During my teenage years, Agatha Christie’s mysteries were my staple brain-food. Christie’s genuine study of human psychology, her candor in dismantling every rosy emotion, and her sensible attitude towards life helped shape my identity. Anyone who hadn’t savored her works is definitely missing out on life’s greatest lessons. And what’s more, they can be learned from your couch. So, if you are wondering which of Christie’s mysteries to start reading, below are my favorites.
1. And Then There Were None
Imagine being stuck on an island with no way out. A bunch of strangers invited onto this island by a mysterious host starts getting killed. This is a classic Agatha Christie mystery in which
- There are a finite number of suspects
- The least likely suspect ends up being the murderer
- There is less sleuthing and more human psychology involved.
As always, Agatha christie creates an effectively dramatic and spooky setting. All the sinister characters have something to hide. And the extreme measures a desperate man would take to survive is the eye-opening lesson we learn from this story.
2. Crooked House
This was my very first taste of Agatha christie’s mysteries and hence the most memorable. As a teenager, when I picked up this book, this book revealed facets of a human mind beyond my wildest imaginations. It shocked me to realize how minutely a person can be observed and how every subtle action, uttered word, or behavior could reveal so much about a person.
The story begins with the mysterious death of an affluent patriarch in a large mansion. The entire family of three generations residing there comes under suspicion. As the investigation progresses, the weird quirks and the innermost mechanics of every soul in the story slowly unravel. Agatha Christie leaves seemingly unrelated breadcrumbs all over the book. The key to piecing together the puzzle is Psychology. The Mind-blowing climax is an education in how anyone and everyone is capable of evil, irrespective of age, gender, or physical stamina.
3. Death Comes As The End
This is a story set in Ancient Egypt. In 2000 BC, a woman was pushed to her death. Everyone believes it’s an accident, except the female protagonist. She believes evil lurks in her own home and begins to observe closely. The climax once again vows us with its unexpectedness.
Despite what period of history a human belonged to, they were always bound by the same set of desires, ambitions, feelings, and intent. The rules of the game and the laws of human nature are consistent throughout. Christie seemed to have banked on this fact as she weaves a mystery around characters of this ancient civilization.
Agatha Christie accompanied her archaeologist husband to several Egyptian excavations in real life. These excursions inspired her to write a story that delved into the people’s minds that would have walked this earth long before us.
It was refreshing to read a stellar historical mystery penned by Agatha Christie. The book transports the reader straight to ancient Egypt and amidst the characters. When you read the book, it feels as though you are right there – existing yet invisible, witnessing the story as it unfolds. In this book, Agatha Christie had also introduced a love angle. As impressively as ever, she had treated the romance too with her characteristic pragmatism.
“As you age, your eyes grow weak, but you see through people better” is my favorite quote. True to this quote, Miss Marple, an 80-year-old woman, shrewdly solves a murder in this novel of Agatha Christie’s.
Miss Marple has been my favorite detective because of her mature retrospection and worldly wisdom. She doesn’t rush around, trying to gather evidence. Only, she watches, reflects, and intuitively deduces.
Nemesis is a psychological thriller with a buffet of suspects. Ironically, a murder is committed because there was too much love. But the very identity of the victim is mistaken until Miss Marple meddles. In the end, an unjustly accused man is exonerated, and the actual murderer commits a final act of violence.
The above mysteries were the ones that stayed in my mind years after I had read them. But every one of Agatha Christie’s mysteries is a treat for Psychology fans and Mystery Buffs. Have fun exploring her vast collection of novels.