Agatha Christie Novel List - what to read and when...
As an avid Christie fan or even a new time reader – deciding which of her many novels to read and when can be daunting so having an Agatha Christie novel list t hand to guide you can be useful. Personally, I love an immersive experience so I aim to read certain novels at certain times of the year – ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’ for example, will come as no surprise as a Christmas read for me…but what about the rest? Here’s your Agatha Christie novel list and guide of which Christie novel to read and when throughout the year – this is based on either the setting of the story and time of year mentioned to give you the best experience of the book possible. In some cases this is entirely personal on my part – ‘Cat Among the Pigeons’ for example is actually set after the Easter Holidays with the girls returning to school making it an April read but I prefer to read it in September when all the ‘back to school’ labelling is out and being branded around. Other such as Towards Zero, I place at the end of the summer, after the end English Tennis matches have ended and with the descriptions of the rose gardens in ‘The Secret of Chimney’s’, I have to read this in July when the roses are in full bloom in every garden in England.
Below this I have also included a list of my ‘Christie Holiday Reads’ for when I’m abroad getting some sunshine. Check it out below.
Agatha Christie Novels Throughout the Year
March can be a tricky one so I like to read the less obviously ‘seasonal’ ones like these.
Dumb Witness specifically references ‘Easter’ making it an April read along with these. When there’s a few less specific novels in a particular month I often reach for a collection of short stories like ‘The Thirteen Problems’, ‘Partners in Crime’ or ‘The Mysterious Mr Quin’.
It may be an influence of the Television productions of these but here’s the novels I enjoy reading or listening to in May.
Perfect for golfing, trips away and the summer equinox in June.
Christe set many of her novels in the English Summer time – with village fete’s specifically mentioned in ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ and of course ‘Dead Man’s Folly’. The harvesting of vegetable marrows also makes ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ a summer read if we’re strict!
More novels set in the heat of the English summer (I does get sunny sometimes…) – Towards Zero has to be once Wimbledon is finished in order for Neville Strange to get away of course…
As mentioned in the introduction, Cat Among the Pigeons is my ‘back to school read’ rather then being after the Easter Holidays. Same with the students in ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ – it reminds me of getting ready to go back to Uni at the end of September. Five Little Pigs feels a late summer read to me, enjoyed reading with a cold beer of course!
Obviously ‘Hallowe’en Party’ comes in October but these darker novels need a hot chocolate and a warm fire…unless of course you have the central heating already on….
‘They Do It With Mirrors’ could be an any time read but with the description of lights picking through the mist as the cars pull up to the house I like to read this on a cold misty day. The ITV production of ‘the Hollow’ demonstrates the beauty of England in the Autumn if you’re just wanting a Christie fix for a rainy Autumn afternoon.
December is the only time to read ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’ and I love trying to read each chapter on the specific date over the Christmas week. If there’s a change of a White Christmas and some snow then I always reach for ‘The Sittaford Mystery’.
January can be depressing and grim so I actually like to read some of the sunnier novels to cheer me up. LinNet and Simon Doyle actually marry in December/ January so ‘Death on the Nile’ works on both counts.
The big four spans a long period of time so could be read anytime – with its coldness I often like to get cozy indoors and listen to Murder on the ‘Orient Express’ too. Finally, a good all round read for a general month is always the collections of short stories with ‘The Labours of Hercules’, Miss Marple’s Final Cases’ and ‘Poirot’s Early Cases’.
Best Agatha Christie Holiday Reads
Going somewhere hot ?
‘Death on the Nile’ or ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ are my go-to reads but I also recommend ‘Evil Under the Sun’ with all the descriptions of the ‘sun kissed bodies’ – perfect for when lying on a sun lounger. Even better is to enjoy these novels as an audio book if lifting a book is just too much effort (especially if your hands are already full of a cocktail or two!) Other ‘hot’ reads include: ‘They Came to Baghdad’, ‘Appointment with Death’ and ‘Murder in Mesopotamia’.
Three of Christie’s novels are often referred to as her ‘French Novels’ – all closely written together they are: ‘Murder on the Links’, ‘Death in the Clouds’ and ‘The Mystery of the Blue Train’
During the journey ?
If I’m going on a flight then I love love love to listen to the opening chapter of ‘Death in the Clouds’ – no, I’m not morbid, I just love listening to the internal narrative of the character of Jane Grey as she describes the flight from Paris taking off.
Obviously if you’re on a boat you could have a quick read of ‘Problems at Sea’ or enjoy ‘Death on the Nile’.
Trains are easy too – ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘The Mystery of the Blue Train’ are obvious. There’s also ‘The 4.50 from Paddington’.
What about a colder climate?
If journeying to a colder climate, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is great with all its references to the cold – I also read ‘The Sittaford Mystery; whilst skiing once but somehow it didn’t quite work as well as it is so obviously a cold ENGLISH winter.
Globe trotting or a multi-destination trip?
‘The Big Four’ and ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’ will take you around the world – if you change destinations as much as these novels do then you’ll possibly end up more exhausted by your trip than from staying at work!
A trip around England
Join Miss Marple on her bus tour in Nemesis or live the novels set on the beautiful English coastline like ‘Evil Under the Sun’, ‘Peril at End House’ and ‘Sleeping Murder’. Why not visit Burgh Island and read ‘And Then There Were None’ to really live the experience in the very place that inspired Christie to write the novel?