Monday, January 30, 2012

Twelve Best: Agatha Christie.



This year I have decided to post (at least) one list per month citing some of my favourites. Inspired by Rishi @ Classic Mystery Hunt, who posted a list of his favourite Agatha Christie Reads, I am posting (in alphabetical order) my 12 favourite books written by her.




AND THEN THERE WERE NONE/ TEN LITTLE NIGGERS/ TEN LITTLE INDIANS




Ten people on an island, dying one by one by one...


What can I say about this classic that hasn't been said except that only Agatha Christie could have written this and only Agatha Christie could have ruined this by turning it into that awful play with a most insipid ending.




CARDS ON THE TABLE






Mr. Shaitana (love the name) was a man everybody was a little afraid of. But to be murdered at his own party, in full view of everybody else! It's good Poirot is one of the guests...


This was one of the first Agatha Christies that I read. I also learnt something about Bridge.




DEATH ON THE NILE




Linnet Ridgeway lacked nothing, so why did she have to steal her best friend Jackie's boyfriend Simon Doyle and marry him? Now, Jackie cannot forgive either of them and follows them on their honeymoon cruise. Poor Poirot, eager to relax and travelling on the same ship, finds himself involved in the menage a trois.


The story was first narrated to me by my sister, Nitu didi. Later on we watched the movie too and absolutely enjoyed I.S. Johar's performance as the manager of the ship.




EVIL UNDER THE SUN






 Arlena Stuart's body is washed ashore. The actresses' body bears marks of strangulation. It's good that Poirot, taking a well deserved break at Smuggler's island, pays attention to even off-hand remarks.


To me, one of the most ingenious murder plots ever.




HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS/ A HOLIDAY FOR MURDER/ MURDER FOR CHRISTMAS






It is Christmas time. The Lee family is having a reunion. Only somebody's desire for revenge is far greater than the goodwill and cheer. Hercule Poirot (Poor fellow!), spending the holiday season in the same village, is called for investigation and finds a dysfunctional family.


One of the most under-rated of Christie's books.


THE HOLLOW/ MURDER AFTER HOURS






Invited by Lady Angkatell to her estate, The Hollow, Hercule Poirot is disgusted by the tableau that greets him on his arrival. A handsome man is playing corpse (complete with red paint and all) while a stocky middle-aged woman stands over him waving a gun. As the other statues round these two come to life, Poirot realises, that it is murder which he is witnessing...


A personal favourite. I adore Dr. John Christow.


THE MOUSETRAP





A Guest House. A Snowstorm. Trapped people with secrets. A Police Inspector who arrives with the news of a murderer on the prowl.

The longest-running play ever. Need I say more?



THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD






 Roger Ackroyd is a man with a mission. He is determined to find the blackmailer who forced his beloved to commit suicide. Only before he can read the name of the blackguard, he too is put to death. Hercule Poirot investigates.

When Hercule Poirot announces the name of the murderer, one cannot believe one is reading the line correctly. It just cannot be...


THE MYSTERIOUS MR. QUIN




Twelve stories with just that touch of the supernatural.


Loved the story of the singer and her friend, and the music that can kill.




N OR M?






Espionage, treachery, deceit...it is all there in a boarding house during World War II.


The first Agatha Christie that I ever read was The Secret Adversary featuring Tommy and Tuppence. They are not so young in this but remain irrepressible as ever.




THE SITTAFORD MYSTERY/ MURDER AT HAZELMOOR






Captain Treveylan is declared dead during a seance session. Concerned, his friend Major Burnaby decides to go and check upon him. To his horror, he discovers that his friend is indeed dead. Other worldly visitor or a human hand?


Love the atmosphere during the seance with the thought processes and reactions of the people in that dimly lit, eerie room.


WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION






Leonord Vole is put on trial for murdering an elderly widow for her money. And nobody is more eager to put him on the death row than his own wife, Romaine, who appears as a witness for the prosecution.


The short-story is thrilling but the play is absolutely enthralling.


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It was hard to select only twelve. There were quite a few I had to leave out. What about you? Do you agree with this selection or did these leave you underwhelmed?  Do share your favourite Christies too.


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The image at the top is courtesy Sura Nualpradid @freedigitalphotos.net

23 comments:

  1. you have made some pretty interesting choices. Cards on the table was definitely brilliant.

    I haven't read The Hollow or The Sittaford Mystery, but will try and read those soon.

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  2. Thanks Rishi. Do read the two books. I can't praise them enough.

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  3. I liked all the ones you listed, Neer, especially CARDS ON THE TABLE and EVIL UNDER THE SUN. I did get a chance to see The Mousetrap in London many years ago and I must say I really enjoyed it.

    My Twelve Agatha Christie Faves off the top of my head:

    CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS
    THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD
    THE ABC MURDERS
    THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS
    THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT
    EVIL UNDER THE SUN
    CARDS ON THE TABLE
    THE CLOCKS
    DEAD MAN'S FOLLY
    MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
    MURDER IS EASY
    4:50 FROM PADDINGTON
    A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED

    Oops, that's thirteen. Oh well, best I can do. :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing your list, Yvette. I don't quite remember the plot lines of all but yes, it was tough to leave out Murder on the Orient Express from my list. Love the idea of justice being served.

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  5. I'll add my two cents worth though I'm not good at making lists. These are my all time 12 favorite Christies in no particular order of preference: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, MYSTERIOUS MR QUIN, MR. PARKER PYNE, THE PALE HORSE, EASY TO KILL, DEATH ON THE NILE, A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED, MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA (for its sheer hutzpah!), MRS. McGINTY'S DEAD (brilliant use of a subtle piece of misdirection that most people think is a cheat), EVIL UNDER THE SUN, THE HOUND OF DEATH (her collection of superntural tales, have to include that!), and ENDLESS NIGHT (a near perfect suspense thriller about a psychopath which seems so out of her element but she pulls off with her usual skill). Some of the most often metioned (MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD, AND THERE WERE NONE, A.B.C. MURDERS) are so classic that I refuse to include them since they truly stand as landmarks already. I'm more of a champion for the underappreciated books out there, as you well know.

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  6. Thanks John for sharing your favourites. I almost included Murder in Mesopotamia but then the list was becoming too Poirot-centric and I did want one Tommy/ Tuppence book. And 'N or M?' is also very good so included that.

    I remember reading Endless Night but don't remember the plot line at all. But now since Rishi and you have mentioned it amongst the faves, I should pick it up once again.

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  7. I've added this post to the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog - will be published on Feb 24 at http://acrccarnival.blogspot.com/

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  8. Thank you, Kerrie. I am honoured.

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  9. I loved Murder in Mesopotamia. One of my all time faves along with Sad Cypress and The Clocks. Interesting to note that you don't include any Marple novels.

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  10. Welcome Daniel to the blog.

    What impressed me most about Mesopotamia was the character of the accused. Poirot doesn't have an iota of proof yet the person accepts all the charges.

    I liked Sad Cypress and remember some of the details of it but The Clocks I have completely forgotten. Guess it is time to have a relook.

    Never very fond of Miss Marple though some of her books esp Murder with Mirrors and The Mirror Cracked are pretty good.

    Would love to have you visit more.

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  11. Great write up. Even my top favourites are almost the same as yours. Please do visit my blog also and leave your valuable remarks on the Agatha Christie article:

    http://arghyatext.blogspot.in/2012/06/top-5-of-agatha-christie.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Arghya. I like Agatha Christie a lot.

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  12. murder is mesopotamia is way too underrated!! it was my besy poirot book

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  13. Replies
    1. It is no doubt a very good book and one of my favourites too. I only left it out because the list was becoming too Poirot-centric.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Neer. It's interesting to read your list, especially when you added The Sittaford Mystery and The Mousetrap. Not many people added them as their favorites :)

    However, these are my favorites and I want to share with you :

    1) Murder on the Orient Express : Not just my introduction to Agatha Christie but it is also so classic and that great surprise ending....

    2) And Then There Were None : the scariest novel ever by Agatha Christie

    3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
    4) Curtain : Poirot's Last Case
    5) Five Little Pigs
    6) Peril At End House : Perfectly paced and this is one example how the detective story should be written

    7) Crooked House
    8) Death Comes As the End
    9) The Hound of Death : I wonder if these collections of short story will be filming one day

    10) A Murder is Announced
    11) Sleeping Murder
    12) Cards on the Table


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    Replies
    1. Thanks Meta for having a look and sharing your favourites. I love the idea of poetic justice in both Orient Express and And Then There Were None. Since it is quite a while since I read a Christie, I don't remember much about 6-11. Cards on the Table is a pretty underrated Christie so I'm glad you included it too.

      Sorry I couldn't reply earlier but I was off-blogging for quite a while. Would love to have you visit more.

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    2. thanks neer for visiting my blog.

      I love to visit your blog since I also love to read books. Though I have to admit, that i haven't read many of your review because in Indonesia those books have not been published or translated yet, so I had to buy abroad.

      but of course the titles of those books gave me feedback for good reading material. Thanks for sharing...

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  18. I have read only 7 Agatha Books till now and i liked them all..
    Notable ones were : Towards Zero, Endless Night, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shivam

      Welcome to the blog.

      You are one lucky fellow since you have a treasure trove waiting for you. If you read any of the titles mentioned above, do let me know how you found them.

      Thanks for visiting and hope you come again.

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