Queen of Crime Agatha Christie was born on this day in 1890, and fans are celebrating the doyenne of the “cozy mystery.” Though her many novels often take place in country houses, small villages, or among groups of travelers, they’re really anything but cozy. Her characters stab, shoot, and poison with alarming frequency and impunity, and she effectively engineers a sense of mortal dread in close quarters. To celebrate her enduring legacy, we offer her most diabolical plot twists, her cleverest endings, and her craziest killers.
Warning: There are major spoilers throughout. We’ve put extra spoiler alerts in front of the summaries that really ruin the experience of reading, but proceed with caution.
Death on the Nile
A love triangle, a crazed stalking, a dead heiress, and a packed-to-the-hilt Egyptian cruise make this one of Christie’s most delightfully atmospheric and incredibly tense novels. What’s amazing about the final twist isn’t solely the whodunnit, but the fact that Hercule Poirot manages to uncover something secret or sinister about every single one of his fellow passengers. In Christie’s world, it turns out that very few people embark on Nile cruises without something to conceal.