Happy Birthday Agatha Christie!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Wicked Wednesday to celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday! We all have a special fondness for the dame who paved the way for all our stories. So to celebrate, let’s talk about books – specifically, hers!

Wickeds, what was the first traditional mystery (like Agatha Christie’s mysteries) you read? And what was the first cozy mystery you read?

Sherry: Does Nancy Drew count as a traditional? Our house was filled with romantic suspense authors like Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, and Victoria Holt. I probably read an Agatha Christie novel along the way, but gasp, I didn’t care for it. I know I need to give her a try now. As for cozy mysteries it would have been either the Cat Who mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun or the Southern Sister mysteries by Anne George. All of them were delightful.

Edith/Maddie: My mom had shelves of Christie, both Miss Marple and Poirot, that I read my way through, but I have no idea which was the first. Unlike Sherry, I loved them! Happy birthday, Dame Agatha. I also read my mother’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and devoured all of Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, Student Nurse. As for adult cozy authors, I feel like I discovered Susan Wittig Albert, Diane Mott Davidson, and Katherine Hall Page at the same time in the late 1980s. These three three-named culinary cozy authors captivated me for many, many happy hours of reading, and are a big reason I write the kinds of books I do.

Jessie: Like Edith’s mother, mine also had a huge collection of Christie novels. I am not sure which I read first, but A Mysterious Affair at Styles keeps offering itself to my memory as the first. I do vividly recall reading And Then There Were None under the covers with a flashlight one night when I was 9 or 10 and not being able to sleep because it was so creepy. There was something so macabre about the use of a children’s rhyme that left me rattled. Despite that, or maybe because of it, I read through all the rest of Christie’s novels on our home shelves and any others I could get my hands on. I have a well-thumbed collection of my own now, including that very copy of the one that gripped me so long ago. Thanks, Mum!

Liz: I’m with you on Nancy Drew, Sherry! My mother never had Agatha Christie books either, so when I was young I read all the Nancy Drews and Trixie Beldens. Murder on the Orient Express was the first for me, but I definitely haven’t read the majority of them. I guess I’m adding to my TBR pile! Also like Sherry, I think the first cozies I read were The Cat Who series – and I also loved listening to the audio versions.

Julie: My first Christie was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. From there I was hooked. I like to think I’ve read them all, but I’m not sure. I have reread several of them with my writer’s brain engaged, and still find her fascinating. Jessie, And Then There Were None. I so agree–the book is so much darker than the movie. And so much better than the recent TV series. My first cozy? It’s been so long, I can barely remember. I do remember visiting my parents for a day, and my mother handing my Janet Evanovich’s first book. I curled up on the couch to read it. I laughed so hard I had to sit up. My mother loves series, and refers to the characters as people to meet. “Have you met Lord Peter? No? You have so much to look forward to!” Happy birthday Dame Agatha! Thank you for the hours and hours of entertainment.

Readers, which Christie book and/or cozy mystery was your first? Leave a comment below!

25 Thoughts

  1. I love this! My first one was Sleeping Murder. Nothing like starting at the end, right?? I was 13 or so when I discovered it in the middle school librsry.

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  2. I think it’s interesting that so many of us were introduced to the great mystery novelist by our mothers. My mother read mystery and detective fiction widely and pretty much indiscriminately, introducing me to wonderful, character-driven mystery series like Dame Agatha’s Miss Marple books and Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter (and, even better, Harriet Vane!) novels when I was barely of elementary school. But she also loved women PIs like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum (okay, not technically a PI but still) and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone. With each new offering in either of these series, it was a race between us to see who could finish first!
    I guess it’s small wonder then that I write culinary mysteries since this was the same woman who introduced me to Saint Julia of Child and could cook up a storm. Or that I dedicated my very first mystery novel to her.

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  3. Happy birthday Dame Agatha!

    Unlike most of you, it was my father who introduced me to Agatha Christie. My first, like so many people, was Murder on the Orient Express and that, as they say, was the end of that. I’ve read many of them over the years, but I think I’m going to embark on a project to fill in all the gaps. You know, in my copious spare time.

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  4. Cheers to Dame Agatha, ladies! My first Christie was And Then There Were None, which I read when I was 15. I may have read some Hardy Boys, too. It’s tough to pin down the first cozy I read, though Murder at the Vicarage comes to mind.

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  5. Happy birthday, Agatha Christie! Probably the first book of hers I read was Murder on the Orient Express, I love that Poirot! And Miss Marple. Like many of you, my first mysteries were Nancy Drew.

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  6. I was a huge Trixie Belden fan and had the whole series. The first Agatha Christie book I read was “And Then There Were None.” I had to read it for an Advanced English class when I was a freshman in high school. I became a huge fan and read pretty much everything she wrote. (Poirot is my favorite detective). I didn’t read Nancy Drew until I was an adult, but I love them now too!

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  7. My first books on mysteries was Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Judy Barton. From there I graduated to Agatha Christie. I still love her Murder on the Orient Express and all the head hopping that was done so well. I been reading mysteries like PD James and Grafton ABC murders for a long time. Oh and Maddie, those books I won from you were excellent. Bought two more but may be a bit before I get them read.

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  8. My overall first mystery was probably the Murder She Wrote series. I’d liked the show as a kid so when the books came out when I was around 8, I started getting them as Christmas/birthday gifts. I was 9 or 10 when I read my first Agatha Christie- Sleeping Murder. I confess I’ve only read a few others but my favorite so far has been And Then There Were None (Ten Little Indians) which I read in my high school Novels class.

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  9. Like many of you, I discovered Nancy Drew at a reasonably young age. And still have a boxful of them. I have all the Agatha Christie books; the only one I haven’t read is Curtain. I just can’t bring myself to read of Poirot’s death. I have no idea what my first cozy was. They weren’t even called that back in the dark ages.

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  10. Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Joy and Pam were my firsts, I’m sure. Then on to Phyllis Whitney. Ten Little Indians was my first Agatha. The Cat Who series, (Jim Qwilleran is still my literary dream date.)

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  11. My first is/was And Then There Was None at the encouragement of a friend of mine. It is the only Christie mystery I have read and I must admit it was a page Turner.

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  12. My first Christie was probably ABC Murders or Murder on the Orient Express. My favorite by far was Roger Ackroyd. I never read Nancy Drew, but by eighth grade I was deep into Sherlock Holmes. I loved the traditional mysteries of Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Josephine Tey. Later, I devoured P.D.James, Sue Grafton, Laurie R. King, and Sara Peretsky.

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  13. I read the Hardys, Nancy, Encyclopedia Brown, and Trixie as a kid, but then I skipped over the Agatha Christie phase and jumped into modern cozies. It’s been so long, I’m not sure what my first was.

    Liz, I’m with you. I’ve listened to a few of the Cat Who mysteries over the years, and the narration is fantastic for them.

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  14. My first Agatha Christie mystery was Murder at the Vicarage, which is book #1 in the Miss Marple series. Why I picked this particular book is a story in itself! I was reading all of the books in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. One of the main characters in this series is Ruth, a sarcastic old lady who kept on calling one of her friends by the name of Miss Marple. I wondered who the heck was Miss Marple!! I searched the internet and discovered the Miss Marple series!

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  15. My introduction to Agatha Christie was seeing her play The Mousetrap, not once, but multiple times. I saw it on a regular stage a couple of times and at a small theatre-in-the-round stage and then at least one more time at The Alley Theatre. And, I believe the first book of her’s I read was an excerpt in a Reader’s Digest Condensed Version book…Murder at the Vicarage, maybe. I am so thankful she was born and wrote mysteries! My first cozy is harder to name: I have read Diana Mott Davidson, Katherine Hall Page, Susan Wittig Albert, Philip R. Craig, Cynthia Riggs along with Janet Evanovich who still always makes me laugh.

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  16. I can’t remember which Agatha Christie I read first- I was probably only 10 years old at the time, but I had read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, and I was ready for something more adult. I have recently been listening to Agatha Christie on Audible- Dan Stevens (Matthew of Downton Abbey fame!) does fantastic voices for Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None. I highly recommend his narration! Other favorites from when I was a teenager (which I passed around with my mother, my stepmother, and my grandmother) include The Cat Who… and Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Books. As a young adult, it was Elizabeth George and most recently Louise Penny. I plan to re-read/listen to all of Agatha Christie’s books at some point!

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  17. I know I started on the Miss Marple’s at a young age (6 maybe?), we were on holiday and I had finished all my books so my Mam handed one over (a library book), the next day we were at the local market and there was a stall on the edge selling 2nd hand books so I used all my holiday money and got all the Miss Marple books and my 1st Sayers! I was a happy bunny for the next few days 😀

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