After making a mention of Hercule Poirot’s Christmas a couple of posts back, it occurred to me that it’ll be a while before I get round to any of the Belgian detective’s exploits. So, given that he and Miss Marple are the best known of the classic detectives (I’ll try and get round to explaining why I’m not including Sherlock Holmes in this category), I thought I’d pop in some very brief reviews in the form of top 5 books for each sleuth. They’re in no particular order, by the way – picking five was hard enough.
Hercule Poirot Top Five
1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Christie tried a few experimental books, but this is by far the best. A beautiful exercise in presenting every clue that you need in a way that makes perfect sense after the fact. Saying anything more might spoil it for the uninitiated. Read it. Now!
2. The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The first Poirot, and a somewhat overlooked gem. One part of the plot requires a little suspension of disbelief, but that’s true of all the best mysteries. Beware of the Kindle version – it’s very badly formatted.
Poirot encounters what today would be called a serial killer. My first Poirot and hence the book that got me hooked. Also, it’s a book where you can’t apply the usual logic that will find the majority of Christie’s murderers. A true classic that no one has a bad word about.
Again, another book where you almost certainly won’t guess the murderer – a masterpiece in deception by Christie. Just don’t be put off by the slightly twee title – this is a blood-soaked mystery – at least it’s the grumpy old miser who gets killed.
Lesser outings: A few spring to mind – The Mystery of the Blue Train, The Big Four and The Clocks are all underwhelming.
I’ll post the Miss Marple list in the next couple of days. Should be easier than this one, as there aren’t as many.
Other Poirot reviews:
There’s a dedicated Agatha Christie page containing links to all of my Poirot reviews