Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Top 8 Agatha Christie Books

8. Passenger to Frankfurt
This was an interesting read. It isn't a mystery, but a spy novel. I felt like it wasn't as good as Christie's other books, but at the same time was a totally different genre than the mysteries I'm used to. It features Sir Stafford Nye, a British diplomat, who gets enveloped into an interesting scheme of espionage. I felt like I was waiting the whole book for something interesting to happen, as the book moved quite slow. The book is also quite difficult to follow, as it many new characters and settings are introduced. However, the plot idea was ingenious, and I would recommend it to someone who likes spy novels!

7. Evil Under the Sun
This book was good, and had a GREAT twist ending! The book starts out on a picturesque British resort. Hercule Poirot, the famed detective, happens to be on vacation there. He states "murder is in the air," and it comes not long after. A bad point is that not too many characters are featured in this novel. Many of the characters also get cleared at some point, this leads the reader to deduce a few possibilities. However, once you think you've solved the mystery, a huge twist ending hits! The twist which closes out the book is definitely the best part. I recommend this to anyone who is patient enough to read a somewhat boring introduction, only to savor the end.

6. The ABC Murders
The ABC Murders is one of the more famous Agatha Christie novels. It features, as the title suggests, more than one murder. Poirot also has a special incentive to solve the case, as the perpetrator taunts him with letters. Many people are taken into custody prematurely, so don't get fooled into thinking anyone is the actual murderer until you know for sure! The ending is pretty unusual for an Agatha Christie novel, (don't worry it still gets solved), and will be sure to fool you! This is a very engaging book, and not too long either! I recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries (of course), but also to people who enjoy action and suspenseful novels too!

5. The Mysterious Affair at Styles
This is Agatha Christie's first book, and a good one too! It's a murder mystery novel and it starts out really well. You can see that this book took a lot of planning, and Christie makes the intro (which are sometimes boring) really important. You can make out who the victim will be even before the crime occurs. Keep your eyes peeled during the intro too, it gives a way a lot of important clues, if you want to try to deduce the murderer. As well as the intro, the end of this book is great also! It also has a great SURPRISE ending (conspiracy?). One should keep in mind that the murderer could be anyone, not just who you think! I recommend this to anyone who loves mysteries!

4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
This book was, quite honestly, a little boring till the middle. You're probably wondering why I put it 4th on my list, right? Well, this book has the BEST twist ending of all Agatha Christie novels. I know I've mentioned great surprise endings before on this list, but this one is out of comparison! You will never guess! In addition, the book has a great array of different characters, so you never get bored, or come close to guessing who did this. You may still be worried since I said this book is a little boring. It's the truth, but you only have to endure it for the first few chapters. The book picks up towards the middle, and really gets going from there. I recommend this to everyone (really.... if you don't like Agatha Christie you will!).

3. Murder in Mesopotamia
Murder in Mesopotamia is really a great book. It takes place in Baghdad, Iraq but features mostly British characters. The books is narrated to us by a nurse who works at the commune, and who quickly befriends and helps Hercule Poirot. Christie does a great job narrating as the nurse, and I feel that the voice in this book is the best in all of her books. Christie also does well choosing a wide array of characters: priests, nursers, wealthy widows, and archaeologists. The wide array of characters also hinders you from guessing who the murderer is. The reason I put this book as 3rd is because it's consistently good, from beginning to end. It doesn't have good or bad patches, which is helpful because you never consider stopping the book. I recommend this to any mystery lovers!

2. And Then There Were None

This book is also known as "Ten Little Indians." This is honestly one of the BEST books I have ever read. The book is extremely well thought out and flows perfectly. 10 suspected murderers are convened on an island and try to find a way out. They don't know who invited them, and eventually one is murdered. This sends shockwaves around everyone, and everyone is also a suspect! Hint: Don't be surprised if there ends up being more than one murder! The greatest part of this book is that there are 10 suspects. They are all evenly footed and you don't know which one's guilty. I recommend this to anyone who loves mystery, suspenseful, or action novels!

1. Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express is the best book I have ever read (tied with Harry Potter)! This book has everything: action, suspense, mystery, even a little romance! The book, like And Then There Were None, has a plethora of characters! Each character has evidence against them, and it's impossible to tell who did it. The setting, the Orient Express, perfectly fits the novel too! The ending is the best I've ever seen, and the crime is amazingly well planned! I recommend this to EVERYONE! If you don't like mysteries this book will change your opinion forever!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Literary Criticism of Agatha Christie

Hey everyone! I just finished Hickory Dickory Death, by Agatha Christie. Like most of her other books, I  enjoyed it. Hercule Poirot, her famed Belgian detective, makes another appearance and solves the crime. This novel takes place in a student boarding house in the middle of London. Poirot is called in to investigate petty thefts and a deeper search into the events uncovers an illicit smuggling ring, and murder. From my own perspective I felt that the book was good, but not great. A few strong points were that Christie uses many different characters, which takes away from one guessing the culprit. Christie also gives enough evidence, but not too much for one to decipher the mystery themselves, which is what I enjoy. Lastly, Christie adheres to the setting, she organizes the crime and characters to fit the billing of a college boarding house. Some negatives were that although the heat of the mystery begins to pick up after the first murder, it slowly gets muddled in the following course. I noted a loss of focus almost; too many other crimes were found out which lead one to stray away from the original murder. These other events can confuse people as it's easy to lose track of the actual mystery. However, Christie does manage to tie in all the seemingly extraneous events at the end. I also felt that Christie made too many references to past books, which made it difficult to understand parts of the novel. At times, due to this, I couldn't understand the allusions she was trying to make. Other opinions of this novel include "Excellent characterizations and plotting, plus Poirot's brilliant detecting make this a classic," - Amazon customer review. A more negative review by another says,"it is one of Christie’s latter novels and some careless weaknesses in the plot do, unfortunately, show"- Shvoong book reviews

I got the other opinions from: 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011 Doesn't Just Happen in Mystery Novels!

Hey guys! A few days ago I finished "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," by Agatha Christie. The mystery is about an elderly old lady who was poisoned with a deadly chemical called strychnine. Among the suspects are her young husband who sits to inherit all of her money, a jealous daughter-in-law, two angry stepsons, and numerous cunning servants. The famous detective, Hercule Poirot, makes his first appearance in this novel and works in conjunction with the Scotland Yard. Needless to say, you will be shocked by the ending. Well,  I won't spoil the ending for should all check it out ( 

Anyways, today I've decided to talk about strychnine poisoning as it relates to the real world. Strychnine poisoning is fatal and one of the most dramatic and painful of all poisons (why Christie would use it). 10 to 20 minutes after taking it one begins to have seizures. Over time these seizures increase in frequency and intensity. The subject will usually die after 2-3 hours due to suffocation, as the poison blocks the respiratory system. An attractive quality of strychnine for mystery writers is that its only known antidote is very elusive. Therefore it's not uncommon for someone to die without even knowing what has happened to them. Another ideal trait is that it's easy to disguise strychnine in food and drinks, as it's a white odorless powder (in the book the criminal puts the poison in her evening tea). There are also many different ways to ingest strychnine: eating, drinking, breathing, even through the eyes! You might be  thinking....ok but does this even happen in real life? YES, it does! The deaths of the famous Alexander the Great and Jane Stanford (founder of Stanford University), among others were direct results of this!
Websites I used here were:,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-27278--,00.html
I found that all these websites were very credible and usable. I was skeptical about the Wikipedia website but i crossed it with the Center for Disease Control website as well as the Department of Natural Resources website, and the information matched. I was pleased with all of the sources, as they were also very accessible and easy to use.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A brief biography of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is to this date known as the best mystery writer of all time. Using her world famous detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple (among others), she wrote over 75 mystery novels. Interestingly enough, Hercule Poirot remains the only fictional character to ever have been written an obituary in the New York Times. Under the alias, Mary Westmacott, Christie also dabbled in romance. Christies’ novels are so popular that they are 2nd to only the Bible in number of copies sold. Her novels have also been translated into over 100 different languages. Many of Christies books have been transformed into plays, and her book “The Mousetrap”, is the longest running theatrical performance in history! Here is a brief summary of the complicated yet interesting life of one of the most talented writers of all time.
 Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, England on September 15, 1890. She was born to Clarissa Margaret Boehmer, the daughter of a British army captain and Frederick Alvah Miller, an American stockbroker. Agatha was the youngest of her 2 siblings, Margaret and Louis. In the first world war, Agatha worked in a pharmacy, which she described as “one of the most rewarding professions”. On Christmas Eve 1914 Agatha married Archibald Christie, a pilot  in the Royal Flying Corps. In 1919 the couple had their first daughter, Rosalind Hicks. The following year Christie produced her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. This first novel introduced her most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, who appears in 33 of her 80 mystery novels. On December 8,1926 after fighting, Christie’s husband Archie revealed to her that he was in love with another woman and wanted a divorce. Later that night Christie disappeared, leaving a note which said that she was going to Yorkshire. Christie was found 11 days later; staying in a hotel under an alias. To this day it is unknown why she disappeared. In 1930 Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she remained married to for the rest of her life. In the Second World War Christie again worked in a pharmacy. Here she obtained a vast knowledge of poisons, which she used in her later books. For her works Christie obtained numerous awards. Among these include Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and president of the Detection Club. Towards the end of Christie’s life it is believed she was affected with Alzheimers or Dementia. She passed away  January 12, 1976 at the age 85 from natural causes.
I gathered all this information from the Wikipedia page on Agatha Christie ( and her website ( Both of these websites were great sources of information! I know that the Wikipedia site is credible because the authors used many credible sources such as books and prominent magazines/newspapers. Also, all the information from the Wikipedia page matched Christie's own website.

If interested in the life of Agatha Christie, I recommend you check out you read her autobiography or one of her numerous biographies. Here's the link to Amazon page if you want to buy one!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Passenger to Frankfurt-Agatha Christie

Passenger to Frankfurt is a very intriguing and well thought out book. The books starts out with the worldly travels of Sir Stafford Nye, a British diplomat. While waiting in the Geneva Airport on his way home, he meets a female look alike who persuades him to help her evade capture. Sir Stafford saves the Countess Renata Zerkowski, whose aliases include Mary Ann and Daphne Theodafanous, thus linking their lives forever. They engage in an unlikely and odd friendship through which he is drawn into her world of secrecy and espionage. He later begins to work for her secret society (yes, they exist!) where they aim to seek refuge, and answers, in a troubled time. Through their travels they also begin to catch wind of many wild conspiracies, (What happened to Hitler?), and meet interesting people from all over the globe. Shocking twists at the end will leave you rattled and begging for more. Also, make sure to read the epilogue for a big surprise! I recommend this book to anyone above the age of 13 (it's a slightly challenging read because it was written almost forty years ago in British English) and anyone who enjoys spy novels. As always, I would really enjoy your opinions, so feel free to comment! Let me know what you guys think about the book, if you even if you plan to read it, or the blog itself!

Here's a link to Amazon if you wish to buy the book!