I love books by Agatha Christie. Whenever I'm in the mood for a quick, engaging read, I run to the library and check one out. It's like pulling on a favorite sweater or watching a cherished classic movie. The second I crack open one of her stories, I feel a sense of comfort and familiarity.
I recently reread The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first book in which Hercule Poirot appears. It was so much fun to listen to the narrator, who asks for Poirot's help, underestimate the detective again and again. Poirot does have a habit of asking seemingly random questions, but always for a good reason, which he reveals in the final scene when he puts together each and every bit of information that he's been collecting.
That's probably why I enjoy Christie's books so much. The entire story is sprinkled with tiny clues that all lead up to the final solution. Everything and anything could be important, and the trick is to filter out the extra information and focus on the important stuff.
One thing that always surprises me in Christie's books is the touch of romance. I've read more than one story where two characters exchanged only three or four sentences in conversation in the entire book but would suddenly find themselves engaged in the final chapter. It's like she wrapped up the mystery and decided that the book needed one more little happy ending. She definitely used a light hand with the romance, but it's almost always there, nevertheless.
Thank goodness Agatha Christie wrote so many stories. It makes it easy to reread one of her books a few years later and have no idea who the killer is (much to my embarrassment). I think my favorite of them all is Ten Little Indians (also called And Then There Were None), where a group of strangers are trapped on an island together and killed off one by one. What's your favorite?