The Best “Unloved” Agatha Christie Books 1950-1969

Please note: to see the Youtube links for some of these books please view this post in a web browser. Thank You!

Agatha at her beloved childhood home, Ashfield.

The 1950s

The Mousetrap and Other Plays 1950
Excellent. Remember I said these weren’t all going to be unloved, right? This is the Guinness World Record holder for the longest-running play. Not unloved at all. The other plays you may never have heard of though!

A Murder is Announced 1950
The first Miss Marple that took my breath away with it’s ending reveal. Lots of characters milling about and lots of decoys!

They Came to Baghdad 1951
Fun, rompy spy-thriller with a girl in love following her crush to the Middle East only to find…lots of twists and turns and truth as Agatha was a frequent traveler to that land with her second husband. It shows in a lot of her stories.

The Under Dog and Other Stories 1951
More short stories, but the bottom of my list of favorite story collections. Even lukewarm, I love them so. They make exercising on my stationary bike and reading at the same time a breeze!

A Pocket Full of Rye 1953
Probably my least favorite of all of these on these lists, but I have a soft spot for any mystery with nursery rhymes as a clue. Agatha, with her magical Victorian childhood, can deliver.

Funerals Are Fatal 1953
AKA After the Funeral
This is another book where you think you know who did it only to be very, very wrong. It closely follows the Margaret Rutherford Marple movie Murder at the Gallop which I will be reviewing in another post!

Spider’s Web 1954
My love for this play is great. The play has two British TV versions which are both charming, exciting, and suspenseful in a very funny way. The book is wonderful too. Here is the older version with Glynis Johns and her adorable voice:

And the newer version with the upper-crust Penelope Keith:

4:50 From Paddington 1957
AKA What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!
Another favorite and probably top-ten critics choice that made it onto this list is this one. It’s got everything you want from a Christie. What is interesting is that both the movie with Margaret Rutherford and the TV movie with Joan Hickson are great, even though the tone of each is very different. You’ve probably already read this book so check out the movies:

The Unexpected Guest 1958
A fabulous Christie play with lots of twists and turns. I really enjoyed this one! A very fast, easy read with lots of enjoyable twists and turns.

Ordeal By Innocence 1958
This, book, along with Crooked House are both on the authors favorites list of her own works. I can see why. Christie liked to explore the places where evil could lurk and its psychological roots and implications. This was a new kind of thought on crime in the 1950s and critics were not comfortable with Christie exploring it.

Cat Among the Pigeons 1959
Honestly, this book is one of the few I had never read before this project, or seen a movie of or a show of so I went in blind and I was not disappointed! The girl’s school it takes place in goes from happy-go-lucky to very sinister quickly, making for an exciting read.

Out of the dark byways of vilany and deceit, they had crawled across our path- into the same byways they crawled back secretly and were lost.” -Wilke Collins, The Woman in White

The 1960s

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding 1960
Lovely little short stories for a “Christie for Christmas” as the publishers used to say. I just love to read the short stories as I exercise- it makes it a lot more enjoyable!

Double Sin and Other Stories 1961
An American re-hash of previously done magazine stories, some even from the above book! I’m not sure why? Possibly this was a publisher thing for the US market. I really liked the spooky “The Dressmaker’s Doll,” and “Sanctuary” with Bunch Harmon and Miss Marple.

The Pale Horse 1961
…and his name was death. A lovely, spooky mystery; one of my very favorites! I don’t really like any film/TV rendition of this book because they don’t do it justice. This book will give you chills. Christie says the main character is just like a pharmacist she used to work for- he used to carry a hunk of poison in his pocket because it made him feel like a big man. This book was said by a convicted murderer to be the inspiration for one real-life killing which just gutted Christie; that’s the last thing she ever wanted. However, it was also the reason three separate murderers were caught and lives saved because her readers recognized the signs of Thallium poisoning, the extremely rare and undetectable poison used in this book. She was proud of that.

The Mirror Crack’d 1962
A book with a gut-wrenching ending. What do you do when you feel sorry for the killer? What is the killing is somewhat justified? Christie explores those questions here and previously explored them in Murder on the Orient Express.

The Clocks 1963
A fun puzzle-romp with espionage that has many twists before its ending. You think you know what happened when alas! You are proven wrong again by the Queen of plotting!

A Caribbean Mystery 1964
Not my very favorite of the Marples, but it does have a character that comes to “help” Miss Marple investigate in a later favorite- “Nemesis,” that is a very interesting connection with this book.

At Bertrams’ Hotel 1965
What starts as a murder becomes entwined in a huge ring whose home is a hotel specializing in the old English ways. A lovely crime dance with Miss Marple shining!

Third Girl 1966
Much better than I remembered it being when I was younger. There was a girl, who was on drugs, or being drugged, money, fake family members, and more to this strange story with Poirot. It’s fun to read Christie’s mod swinging 60s writing in this book.

Endless Night 1967
I can’t say enough good things about this book. I can’t say a lot about this book without spoiling it and I don’t want to. I want you to read it. There is a beautiful girl named Fenella (I mean with a name like that we are starting out well) and a boy who falls in love with her and darkness in the form of a gypsy’s curse. Then there is Christie diving into the psychology of crime again and how evil isn’t always in the darkness, in can hide in some pretty bright places too. One of the author’s favorites. I am a big fan of Haley Mills and the movie with her and Hywel Bennet is wonderful and you won’t know what hit you. It is very difficult to find this English movie, but if you have a library that works with Kanopy you can view it there!

By the Pricking of My Thumbs 1968
“Was it your poor child?”
This book is one I have read over and over. It has its issues, strangley it seems as though it was written at two different times, but it is absolutely a book that draws me in every. single. time. It also has my favorite Tom Adams cover. This book gives me chills, parts of it were based on Christie’s real life, she explores the psychology of crime from a very different angle, it has Tommy and Tuppence, a spooky murder house, cemetery exploration, chimney secrets, secret passages, a mystery painting, a train journey, it is right in my wheelhouse! See my other blog post about it here. Dang, I’m gonna go read it again!

Stay tuned for the last of the list!

Madeline helped with the writing of these posts.
Spooky helped with the photography for these posts.

With scrummy, cozy murder mysteries to you from Kansas Street,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close