MUST-READ AGATHA CHRISTIE BOOKS (I)

MUST-READ AGATHA CHRISTIE BOOKS (I): 

Celebrating 100 years of Agatha Christie:

The year 2020 marks a century of Agatha Christie’s first published book (in October 1920- to be precise). A year from now, that is on 21.01.2021, will be the date when her first novel-The Mysterious Affair At Styles”- was published in the United Kingdom.  

She is the best selling novelist of all time. Her books still keep on providing inspirations and getting adapted to different mediums. Starting today, this is a Five-Part series on my picks of the “Must-Read Agatha Christie Books.”

My first year:

Things never go as I plan them. The more carefully and detailed the plans I make, the more astray they go.

That’s what happened when I embarked on this blogging journey. It’s been a little more than a year (or should I say almost two years). Everything was set to begin with (at least I thought so). I wanted to celebrate the first year with this post. But alas! Anyway, better late than never. Actually, it’s most opportune that it’s late. We can now officially kick-start the celebrations of 100 years of Agatha Christie.

My Favourite Agatha Christie Novels/ Books:

Having read (and re-read) her books several times over, I had a lot of thoughts about Agatha Christie’s writing and style. So, why not just put them into writing. How difficult could that be? As a matter of fact, very.🙄

Discussing Novels:

So far, I have discussed only two Agatha Christie novels. Since discussing a complete novel seemed tough (and time taking), I decided to compile a Must Read Agatha Christie Books” list.

This turned out to be a lot tougher.😓

The rationale:

All fans of Agatha Christie must have their own favourites and their particular reason for those preferences. This ranking is therefore purely a matter of personal choice.

Mine is roughly based on the following:- active involvement of the sleuth in the adventure; entertainment quotient and overall feel of the story- via description and dialogues/ conversations; the ingenuity of the methods used (of murder or crime); the surprise quotient of the motive for crime (because some of them might appear quite peculiar or even bizzare at first); degree of mystery and the final turn-out.

A favourites List:

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple need no introduction. Besides that, there are some novels that do not feature the two famed detectives, but are interesting nonetheless. Therefore, I have separated this series into five parts as shown below:Let’s just go to the first list for my selection of the Must-Read Agatha Christie Books”– from her timeless collection.

Part I: Tommy & Tuppence Adventures:

Frankly, there is really not much to rank or choose here. Only 5 books feature Tommy & Tuppence, aka Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Prudence Beresford (née Cowley). Of these, the last two are not among special favourites. Only three remain and I like all three equally.

The collaboration of Tommy & Tuppence is amusing and you will like the way they face danger headlong together. Tommy is careful and slow in working towards the solution and uses his wit in tight situations. Tuppence is full of zeal and pluckiness and is highly resourceful. Both complement each other to make a team. Their enthusiasm and fellowship is cracking and delightful. 

Tommy & Tuppence mostly get embroiled in international espionage and intrigue:

1. “The Secret Adversary” (1922):  

This is Tommy & Tuppence’s first adventure together.

Out of job after serving in First World War, and not being the office kind, the two youths decide to set up their own venture, which they call- The “Young Adventurers Ltd.” Their advertisement runs- “willing to go anywhere, ready to do anything”. Which they do– leading the twosome and readers into the world of spies, international treaties and a master criminal. The raw and impulsive attitude of our heroes is the appealing feature of this spy/ crime thriller.

2. “Partners in Crime” (1929):Book cover- Partners in Crime Must-Read Agatha Christie Books

A short story collection, it was published in 1929.

Tommy & Tuppence are now married. Tommy is employed in an office job and Tuppence is bored to death. As they cannot stay away from thrill (and danger) for long, they open a detective agency (with some official prompting). In the process solving a variety of cases- some crimes, some conspiracies, some neither.

3. “N or M” (1941):

An espionage story set during WWII it came out after quite a gap from the second book that featured Tommy-Tuppence.Book cover N OR M- Must-Read Agatha Christie Books

Now a middle-aged couple with two children, Tommy & Tuppence are called again for help amid the Second World War, in this spy thriller. Actually it is only Tommy who is asked to go undercover to ferret out the spies within. But how can anyone stop Tuppence from joining in? Using her ingenuity, Tuppence finds out the place where Tommy is supposed to go and gives him (and their handler) a surprise by establishing herself first. Their Joint Venture thus begins.

Agatha Christie was herself very fond of this detective duo. I just wish there were more of Tommy & Tuppence’s adventures set in their prime years. 

Which is the Tommy & Tuppence adventure you like most? What are your favourite(s) among the Tommy & Tuppence adventures? 

The next part, Part II of the series, will focus on the novels not featuring the recurring sleuths among Agatha Christie’s collection.

 

11 response to "MUST-READ AGATHA CHRISTIE BOOKS (I)"

  1. By: bollyviewer Posted: January 23, 2020

    Hello! I found your blog via Anu’s (Conversations Over Chai) and am delighted to meet a fellow Agatha Christie enthusiast. I have read and re-read almost all Christie novels multiple times – so maybe “enthusiast” is an understatement?

    My “Must Read Again” Christie list is mostly comprised of her one-off books with Man In The Brown Suit and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans topping the list. And The Secret Adversary comes close. Her 1920s and 30s books had a youthful joie de vivre that still come through, after nearly a century. The leads usually jump right into the most improbable situations without thinking much and I love how everything ends happily-ever-after! I do like the other Tommy and Tuppence novels too, but I prefer their screen adaptations to the books. My favorite screen version is the 1983 one that stars Francesca Annis as Tuppence and James Warwick as Tommy. Have you seen that?

  2. By: Aditi Pathak Posted: January 27, 2020

    Hi Bollyviewer,

    Firstly, sorry for such a late reply. And I have read your blog a few times before.
    It’s great to know that you like Agatha Christie too. There’s something that makes her fresh even after a century.
    I have not seen any Tommy-Tuppence adaptations yet, but it’s on my list. I have seen the adaptation of
    “Why didn’t they ask Evans” though.
    Please watch this space for the next parts too. I would be glad to know your views
    Aditi

  3. By: Mehfil Mein Meri Posted: January 27, 2020

    Hello,
    Firstly welcome back. Nice to see you after a long gap. More than five months it was!
    And congratulations for completing one year. These anniversaries are so special for the blog master.
    Coming to the topic for the post, Tommy and Tuppence.
    I’ve read all the five books, and as usual I am unable to decide the best among them. This always happens with me, while shortlisting the songs for a post. I always admire Madhuji for her apt selection of only ten songs per post. I’ve at times divided the post in three or parts to accommodate all my favourites, which range from 15-50. But never perfect ten. Of course this holds true for the tribute post.

    Still, if I’m to select my favourite, I would select N or M. The surprise element was too shocking for me at least. Partners in crime had a tinge of humour and I like it for that.
    But I love other books too. The first book that I read from the series was postern of fate and as it was the first Tommy and Tuppence book that I read, it has a special place in my mind.

    Oh!
    How long the comment is! Let me congratulate you again for the series and waiting for the next parts.

    Anup

  4. By: Anu Warrier Posted: January 27, 2020

    Oh, you remind me that I must revisit some of my favourite Christies! I haven’t read one since last year. I’m not a great fan of Tommy and Tuppence, and I can take or leave Miss Marple (though she has the keenest eye for analysing people); Hercule Poirot is my favourite, and the BBC series was wonderful as well.
    If I had to pick though, I would choose – in no particular order – The Murder on the Orient Express, Who klled Roger Ackroyd, Evil Under the Sun, The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side… oh, so many. 🙂

  5. By: Aditi Pathak Posted: January 28, 2020

    Anuji,
    Thanks for visiting.
    Hercule Poirot is my favourite too, and David Suchet has made him even more memorable. If ever any actor was born
    for a role- they would be David Suchet and Jeremy Brett.
    And wait, there’s more to come. As I said I have divided this series into 5 parts.
    I like Tommy & Tuppence, in their young avatars of course. They are fun together.
    Aditi

  6. By: Aditi Pathak Posted: January 28, 2020

    Hello Anupji,
    It sure was a long gap. Thank you so much for the wishes. I wasn’t sure, I would survive even this long.
    I like Tommy & Tuppence as that young energetic couple, looking out for adventure. The last two “Postern of Fate” &
    “By the Pricking of my Thumbs” are not favourites. That of course as I said is purely personal.
    “N or M” was actually the first ever novel of Agatha Christie I read.
    Thanks again.

  7. By: Aditi Pathak Posted: January 28, 2020

    Posted and replied to.

  8. By: dustedoff Posted: February 6, 2020

    The only Tommy and Tuppence novel I’ve read was Postern of Fate, which I hated. Before that, though, I’d read a hilarious short story – something about a treasure hunt – in an anthology of detective stories. That I loved.

  9. By: Aditi Pathak Posted: February 6, 2020

    Wrong beginning for a very enjoyable pair of sleuths. I do not like them in old age though.
    And there aren’t more stories set in their youth. But if you care for a suggestion, please
    do read “The Secret Adversary” & “Partners in Crime”. The short story you liked was from
    the latter collection.
    And thanks for visiting.

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