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Agatha Christie Locked Room Titles


Agatha Christie

The publication of ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ in 1920, launched a 56 year long active literary career that has had few rivals. At last count, Christie had sold around two billion novels, making her the best selling single author of all times, well ahead of Chairman Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’ at only 800 million, and close to half The Bible’s estimated 5 billion copies printed worldwide. Agatha Christie is more than just another mystery author, she has been a cultural phenomenon for the better part of a century.

Christie wrote many ‘closed scene’ mysteries which limit the potential suspects to only a handful of characters. ‘Murder on The Orient Express’ or ‘Death In The Clouds’, for example, create a situation where it would be quite impossible for suspicion to fall on any one other than the central characters, but these are not true locked room puzzles. There are only a few Christie works where she actually takes on the full Locked Room challenge.

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Agatha Christie Locked Room Novels


Ask EvansWhy Didn’t They Ask Evans (1934)
US Title: The Boomerang Clue
Detectives: Bobby Jones & Lady Francis

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Adapted into Miss Marple TV episode and a separate episode in Romantic Detectives.

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Note: Death by shooting in a locked room

Was it a misstep that sent a handsome stranger plummeting to his death from a cliff? Or something more sinister? Fun-loving adventurers Bobby Jones and Frances Derwent’s suspicions are certainly roused – especially since the man’s dying words were so peculiar: Why didn’t the ask Evans? Bobby and Frances would love to know. Unfortunately, asking the wrong people has sent the amateur sleuths running for their lives – on a wild and deadly pursuit to discover who Evans is, what it was he wasn’t asked, and why the mysterious inquiry has put their own lives in mortal danger.

More on ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans’


mesopotamiaMurder in Mesopotamia (1936)
Series: Hercule Poirot

 

Locked Room Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Death by that ubiquitous ‘blunt object’ in a room under close observation.

Mrs Leidner is murdered in a locked room at an archeological dig in Iraq. The room has only one locked door, under constant observation, and a closed and barred window, yet no murder weapon is found near the body. Poirot must discover how this is possible and which member of the team is responsible. One of the better Agatha Christie Poirot tales.

More on ‘Murder in Mesopotamia’


ChristmasHercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938)
US Title: Murder for Christmas
Series: Hercule Poirot

Locked Room Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Christmas Eve murder in a locked study!

Simeon Lee invites his quarrelsome family for the holidays, only to have his throat cut in a locked room on Christmas Eve. The baffled police call on Poirot.

More on ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’


And NoneAnd Then There Were None (1939)
AKA: Original title: Ten little Niggers; Later: Ten little Indians
Detective: Sir Thomas Legge

Best Review

*****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Classic 1945 film.

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Note: Murder of 10 out of 10 guests on an inaccessible island

The best selling mystery of all time – with over 100 million copies sold. Not a traditional locked room story, but very different from Christie’s usual ‘closed scene’ plots! Ten people are trapped on a completely isolated island – and all ten are finally murdered! Who killed the last man standing?

More on ‘And Then There Were None’


Poirot curtainCurtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975)
Series: Hercule Poirot

 

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Poirot solves a locked room murder from the grave!

Poirot and Hastings once again visit Styles, the scene of their first case together. While the victim dies behind a locked door in ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, that murder by poison was not a true locked room mystery. This time the victim is actually shot inside a locked room. The classic Christie solution is not her best, but it does mark the end of an incredible series that lasted 54 years!

More on ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case


Note: The Pale Horse (1961)

The French Locked Room bibliographer, Roland Lacourbe, adds ‘The Pale Horse (1961) to this list of Christie Locked Room novels. Robert Adey does not include it in his English bibliography, and I have not included it in this list. It is not enough to have some supernatural element in the plot. At the least, there must be some sort of seemingly impossible crime, and this does not seem to be present in this case.      The Pale Horse


Agatha Christie Locked Room Short Stories


Poirot complete SS 2The Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan (1923)
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: Poirot Investigates

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Locked Room heist from a hotel

Poirot and Hastings are staying at the Grand Metropolitan hotel in Brighton where they meet Mr and Mrs Opalsen. He is a rich stockbroker who amassed a fortune in the oil boom and his wife collects jewellery using the proceeds. She offers to show Poirot her pearls and goes to fetch them from her room but they have been stolen, even though both her maid and the chambermaid have kept them under close observation. Poirot is asked to assist.

More on ‘Poirot Investigates’


Poirot complete SS 2The Million Dollar Bond Robbery (1923)
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: Poirot Investigates

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: An impossible heist on an ocean liner

Philip Ridgeway was entrusted by his uncle and the other general manager, Mr Shaw, with taking a million dollars of Liberty bonds to New York to extend the bank’s credit line. The bonds were counted in Ridgeway’s presence in London, sealed in a packet and then put in a portmanteau fitted with a special lock. The packet disappeared just a few hours before the Olympia docked in New York. Attempts had been made to break into the portmanteau but its lock must have been picked. Customs were alerted and sealed the ship, searching it to no avail. In fact, the thief was selling the bonds in New York so quickly that one dealer swore he bought some bonds before the ship even docked.

More on ‘Poirot Investigates’


Marple SSThe Idol House of Astarte (1928)
Series: Miss Marple
Collection: The Thirteen Problems

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

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Note: Stabbed to death by a goddess

A man is stabbed to death in the middle of a moonlight grove as he gazed upon a stunning vision of the Greek goddess Astarte – with no other person nearby. This is Christie’s best attempt to emulate the old faux supernatural locked room plots that were so beloved by John Dickson Carr and many other authors in this sub-genre.

More on ‘The Thirteen Problems’


Marple SSThe Blue Geranium (1929)
Series: Miss Marple
Collection: The Thirteen Problems

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. A Miss Marple TV series episode.

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Note: Psychic predictions of death

A woman is warned by a psychic of the evil and danger in her house. On a full moon, she must watch for the signs: blue primrose means caution, blue hollyhock is danger, and blue geranium is death!

More on ‘The Thirteen Problems


Marple SSMiss Marple Tells a Story (1935)
AKA: Behind Closed Doors
Series:Miss Marple
Collection: Miss Marple’s Final Cases

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

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Note: Stabbed to death in a room under observation

Miss Marple is staying with her nephew Raymond and his wife Joan. Her solicitor Mr Petherick brings to see her a young man Mr. Rhodes. Rhodes and his wife were staying in a hotel in a nearby town when his wife was stabbed to death. Rhodes is likely to be accused of the murder because access to his wife’s room was only through the room he was sitting in. Mr Petherick believes Rhodes is innocent.

More on ‘Miss Marple’s Final Cases


Poirot complete SS 2Problem at Sea (1935)
AKA: Poirot and The Crime in Cabin 66
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: Poirot’s Early Cases

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Locked Ship’s Cabin 

Poirot is suffering through a sea voyage to Egypt. The boat reaches Alexandria and many of the company go ashore. Mrs Clapperton refuses, shouting to her husband from behind her locked cabin door that she has suffered a bad night and wants to be left alone. When everyone has returned later on, Mrs Clapperton is still not answering her door. A steward opens it for her worried husband and they find the lady dead – stabbed through the heart with a native dagger and money and jewellery stolen. 


Mr QuinAt The “Bells and Motley” (1936)
Series: Mr. Quin
Collection: The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

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Note: Man disappears from a garden under observation.

A man mysteriously disappears during a walk in the garden, and Satterthwaite cannot solve the crime, at least, not until Quin prods him to remember other events that occurred around the same time.

More on ‘The Mysterious Mr. Quin


Poirot complete SS 2The Dead Man’s Mirror (1937)
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: Murder in The Mews

Best Review

****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Poirot TV series episode.

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Note: Another one dead in a locked study!

When Sir Gervase Chevenix-Gore writes to Hercule Poirot to unceremoniously summon him down to the Chevenix-Gore ancestral pile, Poirot is initially reluctant to go. However, there is something that intrigues him and so he catches the train that Sir Gervase wanted him to. On arrival, it is clear that no-one was expecting him, and, for the first time in memory, Sir Gervase himself, who is always punctual, is missing. Poirot and guests go to his study and find him there dead, having apparently shot himself. Poirot is not convinced,

More on ‘Murder in The Mews


Poirot complete SS 2The Dream (1937) 
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding

Best Review

****

Available in paperback and ebook editions. Poirot TV series episode.

Book  eBook  TV/DVD

Note: Dream becomes a deadly reality!

Poirot is summoned to the home of Benedict Farley, an eccentric millionaire, but refuses the case after a strange interview. Farley claims to have had a recurring dream where he is alone in his study at 3:28pm, when he takes a revolver from a drawer and shoots himself in the head! A week later this dream becomes a reality, leaving Farley dead in a neatly secured chamber. One of Christie’s better short stories!

More on ‘The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding’


regatta mysteryPoirot and The Regatta Mystery (1930)
Series: Poirot / Parker Pyne
Collection: The Regatta Mystery & Other Stories

Best Review

****

There are two almost identical versions of this story, one featuring Poirot, the other Parker Pyne. The Parker Pyne version is available in paperback and ebook collection. The Hercule Poirot version is only available in eBook.

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Note: Two versions with different detectives!

A diamond merchant and his party step off their yacht to enjoy the festivities ashore. But when the youngest member of the party, Eve Leathern, decides to play a trick with a £30,000 diamond named The Morning Star, the fun suddenly escalates into an impossible jewel theft. The most suspected member of the party begs Hercule Poirot to solve the disappearance of the valuable gem, pleading that he is not the thief. But if he isn’t, who is?


Marple SSGreenshaw’s Folly (1957)
Series: Miss Marple
Collection: The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding

Best Review

****

Available in paperback and ebook editions. A Miss Marple TV series episode.

Book  eBook  TV/DVD

Note: Locked In Witnesses?

Louise Oxley is working on her employer’s diaries when she hears a scream from the garden, and sees Miss Greenshaw stagger towards the house with an arrow embedded in her breast. Louise tries to help, but finds that she is locked in the room. A few windows along, Miss Cresswell shouts that she is in the same predicament. It is only when a police constable arrives a few minutes later that the two women are freed to discover a gruesome murder, but Miss Marple thinks it is too suspicious!

More on ‘The Adventures of The Christmas Pudding


Poirot complete SS 2The Market Basing Murder (1974)
Series: Hercule Poirot
Collection: Poirot’s Early Cases

Best Review

****

Available in paperback and ebook editions. TV episode adapted into ‘Murder in The Mews’

Book  eBook  TV/DVD

Note: An impossible suicide!

Poirot, Hastings and Japp are spending a quite weekend in the town of Market Basing, and enjoying Sunday breakfast, when they are interrupted by the local constable. Walter Protheroe, the reclusive owner of a local large mansion, was found dead in his dilapidated house, supposedly by suicide. Constable Pollard was first on the scene, and when the doctor arrived, they broke down the solid oak door. Inside they found Protheroe, shot through the head and his pistol clasped in his right hand. The problem was that the bullet entered behind the left ear and such a shot was quite impossible.


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