Poirot in this last one, but lots of political intrigue)

Miss Marple:

Oh you saucy, saucy minx!

The Body in the Library, The Moving Finger, A Murder is Announced, 4.50 from Paddington, At Bertram's Hotel

Final Fun Fact: Did you know that the honorific "Dame" is the female version of "Sir", meaning that the recipient has been admitted into knighthood? So, AGATHA CHRISTIE WAS A KNIGHT!!

"I was a knight? That's really cool! Thank you, Wikipedia!"

 

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So, what do you think?