My Ten Favourite Poirot Novels


I can’t even recall now when I decided to read all Agatha Christie’s books featuring Hercule Poirot, but by the end of last year I managed to finished my challenge. Now, if you are wondering which one are my ten favourite  novels –in publication order, here you go:

736

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was first published in June 1926 in the United Kingdom by William Collins, Sons and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company on 19 June 1926. The third novel to feature Hercule Poirot as the lead detective. The story is narrated by Dr Sheppard the doctor at King’s Abbot who plays Captain Hastings role as Poirot’s assistant. Hastings is now living in Argentina with his wife. The book ends with a then-unprecedented plot twist. My rating A+

741

Murder on the Orient Express was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 1 January 1934. In the United States, it was published on 28 February 1934, under the title of Murder in the Calais Coach, by Dodd, Mead and Company.  One of the best Poirot’s mysteries, superbly written and with excellent characterization. A highly entertaining read. My rating A+

678

The A.B.C. Murders was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 6 January 1936. The US edition was published by Dodd, Mead and Company on 14 February of the same year. The  This case is going to be without doubt one of Poirot’s biggest challenges, as he himself recognises. My rating A+

702

Death on the Nile was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 1 November 1937 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. Death on the Nile is in all likelihood one of the best and most famous Agatha Christie novels, owing in a great extent to an excellent film adaptation. In my view the story is perfectly constructed and the denouement is extremely satisfactory on all counts. I have particularly enjoyed the simplicity of the plot and its sense of time and place. Certainly a masterpiece and a highly satisfactory read. My rating A+

683

Appointment With Death was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 2 May 1938 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed’ is perhaps one of Christie’s best opening lines, if not the best. I am rather inclined to believe that Appointment with Death may rank among Christie’s best novels for the same reasons than those outlined by E.R. Punshon in his review of 27 May 1938, mainly the ingenuity of plot and construction, the unexpectedness of dénouement, subtlety of characterisation, and a fascinating environment. My rating A+

710

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 19 December 1938 (although the first edition is copyright dated 1939). It was published in US by Dodd, Mead and Company in February 1939 under the title of Murder for Christmas. A paperback edition in the US by Avon books in 1947 changed the title again to A Holiday for Murder. A fairly standard mystery novel by Agatha Christie that, for reasons I fail to understand, is rarely included among her very best despite being, in my view, an excellent example of a locked room mystery, or rather an impossible crime as I like to call them. My rating A+

709

Five Little Pigs was first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in May 1942 under the title of Murder in Retrospect and in UK by the Collins Crime Club in January 1943 although some sources state that publication occurred in November 1942. Even despite a minor flaw as the one suggested by The Puzzle Doctor in his review at In Search of a Classic Mystery Novel. Frankly I don’t see the reason to explain that particular detail after the time elapsed. In any case I fully agree with Martin Edwards when he wrote that ‘Five Little Pigs is an impressive book, with more effective characterisation than in much of her {Agatha Christie] work.’ I will certainly have to review my preliminary list of Christie’s best Poirot novels to find a place for this book in particular. My rating A+

712

The Hollow was first published in the United States by Dodd, Mead & co. in 1946 and in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club in November of the same year. A paperback edition in the US by Dell Books in 1954 changed the title to Murder after Hours. The Hollow is a rather peculiar Hercule Poirot mystery. It was written after a lapse of more than four years since his previous appearance in Five Little Pigs and, in this instalment, Poirot’s character doesn’t show up until well into the novel. In fact it does seem that he only plays a secondary role in the plot. Moreover it is widely accepted that Christie, who often admitted to have gotten tired of her character, particularly disliked his presence in this book, and she excluded him completely in a subsequent theatrical adaptation of the story. But anyway I enjoyed reading this book mainly due to the in-depth psychology of its characters and a well constructed plot. My rating A+

681

After the Funeral was first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in March 1953 under the title of Funerals are Fatal and in UK by the Collins Crime Club on 18 May of the same year under Christie’s original title. A 1963 UK paperback issued by Fontana Books changed the title to Murder at the Gallop to tie in with the film version. The story, narrated at a nice pace, turns out being highly entertaining, with characters properly drawn and a rather unexpected denouement. The story has a perfect structure and that, as usual, Agatha Christie has the talent to misdirect her readers’ attention, with red herrings, while, at the same time, playing fair by providing all the necessary information to solve the case. It’s also worth mentioning the story gathers the social an economic changes that were ongoing in England in the post-war period. My rating: A+

47807 (1)

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in September 1975 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. A golden brooch to a magnificent series. At the end of the Kindle version there is an interesting essay by Sir Charles Osborne in which he discusses the decision taken to finally publish the novel, and the impact that it had on the Christie reading public. My rating: A+

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