Hercule Poirot Mysteries
by Agatha Christie
Recommended reading age: 12-14 years
Lexile measure: 650L ~ 800L
As the detective comes across clues and interviews suspects, readers are invited to try to put the story together themselves - using their critical thinking skills to assess the alibis of various characters, evaluate the validity of different possibilities and draw their own conclusions before the solution is revealed at the end of each book. These analytical and problem-solving skills are useful in a range of subjects, from math problems to debate.
Why we recommended
Agatha Christie’s books are a fantastic introduction to this genre of writing and especially suitable for children beginning to read longer texts. While similar to other classic detective mysteries such as the Sherlock Holmes series, Christie’s novels move at a faster pace and use more modern vocabulary. They are therefore very accessible to young readers and will immediately hold their attention. The tone and vocabulary used is quite formal yet easy to understand, helping improve reading comprehension and writing ability for more academic/formal texts such as essays. Furthermore, the recurring character of Hercule Poirot and the satisfaction of mystery solving will encourage children to pick up book after book — and with over 30 books in the series, Christie’s novels will quickly inspire a love of reading in teenagers.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair, weaves together a thrilling plot with an unexpected ending. Readers are challenged to assess the significance of the various clues and decide which characters to trust.
Collin’s student activities for The Mysterious Affair at Styles:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
A unique subversion of the detective mystery format, this novel features an unreliable narrator, telling the story from an unexpected perspective. As the truth is revealed, the reader is forced to completely reassess their understanding, reminding children to think out of the box.
Post-reading Questions & Activities
Note down who you think is the murderer and why after each of the following chapters:
After completing the novel: did you guess correctly? If not, look back at the novel and find clues that indicate who the real culprit was. What did you find?