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An Agatha Christie Introduction – Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is arriving at the Blackpool Grand in June. To celebrate we’re taking a deeper dive into her life and works and introducing some of her best-loved and most influential novels you may want to try.
Christie is recognised as the bestselling author of all time, even to this day, so there must be something in her writing that is worth exploring. Let’s look more closely at some of the best books to start with.
To Meet Miss Marple
Miss Marple is one of Agatha Christie’s best-known and best-loved characters. Intelligent and engaging, Miss Marple is first introduced to us in the novel, The Murder at the Vicarage. In the Cluedo-style atmosphere, the novel sees the generally unpopular Colonel Protheroe murdered in his library with a gun. Many residents of the village have an understandable grudge to hold against the Colonel and it’s down to Miss Marple to unravel the story and find the culprit. There are eight suspects in total and Miss Marple uses her trademark brainpower to whittle them down to just one. It remains a classic from her collection and may lead to you picking up other Marple stories.
To Experience the Bestseller to Outsell all Bestsellers
And Then There Were None was first published in 1939 and made an immediate impact. It remains Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel and ranks amongst the top ten bestselling books of all time.
Following a classic Christie plot, And Then There Were None sees a group of strangers invited to a party at a remote rural mansion. The guests are primed for a great night, but they are sorely disappointed as the guests begin dying off and someone amidst the party is responsible. Who is responsible for the deaths? Is it the host or the guests? Will anyone make it out alive at the end of the novel? These are all questions you’ll be asking and keep you hooked until the very end.
This is a tried and tested format for a crime novel but the important thing to remember is this was the first! Before And Then There Were None this style of writing had not been attempted before and the gripping nature of the story is still as compelling as it always was.
All the background – An Agatha Christie Introduction
For An Influential and Genre-Defining Read
The structure and story of Christie’s Five Little Pigs has influenced hundreds of writers since its publication. You’ll probably recognise the format even if you haven’t heard of the story. It tells the story of a woman convicted of murdering her husband told multiple times from different characters’ points of view. The story begins sixteen years after Caroline Crale was convicted of her husband’s murder and sees her daughter asking for help to reinvestigate the case. The same story is shown in a wide range of different lights and the result is a highly creative, clever, and perfectly balanced mystery story. Writers to this day draw inspiration from Five Little Pigs.
For an Introduction to Hercule Poirot
Perhaps the most recognised detective character from any work of fiction, Hercule Poirot is another of Christie’s creations. Murder on the Orient Express is perhaps the most accessible of all Poirot novels and is considered one of Christie’s finest works. It shows off her amazing talent for managing a huge cast of characters and making every single one believable and memorable. Poirot is also at his most charismatic and compelling and what’s not to love about the claustrophobic and encapsulated space of a train mystery?
To Escape England with Agatha Christie
Christie is known for her quintessentially English villages and huge sprawling manor houses in the country, but she’s also taken her writing further afield. For an unforgettable Christie novel outside of England, Death on the Nile is your perfect choice. Set in the shadow of Ancient Egyptian tombs and ruins Poirot is back and enjoying a luxury Nile cruise. Unfortunately, his travels are bedecked with misfortune as a young newlywed is murdered on his cruiser. With the hallmarks of the Orient Express, Poirot has to work through the boat’s passengers and cover who may actually be to blame. As is expected with Christie’s character, no passenger is quite what they seem and it’s up to Poirot to suss out the suspects.
Often mislabelled as cosy crime, Christie’s novels are truly literary brain teasers. Packed with fantastic characters and thrilling plots to match, any of these novels is a great starting point for newcomers to the novelist.
Get another taste of Christie’s work at the seaside, in The Mousetrap at Blackpool Grand. Tickets are available now online or call 01253 290 190.
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