Based on what I can remember, here are five Agatha Christie books that I would point a new reader towards, and five that I would say they should definitely keep away from.
Starting with a bottom 5, you could say almost anything written after 1965 (and that is the disadvantage in my decision to read them in order of publication because I will be saving some of the worst for last) but I would specifically say:
Endless Night – for re-using a very successful plot device, but in a very different context
By the Pricking of My Thumbs – I can’t remember much about it, but I think family consensus is broadly negative
Passenger to Frankfurt – see above
Postern of Fate – see above
The Hollow – a much earlier book, surrounded by many much better books, but to me it just isn’t a regular Poirot. I believe Christie was trying a different style, but for it didn’t work for me.
For a top 5, I would say:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – one of the first that I read and it completely blew my mind
The ABC Murders – you think you know what is going on and then suddenly everything changes
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – appropriate for the time of year, but I can’t say any more without spoiling it
And Then There Were None – gripping and creepy with a very unexpected ending
A Pocket Full of Rye – a Miss Marple needs to be included and although the method is completely bonkers, it makes complete sense given the characterisation that has gone before
What would be in your Top 5/Bottom 5?
Have a good new year and see you in early 2018 once I’ve read “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”.