Just this month, after spending part of August with family at the lake in Vermont and stumbling upon some old paperbacks, I decided it was time to get serious about an Agatha Christie reread. When I did so, I had no idea it was the centenary of the writing of her first novel and that the Royal Mail would be issuing these six stamps today, which each contain concealed clues in the form of microtext and special inks that can be revealed using either a magnifying glass, UV light, or body heat. How fun! Of course, I don’t live in the U.K., but I have convinced some lovely book blogging friends to contribute to my postcard collection and send me a few in action. Hooray!
As I wrote back in Part 2 of my series on My Life in Books, I have long loved a good mystery and Christie was one of my first introductions to the genre. In fact, when blogging about my bookshelves over at Savidge Reads, I named my complete set of The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection (81 faux-leather volumes!) as my most prized possession.
However, it had been some time since I read any of these beauties. I’ve started a chronological re-read a few times but never stuck with it beyond the first few volumes. As I am just getting out of a massive reading slump, I figured now was as good a time as any. Plus, it has been some time since my last serious book challenge. Of course, with 66 novels, 13 short story collections, and 2 autobiographies, I am unlikely to finish this within my usual challenge time frame of a year, but I am hoping to make solid headway by next September, or at least past my childhood favorite, And Then There Were None, which is just under halfway. [Side note: Yes, of course I’ve created a spreadsheet: It has each of the novels and short stories to make sure I get them all, and in order. There are a few short stories that appeared in U.K. collections but not U.S. editions and vice versa, so I’m hoping to track those down as I go.]
So far, I’ve read the first four novels (The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Secret Adversary, Murder on the Links, and The Man in the Brown Suit) and the first short story collection (Poirot Investigates) and so am up to Christie’s sixth book, The Secret of Chimneys (1925). Luckily, while I seem to remember the basic stories and many of the characters, I’m remarkably bad at remembering who committed the crime. So the books are familiar but the mysteries are still fresh. I wonder if the favorites I had when I was younger will remain so…
[ETA: I’ve linked to my mini-reviews of the titles above. As always, you can see all my reading and access other reviews on my Goodreads page.]
Have you read an Agatha Christie mystery before? If so, do you have a favorite?