I started reading Agatha Christie cozy mystery novels in middle school. I loved to match wits with the detective and try to solve the case before Miss Jane Marple or Hercule Poirot did.
My Mom loved cozy mysteries and she passed her enjoyment to me.
One thing I didn't realize as a young teen was how great the writing was in some of these vintage novels. They quoted in French and Latin occasionally. They referred to Greek classics and history. Yes, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, and Ngaio Marsh are great authors who produced classic literature. Being a whodunit doesn't change that! But, it does make the reading more fun!
I introduce my teens to Agatha Christie in middle school because she is such an amazing writer. For most of my children, this leads to reading more and more cozy mysteries. That helps me reach my goal of raising children who LOVE to read!
I even created a high school English course for my kids that uses mostly cozy mysteries from the "Golden Age of Mysteries" (1920s to 1940s) and we spend the year writing our own whodunit novel. It's a blast to create a detective, plant clues or red herrings, and lead your reader on a chase to uncover the true murderer. Who knew school could be so fun? (You can check out Who Dun It here)
Wait, I've digressed. Agatha Christie has written over 60 cozy mysteries that are fun to read and best of all, well-written from an educational and literature standpoint. So, if you like Agatha Christie, I bet your teen will, too. And if you've never read her, well, you will have to read one of her novels, too.
Here are some of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. Two of these whodunits are solved by Miss Marple, one by Tommy & Tuppence, and the rest by Hercule Poirot. Enjoy!
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair at Styles introduces us to Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective. We also meet Hastings who becomes Poirot's loyal sidekick. This is the classic golden age mystery with a manor home, poison, retired soldiers, and a unexpected dead body. This is Agatha Christie's first cozy mystery novel.
4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie
This is one of my favorites with Miss Marple uncovering the murderer. 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie begins with Miss Marple's friend seeing a woman murdered on a passing train. When the train officials can't find a body or a witness, most people would give up, but Miss Marple knew that her friend Mrs. McGuilicuddy knew what she saw. This is Miss Marple at her best playing the dithering old lady on the outside while on the inside, her steel-trap mind unravels a challenging puzzle.
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Tommy and Tuppence meet one another in The Secret Adversary: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery by Agatha Christie right after World War I comes to an end. This is a great slice of life in England right after World War I. I actually consider it historical fiction: World History World War I.
At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie
When famous author Raymond West worries about his aunt's health, he decides to send her to the famous Bertram's Hotel. It is like stepping back in time. Yet, Miss Marple sense that something isn't quite right. One of my favorites! At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie is full of twists and turns--an ideal cozy mystery.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Here is another cozy mystery I consider historical fiction. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is set on the historical and elegant Orient Express train popular in the early 20th Century with the rich and famous. The conclusion is so similar to an event that took place in American in the 1930s that I include it in my HIS Story of the 20th Century history course. I just can't give the event away or you will know who the murderer is.
More Christie Mysteries Teens Will Love
Who Dun It? 1-Credit High School English Course
Writing a novel during the high school years is a valuable learning experience and most students end up enjoying the process and the finished product (your very own book!). In our house, since we love cozy mysteries, we decided to write your own "Who-Dun-It" in the pattern of the "Golden Age of Mystery." With examples like Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, and Lord Peter WImsey, we created our own detective. By reading Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Mary Higgins Clark, G.K. Chesterton, Sir Conan Doyle, and other classic mystery authors, we created our own pattern to write our very own cozy mystery novel.
Who Dun It? is available in print at Amazon and E-book at PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers. Who knew high school English could be so fun!
FREE Reading Lists for All Ages
We have lots of reading lists for pre-teens, teens, and adults. You can download them here. You will find classic literature lists, classic Christian books list, and all kinds of living books list. We want to share our book lists with you for FREE. No sign-ups!
We love reading classics and living books in our house and we always encourage homeschool families to read, read, read. We have free reading lists for all ages here. You can download them or just bookmark the page.
One of the best things parents can do is to read aloud to their children. Choose beautifully, illustrated, well-written picture books that capture the interest of your little ones. Reading aloud gets children ready to read and helps readers to be stronger readers. We have reading lists for reading aloud here.
After children learn to sound out words, they need to read lots and lots of fun, easy-to-understand books. The more they read, the more their reading will improve. If they like a series, like the Boxcar Children, let them read all the books in the series. Children are often drawn to a book because of a character. Your goal now is to increase reading skills: fluency, speed, comprehension. We have reading lists for new readers here.
Once children can read, it’s time to read classic books that are well-written and share a timeless message. Don’t bog children down with writing book reports. Let them read, read, read! Reading builds vocabulary and learning skills. We have reading lists for children here.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!