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Since the early 20th century, Agatha Christie has thrilled fans with her detailed plots and gripping mysteries. With colourful detective characters – including Tommy and Tuppence, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot – Christie’s work is frequently adapted for TV and film, most recently by the BBC starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine (Partners in Crime).

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the author’s birth, fan and research chemist Kathryn Harkup investigated the use of science in Christie’s work. Poison was used to kill her characters more often than any other murder method and the author’s extensive chemical knowledge is rarely appreciated. A is for Arsenic looks at why certain chemicals kill, how they interact with the body and the feasibility of obtaining, administering and detecting these poisons.

Discover this captivating book now and scroll below to find your next great Agatha Christie mystery.

Just because it's fiction doesn't mean it's all made-up...

  • Fourteen novels. Fourteen poisons: In a book that is sure to appeal to mystery fans and aficionados of popular science alike, Kathryn Harkup elaborates on the poisonous substances that were so central to Agatha Christie’s compelling plots.

    A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kathryn Harkup
    • Narrated By Beth Chalmers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    Agatha Christie's detailed plotting is what makes her books so compelling. Christie used poison to kill her characters more often than any other murder method, with the poison itself being a central part of the novel, and her choice of deadly substances was far from random; the chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison provide vital clues to discovery of the murderer. With gunshots or stabbings the cause of death is obvious, but not so with poisons.

    Chris Christopher/aka Ian Southard says: "Thoroughly enlightening"

Browse by series

Hercule Poirot Mysteries

  • After the Funeral
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (78 ratings)
    When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard's funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.
  • Appointment with Death
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.70 (96 ratings)
    Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
  • Black Coffee
    Written by: Agatha Christie, Charles Osborne
    Narrated by: John Moffatt
    4.00 (86 ratings)
    Sir Claud Amory has discovered the formula for a new powerful explosive, which is stolen by one of the large household of relatives and friends. Locking everyone in the library, Sir Claud switches off the lights to allow the thief to replace the formula on the table, no questions asked. When the lights come on, however, he is dead.
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  • Cards on the Table
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (108 ratings)
    Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's private collection.
  • Cat Among the Pigeons
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.60 (164 ratings)
    Late one night, two teachers investigate a mysterious flashing light in the sports pavilion, while the rest of the school sleeps. There, among the lacrosse sticks, they stumble upon the body of the unpopular games mistress, shot through the heart from point blank range.
  • Curtain: Poirot's Last Case
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.70 (140 ratings)
    The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings. There was his own daughter, Judith; an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton; dashing Mr Allerton; brittle Miss Cole; Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife, Barbara; Nurse Craven; Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy; and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington. So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot's declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer.
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  • Dead Man's Folly
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.50 (172 ratings)
    Sir George and Lady Stubbs, the hosts of a village fête, hit upon the novel idea of staging a mock murder mystery. In good faith, Ariadne Oliver, the well known crime writer, agrees to organise their murder hunt. Despite weeks of meticulous planning, at the last minute Ariadne calls her friend Hercule Poirot for his expert assistance. Instinctively, she senses that something sinister is about to happen. Beware: nobody is quite what they seem!
  • Dead Man's Mirror
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.20 (25 ratings)
    Sir Gervase Chevenix-Gore suspects he is the victim of fraud and contacts Hercule Poirot. The host's failure to answer to the dinner gong leads to the discovery of his body in the study. A gun, a shattered mirror - the obvious inference is suicide until Poirot begins his investigation... Hugh Fraser, known to millions as Captain Hastings in the Poirot productions on television, gives a first-class performance.
  • Death In the Clouds
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (96 ratings)
    From seat No.9, Hercule Poirot was ideally placed to observe his fellow air passengers. Over to his right sat a pretty young woman, ahead, across the gangway in seat No.8, a detective writer was being troubled by an aggressive wasp. What Poirot did not yet realize was that behind him, in seat No.2, sat the slumped, lifeless body of a woman.
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  • Death on the Nile
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.70 (199 ratings)
    The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything...until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: "I'd like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger." Yet in this exotic setting nothing was ever quite what it seemed.
  • Dumb Witness
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (123 ratings)
    Everyone blamed Emily's accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her.
  • Elephants Can Remember
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.30 (110 ratings)
    Hercule Poirot stood on the cliff-top. For here, many years earlier, there had been a tragic accident: the broken body of a woman was discovered on the rocks at the foot of the cliff. This was followed by the grisly discovery of two more bodies, a husband and wife, shot dead. But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder?
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  • Evil Under the Sun
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.60 (128 ratings)
    It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun...she had been strangled.
  • Five Little Pigs
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.60 (64 ratings)
    Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, yet there were five other suspects: Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee) who had roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister) who cried 'wee wee wee' all the way home.It is sixteen years later, but Hercule Poirot just can't get that nursery rhyme out of his mind...
  • Hallowe'en Party
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.30 (52 ratings)
    A classic Christie mystery. Read by Hugh Fraser who plays Hugh Fraser in the popular TV series. At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce - a hostile thirteen-year-old - boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the 'evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer...
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  • Hercule Poirot's Christmas
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.40 (121 ratings)
    It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man.
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.40 (102 ratings)
    An outbreak of kleptomania at a student hostel was not normally the sort of crime that aroused Hercule Poirot's interest. But then he saw the list of stolen and vandalized items: a stethoscope, some old flannel trousers, a box of chocolates, a slashed rucksack, and a diamond ring found in a bowl of soup. The list made absolutely no sense at all. But, reasoned Poirot, if this was merely a petty thief at work, why was everyone at the hostel so frightened?
  • Lord Edgware Dies
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (79 ratings)
    Poirot had been present when Jane bragged of her plan to "get rid of" her estranged husband. Now the monstrous man was dead. And yet the great Belgian detective couldn't help feeling he was being taken for a ride.

    After all, how could Jane have stabbed Lord Edgware to death in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? And what could be her motive now that the aristocrat had finally granted her a divorce?

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  • Mrs. McGinty's Dead
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (116 ratings)
    Mrs McGinty died from a brutal blow to the back of her head. Suspicion fell immediately on her shifty lodger, James Bentley, whose clothes revealed traces of the victim's blood and hair. Yet something was amiss: Bentley just didn't look like a murderer.
  • Murder in Mesopotamia
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Anna Massey
    4.30 (64 ratings)
    Amy Leatheran had never felt the lure of the mysterious East, but when she travels to an ancient site deep in the Iraqi desert to nurse the wife of a celebrated archaeologist, events prove stranger than she could ever have imagined. Her patient's bizarre visions and nervous terror seem unfounded, but as the oppressive tension in the air thickens, events come to a terrible climax in murder.
  • Murder in the Mews
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Nigel Hawthorne
    4.10 (74 ratings)
    How did a woman holding a pistol in her right hand manage to shoot herself in the left temple? What was the link between a ghost sighting and the disappearance of top secert military plans? How did the bullet that killed Sir Gervase shatter a mirror in another part of the room? And who destroyed the "eternal triangle" of love involving renowned beauty, Valentine Chantry?
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  • Murder on the links
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (71 ratings)
    An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course. But why is the dead man wearing his son's overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.
  • Murder on the Orient Express
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.60 (528 ratings)
    Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
  • Murder on the Orient Express
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Dan Stevens
    4.70 (49 ratings)
    Agatha Christie's most famous murder mystery, read by the inimitable Dan Stevens. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer - in case he or she decides to strike again.
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  • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (65 ratings)
    The dentist was found with a blackened hole below his right temple. A pistol lay on the floor near his out-flung right hand. Later, one of his patients was found dead from a lethal dose of local anaesthetic. It's a clear case of murder and suicide. But why would a dentist commit a crime in the middle of a busy day of appointments? A shoe buckle holds the key to the mystery. Now, in the words of the rhyme, can Poirot pick up the sticks and lay them straight?
  • Peril at End House
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.60 (88 ratings)
    Nick Buckley was an unusual name for a pretty young woman. But then she had led an unusual life. First, on a treacherous Cornish hillside, the brakes on her car failed. Then, on a coastal path, a falling boulder missed her by inches. Later, an oil painting fell and almost crushed her in bed. Upon discovering a bullet-hole in Nick's sun hat, Hercule Poirot decides the girl needs his protection. At the same time, he begins to unravel the mystery of a murder that hasn't been committed. Yet.
  • Poirot Investigates
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.50 (156 ratings)
    First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond...then came the "suicide" that was murder...the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat...a suspicious death in a locked gun-room...a million dollar bond robbery...the curse of a pharoah's tomb...a jewel robbery by the sea...the abduction of a Prime Minister...the disappearance of a banker...a phone call from a dying man...and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.
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  • Poirot's Early Cases
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser, David Suchet
    4.40 (538 ratings)
    Still in the formative years of his career, Hercule Poirot faces a most taxing case: who killed Lord Cronshaw? Was Coco Courtenay's death on the same night a mere coincidence? And did she deliberately take an overdose of cocaine?
  • Sad Cypress
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: David Suchet
    4.40 (78 ratings)
    Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stands serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence is damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, one man still presumes Elinor is innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot, who is all that stands between Elinor and the gallows.
  • Taken at the Flood
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (101 ratings)
    A few weeks after marrying an attractive young widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune. Shortly afterwards, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man's sister-in-law, who claims she has been warned by "spirits" that Mrs Underhay's first husband is still alive.
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  • The ABC Murders
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (119 ratings)
    There's a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim's corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.
  • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.30 (84 ratings)
    First came a sinister warning to Poirot not to eat any plum pudding...then the discovery of a corpse in a chest, but what can link these baffling cases? The little grey cells of Monsieur Hercule Poirot! Feast yourself on these intriguing crime mysteries from the distinctive hand of the queen of crime fiction.
  • The Big Four
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.20 (135 ratings)
    Framed in the doorway of Poirot's bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man's gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell. Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what was the significance of the figure four, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a world of international intrigue, risking his life to uncover the truth about "Number Four".
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  • The Clocks
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.40 (156 ratings)
    As instructed, stenographer Sheila Webb let herself into the house at 19 Wilbraham Crescent. It was then that she made a grisly discovery: the body of a dead man sprawled across the living-room floor. What intrigued Poirot about the case was the time factor. Although in a state of shock, Sheila clearly remembered having heard a cuckoo clock strike 3.00. Yet, the four other clocks in the living room all showed the time as 4.13. Even more strange: only one of these clocks belonged to the owner of the house.
  • The Hollow
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (101 ratings)
    Lucy Angkatell invited Hercule Poirot to lunch. To tease the great detective, her guests stage a mock murder beside the swimming pool. Unfortunately, the victim plays the scene for real. As his blood drips into the water, John Christow gasps one final word: "Henrietta". In the confusion, a gun sinks to the bottom of the pool. Poirot's enquiries reveal a complex web of romantic attachments. It seems everyone in the drama is a suspect, and each a victim of love.
  • The Hound of Death
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Christopher Lee
    4.20 (50 ratings)
    A collection of Agatha Christie's stories of the macabre and the occult, from the story "The Red Signal", in which an omen from "the other side" unmasks an insane killer, to "The Hound of Death", in which a convent blows up - and on the remaining wall is left a black powder mark, in the shape of a great dog. The other spine-chilling mysteries are "The Fourth Man", "The Gipsy", and "The Lamp".
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  • The Labours of Hercules
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (179 ratings)
    In appearance Hercule Poirot hardly resembled an ancient Greek hero. Yet, reasoned the detective, like Hercules he had been responsible for ridding society of some of its most unpleasant monsters. So, in the period leading up to his retirement, Poirot made up his mind to accept just 12 more cases: his self-imposed "labours". Each would go down in the annals of crime as a heroic feat of deduction.
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.60 (214 ratings)
    Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.50 (127 ratings)
    Recently, there had been some strange goings on at Styles St Mary. Evelyn, constant companion to old Mrs Inglethorp, had stormed out of the house muttering something about "a lot of sharks". And with her, something indefinable had gone from the atmosphere. Her presence had spelt security; now the air seemed rife with suspicion and impending evil.
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  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
    4.00 (3 ratings)
    Here is the famous first case that launched the legendary career of Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie's brilliant and eccentric detective steps out of retirement and into the shadows of a classic mystery. The victim is a wealthy heiress. The suspects are her fortune-hunting husband, her jealous relatives, her hired companion, and others. The solution is a deadly scheme that can only be revealed by the master detective himself, Hercule Poirot.
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.40 (126 ratings)
    When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake serene Ruth Kettering from her slumbers. But she will never wake again, for a heavy blow has killed her, disfiguring her features almost beyond recognition. What is more, her precious rubies are missing.
  • Third Girl
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.40 (135 ratings)
    Three single girls shared the same London flat. The first worked as a secretary; the second was an artist; the third, who came to Poirot for help, disappeared, convinced she was a murderer. Now there were rumours of revolvers, flick-knives, and blood stains. But, without hard evidence, it would take all Poirot's tenacity to establish whether the third girl was guilty, innocent - or insane.
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  • Three Act Tragedy
    Written by: Agatha Christie
    Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
    4.30 (90 ratings)
    Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor's house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison, just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive.