The Completist Christie Challenge

Several years ago, I signed up for the perpetual (as opposed to annual) Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. For a little while I kept track of it on a blog post on my old blog, but I was having a hard time deciding how to handle the short stories. I wanted to read them in original publication order, not the order in which the anthologies were published. If you’ve read many collections of Christie shorts, you’ve no doubt noticed that their publication was a bit chaotic, and I was determined to figure out all the details so I could read them in the proper order.

Well, thank goodness I announced this intention on Facebook, because my friend Elena Santangelo promptly pointed out that she — literally — wrote the book on Dame Agatha’s Shorts. It is entertaining and informative and has been an immensely useful tool. Between it and several other bibliographies, I am now working out the order in which I wish to read not only Christie’s mystery novels and short fiction, but also her nonfiction and her novels published as Mary Westmacott. I’m also hoping to read all of her plays as well. (I do not plan to include The Scoop, The Floating Admiral, or Behind the Screen, which she co-wrote with a number of other mystery authors.)

Below is the (still developing) list, and I am allowing myself some leeway for things originally published within the same year, as well as for the stories I already read slightly out of order. As I read my way through the list, I find myself making some adjustments to the order I would recommend to others. That’s why you now see “The House of Dreams,” which was likely the first story Christie ever wrote, at the very start of the list, even though it was not her first story to be published. I hope that this time I will be more conscientious about updating the post when I’ve finished reading an item.

  • “The House of Dreams” – read in 2016
  • (1920) The Mysterious Affair at Styles – read in 2004
  • (1922) The Secret Adversary – read in 2009
  • (1923) Murder on the Links – read in 2009
  • (1923) “The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Affair at the Victory Ball” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The King of Clubs” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Adventure of the ‘Western Star'” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Kidnapped Prime Minister” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Plymouth Express” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “While the Light Lasts” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Adventure of the Cheap Flat” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Mystery of the Hunter’s Lodge” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Million Dollar Bond Robbery” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Chocolate Box” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Actress” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Case of the Missing Will” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Veiled Lady” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Market Basing Mystery” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Adventure of Johnny Waverly – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Lost Mine” – read in 2010
  • (1923) “The Cornish Mystery” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Adventure of the Clapham Cook” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Submarine Plans” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Lemesurier Inheritance” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “The Double Clue” – read in 2016
  • (1923) “Christmas Adventure” – read in 2016
  • (1923-9) Partners in Crime – read in 2016
  • (1924) The Man in the Brown Suit – read in 2011
  • (1924-7) The Big Four – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Girl in the Train” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Coming of Mr Quin” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Red Signal” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Mystery of the Blue Jar” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “Jane in Search of a Job” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “Mr Eastwood’s Adventure” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “Philomel Cottage” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Manhood of Edward Robinson” – read in 2016
  • (1925) “The Witness for the Prosecution” – read in 2016
  • (1925) The Secret of Chimneys – read in 2011
  • (1925) “At the Bells and Motley” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “Love Detectives” – read in 2016
  • (1925) “The Sign in the Sky” – read in 2016
  • (1924) “The Shadow on the Glass” – read in 2016
  • (1925) “Within a Wall” – read in 2016
  • (1925) “The Fourth Man” – read in 2016
  • (1925) “The Listerdale Mystery” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “The Last Seance” – read in 2016
  • (1926) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – read in 2016
  • (1926) “S.O.S.” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “Magnolia Blossom” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “Where There’s a Will” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “The Lonely God” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “Rajah’s Emerald” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “Swan Song” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “The Under Dog” – read in 2016
  • (1926) ” The Soul of the Croupier” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “The World’s End” – read in 2016
  • (1926) “The Voice in the Dark” – read in 2016
  • (1927) “The Edge” – read in 2016
  • (1927) “Harlequin’s Lane”  – read in 2016
  • (1927) “The Tuesday Night Club” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “The Idol House of Astarte” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “Ingots of Gold” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “The Blood-Stained Pavement” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “Motive v. Opportunity” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “The Thumb Mark of St. Peter” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “Wasp’s Nest” – read in 2016
  • (1928) The Mystery of the Blue Train – read in 2016
  • (1929) “Accident” – read in 2016
  • (1929) “Next to a Dog” – read in 2016
  • (1929) “Third Floor Flat” – read in 2016
  • (1929) “Double Sin” – read in 2016
  • (1929) The Seven Dials Mystery – read in 2016
  • (1929) “Blue Geranium” – read in 2016
  • (1932) “The Companion” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “The Four Suspects” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “A Christmas Tragedy” – read in 2016
  • (1928) “The Herb of Death” – read in 2016
  • (1932) “The Affair at the Bungalow” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “The Face of Helen” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “The Dead Harlequin” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “Bird with a Broken Wing” – read in 2016
  • (1930) “The Man from the Sea” – read in 2016
  • (1930) Murder at the Vicarage – read in 2016
  • (1930) “Manx Gold” – read in 2016
  • (1930) MW: Giant’s Bread
  • (1930) Play: Black Coffee – read in 2017
  • (1931) The Sittaford Mystery
  • (1932) “The Mystery of the Bagdad Chest”
  • (1932) “The Second Gong”
  • (1932) Peril at End House
  • (1932) “Death by Drowning”
  • (1933) Thirteen at Dinner
  • (1933) “The Hound of Death”
  • (1933) “The Gipsy”
  • (1933) “The Lamp”
  • (1933) “The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael”
  • (1933) “The Call of Wings”
  • (1934) “Sing a Song of Sixpence”
  • (1934) “The Golden Ball”
  • (1934) “A Fruitful Sunday”
  • (1934) Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
  • (1934) MW: Unfinished Portrait
  • (1934) Murder on the Orient Express
  • (1934) Mr Parker Pyne, Detective
  • (1935) Murder in Three Acts
  • (1935) “How Does Your Garden Grow?”
  • (1935) Death in the Air
  • (1935) “Problem at Sea”
  • (1935) The ABC Murders
  • (1936) “Problem at Pollensa Bay”
  • (1936) “Regatta Mystery”
  • (1936) Murder in Mesopotamia
  • (1936) “Triangle at Rhodes”
  • (1936) Cards on the Table
  • (1937) Dumb Witness
  • (1937) Death on the Nile
  • (1937) “Murder in the Mews”
  • (1937) “Dead Man’s Mirror”
  • (1937) “The Incredible Theft”
  • (1937) “Yellow Iris”
  • (1937) “The Dream”
  • (1938) Appointment with Death
  • (1938) Murder for Christmas
  • (1939) “Miss Marple Tells a Story”
  • (1939) “In a Glass Darkly”
  • (1939) Easy to Kill
  • (1939) And Then There Were None
  • (1940) Sad Cypress
  • (1940) The Patriotic Murders
  • (1940) “Four and Twenty Blackbirds”
  • (1941) Evil Under the Sun
  • (1941) N or M?
  • (1942) “Tape-Measure Murder”
  • (1942) “Case of the Perfect Maid”
  • (1942) The Body in the Library
  • (1942) The Moving Finger
  • (1943) Murder in Retrospect
  • (1944) Towards Zero
  • (1944) MW: Absent in the Spring
  • (1945) Death Comes as the End
  • (1945) Sparkling Cyanide
  • (1946) Murder After Hours
  • (1946) NF: Come, Tell Me How You Live
  • (1947) The Labors of Hercules
  • (1947) MW: The Rose and the Yew Tree
  • (1948) There Is a Tide
  • (1949) Crooked House
  • (1950) “Case of the Caretaker”
  • (1950) “Strange Jest”
  • (1950) “Three Blind Mice”
  • (1950) A Murder Is Announced
  • (1951) They Came to Baghdad
  • (1952) Mrs McGinty’s Dead
  • (1952) Murder with Mirrors
  • (1952) MW: A Daughter’s a Daughter
  • (1953) A Pocket Full of Rye
  • (1953) Funerals Are Fatal
  • (1954) Play: Spider’s Web
  • (1954) So Many Steps to Death
  • (1954) “Sanctuary”
  • (1955) Hickory Dickory Death
  • (1956) Dead Man’s Folly
  • (1956) MW: The Burden
  • (1957) What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!
  • (1958) “The Dressmaker’s Doll”
  • (1958) Play: Unexpected Guest
  • (1958) Ordeal by Innocence
  • (1958) Play: Verdict
  • (1959) Cat Among the Pigeons
  • (1960) “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest”
  • (1960) “The Theft of the Royal Ruby”
  • (1960) “Greenshaw’s Folly”
  • (1961) The Pale Horse
  • (1962) The Mirror Crack’d
  • (1962) Play: Rule of Three
  • (1963) The Clocks
  • (1964) A Caribbean Mystery
  • (1965) At Bertram’s Hotel
  • (1966) Third Girl
  • (1967) Endless Night
  • (1968) By the Pricking of My Thumbs
  • (1969) Hallowe’en Party
  • (1970) Passenger to Frankfurt
  • (1971) “The Harlequin Tea Set”
  • (1971) Nemesis
  • (1972) Elephants Can Remember
  • (1973) Play: Akhnaton
  • (1974) Postern of Fate
  • (1975) Curtain
  • (1976) Sleeping Murder
  • (1977) NF: Agatha Christie: An Autobiography
Advertisements

15 thoughts on “The Completist Christie Challenge

    • Yeah, I’m looking at that list and trying to figure out how exactly I managed to read almost all of them at least once already.

    • Thanks! I read one more short story tonight, and I’ve discovered that I do not have the next one I need, and the library doesn’t have anything containing it. :-/ Fortunately, though, it appears to be included in a relatively new collection. It was published in the UK, but it looks like I can get a used copy on amazon.

  1. I received the While the Light Lasts collection from the UK this week and read “Christmas Adventure,” so I can move on to The Big Four and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I locate them. I think they are still in a box in the garage, so I may just borrow them from the library. But now I can confirm that the “Christmas Adventure” story in this collection is indeed a reprint of the original version of “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding,” which is, as far as I can tell, the only version that has been published in the US.

  2. I went ahead and moved “The House of Dreams” to the top of the recommended reading order. As far as I know, its earliest publication was in 1926, but that fact is far from certain, and there is significant speculation that this was one of the first short stories Christie ever wrote. I am also making other minor tweaks to the short story reading order. For instance, some of the Harley Quin stories were collected in a slightly different order from their original publication order. Having published series short stories myself, I can vouch for the fact that they don’t always appear in the intended order, so I am going with the collection order whenever it seems to make sense.

  3. Pingback: A Challenging Season | Exploding Steamboats

  4. I have also my own personal Agatha Christie Challenge. On a piece of paper. So I can not share it on the internet…
    As I once read the difficulties Chris has about the short stories, I stopped to try to read them in the order mixed with the novels
    Now I am following the list of wikipedia “Agatha Christie bibliography”.
    I am still at the novels, and I am reading now “By the Pricking of My Thumbs”. After this one, only 7 left.
    When I’ll finish the novels, I’ll go for the short stories and then for the other publications.
    Note 1: I had a special bookcase built in my hallway to put them all.
    Note 2: I am reading them in English, so it means that some I had read in other languages before, I read them again.
    Note3: I had read many in English already. Doesn’t matter, I read them again.

    • Way to go! I used to keep my collection in a special bookcase, but when we moved to this house, that one fit best in the music room, so the books have remained boxed up.

  5. I just moved Christie’s first play, Black Coffee, from 1934 to 1930. I’m not sure where the 1934 comes from. Possibly when the script was published? The play was first produced on 8 December 1930, and then a movie adaptation was made in 1931. The Osborne novelization didn’t come out until after Christie’s death. I have a copy of that, and I vaguely recall reading it at some point. I haven’t decided whether I will re-read it after reading the play. It was authorized by Christie’s estate, but the reviews seem to be mostly negative.

  6. I’m so glad someone did this. You can kind of tell from various details whether a story is early or late, but this is much more useful. I probably will end up reading them all in order now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s