Book Reviews

A Year of Agatha Christie: Mini Book Reviews

So sometime last year, I decided I was going to read every Agatha Christie book there is. If I read one a month (and manage to actually find all of them) it will take me about 5 1/2 years.

Here’s a breakdown and mini reviews of all the ones I read this year!

January: The ABC Murders

Rating: 4//5 Stars
This story is truly unique for AC in the fact that we have two narrators – something she doesn’t usually do.
In this story a serial killer straight up tells Poirot what hes going to do and when, and leaves “clues” behind at the crimes scenes. Our second narrator seems to be the killer…he is after all, at every crime scene right around when the murder takes place. But being a Poirot novel, nothing is quite as it seems. I really loved the dual narrators, and I *almost* guessed this one correctly. It was a really interesting and creative murder mystery novel!

February: The Big Four

Rating: 3//5 Stars
Originally published as a series of short stories in a magazine, Poirot changes a bit from detective to dealing with international espionage. It was kind of confusing, very chaotic, and not at all what I’ve come to expect from AC.

March: Appointment With Death

Rating: 4//5 Stars
This one in interesting because it reserves the usual “every loved her, no one could have done this tragedy” and instead we get “every single person who has ever spoken to her hates her, had motive, had opportunity, and is lying about something.”
When everyone is a suspect, how do you figure out who did it? Although the mystery of who it was and why was one of my least favorites, I really liked the shear hatred everyone had for the victim. It made for a new and exciting way of sleuthing and I dig it.

April: Elephants Can Remember

Rating: 3.4//5 Stars
Review: This time Poirot has a new sidekick, and its Ariadne Oliver! I love Oliver, she doesn’t really assist on cases, but she is a world famous detective writer, and has lots of valuable insight to share. This time our focus is on an old double homicide/suicide. Celia and Oliver are engaged, but Oliver’s family wants to know the truth of Celia’s parent’s death first. So we dive in headfirst to the old case, talking to “elephants” aka older people who miraculously remember every detail from the time of the deaths. I mostly figured this one out before the big reveal, and is probably one of the most obvious whodunnits that Christie has written.

May: Three Act Tragedy

Rating: 4.4//5 Stars
Haven’t you heard to never host a dinner party of 13 people? Bad things happen when thirteen sit at a table…like being mysteriously poisoned for no apparent reason. This story is remarkable because there’s no reason for the first murder…or really for the second. No one seems to have a motive, the cause of death is sneaky and hard to identify, and people keep disappearing. I had to reread the whodunnit several times because I was a little in shock with how everything went down.

June: Five Little Pigs

Rating: 3.4//5 Stars
Review: Carla knows her mother didn’t kill her father 16 years ago. Even though she plead guilty all those years ago. There’s 5 other people that were there that awful day, including her fathers mistress and her moms half-sister. But if Caroline didn’t do it…why did she confess to killing her husband?
This story was fascinating because, similar to Elephants Can Remember, it deals with a crime that took place years ago, and makes it that much harder to solve. Poirot is a little different in this one too, he’s softer, kinder, than usual. It’s a good story with a lot of good twists about whodunnit, who is lying, and what really happened. Also, I SOLVED THIS ONE.

July: The Body In the Library

Rating: 4.3//5 Stars
You wake up, get ready for your day, only to discover a dead girl that you’ve never seen before laying in your library. This was my second Miss Marple story I’ve ever read, and she did not disappoint. Something about an old woman going around solving crimes is amazing. This book has A LOT of characters, from the couple whose house the body was found in, to the movie producer to next door, hotel guests, dancers, there’s a lot going on. But I love how every single character tied together in some way, and I wasn’t quite sure who killed Ruby, going back and forth between multiple suspects until the very end. (And this ending definitely threw me)

August: Cards on The Table

Rating: 4.5//5 Stars
And we’re back With Ariadne Oliver and Hercule Poirot! Technically Oliver’s first story, we also have Colonel Race and Superintendent Battle, whose other stories I haven’t actually read yet. These four sleuths are invited to a dinner party, along with four possible murder suspects…
But when everyone is having a good time playing cards, their host is murdered. With four suspects, all capable of murder, and four detectives, this case should be easy to solve…right?
I really enjoyed seeing all the detectives work together in this one, and I liked the slow reveals of whether or not the four suspects really were murderers. And, yet again, I did not see the real killer coming, at all.

September: The Murder On The Links

Rating: 4.3//5 Stars
Poirot! Hastings! And love! That’s right, its time for another murder, but this time Hastings is also in for a beautiful romance. We start of with Poirot and Hastings headed to meet Mr. Renauld, who asked for their help, but find him already dead. The wife’s behavior is odd, the staff and their son were sent away, and the neighbor is suddenly a whole lot richer…so what happened? We end up with a second death, a girl following the case, a 22 year old murder, and multiple confessions. I had suspicions about this one, but was consistently thrown on who I thought was the killer. It’s probably one of my favorites I read this year, and part of that is that Hastings gets to ride off with the love of his life.

October An Overdose of Death (Original title One, Two, Buckle My Shoe)

Rating: 4.2/5 Stars
A dentist commits suicide – but Poirot doesn’t think so. We have a second death – a patient killed by an overdose of anesthetic, and the dentist’s secretary being called away by a fake telegram. All signs point to guilt over the overdose, but when you throw in mismatched shoe buckles, politics, and a spy, things start to get messy. I really enjoyed this one because the murder was very well planned out. Poirot’s biggest “clue” as to whodunnit was accidental, if he hadn’t happened to have a dentist appointment that morning, and happened to pick up that one item, the case would’ve been ruled a suicide and the murder would’ve gotten away. It’s truly a case that shows just how intelligent Poirot is.

November: The Harlequin Tea Set

Rating: 4//5 Stars
This is hands down, the weirdest AC novel I have read so far. It’s a collection of nine short stories, and they’re not all necessarily mysteries. I loved While The Light Lasts, The Lonely God, and The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, (Spanish Chest is actually a longer version of the Poirot story The Mystery of The Baghdad Chest). But lets talk about the namesake story of the book, The Harlequin Tea Set, this story has an almost magical sense to it, and includes Mr. Satterthwaite, who appears in a few other stories (including Three Act Tragedy) and his friend Mr. Quin. I haven’t read any other Quin stories, but Mr. Quin almost seemed to know what tragedy was going to take place before it happened, and I still don’t fully understand it. But overall, this collection is a nice break from the usual murder mysteries of Agatha Christie, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

December: The Secret Adversary

Rating: 4.2 //5 Stars
This is the first Tommy & Tuppence book, and the only “series” where the characters actually age based on real time. I really enjoyed this one. Tommy & Tuppence are both young, in their mid 20s, just trying to make a quick buck or two. Suddenly they’re drawn into a world of espionage and secrets, where the wrong decision can mean another war. I loved the witty back and forth of these two, and this book had so many twists and surprises that I was never bored. Definitely the Agatha to end the year with!

Have you read any Agatha Christie stories? Which is your favorite?

3 thoughts on “A Year of Agatha Christie: Mini Book Reviews”

  1. This is such a fun idea, and it looks like a lot of them were high ratings for you as well! I should really read more Agatha Christie, I think I’ve only read about 4 but had a good time with them all!

    Liked by 1 person

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