Most Underrated Christie Book?

edited January 2014 in All stories
For me, Crooked House is often overlooked by people trying to compile a list of their best Agatha Christie books. Which novels of hers do you think do not receive the credit they deserve?


  • I haven't read that one yet Lachy so will try it soon. ;)

    For me, By the Pricking of My Thumbs is not given half the attention it deserves. It is a Tommy and Tuppence (in their twilight years) tour de force and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. The denouement had me on the edge of my seat. It was the first T&T I ever read and made me want to seek out more, rather than just going for Poirot and Marple. Try it and see for yourself!
  • I think that her short stories are the most underated. Most of the Poirot, Marple, Mr Quin and Non series stories are as good as the full length books. 

    In the full length books I think Sad Cypress, it has such a clever twist and really engaging character. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I think The Sittaford Mystery is Underrated, ITV Murdered it I think The Clocks is also Underrated, both are Excellent IMHO
  • I think that Destination unknown and They came to Baghdad are not rated highly enough. Especially  They Came to Baghdad is underrated. When reading it gave me the opportunity to feel how Baghdad is. Don't you think?
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    No, I Found Them both good in parts and were Great Capers but there were too many parts in which both books Dragged, both books needed a Recurring Character, they were weak without strong Characters. 
  • I can't speak for Destination Unknown, but I really didn't think they came to Baghdad needed a recurring character. I think Victoria Jones created a lively and interesting story. Besides what recurring character would you suggest Tommy? It certainly isn't a Poirot or Marple. The only thing I wish was that I wasn't able to guess the end. 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Although I don't like Him it would have been a Good book to have Colonel Race in, and Destination Unknown or replace Victoria with Ann or put Victoria in They Came To Baghdad and Destination Unknown.
  • roamingrover86roamingrover86 United Kingdom
    4:50 from Paddington rarely gets a mention. It is one of her classic works . IMHO one of the best Miss Marple book & deserves greater attention than it gets.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    It was the First Miss Marple book I read, I have just finished it, I like ALL The Adaptations, even Murder She Said but there again I think The Rutherfords are better than most of the ITV Marples and not worse than any IMHO
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Do you think it possible for a Corpse to be buried in a sarcofogus in someone's outbuilding and them not know?, you could only do that with a biggish family, the fact somany people knew of the buildings existence made me think too, but I am happy to ignore these things as The book is so great and it gave me a serene feeling while reading it, you don't get that with all the Marple's well I don't, only 4 to be honest, Paddington, Vicarage, Announced, and Sleeping Murder. 
  • EmsEms France
    edited March 2014
    I would say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd! It was really unexpected and I convinced non-AC fans to read it and they loved it too.
  • The Pale Horse. I think it is brilliant and so different!
  • Christopher_WrenChristopher_Wren Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    While I agree, that "Roger Ackroyd" is brilliant, I don't think it's underrated. It was the book, that made her famous after all. ;)
  • edited March 2014
    There was controversy over the solution of Roger Ackyrod and some people have criticised her for "not playing fair with the reader".  I actually think this is unfair as when I re-read it, I asked myself "why  didn't I notice those clues?!" All there and yet hidden so artfully. Everything about the book is so good, I will say to her detractors that have undestimated the impact of her storytelling. So in that aspect, I agree with @Ems, it is sometimes an underrated book. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I agree it is up there with others, you have to see what isn't said if you know what I mean
  • I don't think Roger Ackroyd is underrated, I would say it is one of most well known books - and for good reason too!
  • Both are great stories. is like you posted, They came to Baghdad makes you imagine the city, and the other places described in the story. And all I want to say is that I'd love to see both on screen. :)
  • I love Crooked House - it has the nursery rhyme, which I always love when she puts one into the plot, and the solution is genius. Considering it doesn't have one of the famous detectives, it still has plenty of interesting characters and a very rich text. In fact, I think it's one of the few books where she places it timewise so very clearly. This could easily have had Miss Marple appear at the end to solve it - befriended by one of the more elderly ladies of the house. Had A.C. done so, the book would probably have become more well-known. But the hero struggles to solve it, and the twist at the end does, I think, surprise him as much as it does the reader.
  • FrankFrank Queensland, Australia
    Lucy G Lemon that By the Pricking of My Thumbs is not given the attention it deserves. Maybe it is because it is a Tommy and Tuppence novel and not a Marple or Poirot novel that it gets overlooked but for me it is a AC classic.
  • And it makes such a change to read about the young Tommy and Tuppence after spending time with elderly Miss Marple and fastidious Poirot! They seem doubly energetic and youthful... I agree with @Frank that it's overlooked; if there had been more T&T books, it'd probably be different. As it is, everyone knows Poirot the most, presumably because he features the most.
  • I think that Endless Night is underrated - I love the atmosphere of it! The Sittaford Mystery certainly doesn't get enough credit for being such a clever classic and people don't talk about the Quinn series enough :)

    As far as Poirot goes, I don't think Cards on the Table or Dead Man's Folly are as well thought of as they should be!
  • Christopher_WrenChristopher_Wren Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    I recently reread the Sittaford mystery and agree, that it is heavily underrated. It's lively, with some entertaining characters and a brillaint yet logical and in some ways "easy" solution.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Cards On The Table is on many people's Top 10 including mine, The Sittaford Mystery is An Excellent Book, Narracott is a wonderful Character, As Brilliant as Battle, Spense and Craddock the Book makes me want to be there, he Female lead is as brilliant as Tuppence, Frankie and Eileen and there Isn't a dull moment in the book or a boring Character and the Plot is Great.
  • StathisZavitsanosStathisZavitsanos Attiki, Greece
    I think that you guys have underrated Elephants Can Remember very much. Why? In my opinion it is a great story and a great mystery. I believe that people tend not to like some books because the majority of readers do not like it. Furthermore, people who like a book (for instance Passenger to Frankfurt) do not express their liking because they are afraid of others opinion.
  • CrookedQuinCrookedQuin California, United States
    Mrs. McGinty's Dead, as well as Appointment with Death and the solution of Hickory Dickory Dock was quite unexpected in a way I cannot describe without giving spoilers, although none of these I would include as a favorite. Sad Cypress and The Hollow are great melancholy stories that I think are very pleasant as well.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    I agree That Elephants Can Remember is a Terrific Book and hugely underrated, I think there is a feeling that it is confused in parts when I last read it I read what I expected to read and what was meant, I think if there were mistakes the fact I read what was meant is all credit to Agatha Christie because I was obviousky enjoying the book so much it didn't matter.

  • I felt Elephants Can Remember is rather confused - but isn't that the point? In investigateng a crime that happened more than a decade ago, the whole point is that people remember things differently than they happened, and that the detective has to compare the stories in order to sift the truth from the chaff. In that sense ECR is really original and different - because false information is given, sometimes deliberately, but more often innocently. In "Evil under the sun" Poirot compares detective work to a puzzle - every piece must fit. In ECR, it is more complicated - some of the pieces are wrong, some are partially right, and Poirot has to decide which is which before he can assemble the puzzle. To me this feels more like real life (maybe because I'm forgetful and sometimes remember things wrongly). 

    Another reason I liked ECR is the ending - the making peace with the past. I won't spoil it for whoever hasn't read it yet, but it is well worth reading. 

  • It's been a long, long time since I last read Elephants Can Remember but is it possible that some of the inconsistencies Christie made in the book were done intentionally (including the title of the book to play, poke fun at, or indicate that though elephants remember, human beings don't?) rather than mere age and forgetfulness that critics say such as Charles Osborne in his book "The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie":
    "This is one of the more meandering Christies. Elephants may never forget, but the author who is now over eighty frequently does. Her publisher ought to have provided her with an editor to help her deal with dates, ages, and calculations, for these frequently go awry [. . .]. No one is quite certain whether the deaths of Celia Ravencroft's parents occurred ten, twelve, fifteen or twenty years in the past. Poirot reminisces with his old friend Superintendent Spence about cases on which they have collaborated in the past, and gets an important detail about Five Little Pigs wrong."  
    Or is it possible that Christie's age resulting in the inconsistencies and long, meandering conversations ACTUALLY worked out in favor of the story in the end? How would the book look like if the Miss Oliver DID get the name of Poirot's apartment right? Or if the characters WERE certain of the years of Celia Ravenscroft's parent's deaths? Or if Poirot GOT that important detail right about the reference to the Five Little Pigs case? Some of the character's memories are rather fair and poor and it makes Ariadne Oliver's statement stand out more so: 
    "Elephants can remember, but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget."
    If the characters had exceptional memories or memories that were good but missed out on a few things, I think the title would lose its irony. 
  • ChristieFanForLife, for me the most significant "confusion" was that several people had a vague feeling that there was something wrong with one of the sisters, but some thought it was Dolly and some thought it was Molly. To me that was too outstanding to be a mistake by AC, and was a clear indication that the "confusion" was intentional by the author. 
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    edited January 2017
    I really enjoy "Why they didn't ask Evans?". It's such a lovely story and Bobby and Frankie are very good characters. The beginning is fantastic. I think it's a nice story, but  an underrated book.
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