Queen of Crime

acShe is the greatest mystery writer of all time. She has sold more books than any other author, the only book outselling hers being the Bible. She is Dame Agatha Christie.

If you have not read her books, well, what are you waiting for? I started reading Christie’s mysteries 5 years ago, thanks to my secondary school library. Her books made my school days so much more tolerable as I breezed through History, Basic Economics, General Science and other loathe-worthy subjects with an Agatha Christie under my table.

Granted, I am being very biased as I have not read other famous mystery writers like P. D. James or the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but I don’t think that makes my opinion any less true. Really! 🙂

One of the reason her books are so appealing to fans like me is the inimitable, outrageous character that is Belgian-French Hercule Poirot. Such ingenuity, idiosyncrasies, vanity, shameless immodesty! And the relationship with his relatively inept sidekick Captain Hastings provide such dry wit to savour I cannot get enough of sometimes. And then there’s the underestimated, shrewd, unassuming old lady called Miss Marple, which is believed to have been based on Christie herself.

This is the list of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. The ones in bold I have read and the asterisks are the ratings I’ve given out of five. I must say, even though I have read almost three-quarts of her mysteries, I can still never manage to figure out the whodunit before she reveals them.

1 The ABC Murders *****
2 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding ***
3 After the Funeral **
4 And Then There Were None *****
5 Appointment with Death ***
6 At Bertram’s Hotel****
7 The Big Four***
8 The Body in the Library **
9 By the Pricking of My Thumbs
10 Cards on the Table *****
11 A Caribbean Mystery ***
12 Cat Among the Pigeons **
13 The Clocks ***
14 Crooked House ****
15 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case *****
16 Dead Man’s Folly ****
17 Death Comes as the End
18 Death in the Clouds ***
19 Death on the Nile****
20 Destination Unknown **
21 Dumb Witness ***
22 Elephants Can Remember
23 Endless Night
24 Evil Under the Sun ****
25 Five Little Pigs ***
26 4.50 from Paddington
27 Hallowe’en Party
28 Hercule Poirot’s Christmas *****
29 Hickory Dickory Dock
30 The Hollow
31 The Hound of Death ***
32 The Labours of Hercules ***
33 The Listerdale Mystery **
34 Lord Edgware Dies ****
35 The Man in the Brown Suit ***
36 The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side *****
37 Miss Marple’s Final Cases
38 The Moving Finger
39 Mrs. McGinty’s Dead ***
40 The Murder at the Vicarage ****
41 Murder in Mesopotamia ***
42 Murder in the Mews ****
43 A Murder is Announced ****
44 Murder is Easy **
45 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd *****
46 Murder on the Links ***
47 Murder on the Orient Express*****
48 The Mysterious Affair at Styles **
49 The Mysterious Mr Quin ***
50 The Mystery of the Blue Train **
51 Nemesis **
52 N or M?
53 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe ***
54 Ordeal by Innocence ****
55 The Pale Horse **
56 Parker Pyne Investigates ****
57 Partners in Crime
58 Passenger to Frankfurt
59 Peril at End House ***
60 A Pocket Full of Rye
61 Poirot Investigates
62 Poirot’s Early Cases **
63 Postern of Fate *
64 Problem at Pollensa Bay ***
65 Sad Cypress ***
66 The Secret Adversary
67 The Secret of Chimneys
68 The Seven Dials Mystery ***
69 Sleeping Murder***
70 Sparkling Cyanide ***
71 Spider’s Web ***
72 Taken at the Flood **
73 They Came to Baghdad
74 They Do It With Mirrors***
75 Third Girl ***
76 The Mousetrap & Other Plays ****
77 The Thirteen Problems
78 The Unexpected Guest (play) ***
79 Three Act Tragedy
80 Towards Zero ***
81 While the Light Lasts ***
82 Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? ***

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One Book Meme

1. One book that changed your life: Books are a big part of my life, but I can’t give such a huge credit to one book alone. All the books I’ve read helped mould my thinking through the years. But if I have to name, I would actually say the Sweet Valley series really changed my life in the sense that it kickstarted my reading habit after I outgrew Enid Blyton and the Bookworm Gang, a Singaporean book series.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: I can always read Harry Potter again and again. Not exactly one book, but there are plenty of books in my bookshelf I can read more than once as well.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: My Side of the Mountain by Jean George. It’s a young adult book about a kid living in the woods by his own because he was tired of living in his cramped New York apartment with his many siblings and parents. It has some good survival tips told in a conversational manner I might be able to use.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. Oh dear, I’m violating this meme so many times by not specifying any one book. Oh well.

5. One book that made you cry: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. In that hospital scene when Ponyboy meets Darryl and Sodapop after Ponyboy and friend helped rescue some kids from a fire in an abandoned church always gets to me.

6. One book that you wish had been written: The sequel to the Harry Potter series. I would love to know what happens to that magical world after the Voldemort saga.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: I don’t wish for any book not to have been written. One man’s meat, another man’s poison. If I have to choose, it’ll be my damned History of Linguistics textbook.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch.

10. Now tag five people: I don’t even know five regular readers of this blog to tag anyone. But if you do this, link back, thanks.

Manchester United: The Untold Story – Ned Kelly with Eric Rowan

man u

Michael ‘Ned’ Kelly is a former SAS soldier who served in Northern Ireland, Germany and Malaya. After leaving the armed services, Ned established his own security firm, Special Projects Security, and began his twelve-year association with Manchester United. Since 2002 he has lived in the United States.

Eric Rowan is an author and playwright whose recent work includes two films for Antoine Films/BBC based on his original works, Badlands and The Tilted Wig. He is also an award-winning songwriter and record producer, working extensively in Nahsville with Elvis Presley’s former backing group, The Jordanaires, and has recently written music for the soundtrack of the Dennis Hopper/Sam Shepard film Leo. He lives in Belgravia, London, and has three children.

The book in one sentence: A look into Manchester United from the perspective of a former head of club security.

Who would you recommend it to: Strictly for Manchester United fans.

Best bits: Chapters 1 [Ooh, Aah, Cantona!], 12 [The Glorious Treble] and 14 [All That Glitters] (ie. David Beckham).

Juicy bits: Eric Cantona’s bottom-spanking bedroom penchant! And David Beckham’s schoolboy tears at some “dog’s abuse” by an airport staff. And Sir Alex Ferguson’s pre-match toilet ritual!

Boring bits: The exhaustive chronicle of match games in every season and dully descriptive security plans.

Verdict: A good read for Man U fans as it reveals a different, no-glossing-over perspective from footballers’ autobiographies.

The full list of 94 Manchester United-related books