How to Complete a Reading Season of Hercule Poirot

August 29, 2022

The way that I finally got into audiobooks began with Agatha Christie. While most books have 10+ hours of listening, Agatha Christie mysteries are generally around 5-6-1/2 hours of enjoyment and plot twists.

You can read about my success last summer when my audiobook adventure began. I read (listened) to various Christie titles, including Poirot, Miss Marple, and other standalone mysteries. I decided to spend this summer listening to the entire Hercule Poirot series – about 40 titles in all (including short story compilations)!

To accomplish this, I knew I would have to do some strategic planning. I needed to curate a list of Poirot titles and where I could find them and listen to them for free.

Agatha Christie - Used with permission by National Portrait Gallery UK

First, a list.


Lists, for me, are a lifeline for getting things done, including reading. I needed a list of all the Poirot books in order, so I could check off each title when finished.  


It’s easy to Google for websites that list book series in order (such as bookseriesinorder.com). However,  I recently discovered FREE list downloads from the official Agatha Christie website! 

  1. FREE PDF Download of the author’s entire catalog 
  2. Free PDF download of Hercule Poirot books
  3. Free PDF download of Miss Marple books

Reading Poirot in order.


It isn’t necessary to read Hercule Poirot books in order. However, I do offer a few suggestions: 

  1. Read at least the first 5 books in order, and 
  2. Do not read “The Curtain” until the very, very end.

I recommend reading the first five in order only because this is where Christie establishes the Poirot character: his nuances, personality ticks, and background. However, on the PDF from AgathaChristie.com, they give the list chronologically in terms of Poirot's lifetime. 


The Curtain (1975) 
should be read when you are finished with Poirot because, well, it is the end. (I won’t say more so I don’t spoil anything for you.)

Know that Poirot books aren’t always “Poirot.”


As you read through the series, you will discover, as I have, that there are titles where Poirot is not the primary character. In fact, he may only appear after you are halfway through the book.


For example, in The Clocks (1963), Colin Lamb, a young intelligence agent, is pulled into a bizarre murder while investigating his own separate case. As more details come to light, the murder becomes even more baffling. Lamb knows that only one person can help him properly investigate this murder, his friend and mentor, Hercule Poirot. Yet Poirot’s help is after you read more than half of the book, and even so, he is only an advisor, not the investigator.

Poirot became such a beloved character for readers. Yet, after a while, Christie actually tired of him, instead wanting to write other types of mysteries. Because of his growing popularity, Christie may have felt it necessary to include him in some stories books, in a small part, to pacify her fans. Even as a minor character, any mention of Poirot makes that book part of the Poirot series.

Where to find Poirot audiobooks for free.


LIBBY


This library app has been my best friend since the pandemic began and the first place I look for audiobooks! Audiobooks have become increasingly popular, so libraries are constantly adding more to their catalog.

How Libby works:

  1. Download the app,
  2. Find your local library system,
  3. Enter your library card information to open your account.

If you don’t have a password or run into issues, contact your library for help.

What to remember:


Not all library systems on Libby are equal in what they offer. Also, there may be long holds on Agatha Christie books. Plan ahead by requesting books in advance. In my experience, I’ve had to wait four weeks or more for requested titles.


You may discover many BBC radio full-cast dramatizations of Agatha Christie books as I did in your search. However, they are not full-length audiobooks but are abridged and only about two hours long.

YOUTUBE


Often when the library doesn’t come through for me, YouTube does! At the beginning of the summer, I accepted the 3-month trial of YouTube Premium, which made a considerable difference when listening to audiobooks! Not only does Premium bypass ads, but you can download books. Only on Premium can you minimize the listening screen, so it is possible to do other things on your phone or tablet as you listen.


You can go to my Poirot playlist
to help you find some of the Poirot titles. All available titles are posted in order, and I update the list regularly.

What to remember:


Whether or not you subscribe to YouTube Premium, once you find an audiobook, save it to a watchlist on your account. This way, you can find it more quickly, and it will keep your place when you take a break.

AUDIBLE


If you haven’t used the free 30-day trial on Audible, this can be another avenue for finding books that aren’t available anywhere else.

If You Read the Book Instead.


When an audiobook is unavailable, you may choose to read the book version instead. There are still ways to do that cheaply.


AMAZON – KINDLE UNLIMITED


With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you may periodically find Christie titles to read for free. Or, you may find special prices on digital downloads.

Digital Book Deals


As of this posting, here is a list of available Poirot Kindle books at a special price (without a subscription)!

Poirot’s Early Cases (#0) -- $.99

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (#1) -- $1.99

Murder on the Links (#2)

Poirot Investigates (#3) – $1.99

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (#4) -- $1.99

Mystery of the Blue Train (#6) -- $1.99

Peril at End House (#8) – Free with Kindle Unlimited

Three Act Tragedy (#10) -- $1.00

Murder in Mesopotamia (#13) -- $1.00

Evil Under the Sun (#21) -- $1.00

Taken at the Flood (#24) – $1.00

The Complete Short Stories with Hercule Poirot, Vol. 1 - $.99

The Complete Short Stories with Hercule Poirot, Vol. 2 - $.99

How to complete your Poirot reading list


If you are/were a fan of the Hercule Poirot series starring David Suchet, he had his own book, Poirot and Me (2013). Written after his 24 years as Poirot, Suchet shares how he secured the part, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s daughter, along with anecdotes about filming the series. (The actor played Poirot in every story that Agatha Christie wrote about him, except one that was deemed “unfilmable.”) The Kindle version is only $2.99 at the time of this posting and available to listen to for free on my Poirot YouTube playlist.


Coming on September 8, 2022, is the anticipated non-fiction book Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley. As the Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces in the UK, she is a well-known historian and the host of several PBS history specials and books. I am looking forward to this release!


Has this challenge been a success? So far, I have finished 21 titles, but I will see where I finish on Labor Day (September 5, 2022).

Let me know if you have read any Agatha Christie books
and which one is your favorite!


Psst! There are affiliate links in this post. Any purchase is much appreciated. Read more by clicking "Disclosure Policy" at the top menu. 

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