Saturday, March 31, 2012

Best Hercule Poirot books

   As promised in my post of the Best Agatha Christie books. I have finally come up with a list of Hercule Poirot's top 5 books. But for those of you who have been living on Pluto and don't know who Poirot is. He is a fictional   detective who was created by Agatha Christie and debuted in 1920 in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Poirot is perhaps the most famous fictional detective after Dr Watson's best friend. He has appeared in books, radio, cartoons, comic books, movies, Television and even in Video games.

Poirot started his career with Belgian police and ended it with an obituary in the NY Times. Poirot's use of the "little grey cells" is legendary among Classic mystery buffs. I was first introduced to the Belgian detective who is often mistaken as French in the movie "Death on the Nile" which was brilliantly portrayed by Peter Ustinov.

There is a debate among people where the majority think that David Suchet's portrayal as Poirot in the TV Series 'Poirot' is the best and closest among all the imitations. While the resemblance of Poirot maybe more with David Suchet, but the heart and soul of Poirot for me will always be Peter Ustinov.

When Christie's daughter, Rosalind Hicks, observed to Ustinov that Poirot did not look like him, Ustinov quipped "He does now!"

So whenever I think of Poirot it's Ustinov who comes to my mind and not David Suchet.

Later I read The murder of the Roger Ackroyd and got hooked not just to Poirot and Dame Christie but also to Classic mysteries. Poirot is often aided by a variety of supporting cast including his faithful Watson "Arthur Hastings", "Inspector Japp" and Poirot's mystery novelist friend "Ariadne Oliver"

Before we start there are some rules that I need to lay down.

First, no Poirot book selected in the Best Agatha Christie would be repeated here and number two since I have not read all of the books, any books that I read in the future and if I like it more then the five listed below, I will change my list. although I have a strong feeling that this will never happen as I have read most of them. There are 39 Poirot novels, plus four collections of short stories, making a grand total of 43 books.

So without further adieu lets start with the best novels/books of the little Belgian  Detective.

5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - The Ultimate twist ending, the novel that broke the rules of the Detective fiction. Roger Ackroyd is murdered in a sleepy village but Poirot is close at hand to investigate and reveal the mother of all twist endings.

4. Appointment with Death  - The Boynton's want to get rid of there sadistic matriarch step mother. When she is found poisoned in Jerusalem where Monsieur Poirot is conveniently holidaying every member of the family is a suspect. Poirot vows to solve the crime in 24 hours. This fast paced novel filled with misdirection and red herrings is an underrated gem. I still remember this quote from the book:

Mrs. Emily Boynton: "I never forget anything: not a name, not a face, not an action."

3. One Two Buckle My Shoe - Reading about the infallible Poirot getting scared of the dentist's chair and then taking advise from a retired home officer should be worthy enough to warrant a read. Throw in there a triple murder and political intrigue and this one goes off the charts. The third murder is extremely brutal and the way Christie narrates the aftermath is vivid and not for the weak hearted

2. Death in the Clouds - Death in the clouds is one of Poirot's most under looked books. There is a murder of a moneylender in the first chapter which is attributed to a wasp sting but later it is postulated to a poisoned  tipped dart fired from a blowgun. sounds like the plot of a B grade novel? trust me it is not it is a brilliantly crafted locked room murder.

1. Cards on the Table - The Best Poirot book that I have read so far. It is Poirot's favorite and Hastings least favorite case. Who will you agree with? only 4 suspects but still the ending will leave you dumb founded and we also meet the hilarious mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver.

Do leave a comment below to mark your visit and let me know what you think of my selection or there were any books that I missed.


  1. Well, I don't care much about One, Two... and Death in the Clouds (which I, in fact, dislike) but the other three are superb. Interesting to note that you rate Cards higher than Roger Ackroyd.

  2. I liked how the murderer did the switch in one two, and also the identity of the murderer totally stumped me.
    I though the deductions that Poirot made by studying how the cards were played was pretty neat in cards on the table among other things.

  3. Thanks for these contributions to the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival Irene

  4. For me the best Agatha Christie creation is" Five little pigs"-- no other poirot mystery comes close to it.I also think that David Suchet was at his poirot best in it's film version.

    1. I will be taking that up pretty soon, I have been falling behind on my reading these past couple of months.

    2. I agree with you. It is by the acute study of human psychology that Poirot finds which 'little pig' was the actual criminal of a sixteen-year old murder case. But to my opinion 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' still remain above all books of Christie.

    3. sounds really interesting, another book where Poirot engages in acute human psychology is "Cards on the table", which in my humble opinion is his best work.

  5. 'The Clocks' was too boring in comparison to most books of Christie.

  6. So have you read Murder on the Orient Express, or Curtain, or Peril at End House?

    1. hi,

      I have read Murder on the Orient Express and Peril at End House. Murder on the Orient Express is one of my favourite mystery books, but I quite disliked Peril at End house, perhaps because I guessed the murderer at the very start of the book and found the rest of the book very tiresome. Have not read Curtain as the ending was revealed to me accidentally by someone.

      you can read about my favourite Christie books here:

      you can read my short review of Peril at end house here:

  7. I have read all the above mentioned books.
    Murder on the orient express is the best detective books ever, and one of the best of Agatha Christie.
    I would like to comment on cards on the table. Where as other Christie books ending is difficult to guess, in cards on the table, it was open challenge. by the author.
    Only four suspects. Still the ending a total shocker. I was convinced, that I had guessed it correctly, but was pleasantly surprised by the denouement

    1. Hey Safdar,

      I concur, same was the case with me. you have good taste.

  8. i've read all the agatha christie books and almost all of them leave ,e dumbfounded.....!!!!