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Where to start with: Agatha Christie | Agatha Christie

What with the chart-topping success of Richard Osman’s novels, and a brand new collection by the Rev Richard Coles due later this yr, cosy crime fiction appears to be having its second. Should you’ve already raced your approach via The Thursday Homicide Membership and The Man Who Died Twice, why not attempt choosing up a novel by the unique queen of crime herself? Janice Hallett, whose bestselling crime novels The Attraction and The Twyford Code have seen her dubbed “a contemporary Agatha Christie” has put collectively a useful record to allow you to select which one to choose.


The entry level
Well-known largely for being Miss Marple’s first look in a novel, The Homicide on the Vicarage sees completely unpleasant chap Colonel Protheroe murdered, Cluedo-style, in his library, with a gun. Surrounded by villagers who all have an axe to grind with Colonel P, Miss M makes use of her well-known nous to remove seven suspects. I’ve seen it dismissed as having dated poorly, however for me this can be a humorous, witty and sharply noticed Christie traditional.

The greatest one
The one factor off about And Then There Were None is its authentic title. In any other case, this darkish and menacing story of attrition is as sensible a Christie as you’ll ever hope to learn. Ten strangers come collectively on a windswept island, all with apparently nothing in widespread. One after the other, they meet their varied grotesque deaths in accordance to chillingly correct predictions … The ultimate denouement is as satisfying as it’s stunning.

The one to drop into banquet dialog
What higher banquet fare than Sparkling Cyanide? A gaggle of high-society buddies collect for a meal on the similar desk the place precisely a yr earlier an heiress died dramatically, apparently in a suicide by poisoning. A lesser-known Christie, it’s tailored from a Poirot brief story known as Yellow Iris. As your company verify their glasses, be certain to inform them cyanide will not be essentially detectable by its odour.

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Kenneth Branagh as Poirot in the 2017 film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express.
Kenneth Branagh as Poirot within the 2017 movie adaptation of Homicide on the Orient Specific. {Photograph}: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

The traditional
Murder on the Orient Express has been tailored for the display screen no fewer than 4 occasions and for good motive: it’s the traditional Christie whodunnit in construction, tempo, character and temper. It’s additionally the tenth look in a novel for the writer’s iconic Belgian detective Poirot. His job this time is to winkle out the responsible social gathering from a bunch of eccentric first-class passengers. The ingenious and unparalleled plot is impressed by two real-life occasions: the stranding of an Orient Specific for six days in Turkey in 1929, and the kidnap of the Lindbergh child in 1932.

The one for armchair travellers
For an writer synonymous with cosy English village mysteries, Christie ceaselessly ventured overseas and takes us along with her. As an illustration, we are able to wander the nooks and passageways of an archaeological excavation in Thirties Iraq, thanks to Murder in Mesopotamia. For ambiance and authenticity this title is difficult to beat – Christie would accompany her husband on his archaeological digs and knew her sherd from her microlith – even when its plot stretches credulity.

The odd one out
Its distinctly un-Christie-like tone was immediately criticised on publication, however when studying The Seven Dials Mystery at this time, we’re certain to do not forget that Christie was a up to date and mutual admirer of each Evelyn Waugh and PG Wodehouse. Her suspects on this laugh-out-loud, upper-class jape all hail from a earlier novel, The Secret of Chimneys, and caper throughout a panorama of stately houses, London pads and unique shady golf equipment affected by as many lifeless our bodies as champagne corks.

The darkish one
A later novel, revealed in 1958, Ordeal By Innocence is a nagging, tragic story of missed alternative, a miscarriage of justice and household wrongs that may by no means be righted. It’s as a lot a psychological thriller as a homicide thriller, with parts that make for uncomfortable studying. Christie herself cited it as one in all her favorite titles.

The shocker
Should you’re searching for an ending that shook modern readers and remains to be able to jolting the unsuspecting reader at this time, then cool down with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The eponymous sufferer is a neighbour of Poirot’s and his sudden, violent demise brings the detective out of retirement.

The one which influenced the remaining
You’ll most likely be accustomed to the construction of Five Little Pigs even when you’ve by no means learn the e book. It’s a Poirot murder-romp during which the story of a lady convicted of murdering her artist husband is instructed a number of occasions from a number of characters’ factors of view. The result’s a cracking thriller, completely balanced and extremely refined. Its affect echoes down via many years of detective fiction on web page and display screen. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Vantage Level, Knives Out … to identify simply three sensible twenty first century tributes to the legacy and genius of Christie.

And, when you like Christie, which different authors must you attempt?
Something by Dorothy L Sayers (particularly Strong Poison), Sophie Hannah’s Hercule Poirot collection and The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo.

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett is revealed by Profile (£14.99). To help the Guardian and Observer order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Supply expenses might apply

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