Monday 31 January 2022


3 new must-read murder mystery books for Agatha Christie fans

I'm not sure why there is a bumper of new book releases on the third Thursday in January. Perhaps the publishers have unanimously decided we all needed a pick-me-up during this dreary time (and they're not wrong). Either way, earlier this month more than a dozen new books were published that have been on my much-anticipated list of new releases for 2022 – and three of those were murder mysteries that are perfect reads for fans of classic Agatha Christie whodunnits. 

A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle
Published in the U.K. by Cornerstone

With the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile hitting cinemas next month, at last, it's the perfect time for another water-based whodunnit to hit bookshelves. It's 1924 and an elderly man is found dead next to a staircase on the Endeavour from Southhampton to New York. A detective from Scotland Yard, who just happens to be on the same boat, offers up his services to figure out whether it was foul play. What ensues is a twisty tale about the cunning people in the art world, an infamous and invaluable painting that may or may not exist, a potentially fraudulent banker, and death threats... What makes this debut by Tom Hindle especially gripping – and tricky to figure out – is that it's told from the perspective of one of the ship's officers trailing behind the investigator, rather than the detective himself. It creates an extra layer of distance between the reader and the supposed truth, and it makes for one hell of a (boat) ride!

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
Published in the U.K. by Pan Macmillan

Most of us have probably picked up an Agatha Christie (or ten) in our time, but not many people know that she was entangled in a real-life mystery herself, as she disappeared without a trace for eleven days in 1926. And even less people know where she was and what she did during that time. In fact, the only people in on the secret were the mystery writer herself and, according to The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont at least, Christies's husband's mistress. Yes, you read that right, it's a mouth full, but Nan was the mistress of Archie Christie and went on to marry him after he divorced Agatha. This beautiful novel by Nina de Gramont finally gives Nan a voice. She becomes so much more than "the mistress" who broke up a marriage. She has a story of her own to tell, one that is heartbreaking and tough to read at times. And, through her eyes, we finally get to solve the ultimate Agatha Christie mystery. It's a fictionalised tale based on real historical figures, perhaps, but the plot sounds so plausible that it makes you wonder if this isn't what truly took place during those eleven days all those years ago...

The Maid by Nita Prose
Published in the U.K. by HarperCollins

Molly is a maid at the prestigious Regency Grand Hotel. She's meticulous in her cleaning efforts and takes pride in her work. But one day she enters a hotel room, and finds the guest, Mr Black, dead in his bed. Molly's eye for detail comes in handy, as it can give the police officers the information they need to determine whether it was foul play. However, things don't quite add up, and she soon finds herself in more trouble than she could've ever imagined... I didn't think it'd be possible to create that complex 'murder mystery' vibe in a contemporary setting, but I was wrong. The Maid is a truly remarkable debut novel. Well-written and well-plotted, both the protagonist and the setting ooze charm and character. And with the opulent Regency Grand Hotel providing the perfect backdrop for a 'locked hotel' mystery, it is making me hopeful that maybe this isn't the last we've heard from Molly the maid. (Full review.)

Are there any other new murder mystery releases you'd recommend? Leave them in the comments below!

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