Agatha Christie’s “World Famous Detective,” Hercule Poirot, isn’t the most attractive sleuth in the world, but he’s been around for a long time and still helps people solve crimes. When Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays, and 50 short stories, he was in them. He has been called the most famous detective by the Queen of Crime because he has been in all of them. I still love David Suchet, but Peter Ustinov, John Malkovich, and Orson Welles have all played him on the big screen. He’s even the star of a weird but cute kids show! Not bad for a small Belgian refugee. But with so many books to choose from, it can be hard for new readers to figure out where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve got 10 of the best Poirot stories to get your “little grey cells” going.
The Murder on the Links
Murder on the Links is only the second Poirot book that has been published. It’s a little more polished than the first one, and it’s a great way to start the series. It’s set in France, which makes it different from the English mysteries Poirot is known for solving and gives him more of a fight with the police. Detectives are often hired to stop crimes that have already happened. Poirot and his sidekick, Hastings, show up to find their client dead in the middle of the golf course. Murder on the Links is the first book in the series to show how detective Hercule Poirot thinks about crimes. Blackmail, mistaken identity, red herrings, and a similar past crime all make it hard to tell which way the story is going. Then, as an extra bonus, Hastings gets to have a sweet romantic story.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of the best-known Poirot novels, which is a big deal because it was only Christie’s third book. It even won the British Crime Writers’ Association’s award for the best crime book ever in 2013. Christie makes a move that isn’t typical for her. She makes a local doctor and friend of the victim the narrator of the book and Poirot’s temporary assistant (a literal Dr. Watson). Observations about gossipy village life and the “locked room” mystery can be made in this way. Roger Ackroyd is killed in this book. This book has more twists than an unwrapped pretzel. There is one obvious suspect and an unknown blackmailer on the loose in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Christie’s contemporaries were shocked by Christie’s surprise ending.
Peril at End House
No one is what they appear to be when Poirot and Hastings go on vacation in Cornwall and see a man try to kill someone. Magdala “Nick” Buckley may have just inherited End House, a crumbling cliffside mansion. The property is almost worthless, leaving no clear motive or suspects for the crime, so it’s hard to figure out who did it or why. After a lot of accidents, Poirot vows to protect Nick and catch the person who wants to kill him. But can he save her from a person who is very clever? Not a word is wasted in Peril at End House, one of Agatha Christie’s most well-planned and clever murder mysteries.
Murder on the Orient Express
There is a train that breaks down in a deserted, snowy area. In the morning, a body is found. The murderer is still on the train because no one has boarded or left it, which means he is still there. As a bonus, none of the passengers or the victim have any connection to each other or each other or to the victim. It’s a good set up. Fortunately, Poirot is there to find out the truth about the murder itself and the tragic backstory. The Orient Express and its well-to-do passengers give the book an old-world feel. Another one of Christie’s “Big Twists” solves the murder, making Murder on the Orient Express one of her best-known and long-running murder mysteries.
Cards on the Table
Cards on the Table deserves to be talked about because of its idea alone. When Poirot is invited to a dinner party, he is met by Mr. Shaitana, who is “mad about crime.” In addition, there are three other “crime professionals” and four people who are suspected of killing. Nobody is shocked when their host is stabbed while they play cards. Poirot and his friends have to work together to figure out who did it. As soon as Poirot has four obvious suspects, he has to look into their alleged crimes in order to find out who the real killer really is. Though not before the killer kills again. Cards on the Table is well-planned and full of action. One of the best things about this book is that it introduces Ariadne Oliver, one of Poirot’s most amusing sidekicks because, as a crime writer, she is a kind of self-portrait for Christie.
Death on the Nile
In Death on the Nile, you can’t go wrong if you’re new to Poirot. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular Christie novels. It’s the kind of book that Poirot would have written himself. To get a woman to stop stalking her ex-fiancé and his new wife, he starts with a simple request. Then, things get out of hand, and the woman and his new wife end up dead. All at the same time that our hero is supposed to be on a break. So, Death on the Nile is a good way to get a taste of what it’s like to be a detective with Poirot.
In fiction, a lot of people who were murdered were bad people, so it doesn’t make sense to anyone why they were killed. He has the opposite problem in Sad Cypress, and it’s very sad to read about it. In this case, Elinor Carlisle is accused of poisoning her wealthy aunt and her aunt’s aide, Mary Gerrard. Poirot is called in to help clear Elinor’s name. Mary was a gold digger, we’re told, and the contents of Mrs. Welman’s will gave them a lot of reason to kill each other. Poirot, on the other hand, will have to question everything he knows about the case as blackmail and family secrets come to light and the story gets more interesting. Sad Cypress was the first Poirot book to have a lot of courtroom drama, and its sympathetic victims and tragic undertones make it more heartfelt than other Poirot books.
Five Little Pigs
Another sad story, Five Little Pigs, can be summed up by its original US title: Murder in the Afternoon. Amyas Crale was poisoned a long time ago. This is the murder that is being talked about now. It took 16 years for their daughter to hire Poirot to prove her mother’s innocence and find the real killer. His wife, Caroline, was convicted and died in prison. They also found five other “little pigs” who could have done it. Christie breaks from her usual pattern when Poirot solves the crime through old letters and “narratives” from the five people who could be the killer. Afterward, each person gives a different version of what happened, making it hard for us and Poirot to figure out who did what. Five Little Pigs is sad and complicated, but it’s also a great detective story.
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead
A charwoman was found dead, and it looks like her lodger killed her in a robbery gone wrong. Mrs. McGinty may have been blackmailing someone, but could the real killer be someone else? I think that Mrs. McGinty was dead is one of the funniest things that Poirot has ever done. Poirot has to find the killer before an innocent man is hanged, but there’s still a murder to solve. The answer to the mystery is also wrapped up in a beautiful melodrama with mysterious femme fatales and hidden identities. So, despite all of that, there’s a lot of humor in the movie. Our hero is forced to stay in a shabby bed and breakfast while he tries to solve the murder of the cleaning lady. Better still, Ariadne Oliver makes her second appearance, complaining about her favorite Swedish detective the whole time. This is even better. This is the most meta Poirot can get.
It’s common for crime stories to have crazy plots and weird murder weapons. Death by apple bobbing is the best part of the Halloween Party when a teenager is found drowned in a pool of water. As a child, she said she saw a murder, but didn’t know it was a murder at the time. So it’s a double mystery, then. Who killed Joyce? How did she get there? Was there a murder? A case for Poirot even though there’s not much to go on. Because, for a small town in the middle of the country, there are a lot of unexplained deaths and disappearances to look into. Naturally. It gets more complicated and there are more bodies, but Christie keeps us guessing. At the end, there’s a dramatic fight.