Book or movie? With so many Christie adaptations and books to choose from, we’ve rounded up the cinematic cream of the crop and the stories that give the most mystery mileage in text form just in time for her birthday on September 15.
BOOK The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
The premise is simple enough — a newly retired Hercule Poirot agrees to investigate the murder of wealthy Roger Ackroyd. But this book turns the detective novel on its head in the best possible way. No wonder the Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever written.
FILM Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Even Agatha Christie approved of Sidney Lumet’s star-studded adaptation of her 1934 classic—though she took issue with star Albert Finney’s scantier-than-she’d-imagined mustache for Poirot.
BOOK And Then There Were None (1939)
In this atmospheric thriller, ten strangers are invited to an isolated island, where they’re accused of past crimes and murdered one by one. The tension builds as they realize that the killer must be one of their own number.
FILM Death on the Nile (1978)
Mia Farrow is compelling as a jilted lover and Peter Ustinov brings a Continental gravity to his first outing as Poirot in this gorgeously filmed whodunnit, featuring some pretty spectacular Egyptian scenery.
BOOK Crooked House (1949)
Christie broke all the rules in this ostensibly mild-mannered investigation into the murder of a wealthy magnate by his granddaughter’s worried fiancé.
FILM The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak play to type as Hollywood actresses while Angela Lansbury is a convincing Miss Marple in this adaptation about a would-be murderer terrorizing a visiting actress.
BOOK Five Little Pigs (1942)
Christie gives Poirot a chance to test his own theory of detection — that all you need is sufficient reflection to solve any crime—in his investigation of a sixteen-year-old murder.
This list was originally published in the summer 2015 issue of HSL.