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Agatha Christie Mystery Books Collecting Guide

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller; 1890 – 1976) was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. She also wrote the world’s longest-running play, the murder mystery The Mousetrap, which has been performed in the West End since 1952. A writer during the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction”, Christie has been called the “Queen of Crime”. She also wrote six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. In 1971, she was made a Dame (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to literature. Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling fiction writer of all time, her novels having sold more than two billion copies.

Christie was born into a wealthy upper middle class family in Torquay, Devon, and was largely home-schooled. She was initially an unsuccessful writer with six consecutive rejections, but this changed in 1920 when The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring detective Hercule Poirot, was published. Her first husband was Archibald Christie; they married in 1914 and had one child before divorcing in 1928. Following the breakdown of her marriage in 1926 she made international headlines by going missing for eleven days. During both World Wars, she served in hospital dispensaries, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the poisons that featured in many of her novels, short stories, and plays. Following her marriage to archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930, she spent several months each year on digs in the Middle East and used her first-hand knowledge of this profession in her fiction.

Christie had long been a fan of detective novels, having enjoyed Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and The Moonstone, and Arthur Conan Doyle‘s early Sherlock Holmes stories. She wrote her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1916. It featured Hercule Poirot, a former Belgian police officer with “magnificent moustaches” and a head “exactly the shape of an egg”, who had taken refuge in Britain after Germany invaded Belgium. Christie’s inspiration for the character came from Belgian refugees living in Torquay, and the Belgian soldiers she helped to treat as a volunteer nurse during the First World War. Her original manuscript was rejected by Hodder & Stoughton and Methuen. After keeping the submission for several months, John Lane at The Bodley Head offered to accept it, provided that Christie change how the solution was revealed. She did so, and signed a contract committing her next five books to The Bodley Head, which she later felt was exploitative. She switched her publisher to Williams Collins & Sons in 1926 after the contract ended. Williams Collins & Sons remains her primary UK publisher until her death in 1976.

Agatha Christie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1950. In honour of her many literary works, Christie was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours. She was co-president of the Detection Club from 1958 to her death in 1976. In 1961, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literaturedegree by the University of Exeter. In the 1971 New Year Honours, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), three years after her husband had been knighted for his archaeological work. After her husband’s knighthood, Christie could also be styled Lady Mallowan.

According to UNESCO’s Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author. Her novel And Then There Were None is one of the top-selling books of all time, with approximately 100 million copies sold. In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award. Later that year, Witness for the Prosecution received an Edgar Award for best play. In 2013, she was voted the best crime writer and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd the best crime novel ever by 600 professional novelists of the Crime Writers’ Association.

Agatha Christie Bibliography – First Editions Identification Guide

Complete guides to all Agatha Christie’s first edition books, ordered by publication date.

* Written as Mary Westmacott.

1920John Lane & Co., NY, MCMXXThe Mysterious Affair at Styles
1920Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1920The Mysterious Affair at Styles
1921The Bodley Head, London. [1921]The Mysterious Affair at Styles
1922The Bodley Head, London , MCMXXIIThe Secret Adversary
1922Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1922The Secret Adversary
1923The Bodley Head, London , [1923]The Murder on the Links
1923Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1922The Murder on the Links
1924The Bodley Head, London , [1924]The Man in the Brown Suit
1924Dodd, Mead & Co, NY. 1924The Man in the Brown Suit
1924The Bodley Head, London , [1924]Poirot Investigates
1924Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1924Poirot Investigates
1925The Bodley Head, London , [1925]The Secret of Chimneys
1925Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1925The Secret of Chimneys
1926William Collins & Sons, London, [1926]The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
1926Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1926The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
1927William Collins & Sons, London, [1927]The Big Four
1927Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1927The Big Four
1928William Collins & Sons, London, [1928]The Mystery of the Blue Train
1928Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1928The Mystery of the Blue Train
1929William Collins & Sons, London, [1929]The Seven Dials Mystery
1929Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1929The Seven Dials Mystery
1929Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1929]Partners in Crime
1929William Collins & Sons, London, [1929]Partners in Crime
1930William Collins & Sons, London, [1930]Mysrterious Mr. Quin
1930Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, MCMXXXMysrterious Mr. Quin
1930William Collins & Sons, London, [1930]The Murder at the Vicarage
1930Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1930The Murder at the Vicarage
1930William Collins & Sons, London, [1930]Giant's Bread*
1930Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, MCMXXXGiants' Bread
1931Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1931Murder at Hazelmoor
1931William Collins & Sons, London, [1931]The Sittaford Mystery
1932Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1932Peril at End House
1932William Collins & Sons, London, [1932]Peril at End House
1932William Collins & Sons, London, [1932]The Thirteen Problems
1933Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1933The Tuesday Club Murders
1933William Collins & Sons, London, [1933]Lord Edgware Dies
1933Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1933Thirteen at Dinner
1933Odham Press, London, [1933]The Hound of Death
1934William Collins & Sons, London, [1934]Murder on the Orient Express
1934Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1933Murder in the Calais Coach
1934William Collins & Sons, London, [1934]Unfinished Portrait
1934Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, MCMXXXIVUnfinished Portrait
1934Collins, London, 1934The Listerdale Mystery
1934William Collins & Sons, London, [1934]Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
1935Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1935The Boomerang Clue
1934Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1934]Murder in Three Acts
1935William Collins & Sons, London, [1934]Three Act Tragedy
1934Collins, London, 1934Parker Pyne Investigates
1934Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1934Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective
1935Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1935Death in the Air
1935William Collins & Sons, London, [1935]Death in the Clouds
1936William Collins & Sons, London, [1936]The A.B.C. Murders
1936Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1936The A.B.C. Murders
1936William Collins & Sons, London, [1936]Murder in Mesopotamia
1936Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1936Murder in Mesopotamia
1936William Collins & Sons, London, [1936]Cards on the Table
1936Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1936Cards on the Table
1937William Collins & Sons, London, [1937]Murder in the Mews
1937Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1937Dead Man's Mirror
1937William Collins & Sons, London, [1937]Dumb Witness
1937Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1937Poirot Loses a Client
1937William Collins & Sons, London, 1937Death on the Nile
1938Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1938Death on the Nile
1938William Collins & Sons, London, [1938]Appointment with Death
1938Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, Appointment with Death
1938William Collins & Sons, London, [1939]Hercule Poirot's Christmas
1939Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1939Murder for Christmas
1939William Collins & Sons, London, [1939]Murder Is Easy
1939Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1939Easy to Kill
1939Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1939The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories
1939William Collins & Sons, London, [1939]Ten Little Niggers
1940Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1940And Then There Were None
1940William Collins & Sons, London, [1940]Sad Cypress
1940Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1940Sad Cypress
1940William Collins & Sons, London, [1940]One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
1941Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1941The Patriotic Murders
1941William Collins & Sons, London, [1941]Evil Under the Sun
1941Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1941Evil Under the Sun
1941Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1941N or M?
1941William Collins & Sons, London, [1941]N or M?
1942Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1942The Body in the Library
1942William Collins & Sons, London, [1942]The Body in the Library
1942Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1942Murder in Retrospect
1942William Collins & Sons, London, [1942]Five Little Pigs
1942Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1942The Moving Finger
1943William Collins & Sons, London, [1943]The Moving Finger
1944Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1944Towards Zero
1944William Collins & Sons, London, [1944]Towards Zero
1944William Collins & Sons, London, [1944]Absent in the Spring*
1944Farrar & Rinehart, NY, 1944Absent in the Spring
1945Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1945Death Comes as the End
1945William Collins & Sons, London, [1945]Death Comes as the End
1945Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1945Remembered Death
1945William Collins & Sons, London, [1945]Sparkling Cyanide
1946Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1946The Hollow
1946William Collins & Sons, London, [1946]The Hollow
1947Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1947The Labours of Hercules
1947William Collins & Sons, London, [1947]The Labours of Hercules
1948Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1948There is a Tide …
1948William Collins & Sons, London, [1948]Taken at the Flood
1948William Heinemann, London, [1948]The Rose and the Yew Tree*
1948Farrar & Rinehart, NY, [1948]The Rose and the Yew Tree
1948Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1948The Witness for the Prosecution
1949Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1949]Crooked House
1949William Collins & Sons, London, [1949]Crooked House
1950William Collins & Sons, London, [1950]A Murder Is Announced
1950Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1950A Murder Is Announced
1950Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1950]Three Blind Mice
1951William Collins & Sons, London, [1951]They Came to Baghdad
1951Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1951]They Came to Baghdad
1951Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1951]The Under Dog and Other Stories
1952Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1952]Mrs McGinty's Dead
1952William Collins & Sons, London, [1952]Mrs McGinty's Dead
1952Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1952]They Do It with Mirrors
1952William Collins & Sons, London, [1952]Murder with Mirrors
1952William Heinemann, London, [1952]A Daughter's a Daughter*
1953Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1953]Funerals are Fatal
1953William Collins & Sons, London, [1953]After the Funeral
1953William Collins & Sons, London, [1953]A Pocket Full of Rye
1954Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1953]A Pocket Full of Rye
1954William Collins & Sons, London, [1955]Destination Unknown
1955Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1955]So Many Steps to Death
1955William Collins & Sons, London, [1955]Hickory Dickory Dock
1955Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1955]Hickory Dickory Death
1956Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1956]Dead Man's Folly
1956William Collins & Sons, London, [1956]Dead Man's Folly
1956William Heinemann, London, [1956]The Burden*
1957William Collins & Sons, London, [1957]4.50 from Paddington
1957Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1957]What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!
1958William Collins & Sons, London, [1958]Ordeal by Innocence
1959Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1958]Ordeal by Innocence
1959William Collins & Sons, London, [1959]Cat Among the Pigeons
1960Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1959]Cat Among the Pigeons
1960William Collins & Sons, London, [1960]The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding
1961William Collins & Sons, London, [1961]The Pale Horse
1962Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1961]The Pale Horse
1961Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1961]Double Sin and Other Stories
1962William Collins & Sons, London, [1962]The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
1963Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1962]The Mirror Crack'd
1963William Collins & Sons, London, [1963]The Clocks
1964Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1963]The Clocks
1964William Collins & Sons, London, [1964]A Caribbean Mystery
1965Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1965]A Caribbean Mystery
1965William Collins & Sons, London, [1965]At Bertram's Hotel
1966Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1966]At Bertram's Hotel
1966William Collins & Sons, London, [1966]Third Girl
1967Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1966]Third Girl
1967William Collins & Sons, London, [1967]Endless Night
1968Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1968]Endless Night
1968William Collins & Sons, London, [1968]By the Pricking of My Thumbs
1968Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1968]By the Pricking of My Thumbs
1969William Collins & Sons, London, [1969]Hallowe'en Party
1969Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1969]Hallowe'en Party
1970William Collins & Sons, London, [1970]Passenger to Frankfurt
1970Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1970]Passenger to Frankfurt
1971William Collins & Sons, London, [1971]Nemesis
1971Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1971]Nemesis
1972William Collins & Sons, London, [1972]Elephants Can Remember
1972Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1972]Elephants Can Remember
1973William Collins & Sons, London, [1973]Postern of Fate
1973Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1973]Postern of Fate
1975William Collins & Sons, London, [1975]Curtain
1975Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1975]Curtain
1976William Collins & Sons, London, [1976]Sleeping Murder
1976Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, [1976]Sleeping Murder


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