The Secret Adversary (1922). The first of Christie's spy thriller novels. First appearances for Thomas "Tommy" Beresford, Prudence "Tuppence" Cowley, and their sidekick Albert Batt. There is a crossover of sorts with the Hercule Poirot series, as the calling card of Inspector Japp appears in as brief scene.
The Murder on the Links (1923). Second Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings. First appearance of Dulcie Duveen, nicknamed "Cinderella" or "Cinders". She is mentioned in later novels as Hastings' wife.
Poirot Investigates (1924). A collection of short stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. The British version featured 11 stories, the American version 14 stories. All had previously been published in magazines.
''The Adventure of The Western Star". First published in December, 1923.
''The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor". First published in April, 1923.
''The Adventure of the Cheap Flat". First published in May, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge". First published in May, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Million Dollar Bond Robbery". First published in May, 1923.
''The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb". First published in September, 1923.
''The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan". First published in March, 1923.
''The Kidnapped Prime Minister". First published in April, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim". First published in March, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman". First published in October, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Case of the Missing Will". First published in October, 1923.
''The Veiled Lady". First published in October, 1923. Also features Inspector Japp.
''The Lost Mine". First published in November, 1923.
''The Chocolate Box". First published in May, 1923.
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924). Christie's second spy thriller novel. The protagonist is Anne Beddingfield, an Amateur Sleuth. Other major characters are Sir Eustace Pedler, MP, and Colonel Race of the Secret Service . Anne and Eustace also serve as narrators of several chapters. The novel is notable as one of the narrators turns out to be the villainous mastermind. A first for Christie.
The Road of Dreams (1925). A collection of poems. Three of them had previously appeared in magazines: World Hymn, Dark Sheila, and A Passing. All three published back in 1919. The rest were written over several years, but had never seen publication. The book was divided in four sections:
A Masque from Italy. Ten poems covering themes from the Commedia dell'Arte. The dominant figure here is Harlequin. Making the poems precursors to Christie's short stories featuring Mr. Harley Quinn.
Dreams and Fantasies. Seven poems, with a theme of a dreamlike state of mind. Several of the "dreams" seem to actually be nightmares.
Other Poems. Eleven poems with no thematic connections.
The Secret of Chimneys (1925). A comedy-thriller novel. The protagonist is Anthony Cade, a young adventurer who is currently broke. He is hired to delivered a package from Bulawayo (a city in Zimbabwe) to London, and accidentally gets involved in international intrigue. Other important characters include amateur sleuths Virginia Revel, Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent, and Bill Eversleigh. First appearance for Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926). Third Hercule Poirot novel. First appearances for narrator Dr. James Sheppard, and his spinster sister Caroline Sheppard. Caroline is considered to be the main inspiration and prototype for Miss Marple.
The Big Four (1927). Fourth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings, Inspector Japp, and Countess Vera Rossakoff . Unusually for this series, the novel is a spy thriller. It is also an episodic novel. Several different cases, connected by the broad theme of Poirot facing the Big Four, an alliance of villains. Several chapters are actually revised versions of 12 different short stories, published in magazines during 1924. First appearances for The titular Four. Their ranks include are: 1) Li Chang Yen, a Chinese criminal mastermind. Lives as a recluse in Pekin, but organizes plans with worldwide scope and effects. A Yellow Peril, often considered an Expy of Fu Manchu. 2) Abe Ryland. An American businessman, supposedly "the richest man in the world". A Corrupt Corporate Executive-type. 3) Madame Olivier. A famous French scientist, with shady activities on the side. Permanently disfigured with a scar on her cheek. Serves as both a Femme Fatale and a Villainous Scientist. 4) Claude Darrell. A Masterof Disguise, and Assassin. The name is an alias and his true features are always hidden.
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928). Fifth Hercule Poirot novel. First appearance for Mr. Goby, a Knowledge Broker employed by Poirot. "Give him twenty-four hours and he would lay the private life of the Archbishop of Canterbury bare for you". First appearance of George ("Georges"), Poirot's unimaginitive valet. Although most of the action takes place in the French Riviera, a scene takes place in the English village of St. Mary Meade. Which would feature prominently in the Miss Marple novels.
The Seven Dials Mystery (1929). A sequel to The Secret of Chimneys. Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent investigates a series of murders. Superintendent Battle, and Bill Eversleigh also return. Two new Amateur Detectives are added to the cast: Jimmy Thesiger and Elaine Wade. ( They are actually the two murderers, trying to cover their tracks). The story contains an early use of the Detective Mole plot.
Partners in Crime (1929). A short story collection featuring Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, now married to each other. Albert Batt, their sidekick, also returns. The frame story has the Secret Service discovering that "The International Detective Agency" is actually a front for spies. The owner is arrested and Tommy is asked to impersonate him. Tuppence posing as his secretary. While they wait for spies to contact them, the two are assigned actual detective cases. Tommy finds the opportunity to imitate his favorite fictional detectives. A total of 14 short stories were revised and included in the collection. They had been published in magazines between 1923 and 1928. Christie found the opportunity to parody several popular authors of her time.
A Fairy in the Flat / A Pot of Tea. First published as Publicity in September, 1924. Parodies the Malcolm Sage series by Herbert George Jenkins.
The Affair of the Pink Pearl. First published in October, 1924. Parodies the "Dr. Thorndyke" series by Richard Austin Freeman.
The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger. First published in October, 1924. Parodies the "Oakwood Brothers" (Francis and Desmond Okewood) series by Valentine Williams.
Finessing the King / The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper. First published in October, 1924. Parodies the "Tommy McCarty and Denis Riordan" series by Isabel Ostrander.
The Crackler. First published as "The Affair of the Forged Notes" in November, 1924. Parodies the plots of the Edgar Wallace novels.
The Sunningdale Mystery. First published in October, 1924. Parodies "The Old Man in the Corner" series by Baroness Orczy. The original series featured one of the earliest Armchair Detectives.
The House of Lurking Death. First published in November, 1924. Parodies the "Inspector Hanaud" series by Alfred Edward Woodley Mason.
The Unbreakable Alibi. First published in December, 1928. Parodies the "Joseph French" series by Freeman Wills Crofts.
''The Clergyman's Daughter / The Red House". First published as "The First Wish" in December, 1923. Parodies the "Roger Sherringham" series by Anthony Berkeley Cox. Coincidentally, Henry Christopher Bailey published a "serious" story with a near-identical plot in 1928.
''The Ambassador's Boots". First published in November, 1924. Parodies the "Dr. Reginald Fortune" and "Superintendent Bell" series by Henry Christopher Bailey. Particularly the tendency of his stories to feature unexplainable, but seemingly insignificant, events at the beginning. Which turn out to be early indications of rather complex conspiracies.
''The Man Who Was No. 16". Published in December, 1924. Parodies the "Hercule Poirot" series.
The Mysterious Mr Quin (1930). A short story collection featuring Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite. Harley Quin is a supernatural version of the Harlequin from the Commedia dell'Arte, a "magical figure" with symbolic dimensions connected to both love and death. He appears to provide inspiration to Satterthwaite, a mortal, elderly Amateur Sleuth. Satterthwaite is an aging socialite, and keen observer of human nature. He spend most of his life observing people from a distance, but now finds himself reuniting pairs of lovers and investigating murder mysteries. The 12 stories included were written between 1924 and 1929. Eleven had been published in magazines, but one seems to have had no previous appearance. The stories explore the extremes of love and death, and the final one contains horror elements.
The Coming of Mr. Quin. First published in March, 1924.
The Shadow on the Glass. First published in October, 1924.
At the Bells and Motley. First published in November, 1925.
The Sign in the Sky. First published in July, 1925.
The Soul of the Croupier. First published in November, 1926.
The Man from the Sea. First published in October, 1929.
The Voice in the Dark. First published in December, 1926.
The Face of Helen. First published in April, 1927.
The Dead Harlequin. First published in June, 1929.
The Bird with the Broken Wing. No known previous publication.
The World's End. First published in November, 1926.
Harlequin's Lane. First published in May, 1927.
Giant's Bread (1930). First romance novel by Christie, who used the alias Mary Westmacott for its publication. Follows the story of Vernon Deyre from his sheltered childhood to the harsh realities of his adulthood. His father is killed in the Second Boer War, while Vernon himself goes on to fight in World War One. He spends a few years as a prisoner of war. When released, Vernon learns that everyone considers him dead and his wife has remarried. He then has to forge a new identity for himself and starts a career as an artist. But one increasingly isolated by the outside world. The novel is well-regarded due to a well developed supporting cast and their changes through the years depicted.
Murder At The Vicarage" (1930). First Miss Marple'' novel, though the character had already appeared in short stories. Also features her nephew Raymond West, a successful author. First appearances for Reverend Leonard Clement and his wife Griselda Clement, who are major characters in the novel. They have small parts in later novels. First appearances for Dr. Haydock (police surgeon), Colonel Melchett (Chief Constable), and Detective Inspector Slack (police investigator). The latter is an Inspector Lestrade-type.
Black Coffee (1930). First theatrical play by Christie. Features Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Inspector Japp. The play received a film adaptation in 1931, and another in 1932. It was published in book form in 1934, and adapted into a novel by Charles Osborne in 1998.
The Sittaford Mystery (1931). A mystery novel. The main characters are Emily Trefusis, and Charles Enderby. Trefusis is a young model whose fiancée has been framed for a murder and she intends to Clear His Name. Enderby is a professional journalist who acts as her partner, partly to get a scoop, partly because he has the hots for her. The Dartmoor, Devon, setting and some story elements have the story frequently compared to The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1902), a Sherlock Holmes novel. Though, it should be noted that Devon is the setting for several Christie stories, most notably And Then There Were None.
The Floating Admiral (1931). A collaborative novel written by 14 members of the Detection Club, Christie included. The initial setting has Admiral Penistone discovered floating down the river on a small bot, stabbed to death. Inspector Rudger investigates the murder, but soon notices that several persons involved in the case act in particularly suspicious ways. Each author agreed to contribute a new chapter, with new clues and a new direction to the story. While building on the clues of the others. Each had their own solution, though only one became "official" at the finale. In order of writing the authors were: 1) G. K. Chesterton, 2) Victor Whitechurch, 3) George Douglas Howard Cole, 4) Margaret Cole, 5) Henry Wade, 6) Agatha Christie, 7) "John Rode", actually an alias for Major Cecil John Charles Street, 8) Milward Kennedy, 9) Dorothy L. Sayers, 10) Ronald Knox, 11) Freeman Wills Crofts, 12) Edgar Jepson, 13) "Clemence Dane", actually an alias for Winifred Ashton, and 14) Anthony Berkeley Cox.
Peril at End House (1932). Sixth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings and Inspector Japp. The novel has a subplot concerning drug use and the 1930s drug culture. Several of the characters (and suspects) are cocaine users, one is clearly an addict, and one happens to de a drug dealer.
The Thirteen Problems (1932). A short story collection, featuring the original Miss Marple stories. First appearances for Miss Jane Marple, her nephew Raymond West, his love interest and future wife Joyce Lempriere (later called "Joan"), and their friend Sir Henry Clithering, former Commissioner of the Scotland Yard. The stories were previously published in magazines from 1927 to 1931. The first 6 stories have the setting of The Tuesday Night Club. The four characters above and a couple of others gather each Tuesday to discuss unsolved mysteries. Or at least mysteries whose solutions are known only to a hand-full of people. Marple then deduces the solution to each problem. Very much in the Armchair Detective tradition. The next 6 stories take place at a dinner party hosted by new characters Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife Dolly Bantry. Various guests discuss mysteries that have troubled them for some time. Marple suggests solutions. Again Armchair Detective-style. The final story is a more traditional Christie story with Clithering and Marple involved in an ongoing murder investigation.
The Tuesday Night Club. First published in December, 1927.
The Idol House of Astarte. First published in January, 1928.
Ingots of Gold. First published in February, 1928.
The Blood-Stained Pavement. First published in March, 1928.
Motive versus Opportunity. First published in April, 1928.
The Thumb Mark of St. Peter. First published in May, 1928.
The Blue Geranium. First published in December, 1929.
The Companion. First published in February, 1930.
The Four Suspects. First published in April, 1930.
A Christmas Tragedy. First published in January, 1930.
The Herb of Death. First published in March, 1930.
The Affair at the Bungalow. First published in May, 1930.
Death by Drowning. First published in November, 1931. Also features Dr. Haydock, Colonel Melchett, Colonel Arthur Bantry, and Dolly Bantry.
Lord Edgware Dies (1933). Seventh Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings and Inspector Japp. Particularly notable for featuring a case where the main suspect was reported seen in two places at once.
The Hound of Death (1933). A short story collection, featuring 12 stories vaguely connected through themes of the supernatural, the occult and supernatural horror. There are no characters in common and no frame story. Resulting in the stories often reprinted separately from each other. Some of the stories were published in magazines between 1924 and 1927. Others had no known previous appearances.
The Hound of Death. The eponymous story of the collection. Marie Angelique, a Belgian nun developed the "Power of Death" during World War One. When her convent was invaded by German soldiers, she brought down a lightning bolt and destroyed the building and everyone within it. The local peasants discovered a "powder mark in the shape of a giant hound" on a remaining wall. Years later, the nun is the only survivor and a doctor is supposedly treating her for hallucinations. He is actually attempting to find a way to duplicate her powers, to become a superman and to bring death to his enemies.
The Red Signal. First published in June, 1924. Dermot West has developed a Spider-Sense of sorts. Whenever danger approaches, he gets signals. But he is puzzled when he gets signals during a dinner party. The only people around him are Sir Alington West (his uncle), Jack Trent (his best friend), his wife Claire Trent (who Dermont secretly loves), and the vacant-eyed Mrs. Violet Eversleigh. He wonders who or what could be the source of the danger. But this is a night of surprises, and some masks are about to fall.
The Fourth Man. First published in December, 1925. Three men on a train start a conversation while a fourth one seems soundly asleep. The conversation turns to the possibility of a body housing more than one soul. They point to the story of Felicie Bault, a French girl. She was raised in an orphanage and grew up to become a servant. Mostly uneducated, stupid and rather lazy. But at the age of 22, she started developing a Split Personality problem. One personality was her typical self, but another was highly cultured and educated. A third seemed to be a Composite of the two, having access to the experiences of both. While a fourth personality was a mystery. The girl eventually killed herself. The fourth man has overheard their story and joins their conversation. He was raised in the same orphanage as Felicie and knew her personally. He tells them of another orphan girl Annette Ravel, and of the mutual hatred between the two girls. Annette was ambitious, cultured and grew up to become a famous dancer. But died young due to tuberculosis. She spend her last days with Felicie as her servant. And the second personality of Felicie happened to exactly match that of Annette. The dying woman who longed for life had attempted to take over a new body. The rest was the result of two women who hated each other co-inhabiting within said body.
The Gypsy/"The Gipsy''. Dickie Carpenter, a retired naval officer, has had recurring dreams featuring a Gypsy Fortune Teller for most of his life. Always warning him against one thing or another. Now he has met Mrs. Alistair Haworth, a woman who looks just like her. And she gives him a warning concerning his love life and even his health condition. A warning which he repeatedly attempts to ignore. But You Can't Fight Fate. Meanwhile, the lady with the "second sight" seems to have premonitions of her own death.
The Lamp. A Haunted House tale. A Mrs. Lancaster leases an old house to move in with her elderly father, and her young son Geoffrey. The rent is surprisingly low, due to a rumor that the house is haunted. The previous owner had died thirty years ago in London. But everyone forgot about his young son, who eventually died of starvation. Mrs. Lancaster doesn't believe in hauntings. But her father starts having disturbing dreams, while Geofrey politely asks permission to go play with the little boy who always seems to be watching him. Said boy happens to be a lonely ghost looking for a playmate. Geoffrey just volunteered. A developing lung disease seems to be killing Geofferey, ensuring that there will soon be two boy ghosts.
Wireless. First published in March, 1926. Mary Harter, an elderly widow, has been diagnosed with a heart disease. Her doctor suggests finding ways to relax, avoid physical work and emotional outbursts. Charles Ridgeway, her helpful nephew, suggests installing a wireless (radio) in her house. At first she actually finds radio programs relaxing. But then the radio starts regularly transmitting the ghostly voice of her long-dead husband, Patrick Harter. Who claims he will soon arrive to retrieve her. Charles has his own tale of seeing a man resembling Patrick. Mary starts reviewing her will. The story includes a Scooby-Doo Hoax and a Twist Ending involving the will of the old lady.
The Witness for the Prosecution. First published in January, 1925. Something of an odd tale out, as it has little to no occult themes. Miss Emily French, a wealthy old lady, has been violently murdered and several items are missing from her house. The main suspect is Leonard Vole, a young man who she had taken under her protection. Vole supposedly has an alibi for the time of the murder. But it can only be confirmed by his common-law wife Romaine Heilger. Who reportedly hates him and offers to act as a witness for the prosecution. But there are many facets to this lady and the case takes unexpected turns.
The Mystery of the Blue Jar. First published in July, 1924. Jack Hartington, a young golfer, seems to be hearing voices. Every couple of days or so, Jack seems to hear a feminine voice crying out "Murder! Help! Murder!" The incidents always happen around the same spot on the links. During the first few incidents, the only person nearby was young Felise Marchaud. Who claims to have neither cried for help, nor heard anyone else doing so. During a later incident Jack has been joined by his new friend Dr. Lavington. Who also claims to have heard nothing. Lavington, however, tells him of the disappearance of a married woman some time ago. A dissappearance that took place in a nearby cottage. While Felise admits to have had dreams about the missing woman and a Chinese jar. Jack soon recognizes the jar among the possessions of his uncle. Lavington convinces Jack to bring the jar to the cottage to solve the mystery. Though the tale eventually has more to do with the value of the jar than its ghostly significance.
The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael. A Wicked Stepmother tale with undertones of witchcraft. Dr. Edward Carstairs, a noted psychologist, is assigned a particularly strange case. His patient is Sir Arthur Carmichael, a young man who had inherited a vast fortune. He was about to marry when he started behaving like a cat. There is nothing human about his behavior. Meanwhile, the only real cat of the estate was killed and buried. But its spectre seems to be haunting the place and targeting Lady Carmichael, stepmother to Sir Arthur. Who would like her own son to inherite the family fortune. And has a peculiar interest in occult books, particularly those concerning transferring human souls to the bodies of animals.
The Call of Wings. Silas Hamer, a materialistic and hedonistic millionaire, encounters an itinerant street musician. And starts having a spiritual awakening of sorts. The theme being the transformative effect of music. This story was actually written prior to World War One (1914-1918) and is one of Christie's earliest writing efforts.
The Last Seance. First published in November, 1926. Madame Simone Daubreuil is young, beautiful, and arguably the most successful medium in France. But the mental, emotional, and physical strain of her occupation worries her fiancé Raoul Daubreuil. He insists that she retires. But for Simone there is One Last Job, one last Spooky Seance she must perform before retirement. She has promised a grieving mother that she will recall the spirit, the flesh, and the blood of her lost son. But this Seance has a chance of turning lethal for its participants.
SOS. First published in February, 1926. Mortimer Cleveland, a psychic researcher, is in the Wiltshire countryside when his car breaks down. It is a rainy and misty night and there is no town nearby. So he seeks shelter in the closest residence. The Dinsmeads, his hosts, seem decent enough. But his senses alert him to murder in the air. Someone is about to be poisoned.
Unfinished Portrait (1934). Second romance novel by Christie, using the alias Mary Westmacott. Contains strong auto-biographical elements. The story introduces the character Celia, an imaginitive, introverted, and dependent girl. The story covers her sheltered childhood, and emotional attachment to her strong mother Miriam. She becomes essential in Celia's life well into young adulthood. Even when Celia gets her own husband and child. Celia starts her own writing career. But then her sheltered world is shattered. First Miriam dies, then her husband leaves her for another woman, demanding a divorce. At this point Celia is physically ill, emotionally distraught, and contemplating suicide. She chooses an exotic island as the stage for her final act. But there meets Larraby, a portrait painter. They have a long discussion over her deepest fears, her loneliness. Celia comes to realize that she is still able to cope with her problems, and that her life isn't over yet.
The Listerdale Mystery (1934). A short story collection, featuring 12 stories with no character or frame story connecting them. Resulting in the stories often reprinted separately from each other. They are mostly a mix of mystery and romance. All the stories had previously been printed in magazines between 1924 and 1929.
The Listerdale Mystery. The eponymous story of the collection. First published in December, 1925. The protagonists are middle-aged widow Mrs St. Vincent, and her adult children Rupert and Barbara. They were once a rather wealthy family. But then the pater familias' poorly-thought investments bankrupted them. Said pater-familias died shortly after. Currently, the St. Vincents are members of the genteel poor, sustaining themselves on the meager salary of Rupert. While searching for a house, Mrs. Saint Vincent comes across a surprisingly good offer. A furnished villa with a nominal rent. She rents the place and finds that the residence comes along with Quentin the Butler (highly efficient), two servants, and regular meals every day. All expenses paid, courtesy of the mysterious owner. Rupert gets suspicious and tries to find who the owner actually is. The answer causes even more suspicions. Lord Listerdale, an aristocrat who has not been seen or heard in 18 months. His estate is currently administrated by a cousin. Rupert starts fearing that the Lord has never actually left the residence and that a corpse could be hidden under the floorboards. "Quentin" is eventually discovered to be Lord Listerdale himself, serving others is part of his road to redemption for a thoroughly selfish life. He is also interested in Romancing the Widow.
Philomel Cottage. First published in November, 1924. By far the most successful short-story in the collection. In 1936, it was adapted to the theatrical play Love from a Stranger by Frank Vosper. The play then received two film adaptations, one in 1937 and the other in 1947. It has also been adapted several times for television and radio. Alix Martin is a shorthand typist, long romantically attached to co-worker Dick Windyford. Neither is financially secure and they have agreed to postpone marriage until their status is improved. Then Alix inherits money from a distant cousin. Dick still won't marry her, refusing to be financially supported by his wife. They break up, then Alix has a whirlwind romance with Gerald Martin. Marrying shortly following their first meeting. Dick warns her about the dangers of marrying a stranger, since she truly knows nothing of Gerald. The new couple move to Philomel Cottage, a modern but isolated residence. Not long after, Alix notices suspicious behavior by Gerald. She starts fearing that Gerald is actually Charles Le- Maitre, a Bluebeard-likeSerial Killer. While she has a dream of Gerald's own dead body. Who is killing who in this story remains uncertain until its climax. The story includes more than one Ambiguous Situation, and has a famously ambiguous finale. Alix tells Gerald that he is her third husband, and that she poisoned the previous two. Making her a Black Widow. That there is a reason that his morning coffee was bitter, and that the poison used causes heart failure. Gerald dies terrified. It is left unclear if she told him a false story, to scare him to death. Or if she was telling the truth and actually poisoned him.
The Girl in the Train. First published in February, 1924. The protagonist is George Rowland. Nephew, employee, and probable heir of a wealthy businessman, George has a taste for late-night partying. Following one such party, George oversleeps and is late for work. His uncle both fires him and has him disinherited. George decides to move out of the family house, though he has no clear plans on a destination. He takes the train from Waterloo. He is initially alone. But then a young girl jumps on the train and asks him to help her hide. He helps her escape from a foreign man claiming to be her uncle. The girl introduces herself as Elizabeth. She disembarks at the next stop, but entrusts him with safeguarding a mysterious package. George soon learns that he might have just helped either the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Catonia escape her family, or the accomplice of a foreign spy escape the Scotland Yard. Either way, this is only the beginning of his adventure. He accidentally gets himself involved in both cases.
Sing a Song of Sixpence. First published in December, 1929. A classical murder mystery. The protagonist is Sir Edward Palliser, King's Counsel. In other words a lawyer, now elderly and mostly retired. He is almost 70-years-old. He is surprised to receive a visit from Magdalen Vaughan, a 30-year-old woman. He had once "made love to her", but that was a full decade ago. He had not seen Magdalen since that time. He had promised to help her if she ever asked for it. Now she reminds him of that promise and asks for help. Her great-aunt Lily Crabtree was violently murdered some time ago. The authorities have failed to find the culprit. The only other residents of the house were Lily's family. Her nephew William Crabtree, his wife Emily, Magdalen herself, Magdalen't twin brother Matthew Vaughan (a journalist), and the elderly house servant Martha (who has served this household for thirty years). All were dependent financially on Lily, all four relatives benefited financially from the murder. But there was no evidence against any of them, and the police could not arrest anyone. But there are all certain that nobody could enter the house without someone noticing. The mutual suspicion among the household members is tearing them apart. Palliser takes the case to honor an old promise. He now has to find which of the five performed the crime, or whether there was indeed an intruder.
The Manhood of Edward Robinson. First published in December, 1924. The protagonist is Edward Robinson, a young clerk frustrated with his life. He is an avid reader of romance novels, and wishes that he could be like their protagonists: able to sweep women of their feet. But he is much too timid and his life is dominated by his fiancée Maud, a "sensible" girl with a tendency to shoot down his efforts at romance. She also tends to disapprove of every unnecessary expense, even cinema tickets. When Edward wins money in a contest, he finally decides to have his rebellion. Using them to buy his own car. At Christmas Eve, Edward devotes the whole day to driving around Surrey with his new vehicle. A night stop at the Devil's Punch Bowl, a natural landmark of the area, comes with a surprise. A car identical to his own was parked nearby. The two drivers accidentally drive away in each other's car. Edward finds himself in possession of a diamond necklace, possibly stolen, and a note with instructions to meet someone at the village Greane. He has an entire night to live his own adventure and start taking decisions for himself.
Accident. First published in September, 1929. A tale noted for its ironic ending, bordering on Death by Irony. Inspector Evans, a retired officer of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), obsesses over an old case. That of Mrs. Margaret Anthony, who was able to get away with murder twice. As an an 18-year-old, Margaret had an argument with her stepfather over her choice in boyfriends. He used his parental authority to keep them apart. Not long after Margaret and her stepfather went for a walk... across the edge of a cliff. He suffered a Disney Villain Death, but there was no evidence that his daughter was responsible in any way. It was ruled an "Accident". A few years later, Margaret was married to a Mr. Anthony. He was supposedly addicted to arsenic, and at times his wife "got it for him". One day the husband died of an arsenic overdose. There were initially no suspicions of a murder. But then the police found out about an insurance policy benefiting the wife, and that she had a lover on the side. there was a trial, but she was acquitted. The death termed an accident. Now, Evans has met the woman again. Married to George Merrowdene, a retired chemistry professor. Her husband is sickly, there is a new insurance policy benefiting her, and there is a source of constant hazzard in their household. As Evans found out, the wife uses Chinese bowls to serve tea. The husband uses the same bowls for his chemical experiments. And in the true style of an Absent-Minded Professor, he often forgets to clean them up. Resulting in potentially dangerous residue being mixed with the tea. Evans in convinced that Margaret is prepared to kill her third victim and claim the money. The death will be the result of poisoning. And it will certainly be proclaimed an "Accident" again. Evans is determined to protect poor George. Evans is correct that Margaret had murdered her stepfather and her previous husband. But he is convinced that her motives were purely financial. He failed to notice that both men kept her away from her then-current lover. Margaret only kills those "who had threatened to cross her path and separate her from the man she loved". At this point she genuinely loves George. And the person who tries to separate her from him is Evans himself. Evans has correctly decuced the method of the third murder. But guessed wrong about the identity of the target.
Jane in Search of a Job. First published in August, 1924. The protagonist is Jane Cleveland. She is a 26-year-old woman, "intelligent and good-looking and well-educated". But currently unemployed and broke. Searching for a job, she finds one ad seeking a girl which matches her description: "a young lady of twenty-five to thirty years of age, eyes dark blue, very fair hair, black lashes and brows, straight nose, slim figure, height five feet seven inches, good mimic and able to speak French". Jane is only five feet six inches, but applies to the add. And gets the job. She has to play the decoy for her look-alike Grand Duchess Pauline of Ostrova. An exiled aristocrat who is obligated to make public appearances, but fears being the target of assassins and kidnappers. Jane got herself a dangerous job, and the plot soon thickens. The scene seems set up for a Decoy Getaway, but Pauline has a couple of secrets. While there is an actual Grand Duchess Pauline, the woman Jane works for is actually an "American Girl Bandit" impersonating her to perform crimes. She intends to have Jane framed for said crimes.
A Fruitful Sunday. First published in August, 1928. The protagonists are Dorothy Jane Pratt and her boyfriend Edward Palgrove, respectively a parlourmaid and a clerk. During a Sunday date, the two buy a basket of cherries. The man who is selling them promises them "you've got more than your money's worth in that basket of cherries." Some time later, the young couple reads the newspaper while eating the cherries. They first learn that a ruby necklace worth 50,000 pounds has gone missing. Then they find what seems to be a ruby necklace at the bottom of their basket. Time for a Moral Dilemma. Dorothy is tempted to either keep the necklace or sell it to a fence. "It's come to us and it's probably the only chance we'll ever have of getting all the things we want." Edward has his doubts as "It sounds to me more like the kind of story where the hero goes to Dartmoor unjustly accused for fourteen years."But their positions in this argument will change several times before the matter is settled. Its not the real necklace but an imitation, part of an advertising stunt.
Mr. Eastwood's Adventure. First published in August, 1924. The protagonist of the story is Anthony Eastwood, an author considered a "master of detective fiction". But his latest story ,"The Mystery of the Second Cucumber", isn't progressing well. He has the title and a couple of characters in mind. But nothing else. Writer's Block prevents him from even finding a plot. His contemplations are soon interrupted by a telephone. A young woman introduces herself as Carmen, calls him "beloved", asks for his help in a life or death situation, tells him to meet her in a strange address (320 Kirk Street), gives him the codeword "cucumber" and then hangs up. Anthony has no idea what is going on. But is intrigued enough to go meet the girl. They have a brief talk, and then two plain-clothed police detectives arrest him for the murder of Anna Rosenberg. Both men insist that his name is "Conrad Fleckman". Anthony is about to hear a strange tale, and experience a strange day. But he doesn't really mind. These are all good material for a new story, "The Mystery of the Spanish Shawl".
The Golden Ball. First published in August, 1929. Slightly revised in book form. The opening has distinct similarities to The Girl in the Train, though the story soon takes a different direction. The protagonists are George Dundas and Mary Montresor. George is the nephew, and employee of businessman Ephraim Leadbetter. He had a habit of taking the day off without even notifying his boss. As a result, uncle Ephraim fires him at the very opening of the story. And delivers a lecture on failing to grasp the golden ball of opportunity. Mary Montresor is a "beautiful and popular society girl", whose name often appears in the press. They have never met before. A depressed George is walking down the street, when Mary drives by. She simply invites George to join her. He simply accepts. She playfully asks "How would you like to marry me?" Mary soon drags him to a house-hunting expedition at the English countryside. Which in turn leads to a confrontation with an armed couple. George might not know what is going on. But his first instinct is to fight back. Which might lead to a happy ending for him. The couple are employees of Mary and she has orchestrated the dangers of their journey. Her reasons are having certain standards in picking a husband. "The most important thing to a girl is how a man will behave in an emergency - has he got presence of mind - courage - quick-wittedness? That's the kind of thing you can hardly ever know - until it's too late. An emergency mightn't arise until you'd been married for years. All you do know about a man is how he dances and if he's good at getting taxis on a wet night." George has just passed her test with flying colors, the first guy to ever to do so.
The Rajah's Emerald. First published in July, 1926. The story contains another case of Name's The Same. The protagonist is called James Bond, but has no apparent relation to the James Bond character by Ian Fleming. This James Bond is an underpaid clerk, frustrated with his life. There is no promotion or raise in sight for him. His longtime girlfriend Grace currently earns more money than him, clearly looks down on him, and ignores him in favor of new friends. Particularly the well-dressed Claud Sopworth. There are signs that Grace is about to dump James. Even their shared vacation at the Kimpton-on-Sea. a fashionable holiday resort, has turned out to be a humiliating experience for Mr. Bond. Grace and her friends rented rooms at a luxury hotel. While James has rented a room in an "obscure boarding house". But his luck is about to change. James accidentally gets possession of a famous emerald, owned by the Raja of Maraputna. The emerald has just been stolen and James stumbled on the thief's hiding spot for it. Now James has his chance of becoming of hero. If he manages to escape the persistent Detective-Inspector Merrilees of the Scotland Yard, and the real thief. "Merrilees" turns out to be an alias for Jones, the real thief. James Bond catches on to this quite early. When he asks to see the Inspector's badge, Merrilees allows him a glance at a badge. Bond realizes that this is actually the small silver badge used by members of the "Merton Park Super Cycling Club", not officers of the Scotland Yard. He plays along until finding a way to catch the thief.
Swan Song. First published in September, 1926. A Revenge story with elements deriving from a famous Opera. There is no singular protagonist. The main characters are Madame Paula Nazorkoff, Edouard Bréon, and Blanche Amery. Paula is a "famous operatic star", reputedly of Russian origin. When her agent arranged for a small number of London appearances for her, Paula insists that a performance of Tosca is included. Edouard is a "famous French baritone", currently retired. He is offered the role of Scarpia, to serve as his swan song. He accepts, and is glad to compare the voice of Paula to that of Bianca Capelli, a talented Italian singer whose career ended early. Bianca's lover was a member of the camorra, who was arrested and executed. Bianca retired to a convent shortly thereafter. Blanche is a 24-year-old English woman, daughter of a Lady. Who soon notices some peculiarities in both singers and in the story she heard. During the performance, the famous scene where Tosca stabs Scarpia to death gets a rather realistic re-enactment. Paula stabs Edouard to death. People wonder why, and whether it was an accident. But Blanche realizes the truth. Paula Nazorkoff and Bianca Capelli are the same person. Eduard was partially responsible for the death of her lover, and Paula/Bianca knew it. Paula had insisted on a performance of Tosca, specifically to get her revenge.
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1934). A thriller novel with comic elements. The protagonists are Robert "Bobby" Jones and Lady Frances "Frankie" Derwent. He is the son of a vicar, with little prospects for a future. She is a member of the aristocracy. They were childhood friends, and currently attempt to re-introduce themselves to each other. The adventure begins when Bobby discovers a dying man lying on the seaside. Asking the eponymous question. He is at first simply curious. But when someone tries to poison Bobby himself, the protagonists realize that the are facing a criminal conspiracy. Frankie has notable similarities in background and personality to Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent. Christie reviewers often point her out as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Though both characters belong to a type of female protagonists by Christie, "energetic, adventure-seeking", "feisty" and often witty young women.
Parker Pyne Investigates (1934). A short story collection, featuring 12 Parker Pyne stories. James (or Christopher) Parker Pyne, who rarely uses his first name, is a former government statistician. He spend his life observing the human condition through his reports and has formed a simple theory; all causes for human unhappiness can be classified into five categories: 1) ill health, 2) wives having troubles with husbands, 3) husbands having trouble with wives, 4) boredom, and 5) miscellaneous. Now retired, Mr. Parker Pyne has opened his own office and placed adds in newspapers: "Are you happy? If not consult Mr Parker Pyne, 17 Richmond Street.". People unhappy with their lives come to him for help. He draws his own conclusions, and then orchestrates plans to bring them some happiness. Or at least the illusion of it. The supporting cast of the series includes various employees and associates of Parker Pyne, who help bring the plans to fruition. They include: 1) Miss Felicity Lemon, hyper-efficient secretary, 2) Claude Luttrell, a professional gigolo. Hired to either romance female clients and releave their boredom, or infiltrate high-society circles to perform a certain task. 3) Madeleine de Sara, Queen of Vamps. A Distaff Counterpart of Claude, often playing the Femme Fatale and the Master of Disguise. Her real name is Maggie Sayers, and her seductive ways are mostly an act. 4) Mrs. Ariadne Oliver. A highly successful mystery author. Several of Parker Pyne's cases require him to create elaborate illusions for the clients. She is hired to script the various scenarios of the illusion. Christie would later transfer both Felicity Lemon and Ariadne Oliver to the Hercule Poirot series. The first six stories take place in the United Kingdom, the later six have him traveling the world in vacation. And doing some actual detective work. Several of the stories were originally published in magazines between 1932 and 1934.
The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife. Features Claude Luttrell and Felicity Lemon. No previous publications known.
The Case of the Discontented Soldier. First published in August, 1932. Features Felicity Lemon (unnamed, as the "plain young woman" of the office), Madeleine de Sara, and Ariadne Oliver.
The Case of the Distressed Lady. First published in August, 1932. Features Felicity Lemon, Claude Luttrell, and Madeleine de Sara.
The Case of the Discontented Husband. First published in August, 1932. Features Madeleine de Sara.
The Case of the City Clerk. First published in August, 1932. Features Madeleine de Sara. Contains a spy-thriller plot.
The Case of the Rich Woman. First published in August, 1932. There are cameos by Claude Luttrell and Madeleine de Sara, Ariadne Oliver has a "behind the scenes" role. A new character is introduced in the supporting cast: Dr. Antrobus (alias Dr. Claudius Constantine), who drugs a client to help a plan succeed. But he was not reused in subsequent stories.
Have You Got Everything You Want?, also published as On the Orient Express. First published in April, 1933. The story takes place on the Orient Express, as it travels from the Gare de Lyon to Constantinople.
The Gate of Baghdad. First published in June, 1933. The introduction takes place in Damascus. The rest of the action takes place on a pullman, traveling on the desert road between Damascus and Baghdad. Part of the plot is based on the "fagging" system of British boarding schools, in this case Eton College.
The House at Shiraz. First published in April, 1933. The story begins with Parker Pyne traveling on a monoplane first to Tehran, then to Shiraz. Most of the action takes place in the latter city.
The Pearl of Price. First published in July, 1933. The story begins with a group of tourists traveling from Amman to Petra. Discussions of the Nabataeans and their culture feature prominently. As does archaeology. The conclusion of the story alludes to The Great Depression, still ongoing, and its effects on the various characters.
Death on the Nile. First published in April, 1933. The short story should not be confused with the novel of the same name. Most of the action takes place aboard a steamboat, traveling down the Nile.
The Oracle at Delphi. First published in April, 1933. The story takes place in a hotel, near the ruins of Delphi. The story is known for its unusual Twist Ending. The person acting as Parker Pyne for most of the story is an impersonator, using the identity to gain the confidence of the victim. A secondary character is then revealed to be the real Parker Pyne, traveling incognito. A Legendary Impostor plot.
Three Act Tragedy (1935). Ninth Hercule Poirot novel. Poirot has a team up with Mr. Satterthwaite. Other important characters include two amateur sleuths working with the two veterans: retired actor Sir Charles Cartwright and his teenaged love interest Hermione "Egg" Lytton Gore. In this novel Poirot acts mostly as an Armchair Detective. The other three sleuths gather clues, examine crime scenes and interview the usual suspects. They then report their findings to Poirot for analysis. The story contains famous examples of Serial Killings, Specific Target and Detective Mole.
Death in the Clouds (1935). Tenth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Inspector Japp. The novel contains an early use of the Death in the Clouds plot, murder aboard a passenger flight.
The ABC Murders (1936). Eleventh Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings, and (briefly) Inspector Japp. Poirot apparently goes after a Serial Killer, but it turns out to be a case of Serial Killings, Specific Target. The novel being one of the most prominent examples of this trope. Poirot this time gets assisted by a group consisting of family members and associates of the victims: Megan Barnard, Franklin Clarke, Mary Drower, Donald Fraser, and Thora Grey. Clarke turns out to be the Detective Mole of the group.
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936). Twelfth Hercule Poirot novel. The action takes place in Iraq and an archaeological excavation features prominently in the plot.
Cards on the Table (1936). Thirteenth Hercule Poirot novel. In a prominent case of Canon Welding for Christie works, Poirot teams up with Colonel Race, Superintendent Battle, and Ariadne Oliver. Christie also intended the novel as a narrative experiment, subverting the Everyone Is a Suspect mentality of her previous novels. There are only four suspects in the murder case featured, considered to be "the lowest number in any Christie novel".
Murder in the Mews (1937). A short story collection, featuring 4 Hercule Poirot cases. The stories have the length of novellas. All four had also been published in magazines. Three of them were also reworkings of short stories of the 1920s. The one which was not, later received its own reworking into a full-length novel.
Murder in the Mews. The titular story of the collection. A reworking of The Market Basing Mystery. The novella was first published, in two parts, during September and October, 1936. Hercule Poirot and Inspector Japp are called in to investigate a suicide case. The deceased supposedly shot herself right on Guy Fawkes Night, the noise disguised by the sound of the fireworks. Soon evidence points to the suicide being a poorly-disguised murder. The story is a subversion of Never Suicide. The death was actually a suicide. Evidence to the contrary were planted after the fact, in an attempt of one character to frame another for murder.
The Incredible Theft. A reworking of 'The Submarine Plans''. The novella was first published, in 6 parts, during April, 1937. The plans of a new bomber plane are stolen from the house of the engineer who was safekeeping them. The theft probably took place during a house party. The suspects include the family members of the engineer, his secretary, an active Air Marshall of the Royal Air Force, a Member of Parliament, and an American socialite with the reputation of having a career in espionage. Poirot briefly consults Mr. Satterthwaite on the backgrounds of the suspects.
Dead Man's Mirror. A reworking of The Second Gong. The earlier version had been published in July, 1932. Sir Gervase Chevenix-Gor, an aging aristocrat, summons Poirot to help him with a problem concerning those closest to him, his family members and his trusted employees. By the time Poirot arrives, Chevenix-Gor is already dead. Killed with a bullet to the head. Poirot has to determine first whether it was suicide or murder. Then determine which of the suspects had the motives or opportunity for murder. While still not knowing why Chevenix-Gor had summoned him in the first place.
Triangle at Rhodes. First published in February, 1936. Poirot is vacationing in the island of Rhodes, then part of Fascist Italy. He has the opportunity to observe a Love Triangle form. Then someone tries to Murder the Hypotenuse. But which one remains a question for some time. The abrupt ending of the novella was thought unsatisfying by critics and much of the audience. Christie later reworked the novella into the full-length novel Evil Under the Sun.
Dumb Witness (1937). Fourteenth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings. Poirot receives a letter from Emily Arundell, a wealthy and elderly woman, who believes she has survived an attempt on her life. Poirot learns that the letter was delayed and Emily has been dead for a while. Now he has to learn who or what killed her. However, the most useful witness in the case is unable to speak. Since it is Bob, the pet fox terrier of the victim.
Death on the Nile (1937). Fifteenth Hercule Poirot. Also features Colonel Race. Poirot is vacationing in Egypt. When a murder takes place during a Nile river cruise, Poirot and Race volunteer their services.
Appointment with Death (1938). Sixteenth Hercule Poirot novel. While vacationing in Jerusalem, Poirot overhears two fellow travelers apparently conspiring against the tyrannical matriarch of the Boynton family. Said matriarch falls dead in Petra. Now Poirot has a long list of suspects with motives to kill the Evil Matriarch. A significant character in the novel is Dr. Sarah King, a competent female physician with feminist views. She acts as Poirot's main assistant for the case. She is considered one of the first attempts of Christie to positively depict such characters.
Hercule Poirot's Christmas (1938). Seventeenth Hercule Poirot novel. A Locked Room Mystery. Simeon Lee, an aging millionaire, organizes a family reunion. Given his own tendency to play sadistic mind games, the tensions and bad blood between several family members, and that several of them have never actually met, this is not a happy occasion. On Christmas' Eve, Simeon has his throat slit within a certain room of his residence. A locked room. There is no shortage of suspects for Poirot. One of Christie's prominent uses of the Big Screwed-Up Family trope. The events of the Spanish Civil War provide a subplot, as one of the family members is from Spain and has survived the War. She only attends the reunion to escape her war-torn country.
Murder Is Easy (1939). A mystery novel. The main characters are Luke Fitzwilliam and Bridget Conway. Superintendent Battle has a cameo at the finale. Luke is a retired police officer. He spend his career serving at Mayang Straits area of British India, and has just returned to Great Britain. In a chance encounter with an old woman, Mrs. Pinkerton, Luke learns of a string of seemingly random deaths at the village of Wychwood- under- Ashe. Pinkerton is convinced that these were murders and plans to inform the Scotland Yard. Shortly after, Pinkerton herself becomes the latest victim. Luke decides to investigate what is going on at the village. Bridget is a local woman, cousin to a friend of Luke. She agrees to help Luke with his investigation.
The Regatta Mystery (1939). A short story collection, published in the United States with no British equivalent. Collects 9 stories,8 featuring her well known sleuths (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Parker Pyne) and one supernatural story. Most of the stories were previously published in magazines. There is no element or frame story connecting the stories to each other. They went on to be included in different British collections, separate from each other.
The Regatta Mystery. The eponymous story of the collection. First published in June, 1936 as a Hercule Poirot story. Christie revised it for book publication, replacing Poirot with Parker Pyne. Both versions of the story became available in later collections, though the Poirot version remains relatively obscure. Parker Pyne attempts to Clear the Name of someone accused of diamond theft.
The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest. A Hercule Poirot story. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in January, 1932. Christie later reworked and expanded the story into The Mystery of The Spanish Chest. In both cases someone is apparently killed in cold-blood during a party and his body hidden in a chest. Nobody notices a thing until the following day. There are however key differences in characterization.
How Does Your Garden Grow?. A Hercule Poirot story. Also features Felicity Lemon, as his secretary. First published in June, 1935. Has a similar introduction to Dumb Witness. Miss Amelia Barrowby writes a letter to Poirot. Planning to assign to him an investigation concerning a potential scandal within her family. But not letting him know any details of said scandal. Five days later, Miss Lemon notes that the client has just died, poisoned. Poirot decides to investigate the death of Miss Barrowby. Unusually, Miss Lemon herself acts as assistant investigator to Poirot.
Problem at Pollensa Bay, also known as Siren Business . Features Parker Pyne and Madeleine de Sara. First published in September, 1936. While on vacation in Mallorca, Parker Pyne is approached by a potential customer. Mrs. Adela Chester wants the sleuth to "save" her only son Basil, preventing him from marrying his unsuitable fiancée Betty Gregg.
Yellow Iris. First published in July, 1937. Features Hercule Poirot. A year has passed since a woman died within a fashionable restaurant. Her widower arranges a gathering at said restaurant to honor her. Everything is going to be the same. The killer is also planning to celebrate the anniversary... with a second murder. Hercule Poirot has a chance to prevent said murder from taking place. By figuring out who performed the original killing. Christie later reworked the short story into the full novel Sparkling Cyanide.
Miss Marple Tells a Story. Features Miss Marple. Originally written by Christie for a BBC radio drama in 1934. It was broadcast on May 11, 1934, then published in short story form in May, 1935. Marple narrates a past case of her career to her nephew Raymond West and his wife Joyce Lempriere. She was asked to help defend a young man accused of murdering his wife. The couple rented adjoining rooms at the Crown Hotel. Connected through a single door. The wife was found murdered on her bed, stabbed through the heart with a stiletto. Only the husband and the hotel maid were known to have entered the rooom of the victim. The victim had reportedly received threatening notes from an unknown woman. But there were only two other female guests at the hotel at the time, and neither seems an obvious suspect. Marple solves the case in Armchair Detective-style. After given all the facts of the case, she contemplates their significance in the isolation of her own residence. And reaches the solution through a logic exercise.
The Dream. Features Hercule Poirot. First published in October, 1937. Poirot is summoned to the residence of Benedict Farley, a reclusive millionaire. They meet in a darkened room, with a lamp being the only source of light. Farley claims to be having a recurring dream of committing suicide by shooting himself. Always at the same time: 3.28 PM. Hercule asks to investigate the room where the dreams take place, but Farley refuses. Poirot turns down the case. A week later, Farley dies in the time "predicted" by the dream. Poirot is suddenly interested in the case, suspecting that his previous meeting with Farley was a set-up. The person Poirot had met in that room was not Farley. The dreams and predictions was a way for the murderers to cover their tracks, by attributing the "suicide" of Farley to his growing obsession with them. The real Farley had no idea about any of this.
In a Glass Darkly. First published in July, 1934. Supernatural story, told from the perspective of an anonymous narrator. Shortly before World War One, the narrator has a strange vision in a mirror. He sees a beautiful woman strangulated by a man. He can not see the face of the killer but does notice a distinctive scar. He then meets the woman of his vision: Sylvia Carslake. Who is currently engaged to a man with a scar. He convinces her to call off the engagement. In the process the narrator falls in love with Sylvia. During World War One two things happen to the narrator: 1)he struggles with his unrequited feelings of love for Sylvia. Before managing to win her hand in marriage,2) he gets a distinctive scar of his own in the war. Following the War, the narrator is increasingly jealous of his beautiful wife and afraid she will betray him. He seems to be evolving to a Crazy Jealous Guy. But is he changing to the Man in the Mirror?
Problem at Sea. First published in December, 1935. Features Hercule Poirot. Poirot travels by sea to Egypt. Aboard the ship, the Sleuth is able to observe his fellow passengers. Particularly a middle-aged couple:Colonel John Clapperton and his wife Lady Adeline (formerly Lady Carrington). John used to be a music-hall performer, prior to his service in World War One. He was wounded and transferred to a war hospital run by Lady Carrington. The two supposedly fell in love, and married. He owes his military rank and social position to her influence. Something which she never really lets him forget. Currently the Colonel is a Henpecked Husband, while the Lady has become quite insufferable in her interactions with just about anybody. When the ship reaches the port of Alexandria, Poirot and other passengers overhear a conversation between the Colonel and his wife. She has locked herself in her room and refuses to exit. He leaves and tours Alexandria in the company of his fellow passengers. When they return, they discover the corpse of Lady Adeline. Stabbed to death within her locked room. Her husband is beyond suspicion since the Lady died following his departure from the ship. But Poirot suspects otherwise. Clapperton had informed his fellow passengers of his music-hall career, but implied that his number involved card tricks. Poirot instead finds out that Clapperton was a Ventriloquist. He killed his wife, then talked to her from outside the closed door of the room and projected her voice coming from the inside. Creating an alibi for himself.
And Then There Were None (1939). First published as Ten Little Niggers. A mystery novel. Ten people, with seemingly nothing in common among them, gather at Nigger Island, off the coast of Devon. Someone lured them there, citing different causes for the gathering to each person. They then start dying one by one, in ways reminiscent of the nursery rhyme of the original title. Christie often used Ironic Nursery Tune to provide titles or plot points for her stories. But this is by far her most successful use of the trope. Due to claims of racist implications in the original version, the novel has been revised in later editions. Replacing all references to Niggers with more Acceptable Targets.
Sad Cypress (1940). Eighteenth Hercule Poirot novel. This one has elements of a Law Procedural. In the first part of the novel, readers are introduced to the family which serves as the focus of the case. Mrs. Laura Welman, a childless widow, and her three potential heirs: niece Elinor Carlisle, nephew Roddy Welman, and surrogate daughter Mary Gerrard. Mary is actually an illegitimate daughter of Laura. Elinor and Roddy are distant cousins, and are romantically involved with each other. Until now they were considered the most likely heirs to the family fortune, but now Mary has become the favorite. Roddy is also starting to fall for Mary. When first Laura and then Mary die suddenly, Elinor alone inherits the family estate. But examination of the two bodies reveals that the cause of death was morphine poisoning. Elinore is arrested for murder. The rest of the book covers the trial of Elinor, with Poirot hired to find evidence exonerating her. The only way to settle the matter is discovering the identity and motive of the real killer. While the novel is generally regarded as a strong entry in the series, Christie herself disagreed. Feeling that "Sad Cypress could have been good, but it was quite ruined by having Poirot in it."
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940). Nineteenth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Inspector Japp, making his last appearance in a novel. Henry Morley, Poirot's dentist, has been murdered. Shot to death within his own office. Fellow customer Amberiotis, a Greek blackmailer, is also dead. Killed by an overdose of anesthetic. Another client, Mabelle Sainsbury Seale, vanishes. But the body of a woman matching her age soon turns up, with the face disfigured beyond recognition. The life of a fourth customer, politically-influential banker Alistair Blunt, might be in danger. Poirot has to discover what connects the murders to each other. The novel is set in the political climate of the late 1930s, with subplots covering the British Union of Fascists gaining a following among the new generation, communism also spreading out, and political tensions increasing. Blunt himself is a conservative figure, and the main figure maintaining the stability of the current British political system. The murders have an ideological motivation and the killer firmly believes that the ends justify the means. Poirot has to make his own decision on the matter, struggling with a Moral Dilemma by the finale. The novel is considered particularly gloomy and humorless, arguably reflecting its setting in time.
Evil Under the Sun (1941). Twentieth Hercule Poirot novel. Arthur Hastings has a cameo, discussing the case with Poirot following its conclusion. A reworking of the novella Triangle at Rhodes. Poirot is vacationing in Devon, alongside several other turists. The most prominent among them is retired actress Arlena Stuart. Accompanied by her current husband Captain Kenneth Marshall and her teenaged stepdaughter Linda Marshall. The vain Arlena is openly flirting with her new love interest Patrick Redfern. Despite the presence of his mousy wife Christine Redfern. When Arlena is found murdered, strangulated, Poirot has to go through a long list of suspects. Many had clear motives to kill her, and even more had the opportunity to do so.
N or M? (1941). The second Tommy and Tuppence Beresford novel, also featuring their sidekick Albert Batt. The novel is an espionage thriller, and the only one of Christie's novels whose plot is explicitly inspired by World War II. Tommy and Tuppence have long retired from the Secret Service, and are now an ordinary middle-aged couple. Currently suffering from a case of the Empty Nest syndrome. Their twin children are now adults and have lives of their own. Derek Beresford, their son, is currently serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Deborah Beresford, their daughter, is employed by the "coding department" of the Secret Service. Their parents are considered too old to contribute to the war effort and feel frustrated about it. Until the Secret Service approaches the senior Beresfords again, recruiting them for One Last Job. Going undercover in the village of Leahampton, where German spies are thought to have blended in with the residents of a local hotel.
The Body in the Library (1942). Second Miss Marple novel. Also features Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife Dolly Bantry, Sir Henry Clithering, Colonel Melchett, and Detective Inspector Slack . Someone has murdered teenaged dancer Ruby Keene, and apparently dumped her body in the library room of Gossington hall, the Bantry family house. The villagers in St. Mary Mead start isolating Arthur, suspecting him of killing the girl. Jane Marple has Clear His Name. The case gets more complicated when it is discovered that Ruby is not the only teenaged girl missing. Pamela Reeves, a teenaged girl guide, is gone. She was a look-alike of Ruby.
Five Little Pigs (1942). Twenty-first Hercule Poirot novel. Famous painter Amyas Crale was murdered, poisoned, about two decades prior to the beginning of the novel. Caroline Crale, his wife, was the main suspect for the murder. She was arrested, put on trial, and convicted. She died for her supposed crime. The couple were survived by an infant daughter. Said daughter Carla (Caroline) Lemarchant is now an adult and hires Poirot to clear the name of her mother. With all physical evidence long gone, Poirot has to find out the truth through interviewing five people who were closely connected to the couple at the time of the murder: 1) Angela Warren, younger half-sister of Caroline. Raised by her sister. She grew up to become an Adventurer Archaeologist, 2) Cecilia Williams. The devoted governess to the Crale children. Currently long retired, 3) Elsa Greer. The last mistress of Amyas Crale. She went to became Lady Dittisham, a wealthy aristcrat by marriage, 4) Phillip Blake. A stockbroker and family friend of the Crales, 5) Meredith, a reclusive amateur herbalist. Brother to Phillip and another family friend. The story is told in "Rashomon"-Style, with each person's emotions towards Amyas and Caroline clearly coloring their perception of events. The novel is considered among the best works of Christie in terms of characterization.
The Moving Finger (1942). Third Miss Marple novel, though she is only introduced around the middle of the novel. The other main characters are Jerry Burton, his sister Joanna Burton, and Megan Hunter. Jerry was a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot who got seriously injured during a mission. He needs some rest to recover from his injuries. He decides to move from London to the seemingly quiet village of Lymstock in order to do so. Joanna Burton, his socialite sister, agrees to help with his recovery. Megan is a local girl, rather awkward in appearance and behavior. However, Lymstock is not particularly quiet at the moment. Residents keep receiving anonymous letters, each with its own slanderous accusations for the recipients. Followed by a death by poisoning, assumed at first to be a suicide, and then an actual murder. Something sinister is going on and our young protagonists are interested in finding out what. The eventual arrival of an expert from St. Mary Mead starts shedding light on the case.
And Then There Were None (1943). First published as Ten Little Niggers. Second theatrical play by Christie, an adaptation of the 1939 novel. First produced in 1943, published in book form during 1944. Christie introduced some key differences in characterization and a Revised Ending. In simple terms, the novel had a famous Downer Ending, the play had a Happy Ending.
Towards Zero (1944). Fifth and last novel featuring Superintendent Battle, but the only one where he is clearly the protagonist. The story introduces his wife Mary and teenaged daughter Sylvia. And mentions he has at least four other children. Battle's And nephew and partner for the case, Inspector James Leach, is also introduced.The novel explores the premise of "the murder is the end" of the story, and that "the story begins long before that -years before, sometimes with all the causes and events that bring certain people to a certain place at a certain time on a certain day. All converging towards a given spot... And then, the time comes... Zero hour." So the murder happens relatively late in the novel. Readers instead get to see events in the lives of the victim, the suspects , the investigator, and other characters entangled in the case. Leading up to the murder of Lady Camilla Tressilian. At the heard of the mystery is a somewhat unusual Love Triangle. Nevile Strange, the main heir to the victim, and his two wives: Audrey Strange and Kay Strange. Somehow all three are vacationing together and their emotions on the subject are explored in depth.
Absent in the Spring (1944). Third romance novel by Christie, using the alias Mary Westmacott. Joan Scudamore, the protagonist, is the middle-aged wife of a solicitor. Seemingly content with her self and proud of her virtues. But a visit to her daughter in Syria leads to an identity crisis. Joan is stranded in an abandoned train station, somewhere in the desert. Waiting for the arrival of a train, any train to get her out of there. With no one to talk to, nothing to read, and nowhere to walk to or go sightseeing, Joan is forced to find some other way to kill time. She now contemplates aspects of her past and her interactions with the various people in her life. And for the first time sees them in harsher light, arguably more objective. The darker aspects of her life and her personal responsibility for them become evident.
Death Comes as the End (1944). A mystery novel set in Ancient Egypt. Renisenb, a young widow, returns to the estate of her father. Bringing along Teti, her own young daughter. She has to reacquaint herself with her brothers, sister-in-laws, and elder relatives. Having the illusion that nothing much has changed, though there are clearly tensions among the family members. Something does change when Imhotep, the widowed pater familias, introduces his new concubine to the family: Nofret, a 19-year-old beauty from Memphis. She does not get along with the other family members and tensions turn to regular fights. When Nofret is found murdered, it is only the first of many deaths in this closed family setting. There are two basic questions: "who is responsible?", and "who is next?". This book is considered the first full-length novel in the Historical Whodunnit sub-genre, a combination of Historical Fiction and Mystery Fiction. The main criticism of this novel has been that it has a rather high body count, second only to And Then There Were None, and that the suspects keep getting eliminated. By the time the mystery concludes, there aren't many viable suspects available.
Appointment with Death (1945). Third theatrical play by Christie, adaptation of the 1938 novel. First produced in 1945, published in book form during 1956. Christie reworked the plot extensively. Hercule Poirot, the main investigator of the original novel, is absent in the play. There is an entirely different solution to the murder mystery the "victim" committed suicide, but arranged events to have her family members suspecting each other for murder. While a serious suspect of the novel and the actual murderer, serves only as a comic character.
Sparkling Cyanide (1945). Fourth and last novel featuring Colonel Race, but the only one where he is clearly the protagonist. The story is a reworking of the short story 'Yellow Iris'', but features a different solution to the mystery. Rosemary Barton dies poisoned during a dinner at the restaurant "Luxembourg". Her death is declared a suicide. A year later her husband George Barton attempts to recreate the circumstances of the death, trying to determine if it was murder. He also dies poisoned. Iris Marle, younger sister of Rosemary, financially benefits from the deaths. But might be the next target. Race gets himself involved at this point. The books contains a straight use of the Murder by Mistake trope, which Christie typically subverted. The killers were after both sisters. George was killed by mistake. The true target was Iris. .
Murder on the Nile (1946), also known as Hidden Horizon (1944). Fourth theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1937 novel Death on the Nile. The theatrical play was actually first produced in 1944, but was considered a failure. Christie slightly revised it for the 1946 production. It was published in book form during 1948. The adaptation introduces a number of Composite Characters, based on those featured on the novel. Most notably, Hercule Poirot, Colonel Race, and Andrew Pennington merge into the character of Canon Ambrose Pennefather. Other characters were renamed, or entirely written out.
The Hollow (1946). Twenty-second Hercule Poirot novel. Dr. John Christow, a charismatic physician, is shot to death. Gerda Christow, his devoted wife, is found standing over the corpse, holding the smoking gun that killed him. But it considered unlikely that this female version of the Henpecked Husband would be capable murdering the man she worshipped. And there seem to be evidence pointing towards a different direction. But in this case several people are determined to protect the murderer, assuming he/she is among them. Among them Henrietta Savernake, a talented sculptor, widely known as the latest mistress of the doctor. Veronica Cray, an old flame of the victim, is also among the suspects. The story arguably features a Love Dodecahedron, with multiple romantic connections among the characters. It is noted as one of Christie's better efforts at creating psychologically complex characters. Also well-known for featuring a Meta Twist conclusion to the mystery. Christie herself however was not satisfied, feeling that she should not have used Poirot for this novel. "The Hollow was a book I always though I had ruined by the introduction of Poirot"... "He was all wrong there. He did his stuff all right, but how much better, I kept thinking, would the book have been without him."
Come, Tell Me How You Live (1946). Christie's first non-fiction work, published under the married name Agatha Christie Mallowan. A travel literature work, covering her experiences on a surveying expedition in Syria during the 1930s (1934-1938), focusing on the "everyday doings and happenings" and humorous situations. Biographers of Christie and her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, have noted that some of the details were off. Christie having mixed-up the chronological order of certain events. But she was writing from memory during World War II. Partly out of nostalgia, as she was stuck in London for its duration. In any case the book was an unexpected commercial hit.
The Labours of Hercules (1947). Short story collection, featuring 12 Hercule Poirot stories. In the frame story Poirot has a conversation with his friend, Dr. Burton. Burton points out that Poirot is named after a major figure from Classical Mythology, but doesn't resemble his namesake in the slightest. Also pointing out that Poirot is seriously lacking in literary education, having never bothered to read Classic Literature. Finally, Burton pokes fun at Poirot's constant efforts at retirement. Pointing out that Poirot is always tempted to take One Last Job, and then ""That’s the way of it. Just a case or two, just one case more – the Prima Donna’s farewell performance won’t be in it with yours, Poirot." In response Poirot decides to take just 12 more cases before retirement, each an allusion to the labours of his namesake. The stories were originally published in magazines between 1939 and 1947. This is often considered among the strongest of the Christie short story collections, largely due to the unifying theme and inspiration from legendary material. On the other hand, the uneven quality of the stories has been pointed out.
'"The Nemean Lion", also known as "'The Case of the Kidnaped Pekinese". First published in November, 1939. Also features Felicity Lemon and George the valet. Shan-Tung, "a veritable lion" of a Pekingese dog, apparently fell victim to dognapping. The ransom money, two hundred pounds, has already been payed and the dog returned home. At this point, Poirot is hired to locate the dognappers He soon finds out about several similar cases of dognapped Pekingese, who were held for ransom. Each belonged to a wealthy lady, each was under the care of the ladies' companions. The dogs simply vanish from under their very noses during their regular walk. There are witnesses confirming that the companions themselves could not have transported the dogs anywhere else. Poirot solves the case once finding out that one of the companions owns a Pekingese dog, Augustus. The companions are in league with each other to scam their employers. During a walk, they replace the dogs of their employers with Augustus. Taking the dogs to their apartments, and Augustus to the homes of their employers, They then wait for the next walk to unleash Augustus, who has been trained to walk alone to the apartment of his actual owner. The companions then have an alibi, ensuring that nobody suspects them. The mastermind of the plan,Miss Amy Carnaby, is also great at using Obfuscating Stupidity tactics.
"The Lernaean Hydra", also known as "The Invisible Enemy". First published in September, 1939. Also features George the valet. Poirot is hired to face an enemy which never dies, Malicious Slander. Dr. Charles Oldfield, a once-respected village doctor, is suspected of killing his invalid wife. Suspected that is by anyone except the police officials. He certainly had motives for murder. He was the main heir to his wealthy wife, his wife was unbearable to live with, and Charles was obviously in love with Jean Moncrieffe. Jean being his young assistant. But the woman seems to have died of a gastric ulcer. It doesn't matter Charles has been Convicted by Public Opinion. He even receives poison pen letters. Poirot has to find out whether there is a single person orchestrating events against Oldfield. The rumors seem to also involve two other women, Nurse Harrison and Beatrice King. The former being the nurse who took care of the victim, the latter the former house servant of the Oldfields. Who was suddenly fired after the funeral, as if she knew something that she should not. Poirot arranges an exhumation and Mrs. Oldfield is discovered to have died of arsenic poisoning. Now Oldfield and three other women of his house are all suspects of poisoning. Poirot finds out that Harrison was in love with her employer, and had decided to murder the wife. Opening the way for a new marriage. When Charles rejected her in favor of Jean, she started conspiring against the both of them. The tale includes a well-known use of the Woman Scorned trope.
"The Arcadian Deer", also known as "Vanishing Lady". First published in January, 1940. Ted Williamson, a young mechanic with the body of an Arcadian shepherd, approaches Poirot to help him with a romantic problem. Ted had fallen in love during the previous year with a foreign maid, Nita, who was employed by famous dancer Katrina Samoushenka. The girl seemingly vanished without a trace. The next time Ted met the maid of Katrina, she was a totally different person. Ted wants to find out where Nita is, or at least what happened to her. Whether she needs help. Poirot is intrigued enough to travel Europe, following the trail of Katrina and two of her former maids: Miss Valetta (Italian, first name either Bianca or Nita) and Marie Hellin (French). But he also has to deal with a conflicting clue,that nobody seems to remember any maid traveling with Katrina at the period Ted met her. Who was this elusive woman? Poirot locates Marie, who doesn't remotely resemble Nita's description. She also happens to be a blackmailer. He locate Bianca's grave in Pisa, since she died of appendicitis. He locates Katrina herself in Switzerland, struggling with tuberculosis. But no Nita. Until he realizes that Katrina herself matches the description, and that she used an alias to have a fling with Ted. Nita is short for "Incognita".
"The Erymanthian Boar", also known as "Murder Mountain". First published in February, 1940. A direct sequel to the previous story, Poirot decides to prolong his stay in Switzerland. Intending to have a sight-seeing vacation. But the Swiss police contacts him to help with the search for Marrascaud, a "wild boar" of a Parisian gangster. Currently believed to be hiding in the Swiss Alps, following his latest murder. Marrascaud is believed to be hiding among the staff and guests of a certain hotel. The plot thickens when a fired waiter seems to have vanished into thin air, someone carves up the face of another waiter, and an unidentified corpse is discovered. The latter with a note indicating that Marrascaud was killed by his own gang. What is going on? The missing waiter "Robert" was an undercover cop. And he ended up as the unidentified corpse. "Gustave", the waiter whose face was carved, was the actual Marrascaud. Who had hired a plastic surgeon to have his face repaired. His plan relied on Faking his Own Death.
"The Augean Stables". First published in March, 1940. Hercule Poirot has been tasked with a seemingly impossible task, preserving the reputation of two Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom in the face of public revelations concerning their scandals. John Hammett, Lord Cornworthy was a veteran politician and a popular Prime Minister. Until his recent resignation for health reasons. He was succeeded by his son-in-law Edward Ferrier. Now "The X-Ray News", a seedy tabloid has uncovered evidence that Hammett was a particularly Sleazy Politician who used his position to earn a fortune. He was actually blackmailed into resigning by Ferrier, to keep the scandals from going public. Ferrier is more honest, but his part in a conspiracy of silence could end his career. Poirot has to find a way to either prevent the story from being published, or distract the attention of the public to something completely different. Soon the press has information about the involvement of Dagmar Ferrier. daughter of one Prime Minister and wife of the other, in a sex scandal. "The X-Ray News" starts turning its attention to the new story and is sued for libel. The case is turned on its head when it is revealed that the "Dagmar" photographed by the press was impersonator Thelma Anderson. "The X-Ray News" are accused of setting up the whole thing and all their accusations against the political family are dismissed. Poirot and Dagmar set the whole thing up, and hired Thelma to discredit the tabloid. Which is now in danger of closing. Whatever new accusations against the political family emerge, the public is unlikely to believe them. Poirot partly functions as The Barnum in this story.
"The Stymphalean Birds", also known as "The Vulture Women" . First published in September, 1939. Harold Waring, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, spends his vacation in Herzoslovakia. There he meets the charming Mrs Elsie Clayton and her mother Mrs. Rice. He is romantically interested in Elsie, and is horrified to learn that she is married to a Crazy Jealous Guy. He tries to comfort her, though he has the impression that two Polish twins are spying on them. Not long after he briefly meets the jealous Philip Clayton, supposedly notified by the Polish women. He witnesses Elsie striking Philip on the head. Learning half-an-hour later that Philip is dead. With Elsie and himself suspected of murder. Mrs. Rice convinces him that their only escape would be to bribe the hotel staff, the local police, and the Polish sisters. Since Harold doesn't speak the local language, all negotiations are handled by the two women. A vacationing Poirot approaches him at this point to offer help. Pointing out that Elsie and her mother are professional con-women, who have fooled Harold. There never was a Philip Clayton, just Mrs. Rice in disguise. Nobody has died, the Polish women were innocent bystanders, and all the "bribe money" went directly to the con-women's pockets. The police had never been notified of any case. Elsie and her mother where simply using Harold's own prejudice against foreigners and their authorities. One of Christie's best uses of Con Man tropes and Shattering the Illusion.
"The Cretan Bull", also known as "Midnight Madness" . First published in September, 1939. Poirot is hired by one Diana Maberly, to assist her former fiancé Hugh Chandler. Hugh is a young officer of the Royal Navy, son of an admiral. He has recently been convinced that he has been loosing his sanity, unfit to serve as either an officer or a husband. His own father currently suspects Hugh of being the madman terrorizing local farmers, cutting the throats of their sheep. Poirot's own first impression of Hugh is that he is "a fine young bull of a man". Hugh however has recently been struggling with hallucinations and hydrophobia. While experiencing great thirst. Poirot is getting particularly suspicious after hearing the symptoms of the madness. And some information of the recent family history. For example that Caroline Chandler, mother of Hugh, had drowned in a boating accident. Hugh is the product of an affair between Caroline and another man. The Admiral had been struggling with madness for most of his life, and had killed both his wife and the sheep. He had recently decided to kill Hugh, realizing he was not his real son. Hugh's hallucinations and thirst were symptom's of his real problem, his father was using Datura to drive him insane.
"The Horses of Diomedes", also known as "The Case of the Drug Peddler". First published in June, 1940. Dr. Michael Stoddart contacts Poirot to ask for assistance in a case involving drugs. Some of his patients organize wild parties, involving cocaine use. He is not too worried about the adults. But he is worried about teenaged Sheila Grant and her three sisters. All daughters of a retired general, the four girls are running wild, heading down a dangerous path. Poirot has to find a way to tame the four wild mares before someone comes to a bad end. He has to study General Grant, not Ulysses S. Grant, and the inner workings of this family first. He discovers that there is no actual Grant family. The "General" is actually a drug dealer who pretends to be a retired military officer, to get an air of respectability. The girls are not his daughters, nor are they related to each others. They are his employees, hired to get access to society parties and find prospective clients. The girls are apparently graduates of a reformatory and have few other options.
"The Girdle of Hyppolita", also known as "The Disappearance of Winnie King". First published in September, 1939. Also features Inspector Japp. Poirot is approached to work on two different cases. The first concerns the theft of a painting from a London gallery. The work was attributed to famous painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Someone hired a group of unemployed men to stage a protestation within the gallery. Someone took advantage of the confusion to steal the painting. In the second case, teenaged schoolgirl Winnie King disappeared in France. A number of 19 girls crossed the English Channel, traveling towards a prestigious One-Gender School in Paris. Only 18 reached their destination, Winnie apparently vanished from within a moving train. Her hat was found in Amiens. Shortly after Winnie herself is located, drugged and remembering nothing. She doesn't even remember crossing the Channel, nor interacting with anybody aboard that train. Poirot heads for the prestigious school, suspecting that the two cases were related. The real Winnie King was ambushed and drugged on British soil, transported to France at a later date. She was replaced by a female Master of Disguise, who used the identity to smuggle the stolen painting to France. While on the train to Paris, this female chameleon switched identities again. The painting was safely transported to the school within the real Winnie's trunk. From where the the accomplices of the chameleon planned to retrieve it.
"The Flock of Geryon", also known as "Weird Monster". First published in May, 1940. Also features Inspector Japp. Poirot investigates the activities of a certain Cult in Devon, "The Flock of the Shepherd". Dr Andersen, the eponymous Great Shepherd (the Cult leader) is charismatic and has a tendency to attract affluent women to his Cult. They all feel a sense of elated euphoria. But there have been three suspicious deaths among his followers, each from a different infectious disease. Each left a will benefiting the Cult. Japp hasn't found much about the leader, just that Andersen used to be a professional chemist. But this already suggests to Poirot a solution to the mystery. The feeling of euphoria, that even undercover agents felt, was the result of Andersen secretly providing hashish to the Flock. He got rid of certain members by deliberately infecting them with bacteria. Ensuring that the deaths would be attributed to "natural causes".
"The Apples of Hesperides", also known as "Poison Cup". First published in May, 1940. Poirot is hired by art collector Emery Power to discover the whereabouts of a golden goblet. The goblet was reportedly by famed goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) for Pope Alexander VI/Rodrigo Borgia (1431-1503, term 1492-1503). (This is often pointed out as an obvious anachronism, proving that Christie failed to check on the life dates of the two individuals.). Alexander reportedly used the goblet to poison his enemies. Emery managed to locate and purchase the goblet back in 1929. But it was immediately stolen for him. Two of the three thieves were arrested, but the goblet was not found among their loot. The third thief Patrick Casey died in an accident. His share of the loot was never recovered. Power has spend a decade looking for the goblet. Now he hires Poirot to maintain the search. A months-long search leads Poirot to Casey's native land, Ireland. Casey was survived by family members. Kate Casey, daughter of the burglar, became a nun. She had inherited the goblet and donated it to her monastery. The nuns had been using it as a common chalice ever since.
"The Capture of Cerberus", also known as "Meet Me in Hell". First published in March, 1947. Also features Felicity Lemon, Countess Vera Rossakoff, and Inspector Japp. The original version of the story had been completed in 1940, but rejected by the publuishers. Leaving the series unfinished. Christie reworked it, almost a decade later. Vera has opened her own London nightclub, Hell. But police suspect it is is used as a front for cocaine smuggling. Poirot has to investigate Vera herself and her circle of acquaintances. Including psychologist Dr. Alice Cunningham, Vera's prospective daughter-in-law. Who views Vera herself and several customers as subjects of research. Alice is actually the leader of the drug smugglers, and used her mother-in-law's activities as a jewel thief to divert attention from herself. According to the premise of the series, Poirot was supposed to retire after this case. This never happens.
Taken at the Flood (1948). Twenty-third Hercule Poirot novel. First appearance from Superintendent Spence. The novel is specifically set in post-World War II Britain, and subplots cover the fates of veterans and other survivors. Lynn Marchmont has trouble adjusting to civilian life. She spend the War as a member of the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS, Wrens), serving in "Egypt, North Africa, ... Sicily. She had been under fire more than once". She got used to danger, and excitement. Currently, Lynn has been discharged and is supposed to settle in a quite life at the countryside. Alongside her dull, farmer fiancé (and cousin) Rowley Cloade, who never even served in the War. He had spend it at his farm. But when murders start occurring around and within the extended Cloade family, it seems likely that many of her dull family members have darker sides to their personalities. The difficult financial situation of the country following the prolonged War, has left many people struggling financially. And most of the Cloades are no exception. Everyone seeks to get his hands in the family fortune, currently owned by youthful widow Rosaleen Cloade. The novel notably uses the All Girls Want Bad Boys trope to a a greater extent than most works, since Lynn gets turned on by the murderous impulses of Rowley, following his attempt to strangulate her, and decides to marry him after all. It is also to be noted that Poirot completely neglects Rowley's many crimes, which include manslaughter, attempting to frame someone else for said crime, and attempted murder.
The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (1948). A short story collection, featuring 11 stories with no unifying theme. Most of them had been included in earlier short story collections, by another publisher.
The Witness for the Prosecution. The titular story of the collection. First published in January, 1925, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death (1933).
The Red Signal. First published in June, 1924, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death (1933).
The Fourth Man. First published in December, 1925, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death (1933).
S.O.S.. First published in February, 1926, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death (1933).
Where there's a Will, rename of Wireless'. First published in December, 1926, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death'' (1933).
The Mystery of the Blue Jar. First published in July, 1924, had previously appeared in the collection The Hound of Death (1933).
Philomel Cottage. First published in November, 1924, had previously appeared in the collection The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
Accident. First published in September, 1929, had previously appeared in the collection The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
The Second Gong. Features Hercule Poirot. First published in July, 1932. The only story never previously collected in book form. However, the revised and expanded version Dead Man's Mirror had appeared in the collection Murder in the Mews (1937).
The Mystery of the Spanish Shawl, rename of Mr. Eastwood's Adventure. First published in August, 1924, had previously appeared in the collection The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
Sing a Song of Sixpence. First published in December, 1929, had previously appeared in the collection The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948). Fourth romance novel by Christie, using the alias Mary Westmacott. The novel takes place in the village of St. Loo. Hugh Norreys, the narrator, was left crippled following a traffic accident. Unable to have much of a life of his own, Hugh fixates on the lives of the people around him. Including his own relatives, the local nobility, the middle classes, and even the poor folk. He tries to determine what motives drive these people towards the actions they take, though Hugh is often clueless as to their inner natures. The greatest puzzle for him is a growing attraction between two people with seemingly nothing in common. Isabella Charteris and John Gabriel. Isabella is a well-bred lady of the local high society, who has lived a thoroughly sheltered life. John is a Self-Made Man, war hero, and currently an opportunistic politician with rather cynical views. She is refined but has trouble expressing her emotions, he is coarse and thoroughly outspoken. Any relationship could ruin her social standing and his political career. They hardly even get along. But this attraction ends up shaping their lives. A rather cynical view of the changing political and social climate in Britain,provides several subplots.
Crooked House (1949). A mystery novel with no previously established characters. Charles Hayward, the narrator, was about to marry into the Leonides family, a wealthy clan of Greek emigrants. When Aristide Leonides, the 85-year-old pater families dies. Poisened with his own eye medicine. All members of the extended family were living under his roof, all had motives, and none has an established alibi. Now there are many suspects for the authorities to investigate. Josephine Leonides, the 12-year-old granddaughter of the deceased, contacts her own investigation as a Kid Detective. Proving she is remarkably intelligent and inquisitive. The novel is one of Christie's most notable uses of In the Blood trope, as the narrative argues that "authoritarian ruthlessness", "ruthless egoism" and an "essential crooked strain" are hereditary traits in this family. Which Josephine inherited. She is actually the murderer and has psychopathic tendencies. Christie listed the novel as one of her personal favorites, and so do several critics and readers. However, there are complains over an implication that Beauty Equals Goodness. Good looks run in the family but Josephine did not inherit them. She is constantly described as ugly, odd-looking, and even a "changeling". The conclusion points out that "the stigma of being the unattractive" contributed to her madness.
Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950). A short story collection, featuring 9 tales with no unifying theme. Resulting in the stories often reprinted separately from each other. All stories were first published in magazines between 1923 and 1948.
Three Blind Mice. The eponymous story of the collection. Started life as a half-hour radio play in 1947. Christie adapted it into a short story in 1948. A blinding snowstorm traps a small group of people within an isolated guest house. When they learn that a psychotic murderer is on the loose and they start fearing that he/she may be among them. Paranoia quickly sets in. Christie later reworked and expanded this short story to the play The Mousetrap(1952).
Strange Jest, also known as The Case of the Buried Treasure. A Miss Marple story. First published in the United States during November, 1941, in the United Kingdom in July, 1944. Edward Rossiter and Charmain Stroud expected to inherit the fortune of an elderly uncle. When said uncle died, they inherited no cash. They believe he has buried his treasure. They invite Marple to use her deductive skills in this peculiar treasure hunt.
Tape-Measure Murder, also known as The Case of the Retired Jeweller. A Miss Marple story. First published in the United States during November, 1941, in the United Kingdom during February 1942. Also features Inspector Slack and Colonel Melchett. The murdered body of Mrs. Spenlow, an eccentric figure of St. Mary Mead, is found within her house. Once a common servant, Spenlow had become a successful local businesswoman. Her dull-witted husband, a retired jeweller, becomes the main suspect. But Marple is ready to defend his innocence on the matter. The only real clue seems to be the manner of dress of the victim. She was only wearing a Kimono, while expecting a visit from her dressmaker. The Spoiler Title reveals the way the murder was performed and actually points to the dressmaker being the killer. Though the motives for the murder turn out to be complex. The two women had a shared past.
The Case of the Perfect Maid, also known as The Maid Who Disappeared. A Miss Marple story. First published in April, 1942. Also features Inspector Slack, Colonel Melchett, and Doctor Haydock. Lavinia and Emily Skinner, two spinster sisters of St. Mary Mead, fire their housemaid Gladys, suspecting her of theft. Marple is quite surprised. Gladys had been drifting from job to job for years. But always on her own decision. She had never been suspected of any wrong-doing before, and her main fault is being opinionated and outspoken. Not dishonest and secretive. Mary Higgins, Gladys' replacement, seems to be the perfect servant and asks for less wages than Gladys. More ladies of the village are convinced to hire Mary. Despite Marple thinking Mary seemed "too good to be true". Then Mary vanishes, along with the jewelry of the ladies. The agency who had suggested "Mary" finds out that the real Mary Higgins is living in Cornwall, and the one they had recruited was an impostor. The village figures that the thief is long gone. But Marple has other ideas. The Skinner sisters are professional jewel thieves who had recently settled in the village. They introduced the perfect maid to stage the perfect robbery. "Mary" was actually Emily Skinner, the supposedly invalid sister who had little interaction with other people.
The Case of the Caretaker. A Miss Marple story. First published in January, 1941. Also features Doctor Haydock. Christie's take on the Sick Episode. Miss Marple is bedridden and depressed, sick with influenza. Haydock decides to cheer her up by offering her a mystery to solve. He writes down all the details of a mystery from his own youth. Then presents the manuscript to Marple for reading. She has to figure out the real motives of the characters in the story, and whether a fatal horse-riding "accident" was actually murder. The short story has several elements in common with the later novel Endless Night (1967).
The Third Floor Flat, also known as In the Third Floor Flat'. A Hercule Poirot'' story. First published in 1929. The story begins with four young people spending a night out: Donovan Bailey, Jimmy Faulkener, Patricia Garnett, and Mildred Hope. They escort Patricia back to her apartment, at the fourth floor of Friar Mansions. She is unable to find her key and nobody has a spare. So the men offer to enter the apartment through the coal lift. They get lost on the way up, actually entering the third-floor apartment. Where there seems to be some problem with the light switch in the kitchen. They exit and reach the correct apartment and open the door to the women. But Donovan notices that there is blood on his hand. Returning to the apartment downstairs, they discover the corpse of the murdered occupant Mrs. Ernestine Grant. They have to figure out what to do. At this point, the occupant of the fifth-floor apartment offers his help. His name is Hercule Poirot. He soon notices that the light switch works just fine.
The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly, also known as The Kidnapping of Johnny Waverly. A Hercule Poirot story. First published in 1923. Also features Arthur Hastings. Poirot is hired to investigate the disappearance and apparent kidnapping of a 3-year-old boy, Johnnie/ Johnny Waverly. His parents had been receiving threatening letters for quite a while, warning that the boy would be kidnapped. The last letter even included a specific date and hour for the deed. When the mother suffered a mild case of poisoning, the Waverlys decided that their house staff was involved. Firing all but two of them, Tredwell the butler and Miss Collins the secretary. On the date the note had specified, Inspector McNeil of Scotland Yard and several of his underlings were guarding the boy. When they caught a tramp sneaking in, everyone rushed to his location. The boy was left unsupervised and someone else kidnapped it. Poirot soon suspects that this was an inside hob and the kidnapper was familiar to the boy. Marcus Waverly, the "devoted" father kidnapped his own son. His wealthy wife refused to finance his plans. So he had the whole affair orchestrated to blackmail his wife for money. In exchange for the safety of her only son.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, also known as Poirot and the Regular Customer. A Hercule Poirot story. First published in 1926, then slightly revised and republished in 1941. Poirot dines with his friend Henry Bonnington at a restaurant, discussing the nature of habits. Henry points out a regular customer of the restaurant whose habits are steady as a clockwork. For a decade, "this man eats the same meal there on Tuesdays and Thursdays and always orders much the same items as part of his three-course meal." The waitress agrees, though notes a peculiar exception. He recently turned up on a Monday and ordered something completely different. Not long after, Bonnington and Poirot discover the name of the customer was Henry Gascoigne and learn of his sudden death. Anthony Gascoigne, twin brother of the deceased, died on the same day. Their nephew George Lorrimer stands to inherit their combined fortunes. Poirot starts suspecting that the Monday customer was not Henry Gascoigne at all, and that the timeline of the deaths was different than the one originally determined by the police.
The Love Detectives, also known as At the Crossroads. A Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite story. First published in October-December, 1926, but excluded from the relevant collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930). Satterthwaite is a house guest at the estate of Colonel Melrose. They are both notified on the violent death of the neighbor, Sir James Dwighton. The main suspects are his beautiful widow Laura Dwighton and her rumored lover Paul Delangua. But there might be more than meets the eye in this case. The tale features a minor crossover as Colonel Melrose was the Chief Constable at "The Secret of Chimneys (1925). The solution of the mystery has similarities to that of the novel ''The Murder at the Vicarage" (1930).
A Murder Is Announced (1950). Fourth Miss Marple novel. The novel takes place at the village of Chipping Cleghorn. The local newspaper prints an announcement: "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 5th, at Little Paddocks at 7 pm. Friends please accept this, the only intimation." This comes as a surprise to Letitia Blacklock, the owner of Little Paddocks. The villagers view it as an invitation to a game and several of them decide to attend. Within the gathering, an actual murder takes place. But there is no clear suspect or motive. Marple, vacationing at a nearby spa, decides to investigate. The novel n listed among the best in the Christie canon.
The Hollow (1951). Fifth theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1946 novel of the same name. It was published in book form during 1952-1953. The most notable difference from the novel is that it excludes Hercule Poirot from the cast of characters. The main character is Henrietta Angkatell, the main investigators are Inspector Colquohoun and Sergeant Penny. The play was one of Christie's greatest theatrical hits, with at least 376 performances within its first year.
They Came to Baghdad (1951). Christie's return to the spy thriller genre, with a novel featuring no recurring characters. Victoria Jones, the protagonist, has just lost her job. With no family and few friends in Great Britain, she has few reasons to stay. On an impulse she decides to go to Baghdad, where her latest love interest is currently residing. Victoria actually hardly knew the young man, and is unaware that he was involved in international intrigue. There is an international diplomatic conference going at Baghdad, with representatives of the Great Powers (United States, Soviet Union, British Empire) attending. A third faction intends to seriously disrupt relations between them. Shortly following her arrival, Victoria meets the dying British agent Henry "Fakir" Carmichael and listens to his last words. Without yet realizing it, Victoria has just joined the spy game. The novel is noted for its lively, determined protagonist and a few vividly characterized secondary characters. But the plot is at times quite far-fetched.
The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951). Short story collection. Featuring 9 Hercule Poirot stories. All stories were first published in magazines between 1923 and 1926.
The Under Dog. The eponymous story of the collection. A novella, first published in April, 1926. Poirot is hired to investigate the murder of Sir Reuben Astwell. While the police has already arrested his nephew Charles Leverson, the widowed Lady Astwell is suspecting secretary Owen Trefusis. The case is complicated by the victim having poor relations with his surviving relatives and being outright abusive to his employees. More that one person had reasons to dispose of him.
The Plymooth Express, also known as The Girl in Electric Blue. Also features Arthur Hastings and Inspector Japp. First published in April, 1923. The corpse of Flossie Halliday, daughter and heiress to a prominent businessman, is discovered aboard the Plymooth Express. She was traveling with a fortune in jewels which went missing. Her father hires Poirot to investigate the murder case. The suspects include Rupert Carrington (estranged husband of Flossie) and Count de la Rochefour (former lover of Flossie). The latter was suspected to be still involved with her. Christie later reworked and expanded the story into the full novel The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928).
The Affair at the Victory Ball, also known as The Six China Figures. Also features Arthur Hastings and Inspector Japp. First published in March, 1923. A Masquerade Ball with a Commedia dell'Arte theme ends in a tragedy. Two of the six people attending the ball die within the night. First, The host Viscount Cronshaw (dressed as Harlequin) is discovered stabbed to death. Then his lover, actress "Coco" Courtenay (dressed as Columbine) dies of a drug overdose. While people suspect this was a Murder-Suicide, there is a strange detail in the case. Only ten minutes had passed between the last interaction of Cronshaw with his guests and the discovery of his body. But the corpse was already in rigor mortis when discovered. The detail indicates that the time of death was off. Cronshaw was murdered hours before his ball. Someone else was impersonating him and interacting with the guests. While Courtenay was addicted to cocaine, the final lethal dose was not self-administered. Making her a second murder victim.
The Market Basing Mystery. Also features Arthur Hastings and Inspector Japp. First published in October, 1923. Poirot, Japp, and Hasting spend a Busman's Holiday at the small town of Market Basing. The local authorities ask for their help in investigating the death of Walter Protheroe, a reclusive resident of the area. The man appears to have committed suicide. But several clues point toward murder. The story was later reworked to the novella Murder in the Mews (1936). The fictional town of Market Basing also turns up in various other Christie stories, such as The Secret of Chimneys (1925) and Dumb Witness (1937).
The Lemesurier Inheritance. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in December, 1923. The story involves a Hereditary Curse. Since the Middle Ages, all first-born sons in the Lemesurier family died before managing to inherit. The line always continues through the younger sons. Shortly after World War One, Hastings renews his acquaintance with his army buddy Captain Vincent Lemesurier. Vincent is concerned about the curse, pointing that his father recently died in an accident. Another instance of the family curse. Not long after Vincent himself dies in an accident. A few years later, Poirot and Hastings are approached by a Mrs. Lemesurier. She is the wife of Hugo Lemesurier, current owner of the family estate. All other male members of the family died in a series of accidents over the last few years. With the exception of her own two sons and a nephew. But her eldest son has survived a number of murder attempts within the last few months, all disguised as accidents. Poirot and Hastings have a chance to save the life of the boy and break the curse. While the story of the curse is genuine, all the "accidents" of the last decade or so were murders. Performed by Hugo in order to become the family heir, despite being a younger son. He had been trying to kill his own firstborn son, because at some point murder became an obsession for him. Always after another victim.
The Cornish Mystery. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in November, 1923. Mrs Pengelley, a middle-aged woman from Cornwall, approaches Poirot to seek help. She fears that her dentist husband is poisoning her. She experiences symptoms of poisoning only when said husband is home. Never during his weekend vacations. Shortly after the woman dies of arsenic poisoning. The police arrests her husband. But Poirot also has to investigate Freda Stanton, a young niece to the couple, and her betrothed Jacob Radnor. The dead woman was reportedly infatuated with Radnor and had tense arguments with Freda over the matter. The story ends with Poirot Bluffing the Murderer. Radnor had romanced both women in order to get their trust. He had been both poisoning Mrs. Pengelley and planting seeds of doubt against her husband. Paving the way for his arrest for murder and eventual execution. Freda would then inherit their money. With Gold Digger Radnor as a husband.
The King of Clubs. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in March, 1923. The story starts with Poirot and Hastings reading a newspaper report about a crime in Streatham. The Oglander family was playing bridge when a woman staggered in through their open door. With blood over her dress and crying Murder. She was Valerie Saintclair, a famous dancer, and had staggered in from the villa next door. Where theatrical agent Henry Reedburn was found violently murdered. Shortly after, Poirot is hired by an aristocrat currently engaged to Valerie. He wants to find out if his betrothed was involved in the murder. And would also like a background check on her. Poirot solves the case based on his observation of the Oglander family portraits and a closer look at their card deck. This is one of few Poirot cases where the killer is Let Off by the Detective and the client is misled. The family portraits bare a close resemblance to Valerie Saintclair. Despite claiming to be an Impoverished Patrician, Valerie is actually an estranged member of the Oglander family. Meaning that the family had a reason to cover up for her. The card deck had a card missing, the king of clubs. Making it obvious that there was no bridge game that night. It has hastily set up to provide an alibi. The "victim",Reedburn, was a blackmailer threatening to destroy Valerie's career and marriage prospects. Her protective brother acted against him and came to blows with him. Poirot sympathizes.
The Submarine Plans. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in November, 1923. The plans to an experimental submarine were stolen from the house of the Minister of Defense. The family members, staff and guests of the Minister come under investigation. Christie later reworked and expanded the story into the novella The Incredible Theft (1937).
The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. Also features Arthur Hastings. First published in November, 1923. The story starts with Hastings pointing out various news items to a bored Poirot. The most notable being the disappearance of a bank clerk along with fifty thousand pounds of securities. Shortly after, Poirot is hired to locate a missing cook, Eliza Dunn. Miss Dunn was a live-in employee of the Todd household. She left her job two days before without notifying her employers, leaving behind a number of personal items. Someone came by to collect her old trunk but did not notify the Todds of her current location. Poirot at first believes this to be a trivial case. He changes his tune when he finds out that Miss Dunn was offered ownership of a house in Carlisle and a substantial sum of money to leave her employment at exactly that date. And that the missing trunk was never delivered to her. That same day the missing clerk disappeared. Poirot gets an idea of the trunk's current whereabouts and use. The missing bank clerk was murdered by one of his colleagues. Said colleague, Simpson, was a lodger in the Todd household and needed a way to hide the corpse. An old, inconspicuous trunk was ideal for the job. He then arranged the disappearance of the trunk and his own eventual departure to the United States.
Mrs McGinty's Dead (1952), also known as Blood Will Tell. Twenty-fourth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Ariadne Oliver and Superintended Spence. Superintended Spence is contemplating retirement. But is bothered by the results of an older case and asks Poirot to re-investigate it. Mrs McGinty, an elderly house cleaner, was killed in her own residence. Located at the village of Broadhinny. Her lodger James Bentley was arrested for the crime and awaits execution. But Spence doubts that this depressed young man was capable of such violence. Poirot finds out that the old lady had collected newspaper articles and photos of people involved in famous murder cases of past years. And that she was a bit of a snoop. Suggesting that she might have uncovered the skeletons in the closets of several of her employers. With little physical evidence to go on, Poirot resorts to Bluffing the Murderer. He acts as if already knowing the secrets of the various suspects and waits for their reactions. Which unsurprisingly Include attempts to murder him. The novel contains several witticisms and comical details, along with social commentary on the changes England has underwent since the war. Pointedly, most residents of Broadhinny are "recent arrivals" with no family ties in the area and unknown backgrounds.
The Mousetrap (1952). Sixth theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1948 short story Three Blind Mice. It was published in book form during 1954. Giles and Mollie Ralston have recently opened their guest house. The couple and four guests are Snowed-In. A fifth, unexpected guest arrives during the snowstorm. Followed by a policeman on skis. Everyone has read a recent article on a murder case. And everyone suspects the escaped murderer is among them. The most successful play in Christie's career, debuted in October, 1962 and performances are still ongoing.
They Do It With Mirrors (1952), also known as Murder with Mirrors. Fifth Miss Marple novel. Jane Marple visits the affluent Ruth Van Rydock, a friend from her teenage years. Ruth is concerned about the well-being of her sister Carrie Louise, a Wide-Eyed Idealist with a tendency to support lost causes. Carrie Louise and her latest husband have converted their house into a reformatory for juvenile delinquents. Ruth recently visited her sister and got the impression that something was seriously wrong about the place. So, Miss Marple pays a visit to Carrie Louise and keeps a close eye on the youths. But also Carrie Louise's extended family of adoptive grandchildren. A murder soon takes place, though the victim isn't Carrie Louise. The novel is dominated by Nature Versus Nurture debates. The theory supported by Marple is that personality traits, including criminal tendencies, are hereditary. You can raise children well, you can educate them. But you can't change their nature, nor actually rehabilitate a delinquent. The idea extends to the nature of adoptive families, with several characters believing that the adopted children exhibit the traits of their biological parents.
A Daughter's a Daughter (1952). Fifth romance novel by Christie, using the alias Mary Westmacott. The story takes place over several years. The theme is a love-hate relationship between a mother and daughter. Ann Prentice starts the story as a widow in her forties, still attractive and financially secure. She has raised her daughter Sarah to adulthood and is now ready to rebuild her life. At the side of prospective husband Richard Cauldfield. But Sarah takes an instant dislike to the man. Forcing Ann to choose between her daughter and a new marriage. She chooses the former, sacrificing what might be her last chance at happiness. But frustration and resentment creep into her relationship with Sarah. A few years later, both women are experiencing frustrating lives and there are still tensions in their relationship. When Sarah seems to be heading for a clearly doomed marriage, Ann finds herself reluctant to help.
After the Funeral (1953), also known as Funerals are Fatal. Twenty-fifth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Mr. Goby. The novel has the End of an Age as its theme, several scenes dealing with the post-war conditions in Great Britain. The plot focuses on the fate of Enderby, a Victorian mansion. Built by the Abernethies, a clan of up-and-coming businessmen of the late 19th Century. In recent years occupied only by the elderly Richard Abernethie and three servants. Richard had survived his only son and had no faith in surviving family members to continue the family traditions. Only his niece Susan Banks had traces of their family's traditional business acumen, but the Victorian gentleman could not trust a woman with the finances of the family. The death of Richard results in the family putting Enderby for sale, unable to afford the high taxation and maintenance cost. The servants are sent packing, including an elderly butler who had served the family for most of his life. Everyone seems convinced that Richard died of natural causes. Until his sister Cora comments that it was covered-up murder. Cora herself is then murdered with a hatchet. Poirot is hired to investigate both murders and the people benefiting from them.
Witness for the Prosecution (1953). Seventh, theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1925 short story of the same name. It was published in book form during 1954. Became another major hit for Christie, receiving its own film adaptation in 1958.
A Pocket Full of Rye (1953). Sixth Miss Marple novel. Rex Fortescue, an unscrupulous businessman, dies of taxine poisoning. His pockets are found filled with rye. Adele Fortescue, his much younger wife, dies of arsenic poisoning. Gladys Martin, their half-wit maid, is found strangled to death with a clothes line. All three deaths taking place within days of each other and making headlines. Gladys was one of various servant girls trained by Miss Marple and the aging sleuth takes a personal interest in the case. Particularly when she realizes that the killer is arranging deaths according to an old nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence. The story has a London setting, rather unusual for Marple stories.
Spider's Web (1954). Eighth theatrical play by Christie. It was published in book form during 1957. A comedy thriller. Protagonist Clarissa Hailsham-Brown, her husband Henry, and teenaged stepdaughter Pippa rent Copplestone Court, their current residence, at a dirt cheap price. Which is curious in itself. The existence of many secret doors and passageways in the house, the presence of house guests constantly searching around when nobody is looking, and the re-appearance of Pippa's drug addicted biological mother and her drug-dealing lover promise for interesting developments. The play is noted for mixing a mystery plot and genuine crimes with funny lines and comical misunderstandings. It received a 2000 novelization by Charles Osborne.
Destination Unknown (1954), also known as So Many Steps to Death. A spy thriller novel, featuring no recurring characters. The novel has a Cold War theme and a Ripped from the Headlines initial plot. Noted scientists from all over the Western Bloc keep disappearing. The secret services suspect that they are defecting towards the Soviet Union. But have no proof of their actual fates. They intend to follow the wife of one of the missing scientists. Whose recent travels suggest that she was also planning her escape. When the woman dies in an accident, the authorities keep her death secret. They approach Hilary Craven, a suicidal young woman with a passing resemblance to the diseased, and convince her to impersonate Mrs. Betterton. In hopes that she will be contacted by foreign agents. The novel was inspired by the then-recent disappearance of Bruno Pontecorvo, a famous physicist. The novel is noted for its strong opening chapters, its Death Seeker protagonist, and decent use of subterfuge. But the anticlimactic ending scenes and Last Minute Hookup for the protagonist tend to disappoint.
Hickory Dickory Dock (1955), also known as Hickory Dickory Death. Twenty-sixth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Miss Felicity Lemon. The plot starts with instances of theft in a student hostel, mostly catering to foreigners. Unusually the missing items have little to no actual value. But that are far more serious crimes occurring in the vicinity of the hostel and more facets to several of the characters. Christie took the effort to develop a relatively large and racially diverse cast of young students, and the novel includes a number of anti-racist themes. The references to the Red Scare and to the prejudice of Americans against "Negresses" were likely inspired by contemporary news items. The novel is considered a departure from the Fair Play Whodunnit tradition, since Poirot seems to rely more on intuition than deduction in this novel. There are notably few clues for the reader.
A Daughter's a Daughter (1956). Ninth theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1952 novel of the same name. It debuted on the Bath stage in July 1956, to little acclaim. It remained relatively obscure until a successful theatrical revival in 2009. The script of the play is not commercially available.
Towards Zero (1956). Tenth theatrical play by Christie, adapting the 1944 novel of the same name. Script co-written with Gerard Verner. Features Superintendent Battle. Debuted on stage in September, 1956, running for 205 performances. Published in book form during 1957.
Dead Man's Folly (1956). Twenty-seventh Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Ariadne Oliver. Ariadne has been hired to organize a staged murder scene for a country festival. But she notes with suspicion that several people offered her specific instructions in the form of "advise" and that the end result seems more as blueprint for real murder. She asks the assistance of Poirot. When stage victim Marlene Tucker is found actually murdered and hostess Hattie disappears, Poirot has two mysteries to solve. Much attention is called on the fact that Nasse House, the country house at the centre of the mysteries, is one of the last in the country still serving as a family residence. But that a folly (decorative building) in its vicinity is a very recent addition. Which turns out to be the key to the mystery. In the context of The Fifties, many large country homes were either demolished or converted to museums, schools, youth hostels, etc. This novel is often considered very weak in terms of characterization, but its Twist Ending is considered ingenuous.
The Burden (1956). Sixth and last romance novel by Christie, using the alias Mary Westmacott. Follows the relationship of sisters Laura and Shirley Franklin from childhood to their thirties. The original part focuses on Laura, the elder sister. She regards the birth of her younger sister as a personal disaster, since her entire family lavishes attention to the new baby and seems to ignore her. She wishes an early death for her sister. But when a fire threatens their lives, Laura has a change of heart and rescues Shirley. She makes a personal vow to protect Shirley with all her strength and love. The second part focuses on the effects of this decision. As young adults, Laura devotes herself to protecting her high-spirited younger sister and ensure her happiness. But at the cost of paying less attention to her own life. On the other hand, Shirley longs for personal freedom and romance. Her sister's love is smothering her and Laura has a tendency to make decisions for her without consulting her. Laura's "burden of love" has unintended negative consequences. The novel's original premise and sympathetic protagonists are considered its main strengths. But reviewers point to its moralistic elements and poor resolution as its main faults. It was one of the view Christie novels to receive mostly negative reviews at the time of its original publication.
4.50 from Paddington (1957), also known as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!. Seventh Miss Marple novel. The co-protagonist is Lucy Eyelesbarrow, a new character. Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy, an elderly woman from Scotland, ends her stay in London after concluding her Christmas shopping. She next decides to visit her old friend Jane Marple and takes a train towards St. Mary Mead. She naps for part of her trip and wakes by the sound of another train, traveling parallel to her own. Through the windows of the trains, Elspeth witnesses a murder taking place aboard the second train. A man strangulating a woman. She later fails to convince the authorities about the reality of what she witnessed. They dismiss it as a nightmare or fantasy. But Miss Marple knowns that her friend has no imagination to speak of. Convinced that a crime did took place and that the corpse was thrown overboard, Marple estimates that the murder took place next to the grounds of Rutherford Hall. Too infirm to investigate the Hall by herself, Marple hires freelance housekeeper Lucy Eyelesbarrow to act as her proxy. The novel is noted for the strong characterization of the young co-protagonist and its memorable supporting cast. But it is considered a Clueless Mystery with no way for the reader to determine how Marple reaches her solution.
Verdict (1958). Eleventh theatrical play by Christie, her first attempt at psychological drama. Published in book form later the same year. A murder takes place on stage and there are no mystery elements. The plot focuses on the household of Professor Karl Hendryk and on his relationship with three women. Hendryk is a political refugee who fled his homecountry years ago and found employement in a British university. Dragging along his invalid wife Anya, who resents this forceful severance of all contact with her friends and relatives. The only exception is her cousin Lisa Koletzky, her primary caretaker. There is a long-standing attraction between Karl and Lisa, though they are too honorable to act on it. Into this mix is added Helen Rollander, a female college student infatuated with Karl. She arranges for private tutoring sessions, mostly in hopes of seducing him. When she decides that Anya is all that stands in her way, a Murder the Hypotenuse solution follows. But once the murder is performed, there are grave consequences for all three survivors. The play flopped in its initial run of performances, mostly because the audience expected another murder mystery.
The Unexpected Guest (1958). Twelfth theatrical play by Christie, published in book form later the same year. Takes place in Southern Wales. The play opens at night time. Michael Starkwedder, an engineer who just returned from the Persian Gulf, drives his car through a thick fog and into a ditch. He walks to the nearest house and attempts to wake the occupants. When nobody responds, Michael enters the house through an open window. Only to find himself witness to a murder scene. The victim is Richard Warwick, once a Great White Hunter. He was crippled in his last expedition and spend his last years tormenting his family and employees. Next to his body stands his beautiful wife Laura, the murder weapon in her hands. Michael offers to help establish an alibi for her. He is at first sure of her guilt. But it turns out that many people had the motive and opportunity to kill Warwick. And there are several contradictory confessions to the murder. Each person attempting to protect the other suspects by admitting guilt. Received a 1999 novelization by Charles Osborne.
Ordeal by Innocence (1958). A mystery thriller with no continuing characters, the protagonist is Dr. Arthur Calgary. Further explores a theme briefly mentioned in previous Christie themes. The effect of suspicion on the innocent. At the centre of the mystery is the Argyle family. Wealthy matriarch Rachel Argyle had adopted five orphan children and raised them to adulthood. Of the five, Jacko Argyle turned out to be a problem child, exhibiting criminal tendencies at an early age. When Rachel was brutally murdered, Jacko became the main suspect. His only alibi for the time of the murder involved him hitch-hiking and being given a lift by a stranger. Since that stranger never came forth to testify, Jacko was convicted of the murder. He died of pneumonia while in prison. Two years following the murder, noted geophysicist Dr. Arthur Calgary returns from an expedition to Antarctica. And confirms giving Jacko a lift at the time of the murder. With Jacko innocent, the case opens again. And all surviving members of the Argyle household, family and stuff, become suspects. The atmosphere of mutual suspicion soon takes its toll on all of them. As each one starts viewing their loved ones as potential murderers. Meanwhile, Calgary gets acquainted with the family murders and starts investigating the murder on his own. The novel is considered one of the highlights of Christie's career due to its focus on the family dynamics of the Argyle family, the psychology of the Argyle siblings, and social observation.
Cat Among the Pigeons (1959). Twenty-eighth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features new characters Colonel Ephrem Pikeaway and Mr. Robinson, heads of the Special Branch (Secret Service). Both would play small parts in a number of later novels.The introduction takes place in the Fictional Country of Ramat, somewhere in The Middle East. There is an ongoing revolution and Prince Ali Yusuf decides to smuggle part of the royal jewels out of the country. His personal pilot Bob Rawlinson manages to hide the jewels in the luggage of his departing sister and niece. Shortly after, both men are killed. The action shifts to Meadowbank School, a all-girl boarding school which happens to include among its students both Jennifer Sutcliffe (niece of Rawlinson) and Princess Shaista (cousin and betrothed of Prince Ali). The jewels have ended here and thieves and killers seem to have infiltrated the place. Meanwhile, long-serving headmistress Honoria Bulstrode has reached retirement age and tries to decide on a successor. With several staff members jockeying for the position. The novel benefits from a strong cast of female teachers and students. The character dynamics and their various secrets tend to overshadow the espionage aspects of the story.
Go Back for Murder (1960). Thirteenth theatrical play by Christie. Debuted on stage in March 1960, published in book form later the same year. Adaptation of the 1942 novel Five Little Pigs. The play omits the role of Poirot. Instead Poirot's client, Carla Crale and her lawyer Justin Fogg are the co-protagonists and main investigators. The play also includes a Love Triangle between Justin, Carla, and her "priggish" fiancé Jeff Rogers. The play was poorly received at the time of its original performance and has had few revivals since. However, some Christie scholars consider it intriguing and underrated.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (1960). Title often shortened to The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. A short story collection, featuring 6 stories with no unifying theme. Five of them feature Hercule Poirot, one of them features Jane Marple. All of the stories had been published in magazine form between 1923 and 1960. Most of them had already available in book form through previous collections.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, also known as The Theft of the Royal Ruby. The eponymous story of the collection, a Hercule Poirot story. Originally published in December 1923, expanded and slightly revised for its book publication. Shortly before his Arranged Marriage, a Far Eastern prince takes a vacation in London. Spending his last days of freedom in the company of a mistress. When said mistress disappears along with one of the royal jewels, Poirot is hired to locate the stolen jewel. Its trail leads to Kings Lacey, a 14th century English manor and family seat of the Lacey extended family. Poirot gets to spend the holidays in a family setting, while closely examining the other guests . Bridget, a 15-year-old cousin to the Lacey family acts a co-protagonist. The story ends with Poirot and Bridget sharing a chaste kiss Under The Mistletoe. This short story is a relatively light-hearted work, filled with Christie's own nostalgia for the "good old-fashioned Christmas" of her childhood.
The Mystery of the Spanish Chest. A Hercule Poirot story, also features Felicity Lemon. First published in September-October, 1960. It is a reworking of The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest (1932). The shorter version had been published in the 1939 collection The Regatta Mystery (see above). In both cases someone is apparently killed in cold-blood during a party and his body hidden in a chest. Nobody notices a thing until the following day. There are however key differences in characterization. The reworking includes literal allusions to Othello and Poirot's familiarity with the play leads him to the solution of the mystery.
The Under Dog. Featuring Hercule Poirot. A novella, first published in April, 1926. It had previously served as the eponymous story of the 1951 collection The Under Dog and Other Stories (see above).
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, also known as Poirot and the Regular Customer. Featuring Hercule Poirot. First published in 1926, then slightly revised and republished in 1941. Previously published in the 1950 collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (see above).
The Dream. Featuring Hercule Poirot. First published in October, 1937. Had previously appeared in the 1939 The Regatta Mystery (see above).
Greenshaw's Folly. Featuring Jane Marple. Also features Raymond West, his wife Joan (Joyce Lempriere in earlier stories), and their niece Louisa "Lou" Oxley. First serialized in 1956, published in full form in August, 1960. Raymond West and one of his friends visit Greenshaw's Folly, a strange Victorian mansion with unique architectural features. Katherine Dorothy Greenshaw, the elderly owner of the mansion, asks the two relative strangers to witness her last will and testament. Greenshaw disinherits her living relative Nathaniel Fletcher in favor of her loyal companion. Shortly after, Greenshaw hires Louisa Oxley to edit the diaries of her long-dead father for publication. Two days later, Greenshaw is found dead. Suspicions fall first on the disinherited nephew and then on a frustrated gardener. But Marple has a different suspect in mind. The "loyal" companion Mrs. Cresswell and Nathaniel Fletcher are actually mother and son. Cresswell had been impersonating Greenshaw for some time. Louisa Oxley had never actually met the real Greenshaw, who had been kept sedated for days prior to her murder. The resolution of this story is considered particularly weak. Marple's conclusions go beyond the murder, into the thinking processes of victim and killers, and even to obscure details of their family background. There is a notable lack of evidence confirming these conclusions.
Double Sin and Other Stories (1961). A short story collection, featuring 8 stories with no unifying theme. Four feature Hercule Poirot, two feature Miss Marple, and two are horror stories with no recurring characters. All had been published in magazines between 1923 and 1960. A number of them were already available in book form through previous collections.
Double Sin. The eponymous story of the collection. Features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. First published in September, 1928. Set early in Poirot's career as a private investigator. Having established a solid reputation in Great Britain, Poirot has dealt with a long string of cases and exhausted himself. Hastings convinces him to take a week-long vacation to Devon. Traveling by bus, the two make the acquaintance of fellow passenger Mary Durrant. She happens to be the niece and assistant of Elizabeth Penn, a successful antique store owner. And makes no secret of transporting two valuable miniatures in her luggage, having arranged to meet a potential client in Devon. During the trip, Mary both expresses her fears that the miniatures could be stolen. And paints another fellow traveler as a suspect. The miniatures eventually disappear. And re-appear in the possession of the potential client, who claims that another representative of Elizabeth Penn sold them to him. Poirot figures out that there was more than meets the eye in this theft case. Mary and Elizabeth were scamming their client. Pretending that the miniatures were stolen and that the money was received by an unknown thief. The client would have to either return the miniatures to them or pay their price a second time to legally obtain them. Mary made no secret of her movements because she wanted witnesses to confirm her story.
Wasp's Nest. Features Hercule Poirot. First published in November, 1928. Poirot makes a surprise visit to his old friend John Harrison. Claiming that he is there to prevent a murder in the vicinity. Their conversation focuses on two events. First that Harrison has tasked acquaintance Claude Langton with disposing of a wasp's nest from his garden, by use of cyanide poisoning for pest control. Second, that Harrison has become engaged to Molly Deane, former fiancée to Langton. These two facts turn out to be relevant to the case Poirot is working on. For much of the story, it is implied that Langton was planning to use the cyanide to poison Harrison. The finale reveals that Poirot was instead trying to prevent Harrison from committing suicide. Already dying from a terminal disease, Harrison planned to stage his suicide as a murder. And leave his rival Langton as the main suspect, sending an innocent man to the gallows and ensuring that none of them would marry Molly.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, also known as The Theft of the Royal Ruby. Features Hercule Poirot and Bridget. Originally published in December 1923, expanded and slightly revised for its book publication. Had previously appeared as the eponymous story of the 1960 collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (see above).
The Dressmaker's Doll. A supernatural horror story, featuring a Creepy Doll. First published in October, 1958. The story mostly takes place within the London shop of elderly dressmaker Alicia Coombe. The main characters are Alicia herself and chief designer Sybil Fox, though several other employees and customers appear. The story involves a surprisingly lifelike doll of the shop. Nobody seems to be certain who brought the doll into the shop, nor where was the doll manufactured or purchased. They are not even sure how long it has graced the shop, months or only a few days. People actually trying to remember turn out to have lapses in their memory or concentration. But there is something disturbing about it. It seems to attract the stares of people and animals. And some have the impression that it is watching them. Alicia and Sybil become concerned when the doll seems to change positions on a daily basis. With no staff member or customer recalling ever repositioning it. The story is considered among the most memorable of Christie's horror tales.
Greenshaw's Folly. Features Jane Marple, her nephew Raymond West, his wife Joan (Joyce Lempriere in earlier stories), and their niece Louisa "Lou" Oxley. First serialized in 1956, published in full form in August, 1960. Previously appeared in the 1960 collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (see above).
The Double Clue. Features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. First published in December, 1923. Introduces Countess Vera Rossakoff, Poirot's only known love interest. Poirot is hired by Marcus Hardman, a collector of precious antiques, to retrieve jewels stolen from his residence. His main suspects are four recent guests to said residence: 1) Mr. Johnston, a South African businessman, 2) Bernard Parker, an effeminate employee to Hardman, 3) Countess Vera Rossakoff, a Russian aristocratic refugee who survived the Red October, and 4) Lady Runcorn, a middle-aged society lady who happens to be niece to a kleptomaniac. The only clues are a man's glove and a cigarette case left behind by the thief. Bearing the initials "BP". Poirot solves the case based on his knowledge of the Cyrillic Alphabet. The letter "B" of the Cyrillic alphabet is equivalent to the Latin "V", not the Latin "B". The letter "P" of the Cyrillic alphabet is equivalent to the Latin "R", not the Latin "P". The initials stand for Vera Rosakoff. The conclusion to the story may seem obvious to readers familiar with Vera through her later appearances.
The Last Seance. A supernatural horror tale. First published in November, 1926. Previously published in the 1933 collection The Hound of Death (see above).
Sanctuary, also known as Murder at the Vicarage. Should not be confused with the 1930 novel of the same name. Features Jane Marple and her goddaughter Diana "Bunch" Harmon. First published in October, 1954. Bunch Harmon is the vicar's wife at Chipping Cleghorn. She enters the vicarage on a mild November morning and discovers a man dying inside. Shot and bleeding to death. She witnesses his dying moments and listens to his last words: "Sanctuary". The local physician determines that the man was probably wounded during the previous night and had been bleeding for hours. The locals and the police fail to determine the identity of the victim. Until an equally unknown couple, Mr. and Mrs. Eccles, identifie him as Mr. Sandboume, a missing relative. Noting that the couple seem more interested in claiming the meager belongings of the victim than caring for his funeral, Bunch gets suspicious and seeks help from her godmother. The victim was actually Walter Edmund St John, a prison convict who had recently escaped. He had managed to retrieve jewels from an old heist. He had come to Chipping Cleghorn in an attempt to retrieve his young daughter Jewel "Jill" St. John, who was being raised by a local family. But some enemies caught up to him. The Eccles were not related to him and were only after the jewels.
The Pale Horse (1961). A mystery novel, featuring one-shot protagonists Mark Easterbrook and Catherine "Ginger" Corrigan. Ariadne Oliver plays a significant part. The novel also re-introduces a number of secondary characters from previous stories. Major Hugh Despard (previously called John Despard) and Rhoda Dawes from Cards on the Table (1936) are now a married couple with children of their own. Maud Dane Calthrop from The Moving Finger (1942) reprises her role of giving the religious perspective on events. There is also mention of an old lady in a mental hospital who repeats certain cryptic phrases. This serves as an Early-Bird Cameo of Mrs. Lancaster, a major character from By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968). Mark Easterbrook, a professional historian, happens to witness a Cat Fight in a Chelsea coffee-bar. Thomasina Anne Tuckerton, Beatnik heiress to a large fortune, looses much of her hair in the fight. But claims to have felt no actual pain during the hair pulling. She dies shortly after, supposedly of natural causes. But Mark soon learns of a long list of recent "natural" deaths who have had clear beneficiaries. And rumors have it that the inn "Pale Horse" serves as headquarters to a trio of witches able to kill persons from a distance. And offering their Murder, Inc. services to paying customers. The police doesn't take the story seriously. But Mark is intrigued enough to investigate. Recruiting author Ariadne Oliver and painting restorer Ginger Corrigan to help him. The title is an allusion to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, though the characters initially fail to recognize its significance. The novel is famous for a detailed and accurate description of thallium poisoning. It is credited with helping solve a number of real-life cases in the 1970s, since certain readers recognized the described symptoms in actual poisonings.
The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (1962), title often shortened to The Mirror Crack'd. The title and its spelling derive from The Lady of Shalott (1833, revised 1842) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Eighth Miss Marple novel. The novel is set in St. Mary Mead, the home village of Miss Marple. Previously it served as the main setting of Murder At The Vicarage" (1930) and The Body in the Library'' (1942) , but had not appeared in any Marple novel since then. The novel calls attention to the village having underwent great changes over the last two decades. Reverend Leonard Clement and Colonel Arthur Bantry, major characters of the previous novels, are dead. Their widows survive them. But Griselda Clement has moved out of the village and Dolly has sold her own mansion, living alone in the much smaller Eastern Lodge. Other familiar faces are also gone and new ones have moved in. Gossington Hall, former house of the Bantry family, has been bought by famous actress Marina Gregg. Who has renovated it to include a swimming pool, indoor bathrooms, running water and other modern luxuries. But some things never change, murder among them. When Heather Badcock visits Gossington Hall and dies poisoned, Marple has a new case to solve. The novel was the last of several "village mysteries" written by Christie, and pays attention to the changes the British countryside was undergoing. Marina Gregg and her storyline were loosely based on the life account of actress Gene Tierney.
Rule of Three (1962). Fourteenth theatrical play by Christie. Actually three one-act plays performed together. There is no unifying theme or characters in common. Debuted on stage in December 1962, published in book form during 1963. The play/plays were never particularly successful since their short length did not allow for many plot twists.
The Rats. A combination of Locked in a Room and Rats In A Box. Sandra Grey and her current lover David Forrester have been separately invited to a party, taking place at a Hampstead apartment. They arrive to find the apartment nearly vacant. Jennifer Brice, an acquaintance, was there to feed the parakeet. She informs Sandra that their supposed hosts are actually vacationing in France. Jennifer then leaves the apartment. Alec Hanbury arrives and chats with them. Before suddenly leaving and locking them inside. Along with the murdered body of Sandra's husband. Someone is framing them for murder. The trapped lovers only have each other to talk to. Their secrets and frustrations are voiced while their irritation with each other grows.
Afternoon at the Seaside. A large group of people, mostly unknown to each other, find themselves spending a sunny afternoon at the beach of Little Slyppings-on-Sea. When informed that an emerald necklace has been stolen from a nearby hotel, they come to suspect that the thieves are among them. But there are also police officers mixed with the crowd. A relatively light-hearted work with much attention payed to daring bikinis and male stares.
The Patient. Takes place within a nursing home. Mrs. Jennifer Wingfield, a wealthy socialite, recently fell off her second-story balcony. She is currently paralyzed, unable to speak, and slips in and out of consciousness. Inspector Cray has to determine whether the fall was the result of an accident, a suicide attempt, or a murder attempt. He has at least four suspects to interrogate. And has to make sure that nobody tries to permanently silence Jennifer.
The Clocks (1963). Twenty-ninth Hercule Poirot novel, has spy fiction elements. Also features secret agent Colin Lamb, whose name was an alias. He is hinted to be a son to the retired Superintendent Battle. Sheila Webb, a typist-for-hire, is sent by her agency to the residence of a new client. She enters through the unlocked front door and finds only a corpse waiting for her. That of a well-dressed man surrounded by clocks set at a specific hour. Curiously, the man did not live in this house and his business cards used a false name. The secret service takes an interest in the case and Poirot is asked to help. In this case, Poirot serves more as an Eccentric Mentor to Colin than a detective. He rarely leaves his apartment. Waiting for his "student" to investigate the crime scene, locate witnesses, and interrogate suspects. While Poirot contemplates the significance of each new clue. One of the complications of this case was that the neighborhood of the murder was virtually vacant at the time of the murder. Most people off to school and work, and no nosy neighbors left. Poirot complaining that all the old ladies have ended up in nursing homes, leaving him unable to gain info through gossip. Later, a significant witness is found through a situation based on the film Rear Window (1954). During the story, Poirot is supposedly preparing his own book on literary mysteries. Which leads to a Metafiction-style critique of many writers and their literary tropes. The novel is considered well-narrated, and highly entertaining. But rather disappointing in its handling of clues. A number of the most puzzling clues turn out to be meaningless. The killer attempting to confuse the investigators by planting said clues and having the investigatoes waist time on analyzing them.
A Caribbean Mystery (1964). Ninth Miss Marple novel. Also features co-protagonist Jason Rafiel, an elderly millionaire with a sharp wit. The novel features the only case which has Marple traveling abroad. Jane Marple has recently recovered from pneumonia and her doctor suggested temporarily moving to a warmer climate. Her nephew Raymond West, a successful novelist, sends her to the Caribbean island of St Honoré. What seems to be an uneventful trip becomes a Busman's Holiday. Fellow traveler Major Palgrave narrates to miss Marple the tale of an unnamed man who got away with murder. Said man married twice. Both wives supposedly having suicidal tendencies. Each had one failed suicide attempt one successful one. Palgrave keeps the identity of the man to himself and dies suddenly not long after. Marple has the opportunity to apply her investigative skills in a new environment. The novel examines the theme of misinformation. Many of the "facts" people know about certain characters turn out to be falsehoods intentionally spread by the killer. Another theme is the significance and constant presence of illicit relationships. As Marple contemplates that life in St. Mary Mead left her all too familiar with "the facts of rural life. ... Plenty of sex, natural and unnatural. Rape, incest, perversion of all kinds." The novel received mostly positive reviews and is noted for the strong characterization of the co-protagonists. But the motives behind the murders seem obvious, resulting in the Mandatory Twist Ending containing few surprises.
Star Over Bethlehem and other stories (1965), title often shortened to Star Over Bethlehem. A collection of works with a Christian theme, including five poems and six stories. Only the title story had seen publication in magazine form, the rest were previously unpublished. While one of Christie's more obscure works, this collection was among her personal favorites and has its fans. The short stories were:
Star Over Bethlehem. First published in December, 1946. Features Mary, Mother of Jesus facing her own Final Temptation dilemma. Shortly after giving birth, Mary is left alone at the stable with her baby. An Angel visits the young mother and gives her a glimpse into the future. She witnesses her adult son alone and scared at the Garden of Gethsemane, then transporting his cross, and finally his crucifixion. The angel then offers her a choice. Between returning her son to God (through implied infanticide) or allowing the boy to survive and suffer. Mary is tempted but then contemplates the sweet smile of her adult son while watching his disciples sleep. And a similar smile on the face of a man crucified with him. She chooses to let her son live and make his own choices. The previously unnamed angel is revealed to be Satan, who vows to offer similar temptations to her son. He flashes through the sky while departing. The Three Wise Men mistaking him for a star. Making Lucifer Morningstar himself be the Star of Bethlehem and the titular character.
The Naughty Donkey. Features the events of Jesus' birth and journey to Egypt from the perspective of a donkey. A Nearly Normal Animal with unusual foresight and hindsight, claiming to be a distant descendant of the donkey of Balaam (an animal character from the Book of Numbers, credited with rescuing the life of its master). The narrative starts with the background of the donkey.He was never obedient to any master. Resulting in each master selling him to another. Until he finally escaped and attached himself to a caravan heading towards Bethlehem. Figuring that "Nobody will know who I belong to in all this crowd". He witnesses the birth of Jesus and gives a humorous perspective on the events. But when touched by the infant, the donkey offers his undying loyalty to this master. Helping to get the baby out of Bethlehem ind into Egypt, choosing the safest paths to avoid the soldiers of Herod the Great. Though his foresight allows him to see further ahead in the future of his young master. Ahead to a Crown of Thorns, to the smell of blood, and to the bitter taste of a sponge.
The Water Bus. Set in contemporary London. Protagonist Mrs. Hargraves is a middle-aged widow, living a lonely existence. Her husband is long gone, her children grown to adulthood and with lives of their own. She likes it this way. She is a religious woman who always devotes time and effort to charity. But out of a sense of obligation, not love of her fellow humans. Nor genuine kindness or sympathy. Hargraves Hates Being Touched and attempts to avoid contact with people. She views mass transportation and the experience of being "enveloped tightly in a sweltering crowd of humanity" as her personal Hell on Earth. After several frustrating encounters with other people, Hargraves enters a water bus (water-taxi) to relax away from the crowds. She sits at a distance from her few fellow passengers. But then notices someone standing besides her, an "Oriental" (Middle Eastern) man. She guesses him to be an Arab or Berber. A brief contact with the stranger result in a transformation. Her entire perspective on the world has changed, Mrs. Hargreaves can finally relate to other people and genuinely care for their problems. She exits the bus a changed woman. Back on the water bus, the mate is puzzled. He had noticed eight passengers on board. But only witnesses seven disembarking. The Captain suggests that the eight passenger must have left unnoticed. Either that or "he walked on water". Implying that the Oriental man was Jesus, a Jew.
In the Cool of the Evening. Major Rodney Grierson and his wife Janet attend the Evening Prayer at at An Anglican Church. Janet prays fervently for the sake of her only son, Alan. He is thirteen-year-old, sweet, gentle, and innocent. But mentally retarded. She only wishes for him to be normal. But she realizes later of having the strangest feeling, "I felt that God wasn't there. I didn't feel that there was no God - just that He was somewhere else". Meanwhile Alan is happy at his garden. He is playing with mutated animals, resulting from a recent accident, trying to find names for them. He claims that a friend is helping him come out with names for them. His parents figure that Alan has a new Imaginary Friend . Later in the Garden, Alan plays with his Not-So-Imaginary Friend. Who explains that "I have a great many names" and "I live in many places ... But sometimes, in the cool of the evening, I walk in a garden - with a friend and talk about the New World - ". Signifying that the boy has a much closer relationship to his God than "normal" people.
Promotion in the Highest. The story takes place in The Future, specifically on 1 January, 2000. Jacob Narracott wakes up in the hour before the dawn, having passed out in the street. He is under the impression of seeing 14 people, dressed in an odd way and currying peculiar items. He notes that they all seem familiar, though he could not place the faces. He then speaks to the village constable and contains about the problems of his world. The story switches to following the 14. They are all famous saints, walking the Earth. Men and women from different eras, humorously discussing their backgrounds and emblems. They are returning to Heaven to present a common petition. At the start of every millennium, "every person who has ever lived on earth" has the right to appeal the decisions concerning his/her soul. These saints dispute the decision confining them to Heaven. They feel that their service to humanity can't be over yet, that they haven't done enough. They want to return to Earth and "help those who need help". The angels responsible for such decisions, including Archangel Gabriel, are not sure if this is possible. But the Highest authority allows for it. And announces that the 14 have completed their years of Sainthood and are "moving up to a higher rank". Meanwhile, within the Church of St. Petrock-on-the-Hill, an old vicar is in anguish. Because a Medievel image depicting all 14 saints is beyond restoration. The story might be influenced by Buddhism, specifically the concept of the Bodhisattva. Those who are ready to achieve Enlightenment, but refuse to do so in order to ensure everyone else can, too.
The Island. The story takes place on a relatively isolated island. Mary, an elderly woman, lives there with her son John. Reputed to be a Holy Man. They are well-liked and respected by the locals. Though few details are known of their background. He is preoccupied with visions and religious thoughts throughout the story. While Mary has to remind him to also take care of his body, serving as his caretaker . Two visitors to the island come seeking out the Queen of Heaven reputed to live there. But the locals have never heard of her, and John discourages from seeking out heathen Goddesses. The finale of the story has John struggling with recording his visions in a new book, the Book of Revelation. Meaning that the island is Patmos, the "Holy Man" is John of Patmos, and his adoptive mother is Mary, Mother of Jesus. Also known as Queen of Heaven. The visitors were seeking a Goddess and failed to recognize her in the old woman. Christie uses the traditional identification between John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos. But it should be noted that there is no way to determine if all three were the same individual.
At Bertram's Hotel (1965). Tenth Miss Marple novel. Also features Mr. Robinson of the Secret Service. Nostalgic for the days of her youth, Marple vacations at Bertram's Hotel. It is a location famous for maintaining the appearance and trappings of an Edwardian Era establishment, well into the 1960s. Catering to those nostalgic of the past (old clergy, retired military and naval officers, elderly women), or those wishing to experience the luxuries of it. But Marple finds the place more reminiscent of a theatrical stage, more illusion than reality. With personnel acting as well rehearsed actors. She recognizes among the guests famous adventurer Lady Bess Sedgwick and her estranged daughter Elvira Blake. Bess became famous decades before for her achievements as a pilot, race car driver, member of the French Resistance. Marple finds the woman out of place in the seemingly quiet hotel. Soon a string of crimes connected to the hotel convinces Marple that there is a seedier side of this establishment. And a darker side to several of its guests and staff. The novel features a mother daughter threesome between Bess, Elvira, and Ladislaus Malinowski. Bess is established as the mastermind behind a criminal syndicate. Addicted to taking risks. While Elvira turns out to be ruthless when it comes to claiming her inheritance. There are indeed several actors among the staff and the guests. Playing major or minor roles in criminal plans. The novel is noted for its atmosphere, strong characterization for certain female characters, and sharp eye for social observation. But only a limited number of characters were actually fleshed out, making it less difficult to spot suspects.
Third Girl (1966). Thirtieth Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Ariadne Oliver, Felicity Lemon, and Mr. Goby. Poirot is approached by 20-year-old Norma Restarick, who seeks his help because she might have committed murder. Before explaining herself, Norma decides that Poirot is "too old" to help her and runs off. Poirot is intrigued enough to start checking on the background and current activities of the girl. Norma is the heiress to a considerable fortune. But she is estranged from her businessman father and the rest of her family. Currently supporting herself as an interior decorator and sharing an apartment with two other girls her age. She has recently found herself increasingly disoriented and unable to recall her activities. While Norma spends much of the novel missing, Poirot and Oliver investigate the life of the young woman. There is an apparent contradiction between her current "insane" status and the perfectly normal girl her acquaintances from her teenage years remember. Which provides a vital clue to the investigators. Norma is the victim of a Gaslighting plot involving several conspirators. Her "mental problems" are actually the result of cocktails of drugs, provided to her by one of her roommates. She has been framed for murder. The novel is firmly set in The Sixties, with Christie providing commentary on contemporary fashion (high-healed leather boots, short skirts, oversized woolen sweaters, long hair for men, etc), nightclub scene, drug culture (a secondary character has a police file for dealing heroine, cocaine, LSD, and marijuana), the rockers subculture, and the fascination of youth with musicians. At some point complaining that they know by heart an endless list of singers, musical groups and disk jockeys, while on the other hand having trouble naming a single doctor, lawyer or detective when the need for them arise. The title derives from the then-contemporary habit of young girls to move in together just for sharing the rent. As described, the first two girls are typically friends. The third and even fourth ones just answer a newspaper add. Resulting in co-habitation with virtual strangers, which serves as a major plot point. While often considered a relatively weak novel, Cristie's portrayal of the youth culture is considered highly entertaining.
Endless Night (1967). A mystery novel with Gothic Horror elements, styled as a first-person narrative. Famously uses the Unreliable Narrator technique. The basic plot seems to be a reworking of The Case of the Caretaker (1941), a Miss Marple short story. The protagonist and narrator is Michael Rogers, a working-class youth in his early twenties. He has been drifting from job to job for several years, mentioning periods of work as a chauffer, door-to-door salesman, gardener, hotel waiter, lifeguard, and "a few other things". During one of his assignments as a chauffer, Michael first discovers Gipsy's Acre, a scenic location with view to the sea. He falls in love with the place despite its reputation of being cursed. He dreams of owning it and living there. But this is beyond his financial means. At a later point, Michael meets and romances Funella "Ellie" Guteman, heiress to a vast fortune. They marry within a year of their meeting. And Michael fulfills his dream of buying Gipsy's Acre. He assigns eccentric architect Rudolf Santonix to built his house. Santonix has the ability to see trough people, see how they really are. What he sees in Michael is left a mystery for much of the story. But there is tragedy ahead for the young couple. The narrative continues to the death of Ellie in a horse-riding accident and a number of other sudden deaths in the area. With Michael as the grieving husband seeking the truth. The finale reveals that Michael had actually orchestrated all the deaths with the co-operation of his mistress Greta Andersen. Who he had pretended to hate for most of the novel. But something had changed in him through the murders. He started liking killing too much. He irrationally kills Greta, the final act of an ongoing Sanity Slippage. Since then, Michael has been experiencing an endless night of the mind. Our narrator is insane. The novel was one of the last major hits for Christie, its atmospheric details and plot twists gaining it a favorable reputation.
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968). The third Tommy and Tuppence Beresford novel, also featuring their sidekick Albert Batt. Tommy and Tuppence are firmly middle-aged and retired. A visit to their elderly aunt Ada Fanshawe at a nursing home turns out more exciting than expected. Tuppence has a chat with Mrs. Lancaster, a senile old lady who makes cryptic comments about poisoned milk, dead children, and things hidden behind the fireplace. Not long after the Beresfords are notified of Ada's death, one of several recent deaths from drug overdoses within the nursing home. By this point, Mrs. Lancaster has disappeared. Supposedly checked out of the nursing home by her previously unknown family and leaving behind false contact information. Tuppence decides to search for the old lady and learn of her fate. This is a spotlight novel for Tuppence, with Tommy and Albert Out of Focus until relatively late. The Reveal of the novel is considered a classic for Christie. Mrs. Lancaster is actually Lady Julia Starke. Once a famous ballet dancer, with a secondary career as a career criminal, Julia married into wealth and prominence. But a poorly-performed abortion in her teenage years had rendered her sterile. Her obsession with having children and inability to have any had driven her to insanity. She had a career as a Serial Killer in the 1930s, targeting young children. Until her husband found out in 1938. He send her to a vacation in France, faked her death, and had her confined to various institutions over the years. Always far from children. Nobody expected that Julia would eventually change targets and killing methods, going into a second killing spree. Instead of rescuing a poor old lady, Tuppence has to save herself from an aging but relentless killer.
Hallowe'en Party (1969). Thirty-first Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Ariadne Oliver, and Mr. Goby. Honoria Bullstrode, a major character from Cat Among the Pigeons (1959), plays a minor role in events. The novel starts at a Halloween party for children. Ariadne is one of several people involved in the preparations. Joyce Reynolds, a 13-year-old girl, boasts about having once witnesses an actual murder. Though clarifying it took her some time to understand what she had seen. Joyce herself is murdered during the party, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. Someone had kept her head submerged. Ariadne figures that Joyce Knew Too Much and had to be silenced. She and Poirot have to both investigate this murder and figure out what Joyce had seen. Throughout the novel there are references to a supposed increase of sex crimes in Britain, particularly targeting children. With an implication that the opening murder might also have a sexual motive. There are also voiced concerns over the contemporary reforms of Criminal Justice System being overly favorable to criminals, and the British culture become overly permissive concerning various vices. Teenagers are mentioned using recreational drugs, though the novel does not focus on the subject. The novel is considered rather weak with an overly convoluted solution, though having a number of memorable scenes.
Passenger to Frankfurt (1970). Last spy thriller novel by Christie. The co-protagonists are Sir Stafford Nye and Countess Renata Zerkowski/Daphne Theodofanous Zeropoulos/"Mary Ann". Lady Matilda Checkheaton, an elderly aunt of Stafford, acts as a secondary protagonist. Colonel Ephraim Pikeaway and Mr. Robinson, previously established members of the Secret Service, play supporting roles. Set c. 1975 in a Next Sunday A.D. style. Constant riots and student unrest plague all major cities of Europe and North America. An increasingly militant youth culture leads its members to rebel against their elders and demolish long-standing political institutions. Against this backdrop, Sir Stafford Nye, a British diplomat noted for his lack of ambition, is approached by a mystery woman at an airport. She claims to need his passport and airplane ticket to escape certain death. He agrees and finds himself caught up in international intrigue, as an increasingly desperate Secret Service attempts to locate the mastermind behind recent world events. The youth culture is manipulated by Grafin Charlotte von Waldsausen, one of the wealthiest people of the world and secret leader of a Neo-nazi movement. Her ultimate cause being to Take Over the World. The novel is often perceived as an Author Tract concerning the political unrest of the late 1960s.
The Golden Ball and Other Stories (1971). Short story collection, collecting 15 stories with no unifying theme. All had been originally published between 1924 and 1933. Most stories were already available in book form through previous collections, originating from a different publisher.
The Listerdale Mystery. First published in December, 1925. The eponymous story of a 1934 collection (see above).
The Girl in the Train. First published in February, 1924. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934). See above.
The Manhood of Edward Robinson. First published in December, 1924. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934). See above.
Jane in Search of a Job. First published in August, 1924. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934). See above.
A Fruitful Sunday. First published in August, 1928. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934). See above.
The Golden Ball. First published in August, 1929. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934). See above. The eponymous story of this collection.
The Rajah's Emerald. First published in July, 1926. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
Swan Song. First published in September, 1926. Previously published in The Listerdale Mystery (1934).
The Hound of Death. The eponymous story of a 1933 collection (see above).
The Gypsy/The Gipsy. Previously published in The Hound of Death (1933). See above.
The Lamp. Previously published in The Hound of Death (1933). See above.
The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael. Previously published in The Hound of Death (1933). See above.
The Call of Wings. Previously published in The Hound of Death (1933). See above.
Magnolia Blossom. First published in March, 1926. The protagonist is Theodora "Theo" Darrell, wife of businessman Richard Darrell. Her marriage has already failed and Richard seems to no longer care for her. She is about to elope with her lover Vincent Easton, when she learns that Richard is facing financial ruin. She has to choose between her personal happiness and attempting to rescue her estranged husband from the consequences of his own actions.
Next to a Dog. First published in September, 1929. The protagonist is young widow Joyce Lambert, only 29-years-old. She struggles to support herself and her pet dog Terry. She seeks employment but has to deny any post which does not allow for the dog to follow her. When affluent Arthur Halliday starts romancing her, Joyce contemplates marrying him. Not because she likes him but just to take care of the dog's needs.
Nemesis (1971). Eleventh Miss Marple novel. Jason Rafiel, Marple's partner from A Caribbean Mystery (1964), has died. Leaving to her a small fortune in money, on condition that she solves another crime case. He had something specific in mind, but left no immediate clues as to the nature of the case. Following the vague instructions left behind by her old friend, Marple soon realizes that it is a murder case. She has to investigate the murder of Verity Hunt, fiancée of Michael Rafiel and would-be daughter-in-law of Jason. In order to do so, Marple has to investigate the dead girl's background and get acquainted with her adoptive family. Particularly her adoptive mother Clotilde Bradbury-Scott. While the novel explores the themes of Parental Incest and lesbian relationships, its Psycho Lesbian resolution has unfortunate implications. Clotilde and Verity, adoptive mother and daughter, were lesbian lovers. When Verity decided to leave her mother/lover for a man, Michael, Clotilde went crazy. Killing her and hiding the body. Then killing Nora Broad, disfiguring the body and dressing it as Verity. Framing Michael for the second murder. Clotilde is often seen as a stereotypical Butch Lesbian.
Fiddlers Three (1972), also known as Fiddlers Five (1971). Fifteenth theatrical play by Christie, a thriller/comedy. The theatrical play was produced under its original title in June, 1971 to little acclaim. Christie significantly revised and brought it back on stage in August, 1972. In either version, the plot features an Of Corpse He's Alive conspiracy. The conspirators attempt to keep the recent death of a tycoon hidden. At least until they can get their hands on part of his inheritance. But they realize too late that the man was murdered. Discovery of the body would immediately make them prime suspects in a murder investigation. Neither version was particularly successful. The play remains one of the most obscure works by Christie, receiving no commercial publication.
Elephants Can Remember (1972). Thirty-second Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Ariadne Oliver, Superintendent Spence, and Mr. Goby. Poirot has to investigate the decades-old deaths of General Alistair Ravenscroft and his wife Margaret. The police considered the case a Murder-Suicide. But could not determine which of the two was the culprit and which the victim. In the present, their daughter Celia Ravenscroft is about to marry. But her mother-in-law worries that the crime could influence the future of the marriage and demands answers. Poirot and Oliver have to rely on the memories of elderly people who had memories of the couple. The novel is considered relatively weak. None of the "sources" used by the investigators seems to have clear memories of people and events. Resulting in highly contradictory accounts and inconsistent chronological references. A number of Christie biographers suspect that the author herself was facing memory problems and was thus unable to keep track of the various details.
Akhnaton (1973). Sixteenth theatrical play by Christie. Written in 1937, but not published until May, 1973. Has rarely been performed on stage. Mostly because of the large cast of characters and prohibitive production costs. The play is set in Ancient Egypt and covers the life and reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten (reigned c. 1353-1336). Significant characters include his mother Tiye/Tyi, his wife Nefertiti, his soldier and friend Horemheb, and his heir Tutankhaton. The play was influenced by the views of famous Egyptologist Stephen Glanville (1900-1956). But as History Marches On, several of these views were outdated by the 1970s.
Postern of Fate (1973). Mystery novel with spy thriller elements, fourth and last Tommy and Tuppence Beresford novel. Also features their sidekick Albert Batt, their daughter Deborah, Colonel Ephraim Pikeaway, and Mr. Robinson. Debuts of their dog Hannibal, and grandchildren Andrew, Janet, and Rosalie. Their son Derek and adoptive daughter Betty are mentioned but not actually depicted. The novel features the protagonists as old and physically frail. The Beresfords have moved out of London and into the resort town of Hollowquay. They have bought a Victorian residence and inherited the combined libraries of several previous owners. Tuppence is eager to reacquaint herself with several favorite readings of her childhood. But one of the books contains a coded message: Mary Jordan did not die naturally. A preliminary investigation reveals that Jordan died of "accidental" food poisoning shortly prior to World War One. And that the author of the message was Alexander Parkinson, a would-be Kid Detective who died young and under mysterious circumstances. The Beresfords decide to look for answers in a 60-year-old mystery. But though the main participants of the events are long gone, several people seem quite interested in this case. An old poem hints at what is going on : Have you heard That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth like a bird?Mary Jordan was a British counter-intelligence agent who had infiltrated a subversive cell, orchestrated by a foreign power. She was poisoned by enemy agents. The attending physician during her last moments was actually the leader of the cell. The cell had survived to modern times under various leaderships. And they were unwilling to let anyone investigate the activities of their founders. The novel contains several contradictory clues and chronological references, confusing readers. An example is the character of Mrs. Griffin. She is Introduced as the godmother of Alexander Parkinson and one of few people who still remembers him. But a later chapter has her claim that the Parkinsons were active before her time. And that it was her grandmother who was close to them and not she herself.
Poems (1973). Second poetic collection by Christie. Volume I mostly reprints The Road of Dreams (1925), though with a number of revisions and additions. Volume II covers previously unpublished poems, written over several decades. It is divided in four sections.
Love Poems and Others
Verses of Nowadays
Poirot's Early Cases (1974), also known as Hercule Poirot's Early Cases. Short story collection, featuring 18 Poirot tales. Despite the name, not all the stories included were among the earliest of Poirot's cases. All stories had originally been published in magazines between 1923 and 1935. All of the stories had previously been published as part of various collections, but never featured in approximate publication order.
The Affair at the Victory Ball. First published in March, 1923. Previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. First published in November, 1923. Previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Cornish Mystery. First published in November, 1923. Previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly. First published in October, 1923. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
The Double Clue. First published in December, 1923. Previously included in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961).
The King of Clubs. first published in March, 1923. Previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Lemesurier Inheritance. First published in December, 1923. Previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Lost Mine. First published in November, 1923. Previously included in Poirot Investigates (1924).
The Plymouth Express. First published in April, 1923. The basic plot had been reworked into the novel The Mystery of the Blue Train. Story previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
The Chocolate Box. First published in May, 1923. Previously included in Poirot Investigates (1924).
The Submarine Plans. First published in November, 1923. Christie reworked the plot into the novella The Incredible Theft, included in Murder in the Mews (1937). The original story was previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories'' (1951).
The Third Floor Flat. First published in January, 1929. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
Double Sin. First published in September, 1928. Previously included in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961).
The Market Basing Mystery. First published in October, 1923. Christie reworked the plot into the novella Murder in the Mews (1937). The original story was previously included in The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951).
Wasp's Nest. First published in November, 1928. Previously included in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961).
The Veiled Lady. First published in October, 1923. Previously included in Poirot Investigates (1924).
Problem at Sea. First published in December, 1935. Previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
How Does Your Garden Grow?. First published in August, 1935. Has a similar introduction to Dumb Witness (1937). The story was previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
Curtain (1975). Thirty-third and last Hercule Poirot novel. Also features Arthur Hastings, and his daughter Judith. Written in the early 1940s intended to be the series' finale. Poirot is suffering from arthritis, while Hastings is widowed. But they return to Styles Court, to resolve One Last Case. That of a Serial Killer involved in at least five murder cases, with no evidence linking him/her to any of the victims. The "killer" Stephen Norton has not actually killed anyone with his own hands. He is a Manipulative Bastard who models himself after Iago from Othello. He pushes everyone's buttons, driving them to commit murder. The novel ends with Poirot killing Norton and committing suicide. The novel is often praised for its constant manipulation of reader's perceptions, leading towards a large number of twists at its finale. And for its purpose as a dramatic finale for the series' characters. On the other hand, most of the characters introduced in this novel are considered rather pale.
Sleeping Murder (1976). Twelfth and last Miss Marple novel, briefly features Raymond West and his wife Joan. Mrs. Lancaster, a major character from By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968), has a cameo. This was also the last Christie novel ever published, though internal details point to its events predating a number of other novels. The novel contain references to a real-life theatrical performance dating to 1944. Mrs. Lancaster dies at the finale of her only major appearance but turns up alive in this novel. Written in the 1940s, intended to be a series' finale. Slightly revised over several years. The novel begins with newlyweds Giles and Gwenda Reed, who have just moved from New Zealand to Great Britain. While witnessing a stage murder, Gwenda is shocked to realize that something seems very familiar about it. She has Repressed Memories of witnessing a murder during her childhood, that of her own mother Helen Halliday. Helen disappeared two decades before, and most people figured that she had run off with some lover. Marple reluctantly agrees to help the young woman investigate the hidden murder of her mother. While all too aware that a undetected murderer could kill again. This time to cover his tracks. The novel is considered a solid exercise in working cold cases. But in contrast to Curtain (1975), offers no conclusion to the protagonist's story. There is nothing preventing Marple from working further cases, other than Author Existence Failure.
Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (1977), also known as An Autobiography. Autobiographical account of Christie's life, written between 1950 and 1965/1966. Considered an intriguing but controversial work. Mostly because of a shift in focus and level of detail involved. The book contains a total of 544 written pages. The first 350 or so pages are devoted to her childhood and early life, her relationship with her mother Clarissa Margaret "Clara" Boehmer, and her first marriage to aviator Archibald "Archie" Christie. All covered in near-exhaustive detail and providing insight to her background and its influence on her work. This period ends with the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, both taking place in 1926. Of the remaining pages, most are devoted to the period 1930 to 1945. A period covering the first years of her marriage to archaeologist Max Mallowan, and their joined travels around the Middle East. The period 1945 to 1965 is covered in only 23 pages, providing only a bare-bones account of her life. The last decade of her life (1966-1976) is not mentioned at all. Most of her works are mentioned in laconic style, with some omitted entirely. A number of working relationships are barely mentioned. Including her decades-long co-operations with theatrical producer Peter Saunders and director Hubert Gregg.
Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories (1979). Short story collection,collecting 6 Miss Marple tales and two supernatural horror tales. Despite the name, the stories actually precede several of the Marple novels. All had been published in magazines between 1934 and 1958. All of them had already been included in previous collections.
Miss Marple Tells a Story, also known as Behind Closed Doors. Originally written for a BBC radio show, broadcast in March, 1934. First published in May, 1935. Previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
In a Glass Darkly. A horror tale, first published in July, 1934. Previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
Strange Jest, also known as The Case of the Buried Treasure. First published in the United States during November, 1941, in the United Kingdom in July, 1944. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
Tape-Measure Murder, also known as The Case of the Retired Jeweller. First published in the United States during November, 1941, in the United Kingdom during February, 1942. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
The Case of the Caretaker. First published in January, 1941. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950). The short story has several elements in common with the later novel Endless Night (1967).
The Case of the Perfect Maid, also known as The Maid Who Disappeared. First published in April, 1942. Previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
Sanctuary, also known as Murder at the Vicarage. Should not be confused with the 1930 novel of the same name. First published in October, 1954. Previously included in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961)
The Dressmaker's Doll. A horror story. First published in October, 1958. Previously included in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961)
The Scoop and Behind the Screen (1983). Two radio serials, written in collaboration by members of the Detection Club and broadcast in 1930-1931. Became available in book form in 1983.
Behind the Screen. 6-episode radio serial, broadcast from June to July, 1930. Co-written (in order of contributions) by Hugh Walpole, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley Cox, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, and Ronald Knox. Wilfred Hope, a young medical student, decides to spend an evening with his fiancée and her family. The dinner seems thoroughly mundane, though Wilfred notices a sense of unease around him. And that there is one person missing from the gathering, the family's lodger. Said lodger is soon found, a murdered corpse hidden behind a parlour screen. The question isn't only who managed to kill the victim. But who managed to hide the body without attracting the attention of anyone within a rather crowded household. The initial three episodes of the serial are considered brilliant examples of mystery fiction and set up most of the premise and clues. The latter three supposedly provide the answers, but are considered inferior and disappointing.
The Scoop. 12-episode radio serial, broadcast from January to April, 1931. Each writer contributed two episodes. Co-written (in order of first contribution) by Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, Anthony Berkeley Cox, Freeman Wills Crofts, and "Clemence Dane" (Winifred Ashton). The serial starts with Intrepid Reporter Johnson investigating the details of a sensational murder case. He manages to locate the murder weapon on his own and phones the offices of his newspaper, the Morning Star. But ends up murdered himself before exiting the phone booth. The newspaper assigns experienced reporter Oliver and novice Beryl Braidwood to further investigate the case. But more and more clues tie both murders back to the Star and its office staff. This serial was considerably more successful, largely because of closer co-operation between the writers.
Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (1991). British short story collection, collecting eight short stories. All eight had been rarely published in their native country, though some were available through American collections. The collection includes 2 Hercule Poirot tales, 2 Parker Pyne tales, 2 Harley Quin, and 2 romance tales featuring no recurring characters.
Problem at Pollensa Bay, also known as Siren Business . The eponymous story of the collection, first published September, 1936. Features Parker Pyne and Madeleine de Sara. Previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
The Second Gong. First published in July, 1932. Features Hercule Poirot. The revised and expanded version Dead Man's Mirror had appeared in the collection Murder in the Mews (1937). The original story was included in The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (1948).
Yellow Iris. First published in July, 1937. Features Hercule Poirot. The original story was previously included in The Regatta Mystery (1939). Christie had reworked the tale into the full novel Sparkling Cyanide (1945).
The Harlequin Tea Set. First published in 1971. Features Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite. Many years after their last encounter, Harley Quin visits his old partner and offers him a hint towards a current case. "Daltonism" and how it relates to a murder. While the story had turned up in anthologies, this was the first Christie-specific collection to include it.
The Regatta Mystery. First published in June, 1936 as a Hercule Poirot story. Christie revised it for book publication, replacing Poirot with Parker Pyne. Both versions of the story became available in later collections, though the Poirot version remains relatively obscure. The Pyne version had previously been included in The Regatta Mystery (1939).
The Love Detectives, also known as At the Crossroads. A Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite story. First published in October-December, 1926, but excluded from the relevant collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930). The tale features a minor crossover as character Colonel Melrose was the Chief Constable at The Secret of Chimneys (1925). The solution of the mystery has similarities to that of the novel The Murder at the Vicarage (1930). The tale had been previously included in Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950).
Next to a Dog. First published in September, 1929. Previously included in The Golden Ball and Other Stories (1971).
Magnolia Blossom. First published in March, 1926. Previously included in The Golden Ball and Other Stories (1971).
The Harlequin Tea Set (1997). American short story collection, including 9 tales. Most had been out of print for decades.
The Edge. First published in February, 1927. A Childhood Friend Romance has unintended consequences. Claire Halliwell and Sir Gerald Lee have been friends for most of their lives and were once expected to marry each other. Until Gerald had his whirlwind romance with the glamorous Vivien Harper and ended up marrying her. When Claire learns that Vivien is cheating on Gerald, she has a chance to warn him as a good friend. Or to give in to her own darker side and use the information to hurt them both.
The Actress, also known as A Trap for the Unwary. First published in May, 1923. A Blackmail tale. Jake Levitt happens to encounter actress Olga Stormer. And recognizes in her Nancy Taylor, betrothed of a serious politician. He threatens to expose her double identity and end her engagement. But Nancy has some surprises in store for him.
While the Light Lasts. First published in April, 1924. The plot has similarities to the full novel Giant's Bread (1930). George Crozier and Deirdre were once engaged to be married. But she left him for Tim Nugent, the man she fell in love with and married. When Tim went missing in World War One, George took advantage and started romancing Deirdre again. The two newlyweds are traveling in Africa. But George has yet to realize that Deirdre doesn't actually love him and only sees him as a source of material comfort. Or that she is still constantly thinking about Tim and on whether she can endure a loveless existence.
The House of Dreams. First published in January, 1926. Reworking of the unpublished The House of Beauty, a short story written by a teenaged Christie. John Segrave, an Impoverished Patrician, works as a lowly office clerk and seems to have few options in his life. His boring life changes when John starts having dreams of a beautiful house and simultaneously falls for the enigmatic Allegra Kerr. But his recurring dreams of beauty seem to have ominous undercurrents. His aspirations are turning to obsessions. and Allegra herself might not be what she seems.
The Lonely God, also known as The Little Lonely God. First published in July, 1926. Focuses on the relationship between an unnamed sentient statue of a God and Frank Oliver, bonding through their mutual loneliness. The statue has been housed in the British Museum for a long time. Nobody seems to remember its name, its place of origin. Nobody worships it and few pay attention to it. Oliver has spend most of his adult life traveling across The British Empire. His decision to settle back in Great Britain leaves him lonely and isolated. He has no family and friends there. Nobody seems to even remember him. The two take note of each other and unwittingly reach out for companionship.
Manx Gold. First published in May, 1930. Commissioned work, intended to promote tourism in the isle of Man. Kissing Cousins Fenella Mylecharane and Juan Faraker expect to inherite part of an eccentric uncle's fortune. But his will reveals that the old man has hidden said fortune around the island. From his grave, he challenges the two to compete with unscrupulous relatives in a treasure hunt. Searching for four snuffboxes across the island.
Within a Wall. First published in October, 1925. Alan Everard, a successful modernist painter, seems to be experiencing doubts about his marriage. He is increasingly disillusioned with his beautiful wife Isobel Loring. While increasingly infatuated with her friend Jane Haworth. But Alan may be unfamiliar with the true nature of either woman.
The Mystery of the Spanish Chest. A Hercule Poirot story, also features Felicity Lemon. First published in September-October, 1960. It is a reworking of The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest (1932). The shorter version had been published in the 1939 collection The Regatta Mystery (see above). The more recent version had been published in the 1960 collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (1960).
The Harlequin Tea Set. The eponymous story of the collection. First published in 1971. Features Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite. Had been previously included in Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (1991).
While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997). British collection, including 9 tales. British counterpart to The Harlequin Tea Set, with minor differences in content.
Does not include The Harlequin Tea Set.
Includes The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, also known as The Theft of the Royal Ruby. The eponymous story of the collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (1960), a Hercule Poirot story. Originally published in December 1923, expanded and slightly revised for its book publication.
Instead of The Mystery of the Spanish Chest (1960), this collection includes 'The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest'' (1932).
Chimneys (2003). Seventeenth and (so far) last theatrical play by Christie. Adaptation of the novel The Secret of Chimneys (1925). Written in 1931 and scheduled for production in December of that year. The production was cancelled and the play soon forgotten. It was considered a Lost Work until two copies of the script were discovered in late 2001. The play had its world premiere in October, 2003 and has been published in book form.
Lost and/or unpublished works
A number of Christie works remain unavailable to both the reading public and the theatre audience. Either because the work was created for a different medium and has never been published, or because there is no known surviving copy of said work. In addition some novels, plays, or short stories are known by name but were never released. Though on occasion reworked into better known works.
Wasp's Nest (1937). Television production, adapting the 1928 short story of the same name. Broadcast in June, 1937. Only known instance of Christie herself adapting one of her works for this medium. Broadcast live on two separate occasions, but never recorded. The script has never been published and might be lost.
The Yellow Iris (1937). A single-episode Radio Drama, broadcast in November, 1937. Adaptation of the short story Yellow Iris (July, 1937). Featuring Hercule Poirot. The play included cabaret and dance music performed by the Jack Beaver orchestra, the trio The Three Admirals, Inga Anderson, Hugh French, and Janet Lind. Critics at the time complained that the music numbers were largely irrelevant to the mystery and did not provide the right mood. The script has never been printed.
Three Blind Mice (1947). A single-episode Radio Drama, broadcast in May, 1947. Christie later adapted the tale into both the short story 'Three Blind Mice and the theatrical play The Mousetrap'' (1952). While the texts of both later versions are commercially available, the script of the radio play has never been published. There are also no known recordings of the broadcast.
Butter in a Lordly Dish (1948). A single-episode Radio Drama, broadcast in January, 1948. The play begins with introducing Julia Keene and her latest love interest, prosecutor Sir Luke Enderby. Julia is a boarding house guest who seemingly has no known background. Enderby is famous, having established his fame by prosecuting Serial Killer Henry Garfield, a charming man who apparently killed a series of mistresses. Enderby himself is married but has no problem cheating on his spouse. But in his last date with Julia, Enderby fails to note the importance of a Biblical Reference in her words. She implies something about Sisera and Jael, but he fails to make the connection. In the Book of Judges, Sisera is a general from the city of Hazor who was defeated in battle. After fleeing from the battlefield, Sisera placed his trust on Jael, a strange woman offering him hospitality. She was actually an enemy agent, orchestrating his assassination. Julia Keene is actually the widow of Henry Garfield. She earned the trust of Enderby as a necessary step in plotting his murder. She also reveals that her husband had never killed anyone. Julia was the Serial Killer. The play has rarely been revived on radio, though it was adapted to the theatrical stage in 2001. The script has never been published.
Personal Call (1954). A single-episode Radio Drama, broadcast in May, 1954. Features Inspector Narracott, a major character from The Sittaford Mystery (1931). The play concerns married couple James and Pam Brent. Who seem to be harassed by the ghost of Fay, a woman from James' past. But is it a ghost or a guilty conscience which haunts James? The play has rarely been revived on radio, though it was adapted to the theatrical stage in 2001. The script has never been published.