Mystery Challenge: Queen of Mystery

~by Lori T.

If Sir Author Conan Doyle was the founder of the mystery genre, Dame Agatha Christie was the Queen.  Agatha Christie wrote 66 mysteries, 14 short stories, and the play The Mousetrap. She is the only mystery writer with two world famous detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, to her credit. She changed the mystery genre by gathering the suspects together at the end of the story and having her detective go through the clues to present the killer to the reader.

Introducing Hercule Poirot

Click here to find The Mysterious Affair at Styles in the SPL catalogIn 1920, after six letters of rejection, Agatha Christie’s first mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published; and the world was introduced to Ms. Christie’s most famous detective, a Belgian immigrant named Hercule Poirot. Poirot, with his many idiosyncrasies, his ‘little grey cells’ and keen observation, collected morsels of important information given by many people without them realizing it was vital to the investigation.

Many Hercule Poirot mysteries are well known: Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, and The Clocks; but have you read Dumb Witness, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, or Taken at the Flood?

Introducing Miss Jane Marple

Click here to find Murder at the Vicarage in the SPL catalogMiss Jane Marple, the quiet, observant and shrewd grandmotherly type, blending in the background with her knitting,  is Agatha Christie’s other famous detective. Can you figure out who did it in the first Jane Marple mystery, Murder at the Vicarage?

Miss Marple is featured in 12 mysteries and 4 short stories; A Pocket Full of Rye and Sleeping Murder are perhaps her most famous.  Christie also wrote two Jane Marple mysteries that link together with a secondary character, A Caribbean Mystery, and Nemesis. Each of these mysteries stand alone or can be read consecutively.

Other Detectives:

Meet Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley, the only Christie detectives to age with each mystery, in The Secret Adversary. Follow the adventures of Tommy and Tuppence through marriage, the Second World War and retirement in the collection of short stories compiled in Partners in Crime.

Agatha Christie’s favorite detective, if you must call him that, was the mysterious, evasive, Harley Quin.  You can acquaint yourself with Mr. Quin with the collection of short stories found in The Mysterious Mr. Quin.

Parker Pyne is a retired civil servant that resolves unhappiness for people.  He advertises in the personal ads of the newspaper to attract the unhappy. Meet the unusual Mr. Pyne in the collection of short stories Parker Pyne Investigates.

Although Ariadne Oliver is never featured as the central detective of a mystery; she paired up with Poirot in six mysteries.  The first meeting between Poirot and the apple eating mystery writer is my favorite mystery, Cards on the Table.

Click here to find Partners in Crime in the SPL catalogClick here to find The Mysterious Mr. Quin in the SPL catalogClick here to find Parker Pyne Investigates in the SPL catalogClick here to find Cards on the Table in the SPL catalog

New Mystery:

Click here to find The Monogram Murders in the SPL catalogIn the thirty eight years since her death, the estate of Agatha Christie has not granted the use of the characters by other writers…until now.

Hercule Poirot makes his return in The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.  How will Poirot solve the murder of three people and prevent the murder of the fourth? It’s a mystery worthy of Christie.


Download and print out the checklist here and read along with our winter mystery series.

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