Whether you’re a new mystery lover or a longtime Agatha Christie fan, get to know the queen of mystery through these 10 essential reads.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Bettmann/Getty Images

Throughout her lifetime, Agatha Christie published more than 75 novels and introduced generations of readers to the beloved detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Since, her books have been adapted into movies (including, most recently, Murder on the Orient Express) and TV shows. While it's impossible to pick only 10 best titles out of her large body of work, below is a list of the ten essential novels that every Christie fan or newbie must read.

HarperCollins

And Then There Were None

One of Christie’s most famous and most widely adapted (for good reason) titles follows 10 strangers as they gather for dinner—with a mysterious host—at a mansion on an island. As the guests start dying one by one, it becomes clear that each person lured to the island is hiding secrets they do not want revealed. Each guest is guilty in one way or another, but will they be able to unmask the murderer before they all end up dead?

To buy: $5; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Five Little Pigs

In this inventive mystery, Hercule Poirot is called to prove the innocence of Caroline Crale, a widow convicted of poisoning her late husband. Like the nursery rhyme it was named for, there are five other “pigs” that could have committed the murder: the stockbroker who went to market, the amateur herbalist who stayed at home, the three-time divorcee who had her roast beef, the devoted governess who had none, and the sister who cried all the way home.

To buy: $11; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Endless Night 

Frequently regarded as one of Christie’s personal favorites, this mystery is different from many of Christie’s others because it does not feature one of her famous detectives. In it, the narrator Michael Rogers discovers Gypsy’s Acre, a property for sale in rural England. Even though a local woman warns him that the land is cursed, he becomes infatuated with the property’s young heiress and decides to stay. When strange and terrifying things begin to happen, Rogers begins to wonder if he should have believed the legends after all.

To buy: $11; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Death on the Nile

In this novel, inspired by Christie's personal trips to Egypt, Hercule Poirot heads to Egypt on a luxury cruise. When Linnet Ridgeway, one of the passengers, is found shot in the head, all of the ship’s passengers become suspects. But this turns out to be a tricky case for the detective—not only is Poirot supposed to be on vacation, but he is unfamiliar with Egypt and the other people on board, making it ever more complicated to find the killer. Once you’ve read the novel, make sure to see the movie adaption hitting theaters in 2019.

To buy: $12; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Murder on the Orient Express

You might have this title on your radar already, thanks to the 2017 blockbuster movie adaption. A dozen suspects are stuck on a train together when the train is stopped by a snowstorm, and by morning a millionaire passenger ends up dead. All 12 remaining passengers had their own motives against him, but which one of them would go so far as to end his life altogether? Hercule Poirot must put together the clues to find out, before the killer aboard strikes again.

To buy: $9; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Death Comes as the End

This novel is different from most of Christie’s others because it takes place in ancient Egypt (2000 B.C.). When Nofret, the concubine to a ka-priest is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, most people don’t think twice about it. But it is the priest’s daughter who begins to suspect that the death was malicious, and she quietly starts to question the motives of her closest family members.

To buy: $9; amazon.com.   

HarperCollins

The ABC Murders

In this chilling mystery, Hercule Poirot sets out to unmask a local serial killer. It quickly becomes clear that a twisted murderer is working his way through the alphabet—Mrs. Ascher in Andover, Better Barnard in Bexhill, Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston—and all of the UK is threatened. When the serial killer begins tipping Poirot off with clues before the murders occur, Poirot must think like a killer to solve the crimes before more innocent lives are lost.

To buy: $11; amazon.com.   

HarperCollins

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

This novel first introduced readers to the brilliant mind of Hercule Poirot. When heiress Emily Inglethorpe is found poisoned in her locked bedroom, her family is baffled on how a murderer could have left so few clues. Poirot begins to interrogate everyone in the house—from her stepsons, to the housekeeper, and even the local nurse—to find out why and how such a horrible crime would take place in such a quaint town. This book is the perfect example of Christie’s masterful use of the red herring. 

To buy: $4; amazon.com

HarperCollins

The Murder at the Vicarage

The Murder at the Vicarage introduced Christie fans to the spunky and smart Miss Jane Marple. When the much-hated Colonel Protheroe, the town magistrate, is found shot in the head, there are virtually no leads and the local police are practically useless. With a town full of enemies, finding the killer seems impossible, but almost immediately Miss Marple decides on seven main suspects throughout the town. With her sweet disposition and watchful eye, Miss Marple sets out to solve the crime once and for all—even when the police beg her to stay away.

To buy: $10; amazon.com

HarperCollins

Murder of Roger Acroyd

This Hercule Poirot mystery was voted by the British Crime Writers’ Association as the “Best Crime Novel of all Time,” and was also among Christie’s favorites. When Roger Ackroyd is stabbed to death, no one in the town of King’s Abbot is free from suspicion. Could it have been the person who blackmailed his lover into suicide, one of his employees, or one of his own family members? In this mystery, narrated by the village doctor James Sheppard, Hercule Poirot turns everyone in the town into a suspect to uncover the truth.

To buy: $9; amazon.com