The Best Hercule Poirot Novels – The Results

And so, without further ado, it’s time to announce the results of my recent poll to find the Best Poirot Novel. To remind you – I arranged the books into four groups, chronologically speaking, and the highest rated two from each round went through to the final. There was one dead heat, making it nine, and then because I ended up putting Cards On The Table in the wrong round, I gave a couple of third places the benefit of the doubt. The results of the rest of the books are here.

The final round ended up consisting of eleven books in total. Off we go – in reverse order of course.

Ninth Equal – 1 vote

Evil Under The Sun – Poirot takes a holiday on the South Coast. This was the clear winner of Round Three, with 33% of the vote, but both of the other books from that Round outperformed it in the final. It might be because it’s the most traditional Poirot in that group whereas the others (Five Little Pigs and Cards On The Table) are more individual. It’s not a favourite of mine – do take a look at the review – but I can see its charm.

Ninth Equal – 1 vote

Cat Among The Pigeons – Poirot goes to school. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how this got to the final round – it tied for second place in the weaker Round Four (14%) with a far superior book – see below. It’s a mess of a mystery – again, take a look at the review.

Ninth Equal – 1 vote

After The Funeral – the book that tied with Cat Among The Pigeons in Round Four. A much better book – I voted for it in Round Four – one of the last Poirot books that I read and a real treat going into it with low expectations and contains a trick that isn’t easy to spot, iirc. Must take another look soon.

Eighth Place – 3 votes

Cards On The Table – 21% of the votes in Round Three but this psychological mystery, where Poirot investigates with “no” material clues, is a treat. It was much better on re-reading it than I remembered from my youth and I’m a little surprised at its low showing here.

Sixth Equal – 4 votes

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – one of the beneficiaries of my mistake – it was third in Round Two with only 12.5% of the vote, but I felt that it could have done much better in the easier Round Three, hence the place in the final. Christie’s only locked room mystery (well, the best known one, anyway) and it’s a delight, although how the reader is supposed to solve it properly when the main clue is a visual one, I’ve no idea…

Sixth Equal – 4 votes

Curtain – the easy winner of Round Four with 38% of the vote but it came a cropper in the Final. It’s been a while since I read it, but I really don’t like it, so was quite pleased to see it fall here. I must re-read it (as I wasn’t that fond of Cards On The Table until I took a second look) but currently at least, I’m glad that it’s fallen by the wayside. In fact, that’s all of Round Four out of the way already…

Fifth Place – 6 votes

Five Little Pigs – a book often praised as one of her cleverest books, especially by those people who “know” about Christie. Probably the highest placed book on the list that the man on the street won’t have heard of.

Which brings us to The Big Four… I mean, the big four – in chronological order, The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, Murder On The Orient Express, The ABC Murders and Death On The Nile. Let’s face it, if I asked you to pick what would be the best four, then this would be the four. So how did they fair?

Third Equal – 13 votes

Murder On The Orient Express – 25% of the vote in Round One for probably the best known Poirot mystery. I’ll be honest, I was concerned this would win, as I really don’t think much of it, being far too gimmicky, but it is very popular. I must re-read it at some point, as it’s been a while, but I’m really in no rush…

Third Equal – 13 votes

The ABC Murders – 31% in the high quality Round Two, and my personal favourite. Best read when you’re not too familiar with Dame Agatha’s tricks, it is for me the best version of serial-killer-as-a-mystery tale – much better than Cat Of Many Tails or X v Rex, for example. I did keep hoping for this to edge ahead of the train, but it wasn’t to be…

Second Place – 15 votes

Death On The Nile – 38% in Round Two, another book that is well known due to the all-star film version, but has a much more satisfying denouement than the train.  A wonderfully constructed mystery, again best read when you’re not too familiar with Agatha’s usual games, but even then, the how is a good puzzle too.

First Place – 21 votes

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd – A whopping 44% in Round One and it’s another book that deserves its reputation. I won’t say any more about it – it’s best read knowing nothing about it at all. No surprise at its position in this poll (and probably every other poll too) but it’s good to know that my readers have taste.

So, thanks for playing – nice to get an idea of how people see Poirot’s exploits and yes, I’ll do the mysteries of Miss Marple next month – although not in such a convoluted way…

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17 comments

  1. Really enjoyed reading about these – ABC was my vote for favourite as I tend to think that ACKROYD is a bit too much of a one-trick pony – and yes, I have no idea how that CAT got in there either – it wasn’t me 🙂

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  2. Funeral scored “as high” as Cat because I put it there! On the one hand, I’m proud that my vote secured a place for such a delightful book in the top ten. But it deserved at least one of the votes given to Curtain (really, a tiresome book full of unpleasant characters – even Hastings is unlikable here) and it deserved Cat’s vote and one of Orient Express’ votes (just because)! That ties it with Christmas and Curtain in my parallel world and makes me happier.

    Love the top three, although Ackroyd does rest on a gimmick. Thanks for giving us so much fun. I can’t wait for the Marple poll, but if it ends up that Nemesis is number one, I will bring you down!!!

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  3. I may be one of the Cat culprits in the Round Four voting. (I honestly don’t remember–because I did hover between Cat and Funeral). If I did, I ask for clemency based on my inordinate fondness for school/academic-related mysteries.

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