BOOKS TO HONOR MYSTERY MASTERMIND AGATHA CHRISTIE

For more than 100 years, beloved English author Agatha Christie has filled us with thrills and chills. Over her successful career she wrote 75 novels, 28 collections, three poems, 16 plays, seven radio broadcasts and two autobiographies. She even lived a mystery of her own.

Murder on the Orient Express
By Agatha Christie

A fully booked luxurious train, with a murderer among the passegers, is traveling from Istanbul to London. Forced to a standstill due to the snowy weather, it is up to private detective Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian police officer, to solve the case before panic ensues. The deceased is an American tycoon named Ratchett, found dead in his compartment after he was stabbed 12 times. His door is suspiciously locked from the inside. Only the day before, this curious character had offered Poirot a large sum of money to protect him, which the detective declined. It turns out that Ratchett was a dangerous gangster with a criminal history. As is his nature, Poirot has already quietly assessed each and every person he met. He meets with the conductor in the dining car to investigate each clue and every passenger to try to solve the murder on the famous Orient Express. Published in 1934, this classic crime whodunit was one of Agatha Christie’s greatest, later becoming an award-winning film.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
By Marie Benedict

In 1926, Agatha Christie is a 36-year-old mystery writer on the cusp of becoming a household name. Things with her husband Archie are extremely tenuous, and against Agatha’s wishes, he announces that they are to spend the weekend apart. Late on this freezing December night, Agatha kisses her 7-year-old daughter Rosalind and gets behind the wheel of her fancy new car. The following day, the car is found abandoned by a gloomy lake with Agatha’s things in the back seat, but Agatha is nowhere to be found. The woman who would one day become the world’s most famous mystery writer becomes the focus of her very own 11-day mystery. Only a few months after releasing her latest novel, Agatha has disappeared. She returns with absolutely no memory of the time that has just passed, wondering why everyone is in such a panic. “The Mystery of Mrs. Christie” is narrated in alternate timelines by Agatha before her disappearance, and her husband Archie’s view after she goes missing. Ingenious author Marie Benedict reimagines what might have happened during this puzzling real-life unsolved mystery with gripping and exquisite detail.

The Christie Affair
By Nina de Gramont

On Dec. 3, 1926, famed mystery writer Agatha Christie is told by her husband Archie that he is in love with another woman. The couple quarrels terribly after he makes this devastating announcement and leaves to spend the weekend with his mistress. Later that evening, Agatha, devastated by the news, packs a few things and leaves their estate in her precious sports car. She is not seen or heard from for 11 days. During this time, Archie appears shocked while the household staff is thoroughly investigated. His girlfriend quietly leaves town. The police begin a massive search for the famed author. Was this news story fodder for her latest book release? A public relations scandal to hold onto a crumbling marriage? The Christie Affair is cleverly narrated by Nan O’Dea, Archie’s mistress. Nan has her own agenda and questionable past. When Nan’s backstory crosses paths with the present search party, she can no longer deny her unexpected role in Christie’s life. This fictionalized account of one of the greatest unsolved mysteries is positively mesmerizing. A novel not unlike one of Agatha’s own creations.

FAN TIP: The phenomenal movie “Death on the Nile,” originally filmed in 1978, was recently remade with an all-star cast and is now streaming on HBO Max and Hulu.

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Karen Newfield is first and foremost a reader, she has reviewed hundreds of books on her blog www.readingandeating.com. And, more recently, this new Keys resident has also begun writing.