Every Agatha Christie Book in Order, with Summaries and a Printable Checklist

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As a big Agatha Christie fan, I wanted to create a list of all the Agatha Christie books in order. This ultimate Agatha Christie bibliography organizes all her published work by series detective and genre (I’ve included all the Agatha Christie plays and Mary Westmacott books, too!). Get to know the Queen of Crime, and download the free printable Agatha Christie reading order checklist I’ve included at the end of the post!

Collage with Agatha Chrsitie book covers and Christie's iconic signature.

The Ultimate Guide to Agatha Christie Books in Order (Sorted by Series Detective)

Agatha Christie is a force of literature. 

She’s the world record holder for most translated author of all time, and is the world’s bestselling novelist. Her books have sold over 2 billion copies; the only bodies of work that can beat her for sales are The Bible and Shakespeare.

So what’s her secret?

Well, at first glance it’s a mystery. Sixty-six mysteries, in fact. 

Beginning in 1920 with The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie spent the next nearly six decades writing books, most of them mystery novels. There were dozens of other mystery authors at that time, perhaps especially after Christie’s book sales showed how eager the public was for the genre. But Christie stands ahead of the pack for her ingenious plots, surprise endings, deceptively simple economy of prose, revealing character dialogue, and iconic detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. These ingredients combine to make reading any Agatha Christie book an extremely satisfying experience–and one you’re going to want to repeat! 

But with such a large body of work, it can be daunting to know what all Agatha Christie wrote, or to keep track of which of her books you’ve already read. And that’s why I’ve written this ultimate guide to all the Agatha Christie books in order. This guide is for all the Agatha Christie fans out there…current and yet to be fanned. Maybe, like me, you developed an insatiable taste for Agatha Christie’s books as a child. Or perhaps you’re wanting to give them a try for the very first time after watching one of the recent Kenneth Branagh movie adaptations, or the Christie-inspired Knives Out

Use this list of Agatha Christie books in order to pick your next Christie book, to get to know her recurring detectives, or to see what else she wrote besides mysteries novels. This is the guide I wish I’d had when I was thirteen, choosing Christie books at random from my Dad’s bookshelf or the used bookstore. Happenstance is a fine way to encounter any Christie novel, but I also would’ve liked to read the Tommy and Tuppence books in order, for instance, rather than start with M or N? and feel like I was missing the backstory. 

This list of books by Agatha Christie is grouped by series detective. I’ve also written premise summaries of every Agatha Christie book, so you can get an inkling of what each book is about and whether or not you’d like to read it. These are not publisher summaries, which do occasionally give too much away! In addition, I’ve created a printable PDF checklist of every Agatha Christie book in publication order, which you can get as a Tea and Ink Society subscriber.

Agatha Christie Biography

But before we dive in, here’s a short biography of Christie, nicknamed the “Queen of Crime.”

Agatha Christie (christened Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller) was born in 1890 in her family’s home in Torquay in southwest England. She had two older siblings, but there was such an age gap that Christie sometimes felt like an only child. She was homeschooled by her parents and sister, showing a particular interest in math and music, and learning to read at age four. As a teenager, she completed her education in Parisian boarding schools. 

Agatha married military officer Archie Christie in 1914 and they had one child together–Rosalind. In 1916, Christie wrote her first mystery novel after a challenge from her sister. She eventually found a publisher and The Mysterious Affair at Styles released in 1920. 

Despite literary success, Agatha’s personal life declined and the Christies divorced in 1928 due to Archie Christie’s infidelity and wish to marry another woman. The turmoil leading up to their divorce resulted in Agatha’s mysterious eleven-day disappearance, which sparked international headlines and one of the biggest manhunts in British history. She was eventually discovered under an alias at a hotel in north Yorkshire, claiming she had no memory of how she’d gotten there.

In 1930, Christie began a long and much happier marriage with the archaeologist Max Mallowan. She accompanied him on his expeditions, working on her books while he worked in the dig sites. Christie became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1971. She published her last book in 1973, and passed away in 1976 at the age of 85.

Hercule Poirot Books in Order

Hercule Poirot was Agatha Christie’s first detective, and remains her most famous. He features in 33 novels, 51 short stories, and 3 plays. While many people initially misjudge him or treat him as ridiculous, Poirot takes himself very seriously. He commands himself with dignity and takes immaculate care of his personal appearance, particularly his famous mustache. He relies on his keen insight into human nature and his formidable intelligence to solve cases, referring to his mind as his “little grey cells.” Although he attempts to be humble, Poirot has a very high opinion of himself and his abilities, even calling himself the Greatest Detective in the World!

Poirot lives in a flat in London, but his nationality is Belgian. A former member of the Belgian police, Poirot was displaced by World War I, and his character was inspired in part by real-life Belgian refugees that Christie had met. We later learn that Poirot is Catholic, although his religious background is not a prevalent theme (as it is in Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, for instance.) He drinks hot chocolate, always carries a pocket watch, and is fastidious to a fault. Despite his eccentricities, Poirot has many friends. He’s a good listener, sympathetic, unfailingly polite, and loyal to the allies that appear in many of his novels: Captain Hastings, Inspector Japp, and Ariadne Oliver.

David Suchet acting the role of Hercule Poirot
David Suchet is the definitive Hercule Poirot. Over the course of 25 years, Suchet performed every Poirot novel and short story that Agatha Christie wrote.

Note: This list of Hercule Poirot books includes the novels he features in and all short story collections that feature Poirot exclusively. The short story collections that contain a mix of Christie detectives are in a separate section.

1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (published 1920)

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was the first book Agatha Christie published, and it proves that she was a talented author right out of the gate. The novel has all the markers of the quintessential Golden Age detective novel which Christie helped to popularize: an isolated country manor, a slough of suspects (all with something to hide), a drawing room dénouement, and handy floor plans to aid the reader in visualizing the setting of the crime.

In the story, Arthur Hastings is staying as a house guest at Styles Court when his hostess is found poisoned one morning. Hastings seeks the aid of his friend Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective and war refugee. Heading up the official police investigation is Inspector Japp, who finds Poirot’s detection methods eccentric. But Poirot uses his “little grey cells” to cut through the red herrings and land on the elegant, logical solution to the mystery.

2. The Murder on the Links (1923)

Poirot and Hastings travel to France at the request of a wealthy businessman who believes his life is in danger. They arrive only to find that their client was recently murdered–stabbed in the back and left next to a golf course. In The Murder on the Links, Agatha Christie pays tribute to the French detectives and mystery novelists she loved.

3. Poirot Investigates (1924), short story collection

Poirot Investigates was Agatha Christie’s first published collection of short stories, and includes plenty of cases for Poirot to solve, not all of them murders. In the style of Holmes and Watson, Poirot and Hastings encounter a number of baffling crimes involving jewel theft, abductions, murder…even an ancient Egyptian curse! The U.K. edition included eleven stories, while the 1925 U.S. edition included fourteen.

4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

Narrated from the perspective of one Dr. Sheppard of the quiet village of King’s Abbot, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd sees Poirot coming out of retirement to investigate the murder of a local businessman. Dr. Sheppard stands in for Hastings (who’s off in Argentina), following Poirot’s investigation with increasing interest. Thanks to its ingenious plotting and solution, Ackroyd is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels.

5. The Big Four (1927)

Poirot and Hastings receive a cryptic message from a dying man that puts them on the trail of The Big 4, an international crime cartel of supervillains bent on world domination. Christie composed the book out of separately-published short stories, which she tied together with an overarching plot. It’s known for being one of her weaker novels, but it stood in for a time when Christie was undergoing intense personal struggles due to her mother’s death and the breakdown of her first marriage.

6. The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

The Mystery of the Blue Trains centers around a famous black market ruby known as the “Heart of Fire.” Someone may be willing to kill for it, and when a murder occurs on a luxury overnight train bound for the French Riviera, it’s hardly a surprise that the ruby is missing. Luckily, Poirot was a passenger on the train that night, and he cuts through a web of motives and lies to discover who has murder at their heart. Still in a dark period of her life, Christie found the book difficult to write, but her critics were kinder to the novel than she was.

7. Peril at End House (1932)

While on vacation in Cornwall, Poirot and Hastings meet Magdala “Nick” Buckley, who tells them in passing of her recent near escapes from death. But when Poirot discovers a bullet hole through Nick’s sun hut, he becomes convinced that someone is out to kill her. Can he prevent a murder from happening?

8. Lord Edgware Dies (1933), also published as Thirteen at Dinner

The beautiful Jane Adams asks Poirot to help her get a divorce from her estranged husband, Lord Edgware. But when Lord Edgware claims he’s already sent his wife a letter granting a divorce, Jane claims she never received it. To complicate matters Lord Edgware dies (no spoilers there) and Poirot is left with a tangle of clues and alibis to unwind.

9. Murder on the Orient Express (1934), also published as Murder in the Calais Coach

One of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels, and one of her few locked-room mysteries. Poirot is traveling on the luxurious Orient Express when the train gets stuck in a snowdrift in the dead of night. The next morning, one of the passengers is dead from multiple stab wounds, his compartment locked from the inside. With the train still stranded and full of passengers, Poirot must unmask the killer in their midst.

10. Three Act Tragedy (1935), also published as Murder in Three Acts

Poirot is at a dinner party for thirteen guests (not an auspicious number), when the Reverend Stephen Babbington chokes on his cocktail and dies in convulsions. But there are no traces of poison found in his glass, and what’s more–no one had a motive for killing the mild-mannered Reverend. Among its cast, Three Act Tragedy includes Mr. Satterthwaite, a character crossover from The Mysterious Mr. Quin, who appears in a handful of Poirot short stories as well.

11. Death in the Clouds (1935), also published as Death in the Air

Like Murder on the Orient Express, the murder in Death in the Clouds occurs in a claustrophobic environment, but this time on a plane. There are eleven passengers in the rear compartment, and Christie takes us into each character’s thoughts. One of them will be dead before the plane lands, but somehow no one saw it happen–not even the inimitable Hercule Poirot, who was seating just a few seats away from the victim.

12. The A.B.C. Murders (1936), also published as The Alphabet Murders

There’s a serial killer at large, who’s choosing victims with alliterative names and murdering them in alphabetical order. No one in England knows where the murderer will strike next…except Poirot and his friends. For the murderer prefaces each killing by sending Poirot a letter, signed only with the initials “A.B.C.” Will Poirot rise to the murderer’s taunts, and is the killer making a grave mistake by pitting himself against the famous detective?

13. Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)

Murder in Mesopotamia is narrated by Amy Leatheran, an English nurse who travels to a dig site in the Iraqi desert to care for Louise Leidner, the wife of the lead archaeologist. Louise has been seeing strange visions and receiving threatening letters, seemingly from her deceased husband. When a murder occurs, everyone is very lucky indeed that Hercule Poirot happens to be traveling through Iraq himself, and can help solve the case.

Christie based the book’s setting on the archaeological dig site of Ur, where she met her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan.

14. Cards on the Table (1936)

Mr. Shaitana is a notorious party host, and he gives Hercule Poirot a stunning invitation: Come to his next party and meet his private “collection” of people who got away with murder. Poirot agrees, and finds that the party includes four supposed murderers, along with Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, Colonel Race (formerly of MI5), and the celebrated mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver (Mrs. Oliver becomes a recurring character in later Christie novels). But when one of Mr. Shaitana’s murderers decides to stab him with a stiletto, the crime professionals must use all their knowledge and expertise to determine which of the four equally-likely suspects could’ve done this final crime.

15. Murder in the Mews (1937), also published as Dead Man’s Mirror. Short story collection.

Murder in the Mews contains four long Poirot short stories, including “Murder in the Mews,” “The Incredible Theft,” “Dead Man’s Mirror,” and “Triangle at Rhodes.”

16. Dumb Witness (1937), also published as Poirot Loses a Client

Elderly Miss Arundell’s death wasn’t really a surprise considering her age and health, but what truly shocked her family was that she had changed her will just before her death–and her large fortune wasn’t going where they expected it to! After a fall down the stairs, Miss Arundell had become convinced someone was trying to kill her, but her family claimed she tripped on a ball left by her beloved fox terrier, Bob. Miss Arundell writes of her suspicions to Poirot, but unfortunately she’s dead before the letter arrives. Suspecting foul play, Poirot and Hastings head to her village to quietly investigate.

Note: This is Hastings’ last appearance in a novel until Curtain, the final Poirot novel.

17. Death on the Nile (1937), also published as Murder on the Nile and as Hidden Horizon

Poirot is taking a holiday on a luxury steamer cruise on the Nile River, where of course he meets a colorful cast of fellow passengers. But there are tense undercurrents on this cruise, and Poirot must pinpoint where the danger lies. Is it with the newlywed couple and their stalker–a jealous former lover? Is it with the outspoken and irascible Communist? Or the controlling and spoiled American with her beleaguered cousin? At least Poirot has one true friend in the mix, for Colonel Race is aboard the boat on a little mission of his own.

18. Appointment with Death (1938)

Taking another holiday in the Middle East, Poirot overhears a brother and sister discussing their wish to kill their stepmother. Their stepmother, Mrs. Boynton, is a domineering tyrant who delights in tormenting her family, and no one is exactly sorry when she’s found dead among the cliffs at Petra, a small puncture wound in her wrist. Despite Mrs. Boynton’s unlikability, Poirot undertakes to solve the mystery of her death, giving himself 24 hours to arrive at the truth.

19. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938), also published as Murder for Christmas and as A Holiday for Murder

Unlikeable patriarch Simeon Lee gathers his large family together for the holidays…and then upsets everyone by telephoning his attorney in front of them and announcing his intention to update his will. On Christmas Eve there’s a tremendous commotion in Simeon’s bedroom and the family must break down his door to get inside, only to discover the old man brutally murdered. Poirot assists in the investigation of this brilliant locked-room case.

20. Sad Cypress (1940)

One of Christie’s few courtroom dramas, Sad Cypress traces the lead-up to the murder conviction of Elinor Carlisle, and then follows her trial in court. Elinor is accused of killing her romantic rival, and besides motive she had the means and opportunity for committing the crime. Hercule Poirot believes she’s innocent, but can he guide the trial to the right conclusion? This is one of Christie’s more character-driven novels, and is a unique one for Poirot because there’s no “drawing room” style dénouement.

21. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940), also published as An Overdose of Death

Hercule Poirot is going on another trip–but this time it’s only to the dentist! But it seems that death is never far from the Belgian detective, and a few hours after Poirot’s appointment, his dentist is found dead with a gun in his hand. Poirot doesn’t have much to go on, but curiously, a shoe buckle may hold an important clue. Christie uses her recurring nursery rhyme motif to structure the book with clues corresponding to the rhyme.

22. Evil Under the Sun (1941)

Poirot is on holiday in a secluded seaside hotel in Devon. Also a guest is Arlena Marshall, a beautiful actress and wife of four years to a stolid and reserved man. Arlena makes a splash wherever she goes, flirting shamelessly with the men (even the married ones), and treating her husband and stepdaughter with contempt. She loves to sunbathe, but one day she’s found lying on the beach not as a warm body, but a dead one–strangled. Evil Under the Sun has a dizzying number of clues, even for Christie, but leads to a dazzling conclusion that cements the book as one of her top Poirot stories.

23. Five Little Pigs (1942), also published as Murder in Retrospect

In Five Little Pigs, Poirot reopens a sixteen-year-old murder case at the request of Carla Lemarchant, who’s engaged to be married but wants an old family crime to be cleared up first. Carla’s mother had been convicted of murdering her husband, but she left a letter for her daughter insisting on her innocence. Now that Carla has come of age, she has the letter and she wants the full truth. There were five other people that could’ve killed Carla’s father, but none of them seemed to have a motive for doing so.

Agatha Christie based the setting for this novel on her own summer home of Greenway on the River Dart, which she called “a dream house.”

24. The Hollow (1946), also published as Murder after Hours

Poirot is a guest in a cottage near The Hollow, Lucy Angkatell’s estate. One day Lady Angkatell invites Poirot to an outdoor luncheon around her swimming pool, but when Poirot arrives he witnesses a strange scene that appears to be a prank. One of the guests is standing with a gun in her outstretched hand, while her dead husband’s blood drips into the pool. But no one is playing a joke on Poirot. The crime is all too real, but is there more going on than meets the eye? This is a haunting and poignant novel that puts more emphasis on the characters, rather than being a mechanical puzzle plot.

25. The Labors of Hercules (1947), short story collection

The Labors of Hercules collects twelve Poirot short stories that were originally published in periodicals. Each story corresponds to one of the twelve labors of the mythological Greek hero Hercules.

26. Taken at the Flood (1948), also published as There Is a Tide

Gordon Cloade is killed in a London air raid in 1944, leaving his much younger wife, Rosaleen, a widow for the second time. Gordon had always been generous with his extended family, so they were counting on the sizeable fortune from his will. But there had been no time to update it after his impromptu marriage, and now Rosaleen is an heiress and the family is left out to dry. But things aren’t what they seem…Poirot remembers a story he heard about Rosaleen’s first husband, and the fact that he might not be dead after all.

27. The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951), short story collection

The Under Dog includes nine Poirot short stories that Christie had published in periodicals early in her career. Many of these also feature Poirot’s sidekick Captain Hastings.

28. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952), also published as Blood Will Tell

Mrs. McGinty’s death appears to be the result of senseless brutality. The verdict is that she was bludgeoned by her lodger, a young man who was down on his luck, for the sake of a mere £30. But Poirot’s friend Superintendent Spence doesn’t believe the man is guilty, and asks Poirot to help. Poirot is joined in his investigations by Ariadne Oliver, his mystery novelist friend whom he met in Cards on the Table.

29. After the Funeral (1953), also published as Funerals are Fatal

After the funeral of Richard Abernethie, his large family gathers in Abernethie’s Victorian mansion to hear the will read. In the crowded room, Abernethie’s sister Cora remarks that her brother was murdered and everything’s been hushed up. But if her brother was murdered, perhaps she should’ve guessed the murderer would be listening in that day. When Cora’s found dead the next morning, the family solicitor calls in Poirot to discover the truth within this complicated family web.

30. Hickory Dickory Dock (1955), also published as Hickory Dickory Death

Poirot’s secretary, Miss Lemon, introduces a most unusual case to her employer. Miss Lemon’s sister is the matron of a student hostel where an odd assortment of objects have gone missing–everything from a stethoscope to bath salts. It appears to be the work of a kleptomaniac, yet there’s a deeper atmosphere of unease around the hostel, and a feeling that something more sinister is hiding behind the petty thefts.

31. Dead Man’s Folly (1956)

Ariadne Oliver invites Poirot to a house in Devon, where she’s been hired to plan a Murder Game for a summer party. During her preparations, Mrs. Oliver has become increasingly suspicious that someone amongst the guests is intending a real murder, and she wants Poirot on hand to deter any would-be killers. With Poirot on site, the party goes ahead…and so, in fact, does the murder.

Dead Man’s Folly is another instance of Christie using the grounds of Greenway house as inspiration for her setting.

32. Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)

A dash of intrigue in a small Middle Eastern kingdom results in a collection of costly jewels smuggled into the most unlikely of places–a prestigious girls’ boarding school in England. There’s quite a range of personalities at Meadowbank among the students and teachers, but headmistress Miss Bulstrode oversees everything with her strict regulations and customary finesse. But when murder shatters the school, fear becomes the pervading atmosphere, and one student will sneak out to call on that famous detective she heard of–Monsieur Poirot.

33. The Clocks (1963)

When typist Sheila Webb arrives at her afternoon stenography appointment, she’s shocked to discover the corpse of a man lying across the floor. The body is surrounded by clocks–four of which are stopped at 4:13, while a cuckoo clock announces 3:00. Just then, the owner of the house returns–a blind woman, who claims she never sent for Sheila at all.

This is an interesting novel for Poirot as he never visits the crime scene or interviews the suspects, proving to his friends in the police force that he can solve the case through intellect alone.

34. Third Girl (1966)

Poirot is sipping hot chocolate one morning when a young woman bursts into his room, claiming to be a murderer. Poirot learns that his friend Ariadne Oliver has sent this distraught client his way, and that Norma Restarick, the woman in question, has been having dangerous lapses of memory. Who has been murdered? And is Norma really to blame?

35. Hallowe’en Party (1969)

Thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds is found drowned in an apple-bobbing tub at a Halloween party. It could’ve been an unfortunate accident, but hours earlier, Joyce had announced that she once witnessed a murder. Ariadne Oliver thinks there may be foul play afoot, and calls in Poirot. Together, they investigate all of the unsolved murder cases in the village from years past, hoping to discover what Joyce saw and bring her own killer to justice.

36. Elephants Can Remember (1972)

Along with Hercule Poirot, Ariadne Oliver investigates the death of her goddaughter’s parents, which occurred twelve years earlier. The apparently happy couple had been found dead on a clifftop, a gun between them that bore only their fingerprints. Had one murdered the other? Was it a double suicide? Poirot and Mrs. Oliver question a number of elderly witnesses (the “elephants”), who may hold clues to the tragedy that happened so many years ago.

37. Poirot’s Early Cases (1974, short story collection)

This is a compilation of eighteen stories previously collected in other books, including The Under Dog and the U.S. edition of Poirot Investigates.

38. Curtain (written about 1940, published 1975), also published as Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case

Poirot and Hastings reunite for one last baffling mystery, this one taking them full circle to Styles Court, the site of their first case together. Styles has been turned into a hotel, and there is a serial killer among the guests who has already gotten away with murder five times. Only Poirot knows the killer’s identity, but he must collect his proof and build his case before the killer claims a sixth victim. Now crippled from arthritis, Poirot relies on Hastings to be his ears and eyes, while he himself employs his “little grey cells” to solve the final problem.

Along with Sleeping Murder, the last Miss Marple novel, Agatha Christie wrote Curtain in the 1940s. In the event of her death (at that time the concern was the London bombings during World War II), she wanted her family to have two final novels to publish. The manuscripts remained locked in a bank vault for nearly forty years. When failing health finally made Christie unable to write, her daughter published Curtain in 1975, and Sleeping Murder was published in 1976 after the author passed away.

Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories (1999), U.K and U.S. (2013)

This volume gathers all the Poirot short stories into one omnibus volume. Although there were some previous volumes of collected Poirot stories, this is the edition that’s currently available. (Here’s what the U.K. edition looks like.)

Miss Marple Books in Order

Miss Jane Marple is one of Agatha Christie’s most popular detectives, appearing in 12 novels and 20 short stories. Described as “a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner,” Miss Marple enjoys knitting, gardening, and gathering local gossip. She doesn’t solve crimes in an official capacity, but her shrewd observations and agile memory supply the police with vital clues that help put criminals behind bars. Miss Marple lives in the fictional village of St. Mary Mead, located somewhere in the southeast of England, which serves as the setting for several of the novels and short stories she’s featured in.

Joan Hickson acting the role of Miss Marple
Joan Hickson is widely regarded as the best actress to play Miss Marple. She was also the actress handpicked by Agatha Christie, who wrote to Hickson in 1946 to say that she hoped Hickson would play Miss Marple someday.

Note: This list of Miss Marple books includes the novels she features in and all short story collections that feature Marple exclusively. The short story collections that contain a mix of Christie detectives are in a separate section.

1. The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)

Although Miss Marple had previously appeared in some of Christie’s short stories, The Murder at the Vicarage was the first novel to feature her, and the story takes place in her home town of St. Mary Mead. The story begins with the narrator, Reverend Clement, recalling a joke he made that everyone would be better off if a certain parishioner was murdered. Unfortunately, Clement’s words come to pass when the same parishioner is found shot through the head in the vicar’s study. The vicar’s neighbour Miss Marple uses her shrewd observation of human nature to help bring the killer to justice.

2. The Thirteen Problems (1932), also published as The Tuesday Club Murders. Short story collection.

In this short story collection set in St. Mary Mead, Miss Marple is presented with cases that have already been solved by the police. After hearing the facts of each case but before learning the outcome, she provides her own solution…which of course, always turns out to be correct!

3. The Body in the Library (1942)

Mrs. Bantry is awakened one morning with surprising news: there’s a dead body in her library. Wearing a flamboyant evening gown and heavy makeup, the victim is completely incongruous in the Bantry’s respectable library–and she’s also a total stranger. Hoping to avoid a scandal, the Bantrys turn to their friend Miss Marple for advice.

4. The Moving Finger (1943)

There’s a poison pen rampant in the village of Lymstock, writing all sorts of nasty things about the villagers and sending everyone into a tizzy of suspicion. When one of the recipients of the poison pen letters ends up dead, the situation calls for Scotland Yard. But the police are baffled until quiet Miss Marple points them in the right direction.

5. A Murder Is Announced (1950)

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are astonished to read a notice in the local newspaper announcing the time and place of an upcoming murder. Full of curiosity, several villagers gather at the appointed residence, but the homeowner is as mystified as they are. And then on cue, the lights go out and shots are fired. A murder has indeed occurred, but thankfully Miss Marple is close at hand to help the police crack the case.

6. They Do It with Mirrors (1952), also published as Murder With Mirrors

Miss Marple goes to visit a girlhood friend at Stonygates, a Victorian estate that also houses a rehab home for junior delinquents. But there are strange undercurrents at Stonygates, and soon murder darkens its rooms.

7. A Pocket Full of Rye (1953)

London businessman Rex Fortescue dies after drinking his morning tea, and curiously, the police discover a large amount of rye grains in his pocket. Then two more deaths occur, leaving the police mystified. When Miss Marple arrives to give information on one of the murder victims, she suggests to the police that the deaths may be connected to the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

8. 4.50 from Paddington (1957), also published as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!

Mrs. McGillicuddy is taking a train to visit her friend Miss Marple when she witnesses a man strangling a woman in another train running parallel to hers. Miss Marple believes her story, but when no murders are reported Miss Marple decides to find the body herself.

9. The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962)

Once again set in St. Mary Mead, Miss Marple investigates the death of a gossipy middle-aged woman–who just might have taken a poisoned cocktail actually meant for someone else. Agatha Christie shows St. Mary Mead (and the quaint villages it typifies) beset with growing pains as housing developments spring up and a brand-new supermarket dominates the village street. But as Miss Marple discovers, human nature is still the same.

10. A Caribbean Mystery (1964)

Miss Marple’s only foreign case, A Caribbean Mystery sees the elderly woman on holiday for her health at the Golden Palm Hotel in the Caribbean. She listens absentmindedly to the ramblings of another guest, Major Palgrave, who suddenly catches her attention when he offers to show her a picture of a murderer who has never been caught. But when other guests arrive on the scene, Major Palgrave changes his mind. And the next day, he’s found dead in his room.

11. At Bertram’s Hotel (1965)

Miss Marple is taking a two-week retreat at a tasteful London hotel, where many fascinating guests fall under her keen eye. But then some of the guests and staff begin acting very suspiciously, and the police seem to think the hotel may be connected with a series of London robberies. What dark secrets are hiding at Bertram’s Hotel?

12. Nemesis (1971)

Miss Marple receives a cryptic letter from a friend she met in A Caribbean Mystery, promising to leave her a legacy of £20,000…if she can solve a certain crime within a year. The problem is, the letter is very vague on the details, and her friend is now deceased and therefore can’t offer much in the way of clues. Nevertheless, Miss Marple accepts the challenge, and embarks on a quest around England to sniff out the evil lurking in unlikely places.

13. Sleeping Murder (1976)

Gwenda Reed is newly married, and is eager to renovate Hillside, the old house she and her husband have purchased as their first home. But certain things about the house seem oddly familiar, and later when attending a play Gwenda hears a line that triggers a traumatic memory for her. Gwenda teams up with Miss Marple to unlock the secrets that still haunt Hillside, and solve a perfect crime committed nearly two decades earlier.

Although intended as the final Miss Marple novel, Agatha Christie wrote Sleeping Murder in the 1940s, sealing it away for publication in the event of her death in London air raids.

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (1985), U.S. only

This volume gathers all the Miss Marple stories into one omnibus. I don’t think it was released in the U.K., but a later volume titled Miss Marple and Mystery was published in the U.K. and includes all the Marple stories as well as many standalones.

Tommy and Tuppence Books in Order

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are a detective couple that feature in 4 of Agatha Christie’s novels and 1 exclusive short story collection. They are lifelong friends and partners in adventure before also becoming marriage partners at the end of the first book. Tommy is solid and practical, with features that are “pleasantly ugly–nondescript, yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman.” In contrast, Tuppence (Prudence) is vivacious and charismatic, relying on her intuition to explore leads in a case.

The Beresfords are Christie’s only detectives to age in real time. They’re in their twenties when we first meet them in The Secret Adversary, (the second book Agatha Christie wrote) and are in their 70s in Postern of Fate (the last book Christie wrote). During those years they have three children: Derek and Deborah (twins), and an adopted daughter, Betty.

1. The Secret Adversary (1922)

In need of jobs after World War I, childhood friends Tommy and Tuppence join forces to establish The Young Adventurers, Ltd. and proclaim that they are “willing to do anything, go anywhere–no unreasonable offer refused.” Soon they receive a commission to find one Jane Finn, a missing survivor of the RMS Lusitania who possesses classified government documents.

2. Partners in Crime (1929), short story collection

Tommy and Tuppence take on various mystery cases at the International Detective Agency. Their “Agency,” however, is also a front: the whole thing has been arranged with an old friend of theirs–a member of the British secret service–to intercept messages from foreign spies! As Tommy and Tuppence wait for intel on the overarching case, they enjoy the smaller mysteries that come to them. Christie had a little fun with them, too, having her detectives solve each case in the manner of a famous fictional detective, such as Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, and Hercule Poirot!

3. N or M? (1941)

It’s now World War II, and Tommy and Tuppence are feeling middle aged. They long for the adventures of their youth. Then Tommy’s asked to go undercover once again–this time to discover the identities of German spies lurking in a seaside resort in the south of England. Of course, Tuppence won’t let Tommy have all the fun by himself; she dons an alias and beats him to the hotel to help solve the case!

4. By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968)

Christie dedicated her fourth Tommy and Tuppence book “to the many readers in this and other countries who write to me asking: ‘What has happened to Tommy and Tuppence? What are they doing now?'” While the couple are visiting Tommy’s aunt in a retirement home, Tuppence has a strange conversation with another resident, a certain Mrs. Lancaster. When Mrs. Lancaster is suddenly removed from the home, Tuppence gets suspicious and begins to investigate, with only sparse clues to go on. Like several of the novels published near the end of Christie’s career, By the Pricking of My Thumbs has a particularly haunting, unsettling atmosphere.

5. Postern of Fate (1973)

Now in their seventies and living in a quiet English village, a cryptic message discovered in an old book lead Tommy and Tuppence to explore a sixty-year-old cold case involving the murder of a governess. Postern of Fate was the last novel Agatha Christie wrote, although two previously-written novels were published later–Curtain in 1975, and Sleeping Murder in 1976.

Superintendent Battle Books in Order

Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard is one of Agatha Christie’s minor detectives, appearing in 5 novels. He is a “big, square, wooden-faced man,” who lets his unassuming features serve as a mask for the sharp intelligence underneath. Christie and Battle both play with the stereotype that in crime stories, the police are supposed to be bumbling idiots in order to set off the brilliance of the private detective. Battle lets everyone underestimate him and think him stupid, while he meanwhile observes everything and closes in on the criminal with deadly accuracy. Of Battle’s personal life not much is known, other than the fact that he is devoted to his wife, Mary, and has five children.

Sidenote: Superintendent Battle is one my favourite fictional detectives, and the stories he appears in are some of my favourite Christies! I only wish he’d been in more books!

1. The Secret of Chimneys (1925)

The Secret of Chimneys is an adventuresome political thriller, murder mystery, and treasure hunt all wrapped into one, with so many twists and reveals it seems like the plot itself is a foil to Superintendent Battle’s stolid character. Most of the action centers around the stately home of Chimneys during a house party, where the life of a Balkan prince is in danger, and the famous Koh-i-noor diamond may be hidden somewhere near by.

2. The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)

The Seven Dials Mystery is a sequel to The Secret of Chimneys, and features several repeat characters. During another house party at Chimneys, a group of young twenty-somethings decide to play a prank on their friend Gerry Wade by hiding eight alarm clocks in his bedroom, set to go off at intervals. But Wade is found dead the next morning. And mysteriously, one of the alarm clocks is missing. Once again, Christie blends detective story with political espionage, throwing state secrets and a masked society into the mix.

3. Cards on the Table (1936)

Superintendent Battle joins three other crime experts: Hercule Poirot, Col. Race, and Ariadne Oliver to meet four people who supposedly got away with murder. Bringing them all together under one roof is party host Mr. Shaitana, who unfortunately doesn’t survive the night. The crime experts must combine their strengths to determine which of the four criminals could’ve killed Mr. Shaitana.

4. Murder is Easy (1939), also published as Easy To Kill

Retired police officer Luke Fitzwilliam shares a train carriage with an elderly spinster who tells him she’s on her way to Scotland Yard to report a serial killer lurking in her quiet village of Wychwood under Ashe. She claims the killer has already struck twice, and she knows who the next victim will be. Fitzwilliam merely humors her, but when he later learns of another death in Wychwood, he decides to visit the village himself to investigate. Superintendent Battle is only a minor character this time, stepping in at the end to close the case.

5. Towards Zero (1944)

Lady Tressilian is holding her annual summer house party at Gull’s Point, her seaside home. But her ward insists on bringing both his new wife and his ex-wife, which makes for a predictably awkward set up. Despite tensions, no dead bodies show up in the novel for quite some time…but all of the players are unknowingly converging towards “zero hour,” when the murderer will claim their victim.

Colonel Race Books in Order

Colonel Johnnie Race appears in 4 Agatha Christie novels, two of which are crossovers with Hercule Poirot. (He is also name-dropped in a couple of other novels, a practice Christie frequently used with her minor characters). Race never plays a leading role as a detective, but he uses his keen mind and background as an MI5 agent to help put criminals behind bars. Other things we know about Colonel Race are that he is extremely rich, having inherited a large fortune, is well traveled, is tall and tanned, can dance well, and has a composed and thoughtful manner. Could he perhaps give Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey a run for his money as a man devoid of on-page flaws? 

1. The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)

Anne Beddingfeld wants excitement, and she gets plenty when she witnesses a man fall to his death on a live track in the London Underground. But what was it that made him look so terrified just before he fell? When Anne discovers a dropped scrap of paper with an odd message, she follows the clue to Africa. Along the way she’ll travel deep into a web of adventure and blackmail, and cross paths with a host of interesting characters–among them Colonel Race.

Although Anne isn’t featured in any other novels, she’s the literary progenitor of a series of plucky, adventuresome heroines who would appear throughout Christie’s writing career in novels like The Seven Dials Mystery, The Mystery of the Blue Train, and They Came to Baghdad.

2. Cards on the Table (1936)

Colonel Race joins three other crime experts: Hercule Poirot, Superintendent Battle, and Ariadne Oliver to meet four people who supposedly got away with murder. Bringing them all together under one roof is party host Mr. Shaitana, who unfortunately doesn’t survive the night. The crime experts must combine their strengths to determine which of the four criminals could’ve killed Mr. Shaitana.

3. Death on the Nile (1937)

Colonel Race is a passenger aboard the luxury steamer Karnak, on a Nile River cruise. But it’s business–not pleasure–for Race, as his real objective is to track down a murderer. Although Race is among the cast in Death on the Nile, Hercule Poirot takes center stage as the main detective in the novel, solving a much more complicated crime that occurs during the cruise itself.

4. Sparkling Cyanide (1945), also published as Remembered Death

One night, rich and beautiful Rosemary Barton drank cyanide in her champagne at a fashionable restaurant, and six people watched her die. Her death was ruled a suicide but her husband George isn’t so sure, and shares his concerns with his friend Colonel Race. Exactly one year later, George assembles the same guests at the same restaurant, hoping to uncover the truth.

Harley Quin Books in Order

Harley Quin is Agatha Christie’s most enigmatic character, and was also the author’s personal favourite. Quin’s character is closely connected to his friend Mr. Satterthwaite, an elderly socialite and patron of the arts. Quin always appears in Satterthwaite’s presence quite suddenly and mysteriously, at the opportune moment to help Satterthwaite solve a problem.

There is only one book dedicated solely to Quin and Satterthwaite, but Quin also appears in two later short stories: “The Harlequin Tea Set” and “The Love Detectives.” Satterthwaite appears in the Poirot novel Three Act Tragedy and the short story “Dead Man’s Mirror.”

The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930), short story collection

This collection features twelve short stories, many with a darker, supernatural flavour. Each story unfolds a separate mystery involving affairs of the heart, jewel thefts, and sometimes murder. Associated with both love and death, Harley Quin acts as a puppet-master behind the scenes, helping Mr. Satterthwaite to restore order and a peaceful ending for each melodrama.

Parker Pyne Books in Order

James Parker Pyne appears in 14 short stories by Agatha Christie. A retired civil servant, Pyne has a private practice where he investigates “matters of the heart.” He has a head for statistics and believes there are five main types of unhappiness, all of which can be resolved logically. Pyne advertises his services in The Times with the headline “Are you happy? If not consult Mr Parker Pyne, 17 Richmond Street.” His methods of solving clients’ problems are equally unique, often involving elaborate disguises by himself or one of his cohorts.

Parker Pyne Investigates (1934), also published as Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective, short story collection

In this short story collection, Parker Pyne first takes six cases in his London office, solving marital problems, restoring stolen valuables, and helping people find the excitement in life they’re longing for. These cases also see the first appearance of two recurring characters in Christie’s universe: the detective novelist Ariadne Oliver, and the secretary Miss Felicity Lemon. Mrs. Oliver becomes good friends with Poirot, and Poirot later employs Miss Lemon as his own secretary.

The next six stories in the collection see Pyne on vacation, first on the Orient Express and later on a Nile steamer cruise in a short story titled “Death on the Nile.” However, the plots of these stories do not bear any resemblance to the Poirot novels involving the same settings!

The current edition of Parker Pyne Investigates adds a further two Parker Pyne stories (“The Problem at Pollensa Bay,” and “The Regatta Mystery”) which originally only appeared in short story compilations alongside Marple and Poirot.

Standalone Agatha Christie Books in Publication Order

Depending on who you ask, Agatha Christie wrote either 11 or 13 standalone mystery novels. If you include two novels Col. Race appears in (The Man in the Brown Suit and Sparkling Cyanide), the count will be 13. For the purposes of organizing this post, I’ve listed the Col. Race novels in their own section. My reasoning for this is that in The Man in the Brown Suit, Race is introduced independently of Poirot (although he later appears in two novels with him).

Several of the following standalone mysteries have been adapted for TV series using Miss Marple as the sleuth, although she does not actually appear in any of these novels.

1. The Sittaford Mystery (1931), also published as The Murder at Hazelmoor

It’s a snowy winter night on Dartmoor in the south of England, and six people in an isolated estate decide to have a séance to pass the time. What could possibly go wrong? It’s all fun and games until the group receives a cryptic message from beyond that seems to indicate a murder has been committed nearby.

One of the most famous mysteries of all time, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is also set on Dartmoor, and Christie pays homage to Doyle’s book with several references throughout her novel.

2. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934), also published as The Boomerang Clue

Bobby Jones is playing golf when he loses his ball over the edge of a sea cliff. When he goes to find it, he instead discovers an injured man among the rocks, on the brink of death. With his last breath, the man utters the cryptic message “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Bobby and his friend, Lady Frances Derwent, team up as amateur sleuths to discover the identity of “Evans,” and determine if there was foul play afoot all along.

3. And Then There Were None (1939)

Eight strangers are invited to a mansion on a rocky island off the coast of England. But when they arrive, their mysterious host is nowhere to be found. And then one of the guests falls dead that first night. Over the course of the next few days the stranded victims are picked off one by one, each killed in the manner of an old nursery rhyme. With no detective to turn to, they must attempt to identify the murderer among them. And Then There Were None is one of Christie’s most famous books, and one of the bestselling mystery novels of all time.

4. Death Comes as the End (1944)

Christie’s only historical fiction mystery, Death Comes as the End is set in Thebes in ancient Egypt, around 2000 B.C. The novel was inspired in part by real letters from a mortuary priest, which gave archaeologists insights into daily life in ancient Egypt. Christie also consulted a family friend and Egyptologist, and drew on her own experiences in the Middle East with her archaeologist husband, Sir Max Mallowan. The mystery revolves around a priest who brings a new concubine, Nofret, to live with his dysfunctional family. But when Nofret sows further discord among the household, hostility soon devolves into outright murder.

5. Crooked House (1949)

When family patriarch Aristide Leonides is found dead in his sprawling London mansion, there’s plenty of suspects. His household encompasses three generations of the family, most of which appear to have a motive for killing Aristide–and none of whom have an alibi. Scotland Yard steps in to investigate, aided by Charles Hayward, who has a vested interest in the family–his fiancé is one of the suspects!

6. They Came to Baghdad (1951)

They Came to Baghdad is one of Christie’s forays into the spy thriller genre. Victoria Jones is going to Baghdad for a job, for adventure, and hopefully a little romance, too. Little does she know what she’s really in for…through a few twists of fate, Victoria becomes enmeshed in a nefarious plot that threatens world peace! Stalin and the U.S. President are on their way to Baghdad for an important summit, but conspirators are working to sabotage the meeting. And Victoria may hold the vital clue to the conspirators’ identity.

7. Destination Unknown (1954), also published as So Many Steps to Death

Here’s another spy thriller from Agatha Christie! Hilary Craven, reeling from a failed marriage and the death of her daughter, is preparing to take her own life in a hotel room in Morocco, when a British secret agent interrupts. He offers her an alternative: will she go undercover to help the government discover why so many of their leading scientists have gone missing?

8. Ordeal by Innocence (1958)

Despite his insistence on innocence, Jacko Argyle was convicted of bludgeoning his mother to death, and he dies while in prison. Now two years later, someone comes along who can back up Jacko’s story with an alibi. But the Argyle family isn’t pleased with the exoneration, for it means that a murderer is still among them. Ordeal by Innocence was one of Christie’s favourite of her novels, and exemplifies her shift towards more psychological thrillers in her late career.

9. The Pale Horse (1961)

It seems that there’s witchcraft afoot in the village of Much Deeping, but how is it connected to the list of names found in the shoe of a murdered priest? A local witch who lives in the Pale Horse Inn claims she can kill from a distance, and some of the people on Father Gorman’s list are already dead. Mark Easterbrook, in the role of protagonist and narrator, takes it upon himself to discover the truth.

Several characters in The Pale Horse appear in earlier Christie novels, including Ariadne Oliver, an author friend of Poirot’s. The book is also notable for having prevented multiple deaths in real life–as well as inspiring an actual murderer. I can’t tell you anything else about those incidents without spoiling the book, but I recommend you look them up after you read the novel!

10. Endless Night (1967)

Christie once told an interviewer that Endless Night was “my own favourite at present” out of all her novels. With no one in the role of detective, the book is less of a whodunnit and more of a psychological thriller. No one dies for the first half of the book, but there’s a growing sense of tragedy and foreboding. The book is told from the perspective of young Mike Rogers, whose one great wish is to build a dream house with the girl he loves. But the site of his dream house bears a local curse, and as one villager warns him, “There’s no luck for them as meddles with Gipsy’s Acre.” Part Gothic novel, part love story with a dash of the supernatural, this is an unusual but fascinating Christie.

11. Passenger to Frankfurt (1970)

On his way home from Malaya to England, diplomat Sir Stafford Nye encounters a desperate woman who claims her life is in danger. Sir Stafford agrees to lend her his passport and traveling cloak so she can take his spot. Later, their paths will cross again, and as Sir Stafford becomes increasingly fascinated by the mystery woman he’s drawn deeper into a web of global intrigue, culminating in a shocking dénouement in northern Scotland.

Other Agatha Christie Short Short Collections

Agatha Christie wrote numerous short stories throughout her career, initially publishing them in periodicals such as The Story-Teller, The Strand, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Many of these stories were later collected and sold in book form. However, unlike her novels which were published in the U.K. and the U.S. only months apart, her short story collections sometimes were published only in the U.K. or only in the U.S., and featured different combinations of her stories!

This makes it rather tricky to know which editions to read in order to avoid overlap among the stories–or to make sure you’re not missing any! Thankfully, almost all of Christie’s short stories were eventually published on both sides of the pond, so really all you need to do is pick whether you want to go the U.K. route or the U.S route. The only caveat is that if you are reading U.K. editions, you will also need to read “Three Blind Mice” and “The Wife of the Kenite,” which are not published in any U.K. editions. If you’re going the U.S. route, you’ll just need to add “The Wife of the Kenite.”

The Hound of Death and Other Stories (1933), U.K. only

Included here are twelve standalone short stories with a darker tone, many of which stray into the supernatural. (They are “standalone” in the sense that none of them include Agatha Christie’s series detectives.) These stories and several more were republished in the recent compilation The Last Seance.

The Listerdale Mystery (1934), U.K. only

This edition features twelve standalone short stories.

The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (1939), U.S. only

This collection includes nine short stories featuring Parker Pyne, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple.

The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (1948), U.S. only

This book contains eleven short stories, one of which features Hercule Poirot. The titular story is the most famous, and served as the basis for an extremely popular West End play and a 1957 film.

Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950), U.S. only

There are nine stories in Three Blind Mice, including three featuring Poirot, three featuring Miss Marple, and one featuring Mr. Satterthwaite and Harley Quin. Christie adapted the titular story into the play The Mousetrap, which opened in 1952 and is the longest-running show in history.

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960), U.K. only

This book features five Poirot stories and one Miss Marple story.

Double Sin and Other Stories (1961), U.S. only

This edition features eight stories, some with Poirot and some with Miss Marple.

The Golden Ball and Other Stories (1971), U.S. only

This book includes fifteen standalone short stories.

Miss Marple’s Final Cases and Two Other Stories (1979), U.K. only

This collection includes seven Marple stories and two standalone stories, which previously had been only available in the U.S.

Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (1991), U.K. only

This U.K. edition includes an eclectic collection of eight short stories gleaned from earlier U.S. book editions. It includes two Poirot stories, two Parker Pyne stories, and two Harley Quin stories, as well as two standalones.

The Harlequin Tea Set (1997), U.S. only

This collection features nine short stories, including one with Poirot and one with Harley Quin.

While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997), U.K. only

Includes nine stories, most of which overlap with the U.S. collection The Harlequin Tea Set.

Mary Westmacott Books in Order

Mary Westmacott is not one of Agatha Christie’s detectives! Rather, she is a pseudonym for Agatha Christie herself. Christie wanted the freedom to write non-mystery novels that could be judged on their own merit, free from comparisons with her detective novels. Her identity as Mary Westmacott remained a secret for fifteen years, until a journalist revealed it. Side note: Doesn’t this remind you of J. K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith? It does me.

The Mary Westmacott novels are psychological portraits of deeply flawed characters, and explore human nature and love in various forms.

Giant’s Bread (1930)

Giant’s Bread is about brilliant musician Vernon Deyre, who’s determined to compose his magnum opus, no matter the cost to the people around him. The title refers to the giant’s rhyme in the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Deyre’s composition is called “The Giant,” and Deyre “grinds the bones” of the people closest to him in order to make his bread in a musical career. Deyre’s upbringing draws on Christie’s own Victorian childhood and musical training.

The book was publicized as being written under a pen name of an already-established author, and one review commented: “Who she is does not matter, for her book is far above the average of current fiction.”

2. Unfinished Portrait (1934)

On an exotic island, a portrait painter named Larraby happens upon a woman on the verge of committing suicide. He brings Celia back to his hotel room and through the night listens to her life story, leading up to what brought her to her current state.

Unfinished Portrait is even more autobiographical than Giant’s Bread, and Christie’s husband Max Mallowan even stated “In Celia we have more nearly than anywhere else a portrait of Agatha.”

3. Absent in the Spring (1944)

Like the two Mary Westmacott novels before it, Absent in the Spring is a novel told in retrospect, and plays out as an intimate character portrait and psychological drama. Returning from a visit to Iraq to visit her daughter and new grandbaby, Joan Scudamore misses her train connection and is stranded in a small rest house in the desert. The unexpected days of solitude prompt Joan to reflect on her life, and as she does so she begins to see clearly–perhaps for the first time–many things about herself and the people in her life.

As she does in a number of her novels, Christie employs free indirect discourse, a narrative technique pioneered by Jane Austen. The story is narrated in the third person but told through Joan’s eyes, so that it’s almost as if the narrator has been “infected” by Joan’s perspective.

Christie said in her autobiography that although the book had been growing inside her for six or seven years, when it came time to write it she accomplished the feat in three days flat. She described Absent in the Spring as “the one book that has satisfied me completely–the book I always wanted to write….It was written with integrity, with sincerity, it was written as I meant to write it, and that is the proudest joy an author can have.”

4. The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948)

In the vein of George Elliot’s Middlemarch and Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles, The Rose and the Yew Tree is about a small English town–this time in Cornwall–in the midst of social and political change. The 1945 General Election is coming and everyone is caught up in the country’s political climate, played out in microcosm in their little village and entangled with their own everyday loves and jealousies. Watching it all is our narrator, Hugh Norreys, crippled after a recent car accident and observing with cynicism as the opportunistic John Gabriel vies for a Parliamentary seat.

5. A Daughter’s a Daughter (1952)

A Daughter’s a Daughter explores the complex relationship between a mother and her nearly-grown-up daughter. Ann Prentice is a widow who seems to have made peace with her lot: she leads a quiet life and is devoted to her daughter Sarah. But while Sarah’s gone on a three-week ski trip, Ann meets a man and falls in love. Sarah is shocked by her mother’s plan to remarry and determines to thwart the match, leading to painful repercussions for all involved.

6. The Burden (1956)

The Burden centers around the relationship between two sisters. Laura, the elder, resents it when her baby sister Shirley is born, and even wishes her dead. But when Laura saves Shirley from a fire a few years later, Laura’s perspective shifts and she becomes fiercely, possessively protective of her sister. As the two sisters grow up, both must come to terms with Laura’s overbearing love: is it ultimately blocking their paths to happiness?

Other Books by Agatha Christie

The Road of Dreams (1925)

The Road of Dreams is an early volume of poetry that Agatha Christie published at her own expense. All of the poems were later reproduced (with slight changes) in her 1973 volume Poems.


Come, Tell Me How You Live (1946)

Published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan, this is a nonfiction book that combines memoir and travelogue, as Christie reflects on her time in Syria and Iraq with her husband Max.

Star Over Bethlehem (1965)

Another work published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan, this book is an illustrated collection of poems and short stories with religious themes. The 2011 edition I’ve linked to also includes all of her poetry from The Road of Dreams and Poems.

Poems (1973)

Containing poems from throughout her life, this book was published at the same time as Postern of Fate, the final book Agatha Christie wrote. The volume included the poems previously published in The Road of Dreams.


Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (1977)

Written over a fifteen-year period from 1950 to 1965, Christie requested that her autobiography remain unpublished until her death.

The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery (2012)

This is a collection of letters from 1922, when Christie took a ten-month tour around the world with her first husband, Archie Christie. Most of the letters were written to her beloved mother, and the collection is edited and introduced by Christie’s grandson, Matthew Prichard.

Agatha Christie Plays in Order

Besides being a novelist, Christie was a successful playwright, writing twenty-seven plays that have been performed for the stage, radio, and television, as well as several plays that have never been published or performed. In 1962, she was paid by MGM to write a screenplay for Charles Dickens’s novel Bleak House. Although she sent them a script, the film was never produced.

Christie’s favourite of her plays was The Witness for the Prosecution. Eight of her plays are collected in this volume. To learn more about Christie’s connection to the theater, read Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre by Julius Green.

Each of the Agatha Christie plays below are listed in the order of when they were first performed. All of them are stage plays unless otherwise noted.

  • Black Coffee (1930). Features Poirot. Novelization by Charles Osborne.
  • Wasp’s Nest (1937). A short television play featuring Poirot, based on a short story of the same name.
  • The Yellow Iris (1937). A radio play featuring Poirot. Based on a short story of the same name, and later adapted into the novel Sparkling Cyanide.
  • And Then There Were None (1943). Based on the novel of the same name.
  • Murder on the Nile (1944). The play is based on the novel Death on the Nile, but does not feature Poirot.
  • Appointment with Death (1945). Based on the novel of the same name, but with significant differences, such as the identity of the killer and the omission of Poirot.
  • Towards Zero (1945). An outdoors version of the novel, this play ran for just one week on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Three Blind Mice (1947). A short radio play later adapted for the stage as The Mousetrap.
  • Butter in a Lordly Dish (1948). A short radio play.
  • The Hollow (1951). Based on the novel The Hollow, but does not feature Poirot.
  • The Mousetrap (1952). Based on the early radio broadcast and short story Three Blind Mice.
  • Witness for the Prosecution (1953). Based on the short story of the same name.
  • Personal Call (1954). A short radio play.
  • Spider’s Web (1954). Adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne.
  • A Daughter’s a Daughter (1956). Billed under the name Westmacott (Christie’s pseudonym) this play was actually written before the novel of the same title.
  • Towards Zero (1956). Collaboration with Gerald Verner. Based on the novel of the same name.
  • Verdict (1958)
  • The Unexpected Guest (1958). Adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne.
  • Go Back for Murder (1960). Based on the novel Five Little Pigs, but does not feature Poirot.
  • Rule of Three (1962). A triple bill collection of three works: Afternoon at the Sea-side, The Patient, and The Rats.
  • Fiddlers Three (1975)
  • Akhnaton (1979)
  • Chimneys (2003). Based on the novel The Secret of Chimneys. Written early in Christie’s career but never published or performed until recently.
  • The Stranger (2017). Not performed or published during her lifetime, The Stranger was a small-cast, short version of her psychological thriller short story “Philomel Cottage.” The Stranger was later adapted for a full-length stage production by Frank Vosper and titled Love from a Stranger, which premiered in 1936.
  • The Lie (2018). Written in the 1920s but never published or performed until recently.

Every Agatha Christie Book in Order: Printable PDF Checklist

Collage with black and white photograph of Agatha Christie, and book cover for The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Download a printable Agatha Christie reading list with this PDF checklist of every Agatha Christie book in order.

Would you like a master list of all the Agatha Christie books, plays, and short story collections all in one place? I’ve created a free printable PDF checklist of all the Agatha Christie books in order. Read them, check them off at your leisure, look up film adaptations, and pay court to the Queen of Crime. The checklist is coded with icons so you can see at a glance which books include Poirot, Marple, or other recurring Christie characters.

This checklist is an exclusive freebie for Tea and Ink Society email subscribers. You can sign up using the form below to get instant access. (If you’re already a Tea and Ink Society subscriber, you’ll find the checklist in our “Rare Books Room” page.) If the form does not display below, you can sign up for the Tea and Ink Society via this page.

Agatha Christie Master List
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Every Agatha Christie Book in Order, with Summaries and a Printable Checklist
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  1. Oh my gosh, what an amazing gift for all us Agatha Christie fans! Thank you so much, Elsie. I look forward to checking off all these titles!

    1. You’re quite welcome! I thought I knew Agatha Christie “fairly well,” but I learned so much more about her from writing this, and my respect for the Queen of Crime has only grown!

  2. Hello!
    Excellent article! Would love to have a copy of it. Is there a way to get a copy? Are you selling it on Amazon as a book?
    Regards,
    S. Kilpatrick

    1. That is something I’ve considered, actually, although I don’t have that available yet. If I do publish it as an eBook/book on Amazon later this year, I’ll be sure to post about it in our email newsletter or Facebook group!

  3. Thank you for creating this resource! I haven’t read any Christie yet—want to dive in, but didn’t know where to start. Now I can begin the adventure! Thanks again!

    1. Oh, good! You have so much good reading ahead of you! Christie is a master of surprise. For some mystery authors, a surprise ending isn’t really a given…sometimes it’s more about the “how” than the “who.” But with Christie it’s always both!

  4. I have read all of her works several times, but I still often have trouble remembering them by title. This is a godsend! I am printing it out and keeping it on the bookshelf next to her books, so I can choose the one I want. I also want to say that your summaries of her books are masterful. Clear, accurate, and without giving away too much. Congratulation.s.

    1. You are a Christie superfan!! Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m so glad this will be a helpful resource for you! I feel like sometimes even the back-of-the-book blurbs give too much away, so I wanted these summaries to just be a little flavour without spoiling any stage of the discovery!

  5. I am not sure where to sign up to be an e-mail subscriber. I can’t seem to find any links. Help! Thanks in advance.

  6. I have submitted my name and email three times, but I have yet to get my checklist. Anyone else experiencing this issue?

    1. This probably goes without saying these days, but just in case…have you checked your spam folder? Search your email for a message with the subject line “Welcome to our Tea and Ink Society! (+ how to get your freebies)” In that email, there’s a link to access all the freebies–the Agatha Christie checklist as well as the 101 Classics printable, reading challenge checklist, etc. I checked my email system and you are indeed subscribed, so let me know if you still can’t find the emails coming from Tea and Ink!

  7. Hi Elsie
    What a wonderful website! I’m amazed by how much work went into preparing all this!!!
    I signed up, downloaded the list of A.C. books to my phone – but I don’t see how to print it. My printer is wireless and I have managed to print from my phone beforehand. Would u or anyone else know what to do?

    1. Thank you so much! I enjoy writing this site for readers like you! As far as printing from your phone, I’m not sure, but I’ll do my best to help! What kind of phone do you have?

  8. i cannot find the agatha christie checklist to download. Elsie says it’s in the Rare Books Collection – cannot find that either. Can somebody please help me????

    1. Hi Racquel! After you sign up for the Tea and Ink newsletter, you’ll receive an email in your inbox with a link to the Rare Books page, where you can download the Agatha Christie checklist as well as the other freebies!

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