Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is one of the world’s most popular and enduring novelists, her works outsold by only the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare. Over the course of her illustrious life, Christie wrote 66 detective novels and 15 short story collections that have sold over a staggering two billion copies. Similarly, her famous mystery play, The Mousetrap, opened in London’s West End in 1952 and is still running today.
Known for her eccentric characters such as the Belgian super-detective Inspector Poirot and elderly amateur sleuth Miss Marple, Christie’s novels are also famed for their broad range of dramatic locations and often shocking narrative twists. By the time she died in 1976, Christie’s reputation as one of Britain’s – if not the world’s – most famous authors was cemented forever, and her legacy is reflected in the many film and television adaptations of her novels that are still produced today.
Here’s a breakdown of Agatha Christie’s books in order, highlighting her novels and short stories.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Christie’s first novel was written during World War One. The book introduces the character of Hercule Poirot, and is notable for introducing many of the character types, plot twists and red herrings that would characterise the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
The Secret Adversary
The book introduces the characters of Tommy and Tuppence who feature in three other Christie novels and one collection of short stories.
Murder on the Links
Christie’s second novel to feature Hercule Poirot. Reviews compared the character to famed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.
The Man in the Brown Suit
Following the character Anne Beddingfeld, the novel takes place in England, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
A collection of 11 short stories starring detective Hercule Poirot. The range of mysteries include a bank robbery, a kidnapped Prime Minister and an ancient Egyptian curse.
The Secret of Chimneys
Set over the course of a week at the country house Chimneys, the novel is both a murder mystery and treasure hunt, and was well-received by critics.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
A Hercule Poirot mystery, the novel has often been described as Christie’s masterpiece. Known for its controversial and innovative twist ending, in 2013 the British Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever.
The Big Four
Another Hercule Poirot mystery that features international crime and espionage. The novel started out as 12 short stories.
The Mystery of the Blue Train
A Poirot mystery that investigates the murder of an American heiress. Christie considered the novel to be one of her worst ever.
The Seven Dials Mystery
Featuring the same characters from The Secret of Chimneys, Christie’s novel was criticised for being overly simplistic and having too preposterous an ending.
Partners in Crime
Featuring the characters Tommy and Tuppence Beresford from The Secret Adversary, the collection of short stories are parodies of established mystery novels of the time. All of the stories are linked by one overarching mystery.
The Mysterious Mr Quin
Made up of 12 short stories, each chapter involves the characters of socialite Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Quin, whose interactions lead them to solve a range of mysteries. The book was only moderately well-received.
The Murder at the Vicarage
The first of Agatha Christie’s books in order of publication to feature the character Miss Marple in the village of St Mary Mead, the novel features a number of characters and subplots and quickly became a hit.
The Sittaford Mystery (known in the US as Murder at Hazelmoor)
Amateur sleuth Miss Emily Trefusis, who investigates a séance that comes true against the rugged backdrop of Dartmoor, was well-received as a sharp and likeable character.
Peril at End House
A Hercule Poirot mystery set in Cornwall, the novel is one of Christie’s most famous and highly-rated, and has been adapted for stage, radio, film, television, graphic novel and as a computer game.
The Thirteen Problems (known in the US as The Tuesday Club Murders)
These 13 short stories featuring Miss Marple in the village of St Mary Mead are all linked by an overarching plot.
Lord Edgware Dies
A Poirot mystery that focuses on the murder of Lord Edgeware and an American actress. Readers and reviewers praised the book, noting that the solution was particularly ingenious since a key clue, unusually, comes from a stranger.
The Hound of Death (not US)
Made up of 12 short stories, the novel was the first to only be published in the UK, and not the US. Its stories were eventually released in different collections in America. Unusually, most of the tales are supernatural and fatalistic, rather than detective-oriented. From this collection, Christie developed the short story ‘The Witness for the Prosecution’ into an award-winning play that has since been adapted for film and television.
Murder on the Orient Express (known in the US as Murder in the Calais Coach)
Taking place between Istanbul and what was then known as Yugoslavia, in Murder on the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot and a range of characters find themselves trapped on a train stuck in snow. Amongst the most famous of Christie’s works, the novel has been adapted for film and television on numerous occasions.
The Listerdale Mystery (not US)
Another of Christie’s works to not have been initially published in the US, the novel is made up of a collection of short stories. The short story Philomel Cottage first appears here, and was later turned into a successful play, two feature films and two British television series.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (known in the US as The Boomerang Clue)
Set between Wales and Hampshire, the novel follows two amateur detectives solving a murder on a golf course.
Parker Pyne Investigates (known in the US as Mr Parker Pyne, Detective)
Made up of a collection of short stories, the novel comprises of 12 of Christie’s fourteen stories in total which feature detective James Parker Pyne.
Three-Act Tragedy (known in the US as Murder in Three Acts)
This is the only book where Hercule Poirot collaborates with his friend Mr Satterthwaite to solve the mystery.
Death in the Clouds (known in the US at Death in the Air)
Hercule Poirot solves a mystery while on a plane. The novel was hugely well-received for its innovative twist ending.
The ABC Murders (known in the US as The Alphabet Murders)
A Poirot mystery, the novel is noted for its unusual combination of both first and third-person narrative.
Murder in Mesopotamia
Another Poirot mystery, the novel is set during an archaeological excavation in Iraq. True descriptions from Christie’s visit to the Royal Cemetery at Ur – where she met her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan – feature in the story.
Cards on the Table
Yet another Poirot mystery, the murder is solved based upon the psychology of a group of people playing cards. It is considered by some to be one of Christie’s best.
Dumb Witness (known in the US as Poirot Loses a Client, Mystery at Littlegreen House, Murder at Littlegreen House)
A Poirot mystery, this novel was met with a mixed reception amongst Christie fans, who felt that some of the clues were a bit heavy-handed.
Death on the Nile
Arguably Christie’s most famous work, the novel led to a renewed interest in tourism to Egypt. It has since been dramatised on screen many times.
Murder in the Mews (known in the US as Dead Man’s Mirror)
A collection of four short stories featuring Hercule Poirot, the novel was criticised for not embellishing each individual story enough.
Appointment with Death
A Poirot novel set mainly in Jerusalem and Petra that reflects Christie’s experiences travelling in the Middle East with her husband.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (known in the US as Murder for Christmas, A Holiday for Murder)
A Poirot mystery that was lauded for its complexity and narrative brilliance.
Murder is Easy (known in the US as Easy to Kill)
Retired police officer Luke Fitzwilliam struggles to discover the identity of a serial killer in a little village. The novel received mixed results.
And Then There Were None (known in the US as Ten Little Indians)
One of Christie’s most famous works, the book is the world’s best-selling mystery, with 100 million copies sold, and the sixth best-selling title of any language.
The Regatta Mystery
This collection of 9 short stories featured Christie’s detectives Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Parker Pyne. It was first published exclusively in the US – the first time one of Christie’s novels had been released in such a way – but it was later published in the UK as well.
Another of the Poirot series, Sad Cypress is partially set in the courtroom with lawyers and witnesses pointing Poirot in the direction of the truth. The title comes from a song in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. It was well-received at publication, and was described as being more emotional than most of Christie’s Poirot novels.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (known in the US as The Patriotic Murders, An Overdose of Death)
Another Poirot novel, this text features the last appearance of Chief Inspector Japp. Shortly after visiting his dentist, Poirot investigates the death of the very same dentist. The novel was generally praised by critics and the public.
Evil Under the Sun
Poirot is in Devon, where he must solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The novel was lauded by critics, and was later adapted multiple times. A notable film adaptation of 1982 featured Peter Ustinov as Poirot and a cast that included Dame Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg.
N or M?
Featuring the mature versions of the detectives Tommy and Tuppence, Christie’s novel is named after a catechism from the Book of Common Prayer. In around 1941-2, British intelligence agency MI5 investigated Christie because one of her characters was called Major Bletchley, and they were afraid Christie had a spy in top codebreaking centre, Bletchley Park. She explained that the name came from an area in Milton Keynes.
The Body in the Library
A Miss Marple novel that revolves around murders in a country house, Christie wrote that the body in the library was consciously a detective mystery cliché, and that she worked to complicate the mystery to subvert expectations. The novel has been adapted on screen by the BBC and ITV and for radio.
Five Little Pigs (known in the US as Murder in Retrospect)
Hercule Poirot investigates the murders of 5 people who were killed 16 years previously, after a woman, who was falsely convicted of murdering her husband, dies in prison. It has been regarded by many as one of Christie’s most brilliant novels.
The Moving Finger (known in the US as The Case of the Moving Finger)
Set in Devon, the story revolves around an anonymous letter and a murder. Unusually, Miss Marple only enters during the final quarter of the novel after Hercule Poirot fails to solve the crime. The male narrator was praised and panned in equal measure.
Towards Zero (known in the US as Come and Be Hanged)
The last novel to feature Superintendent Battle, the novel follows multiple murders of two friends named Lady Tressilian and Treves. The novel was well-received, being praised for its particularly well-developed characters. One critic praised the gentlemanly behaviour of the characters in the novel.
Death Comes as the End
This is the only of Christie’s novels not to be set in the 20th century, and it also features no European characters. Instead, it is set in Thebes in 2000 BC, which was likely inspired by Christie working with her husband, who was an archaeologist. The novel, which is noted for its very high number of deaths, came to be known as a ‘historical whodunnit’ novel. It is one of only four of Christie’s novels never to have received an adaptation of any kind.
Sparking Cyanide (known in the US as Remembered Death)
Featuring the character Colonel Race, the story revolves around the mysterious deaths of a married couple, exactly one year apart. While the novel sold well, it was not thought to be Christie’s best work, lacking the sparkle of characters like Hercule Poirot.
The Hollow (known in the US as Murder after Hours)
The first of Christie’s novels in four years to feature Hercule Poirot, Christie claimed that the country house mystery was actually ruined by the introduction of Poirot, who Christie confessed to not liking much as a character.
The Labours of Hercules
A collection of 12 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot, who gives an account of cases with which he intends to close his career. He draws upon the mythology of Hercules to do so. The stories were published periodically between 1939 and 1947.
Taken at the Flood (known in the US as There is a Tide)
A Hercule Poirot novel set in a village near London in 1946, the story explores post-World War Two England and its economic challenges. The story revolves around blackmail and murder, and introduces the character of Superintendent Spence.
Witness for the Prosecution (not UK)
A collection of short stories only published in the US, each story had already appeared in UK collections of short stories. Some of the stories are fantasy fiction, rather than mysteries. Witness for the Prosecution later turned into a play that has been staged countless times.
The action takes place in London in autumn 1947, and takes its title from the nursery rhyme ‘There Was a Crooked House’. Christie claimed that this was one of her favourite book titles of all of her works, along with Ordeal by Innocence.
A Murder is Announced
Featuring the detective Miss Marple, the book was praised as being ingenious and was also heavily publicised, since it is Christie’s fiftieth book.
Three Blind Mice (not UK) (known in the US as The Mousetrap)
A collection of 9 short stories featuring an alternate version of the play The Mousetrap, which is still immensely popular as a stage production.
They Came to Baghdad
An adventure novel, it was inspired by Christie’s own trips to Baghdad with her archaeologist husband. It is one of few Christie novels that belong to the action and spy fiction genres instead of whodunnits and mysteries.
The Under Dog (not UK)
A collection of 9 short stories, all of which feature Hercule Poirot. All of the stories were published in American and British magazines between 1923 and 1926, and all would appear again in 1974’s Poirot’s Early Cases.
Mrs McGinty’s Dead (known in the US as Blood Will Tell)
A Hercule Poirot novel, the novel is a village mystery which is notable for its wit and comic detail. This publication is considered to make the start of Poirot’s final phase.
They Do It with Mirrors (known in the US as Murder with Mirrors)
A Miss Marple novel, it was criticised since it was felt that the second half of the novel moved too slowly. The title is a reference to the way that illusionists sometimes use mirrors to bend perspective, which in turn helps Miss Marple solve the mystery.
After the Funeral (known in the US as Funerals are Fatal)
Featuring Hercule Poirot, the novel uncovers the story of the murder of a wealthy man, and his relatives committing further murder to try and be awarded a big share of his wealth.
A Pocket Full of Rye
A Miss Marple novel, much of the plot references the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’. Reviewers felt that the plot was less stunning than normal, but it still made for a good read.
Destination Unknown (known in the US as So Many Steps to Death)
A work of spy fiction, the novel opens in Morocco and centres around a woman who is recruited to be a British spy. Though the novel was deemed to be enjoyable, it was not seen as as impactful as her mystery novels more widely. It’s one of only four of Christie’s novels to have never been adapted.
Hickory Dickory Dock (known in the US as Hickory Dickory Death)
A Hercule Poirot novel, Hickory Dickory Dock is set at a student hostel and revolves around the murder of one of its residents.
Dead Man’s Folly
A Hercule Poirot novel, Dead Man’s Folly was not regarded as Christie’s best work – the red herrings were seen as too random and unexplained, and Poirot was perceived to be less sharp than normal.
4.50 from Paddington (known in the US as What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!)
A Miss Marple novel, 4.50 from Paddington was regarded as being short on clues, but satisfying nonetheless. The 1961 film Murder, She Said was based on the novel, as were several television programmes.
Ordeal by Innocence
The novel was regarded as a psychologically rather than practically mystery-driven story, which proved less popular than normal. However, Christie sometimes regarded it as her favourite of her works.
Cat Among the Pigeons
A Hercule Poirot novel, there is an emphasis on espionage and Christie’s international adventures, as well as references to the Tommy and Tuppence stories.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Not US)
A collection of 6 short stories featuring both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Indeed, it is the only first edition published in the UK that features both famous detectives. The stories in the collection were published as part of other volumes in the US.
The Pale Horse
Featuring the novelist detective Ariadne Oliver as a minor character, the novel is somewhat supernatural, in response to public demand for supernatural novels at the time. It has been adapted many times.
Double Sin (not UK)
A collection of 8 short stories that feature appearances from both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. A countryside murder, a human-like doll and a medium summoning spirits are all included.
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (known in the US as The Mirror Crack’d)
A Miss Marple mystery set in St. Mary Mead, the novel takes its name from the poem The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
A Poirot novel, unusually, Poirot is challenged with solving the crime without visiting any of the crime scenes or speaking to any of the witnesses or suspects. The novel marked the return of a partial first-person narrative.
A Caribbean Mystery
A Miss Marple novel, A Caribbean Mystery was judged to be a return to the top of Christie’s form. Two of the characters, Jason Rafiel and Esther Walters, appear in the later novel Nemesis, published in 1971.
At Bertram’s Hotel
Another Miss Marple novel, the story follows the amateur detective as she solves a number of crimes connected to the hotel, and also explores the various interesting characters who live there and their changing social attitudes.
A Hercule Poirot novel, it is notable for being the first in many years where Poirot is present from the beginning to the end. It also features the recurring character Ariadne Oliver.
Christie noted that this was one of her favourite novels she’d ever written, and it was indeed one of the most critically acclaimed of her career. The title comes from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence.
By the Pricking of My Thumbs
Featuring a now elderly Tommy and Tuppence Beresford (they age from novel to novel), the title comes from Act 4, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
A Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver novel, the story was regarded as having too many loose ends and unrealised characters. The novel was dedicated to P.G. Wodehouse.
Passenger to Frankfurt
Published to mark Christie’s eightieth birthday, the novel was also advertised as her eightieth book. It was the last of her spy novels, and made many observations about the world and how it was changing at the time. The novel received mixed reviews.
The last Miss Marple novel Christie wrote, the novel again features Jason Rafiel who had previously appeared in A Caribbean Mystery. It received positive reviews. Recent analysis of the plot has suggested that homosexual themes are present, though the character of Miss Marple seems to view the passionate friendship between women as just a phase, as was the generally-held view of the time.
The Golden Ball (not UK)
A collection of 15 short stories featuring characters such as Hercule Poirot, some of the stories were published in other story collections in the UK and US.
Elephants Can Remember
Featuring Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver, the novel was the last of Agatha Christie’s books in order to feature either character, though it was succeeded by Curtian: Poirot’s Last Case, which had been written in the early 1940s but was published later. The novel highlights themes such as oral testimony and memory.
Postern of Fate
Featuring the now-retired couple Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in their last appearance, the novel was the last that Christie wrote, but not the last to be published. It involves a cold case that dates to World War One. It is one of four Christie novels to have never received an adaptation.
Poirot’s Early Cases (known in the US as Hercule Poirot’s Early Cases)
A collection of 18 short stories that chart some of the cases from Poirot’s early career before he becomes internationally renowned as a detective.
Featuring Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings, the novel marks the final appearance of both characters. A country house novel, the murder and characters are all located in one house. It was the last novel published by Christie before her death, though another, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously.
A Miss Marple novel, the story was published after Christie had died and is the last published Christie novel. The story is set in 1944, though an earlier draft of the novel was written during World War Two.
Miss Marple’s Final Cases (not US)
A collection of 8 short stories, of which six feature Miss Marple. Most of the stories had been published earlier in the US in magazines. In 2010, an audio book and the Kindle edition were released.
Problem at Pollensa Bay (not US)
A collection of 8 short stories which had previously been published in American volumes. It features two stories with Hercule Poirot, two with Parker Pyne, two with Harley Quin and two gothic stories.
The Harlequin Tea Set (not UK)
A collection of 9 short stories which each contains a separate mystery. With the exception of The Harlequin Tea Set, all of the stories were published in the UK in 1997 in the anthology While the Light Lasts and Other Stories.
While the Light Lasts (not US)
A collection of 9 short stories, the stories include some of Agatha Christie’s very earliest stories, including her first ever. This is the last of Agatha Christie’s books in order of publication date.