Agatha Christie

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I don't think necessity is the mother of invention — invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie (1890-09-151976-01-12) was an English author of detective fiction.


  • Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to seekers after it.
  • Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.
    • The ABC Murders (1936) Ch. 17
  • An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.
    • Christie denied having made this remark, which had been attributed to her by her second husband Sir Max Mallowan in a news report (1954-03-09)
  • Oh dear, I never realized what a terrible lot of explaining one has to do in a murder!
  • I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.
  • It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.
  • I have a certain experience of the way people tell lies.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

This is the first story featuring "Hercule Poirot".
  • The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the world-wide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will effectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist.
  • Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend.
    • Hercule Poirot
  • I am not keeping back facts. Every fact that I know is in your possession. You can draw your own deductions from them.
    • Hercule Poirot
  • "This affair must all be unravelled from within." He tapped his forehead. "These little grey cells. It is 'up to them' — as you say over here."
    • Hercule Poirot
  • I did not deceive you, mon ami. At most, I permitted you to deceive yourself.
    • Hercule Poirot

Peril at End House (1932)

  • I like to inquire into everything. Hercule Poirot is a good dog. The good dog follows the scent, and if, regrettably, there is no scent to follow, he noses around — seeking always something that is not very nice.
    • Hercule Poirot

Murder on the Orient Express (1934)

  • The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.
    • Hercule Poirot
  • Exactly! It is absurd — improbable — it cannot be. So I myself have said. And yet, my friend, there it is! one cannot escape from the facts.
    • Hercule Poirot

Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)

  • I don't pretend to be an author or to know anything about writing. I'm doing this simply because Dr Reilly asked me to, and somehow when Dr Reilly asks you to do a thing you don't like to refuse.
    • Amy Leatheran
  • That was the worst of Dr Reilly. You never knew whether he was joking or not. He always said things in the same slow melancholy way — but half the time there was a twinkle underneath it.
    • Amy Leatheran
  • Believe me, nurse, the difficulty of beginning will be nothing to the difficulty of knowing how to stop. At least that's the way it is with me when I have to make a speech. Someone's got to catch hold of my coat-tails and pull me down by main force.
    • Dr Reilly
  • God bless my soul, woman, the more personal you are the better! This is a story of human beings — not dummies! Be personal — be prejudiced — be catty — be anything you please! Write the thing your own way. We can always prune out the bits that are libellous afterwards!
    • Dr Reilly
  • I don't think I shall ever forget my first sight of Hercule Poirot. Of course, I got used to him later on, but to begin with it was a shock, and I think everyone else must have felt the same! I don't know what I'd imagined — something like Sherlock Holmes — [...] Of course, I knew he was a foreigner, but I hadn't expected him to be quite as foreign as he was, if you know what I mean. When you saw him you just wanted to laugh! He was like something on the stage or at the pictures. [...] He looked like a hairdresser in a comic play!
    • Amy Leatheran

Death on the Nile (1937)

Poirot (to Colonel Race): "We know almost all there is to know. Except that what we know seems incredible. Impossible."

Mrs Van Schuyler: You perfectly foul French upstart!
Hercule Poirot: Belgian upstart, please, madame

Salome Otterbourne (referring to the juice she is drinking): Barman. This crocodile has lost its crock.

(Simon and Linnet Doyle arrive at the Temple of Abu Simbel, the wind picks up, and an uninvited guest appears)
Jacqueline De Bellefort: Welcome to the Temple of Abu Simbel. The façade is 84 feet long. Each of the statues is 65 feet high.

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Rosalie Otterbourne (on learning of her mother's murder): I can't believe it. Mother dead. Why?
Jim Ferguson: She must have found something out.
Rosalie: Oh, God. Poor darling. I loved her in spite of it all (starts crying). And now she's gone. I can't take it in. Suddenly, I'm...
Jim: All alone.
(Rosalie nods)
Jim. No you're not. I'll look after you.
Rosalie: Oh, Jim (she cuddles up to him). Poor mother.
Jim: You would never have got away from her. Not while she was alive.

(Mrs Van Schuyler is using her magnifying glass to study a picture of Linnet)
Mrs Van Schuyler: So that's the Ridgeway girl.
Miss Bowers: What are you studying so closely? The picture, or her pearls?
Mrs Van Schuyler: Keep a civil tongue in your head, Bowers, or you will be out of a job.
Miss Bowers: What do I care? This town is filled with rich old widows willing to pay for a little grovelling and a body massage. You go ahead and fire me.
Mrs Van Schuyler: Temper, temper, Bowers. It's obvious you need a holiday (picks up newspaper). How would a little trip down the Nile suit you?
Miss Bowers: There is nothing I would dislike more. If there are two things in the world I can't abide, it's heat and heathens (snatches the paper while she speaks).
Mrs Van Shuyler: Good. Then we'll go. Bowers, pack.
(Bowers throws down the paper)

The Hollow (1946)

  • I must have a talk with you, David, and learn all the new ideas. As far as I can see, one must hate everybody but at the same time give them free medical attention and a lot of extra education, poor things! All those helpless little children herded into schoolhouses every day—and cod liver oil forced down babies’ throats whether they like it or not—such nasty-smelling stuff.
    • Lucy Angkatell
  • John, forgive me... for what I can't help doing.
    • Henrietta Savernake

Dead Man's Folly (1956)

  • I can imagine anything! That's the trouble with me. I can imagine things now — this minute. I could even make them sound all right, but of course none of them would be true.
    • Ariadne Oliver
  • It would be difficult Bland thought, to forget Hercule Poirot, and this not entirely for complimentary reasons.

Curtain - Poirot's Last Case (1975)

  • Who is there who has not felt a sudden startled pang at reliving an old experience or feeling an old emotion?
  • This, Hastings, will be my last case. It will be, too, my most interesting case — and my most interesting criminal.
    • Hercule Poirot
  • I have no more now to say. I do not know, Hastings, if what I have done is justified or not justified. No — I do not know. I do not believe that a man should take the law into his own hands... But on the other hand, I am the law! As a young man in the Belgian police force I shot down a desperate criminal who sat on a roof and fired at people below. In a state of emergency martial law is proclaimed.
  • I have always been so sure — too sure... But now I am very humble and I say like a little child: "I do not know..." ~ Hercule Poirot

An Autobiography (1977)

  • I don't think necessity is the mother of invention — invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.


  • The best time to plan a book is while you are doing the dishes

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