What Day of the Week is Agatha Christie Most Likely to Murder You On?

So yes a modicum of click bait going on with the title, but in fairness this post, my 800th (go me), is very much about Christie and which days of the week she chose to murder her characters on. I have wondered how writers go about choosing this aspect of their plots. Is it all random? Do they have a favourite day of bumping people off (albeit fictional ones)?

First things first I haven’t managed to locate the days for every single character Christie killed. I decided to focus on the Poirot and Marple novels and initially it seemed a reasonably easy task. Yet I soon hit a bump in the road followed by a lot more. Christie doesn’t always mention the day of the week so after much hunting the results of this post are based on 30 books: 8 Marples, 4 Non-series and 18 Poirot novels. Within these stories I have located the days for 34 of the deaths, (mostly primary murders, but also some secondary ones) and 1 disappearance and for two of them I have only been able to demarcate them as taking place on the weekend, one because it says so in the text and for the other (The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side), I am inferring that a summer fete is likely to be on a weekend. Feel free to dispute! For the rest the actual day is mentioned in text or there is enough information about other days surrounding the murder to figure out which day of the week it took place on. So after all this preamble what did I find out? (Other than that I need to get a life!).

Here are my findings:

Poirot’s Cases

I found after the 1930s, Christie tended to provide much less data as to what day of the week something was happening on, so the bulk of my results are from the 20s and 30s. So if you ever find yourself in a Poirot novel and you worry you could be the victim, then the day to be most careful would definitely have to be a Tuesday, followed by a Friday. These two days comprise over 2/3s of deaths in the 18 novels I have included, (I can’t do it out of all the Poirot novels for obvious reasons), which I like to think is a significant figure. Though I imagine The Big Four and The ABC Murders probably complicate this due to their having multiple deaths. Despite the number of country houses Poirot has visited, you’re best day for survival is Saturday; clearly Poirot hasn’t had too many weekend invites.

Miss Marple’s Cases

Once more Friday is a very popular day for murder, bagging nearly 50% of the total deaths of the 8 books. It would have been nice to have got all 12 books in, but Christie wasn’t feeling too helpful. Generally speaking the earlier it is in the week the safer you will be in a Marple mystery.

Non-series Novels

Due to the piffling number recorded I can’t really make any conclusions at all, but I have made a start, so if anyone can fill in any of the gaps for me that would be very much appreciated!

Overall combining the Poirot and Marple novels, Friday wins out as the most murderous day of the week in Christie’s world! So be careful!

22 comments

  1. This might be complete nonsense but Tuesday and Friday have one thing in common – the following day would have been half-day closing for a lot of places back then meaning the characters would have more chance to interact with the plot rather than being at work… no idea if that makes any sense but it is a link.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose if they wanted to interact in a shop/business they would need to avoid the half-days. Though a high percentage of Christie’s characters are not of the shop working kind so it probably affects them in a different way. In relation to the half-day closing, that could be more significant with The Moving Finger, in regards to a specific character.

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  2. Actually most of Christie’s characters are of the upper middle class variety, and since half of your Poirot examples are travel books, I wonder if everyone was simply taking advantage of lower midweek fares. Of the others, I just want to mention that the murder in Styles was not supposed to take place on that day. And I’m curious as to which murder you’re counting in The Big Four, since there are a great many.

    You could have just gone to a movie, Kate. Or I’ve got a cool book of puzzles for you . . .

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    • I tracked down two of the murders in the Big Four. Off the top of my head I think it was the middle two (JW and Paynter). Definitely remember not finding the day for the first death of Mayerling. But yes I appreciate there are probably many other better things I could have done with my time. I was lured in with the easiest of the first few Poirots before I realised how hard it was going to be.

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  3. Congratulations on your 800th post! I really admire the way you are able to post complete book reviews with such rapidity and regularity. And this is a novel (sorry) way to view the Christie canon that I haven’t seen before. People have likely crunched the numbers on AC murder methods — I’m guessing poisoning is at or near the top — but not on the day of the week that victims have met their demise, until now. Well done.

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    • Thanks! Yes murder methods would have been a much easier task as Christie always helpfully includes such info in the text. Days of the week she is a bit more hit and miss, with emphasis on the miss. I guess it doesn’t matter too much what day something happens on, but I did wonder whether there was a leaning towards some days more than others.

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  4. A. I want to know where you find the time to do this kind of research. B. How long have you been blogging? I am at about 850 posts over 6.75 years. C. Congratulations on 800 posts, and all so very interesting. I look forward to many more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Well I started blogging on the 27th June 2015 so I have been going just over 3 years now. And as to question A it is probably a case of too much time on my hands. Being able to use the search function on Amazon helped a lot with this post, but there were a few hours of flicking through my hard copies of the text.

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  5. When I saw the title my instinctive response was Tuesday. I do not know why, but I do have a suggestion. Poirot is famously and insistently Belgian. If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.

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