17 best Agatha Christie books, ranked for mystery mavens

17 best Agatha Christie books, ranked for mystery mavens

In Reading Lists by Katie Winters

17 best Agatha Christie books, ranked for mystery mavens

If mystery is your favorite book genre, you’ve come to the right place. Nicknamed “The Queen of Mystery” and “The Queen of Crime,” Dame Agatha Christie remains the bestselling fiction writer of all time — even nearly 50 years after her passing in 1976. 

Her reign is deserved: There’s nothing like a Christie mystery. Her books possess an unmatched power to draw readers in, entangling us in increasingly suspenseful whodunits with secretive characters, shocking red herrings, and satisfying reveals. 

With 66 novels in her catalog (plus more short stories and a few books written under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott), it’s tough to narrow down Agatha Christie’s best books. They’re all worth a read, but this list is a fantastic place to start. 

Of course, books from her wildly popular Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series are a must. But I’ve also included standalone novels, prime among them And Then There Were None — my personal favorite, with millions of people who agree, since it’s one of the bestselling books of all time. 

Whether you follow my guide or read Agatha Christie’s books in order of publication, buckle up for a wild ride where nothing is certain and everyone has something to hide.

Christie’s beloved Detective Hercule Poirot stars in over half of her full-length novels (39 books, to be exact). The series kicks off with The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but since these books can be read as standalones, I recommend diving into one of the most popular and famous entries: Murder on the Orient Express.

When a massive snowdrift derails a luxury train, an American businessman is found murdered. Poirot just happens to be on the train, and takes the reins of the investigation. No passenger escapes suspicion.

This mystery has been adapted into box-office hits numerous times. Albert Finney stars as Poirot in the 1974 film, and Kenneth Branagh plays the iconic detective in the star-studded 2017 movie adaptation. 

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This standalone story is an incredible example of the locked-room mystery trope. Ten people — all strangers — are lured to a mansion on a private island. Each person has a criminal history. They share their secrets, and one by one, they die. 

Christie ratchets up the tension brilliantly throughout what’s arguably the best mystery novel ever written. It’s also included in the top 10 Agatha Christie books chosen by the author herself and ranked number 19 in the PBS Great American Read Top 100.

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In contrast to Poirot, who’s obsessed with “order and method,” the nosy spinster Miss Jane Marple — another of Christie’s iconic characters — is an expert on human nature. 

In this first Miss Marple book, we’re introduced to the elderly amateur sleuth who possesses impressive investigative instincts. In the tiny but on-edge village of St. Mary Mead, a murdered colonel has the town talking. Secrets slowly surface as Miss Marple uses her disarming charm to solve the crime — not an easy feat considering everyone hated the victim.

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Dubbed “Christie’s greatest achievement” by The Guardian, this Hercule Poirot mystery introduces a storytelling technique that’s been parroted ever since, including in modern hits like The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and Knives Out.

Carla Lemarchant calls upon Detective Poirot to investigate a 16-year-old murder case, hoping to exonerate her late mother’s name. Readers experience the story from five different perspectives before Poirot hones in on the truth.

The hosts of the All About Agatha podcast ranked Five Little Pigs as the number one Agatha Christie novel.

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Another one of Christie’s personal favorites, Endless Night is a departure from her familiar formula. This psychological thriller explores class, obsession, and the dark side of human nature. 

When working-class Michael falls for rich heiress Ellie, the pair build their dream home in the country, ignoring locals’ warnings of an ancient curse. But after the newlyweds move in, the estate quickly becomes a house of horrors.

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Voted the best crime novel ever by the British Crime Writers’ Association, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the third Poirot novel. The mustachioed detective retires to the village of King’s Abbot, but when wealthy Roger Ackroyd is found stabbed to death in his study, Poirot gets back in the game to find the murderer. 

With this masterpiece, the queen of quaint village mysteries proves she also slays at writing twists you never see coming.

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Christie’s 50th novel, often considered the superlative in Miss Marple entertainment, begins with an intriguing notice in the local paper. A murderer is about to strike, and the townsfolk of Chipping Cleghorn can’t help but show up at the predetermined date and time. 

Readers may try to follow the clues and find the culprit, but A Murder is Announced keeps everyone guessing until the very last page.

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One of the darker mysteries featuring Poirot, this thriller pits the Belgian detective against a ruthless serial killer who’s crisscrossing the country by rail, committing murders in alphabetical order: Mrs. Ascher in Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill, and so on. Can Poirot put the pieces together before the killer strikes again? 

The audiobook is narrated by Hugh Fraser, who played Colonel Hastings in the long-running Agatha Christie’s Poirot television series.

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Death on the Nile is another Hercule Poirot favorite recently adapted for the silver screen. The 2022 film stars Gal Gadot and Kenneth Branagh.

When a rich socialite is found murdered on a luxury cruise ship, Poirot is on the case to catch the killer. Written while the author was staying in Aswan, an Egyptian city along the titular river, the story is steeped in local sights. 

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When a fabulously wealthy patriarch is poisoned in his eccentric, sprawling mansion, suspicion falls on his family: They all have a motive, especially his much younger new wife. 

This standalone classic Christie whodunit has all the best elements of the Queen of Crime: a sinister retelling of a nursery rhyme, a self-appointed amateur detective, a suspicious extended family, red herrings, and a shocking ending. 

The 2017 film adaptation stars Glenn Close and Gillian Anderson.

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Christie’s Superintendent Battle series — starring a no-nonsense Scotland Yard detective — includes several gems, like Towards Zero

Superintendent Battle and his nephew, Inspector Leach, investigate several murders that took place during a gathering at a wealthy widow’s estate. They’ve got their work cut out for them, since tensions were running high among many of the guests — including a famous tennis star, his ex, and new (much younger) wife. 

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Convicted of brutally killing his mother, Jacko Argyle dies in prison. Several years later, his siblings return to the family home as their father prepares to marry another woman. But then a man shows up with a shocking revelation: Jacko was innocent. 

With classic Christie touches like domestic drama at a country manor, family secrets, an intriguing cast of characters, and plenty of misdirection, Ordeal by Innocence is considered one of Christie's best later novels.

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In his final novel, Poirot returns to the original scene of the crime, the country estate where he solved his very first case in Christie’s debut book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Queen of Mystery sends off the quirky detective in style (see what I did there), with a final investigation showcasing that while his body may have weakened, his investigative skills are as sharp as ever. 

Poirot left such an indelible mark on readers that when Curtain was published in 1975, the New York Times ran a front-page obituary for the fictional detective, writing, “Dame Agatha reports in Curtain that [Poirot] managed, in one final gesture, to perform one more act of cerebration that saved an innocent bystander from disaster.”

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Christie infuses this mystery with globetrotting adventure. Anne, a young woman who breaks away from a mundane life to live it up in the city, witnesses a man fall to his death at a London tube station. Police brush it off as a tragic accident, but a mysterious note sends Anne on a hunt for the truth — a journey that soon takes her to South Africa.

You may recognize a character in this one: Colonel Race, who appears in other Christie books like Death on the Nile.

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Along with creating iconic investigators Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, Christie also dreamed up the delightful duo Tommy and Tuppence, who star in a series of five books. 

Here, the young couple enthusiastically courts danger and intrigue when they advertise themselves in the local paper as professional adventurers for hire. But when a sinister mystery man answers their ad, they find themselves dangerously in over their heads. 

This exciting tale of espionage and intrigue showcases Christie’s ingenious use of red herrings. 

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If you can’t get enough of the mustache-twirling detective after finishing the Hercule Poirot series, don’t worry, he also stars in many short stories. You’ll find more than 50 in this comprehensive collection. 

These concise cozy mysteries showcase Poirot’s signature wit and logical genius, as he uses his keen powers of observation to crack all kinds of cases.


Christie’s short stories don’t stop with Poirot! For more of the charming busybody with a mind for solving crime, curl up with this complete collection of tales featuring Miss Marple. The unassuming spinster sleuth dazzles, quietly knitting away while she deduces whodunit in mystery after mystery. 

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About the Author: Katie Winters

Katie is an Everand editor who digs weird westerns and hidden histories and never says no to noir. She loves putting her librarian training to work connecting readers with good books. And dancing to Dolly Parton.