Have you read any Agatha Christie yet? Because she is extremely awesome and not boring and conventional like you might think. In fact, her 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was so controversial when it came out (due to a twist ending that I'm not going to reveal) that critics were divided and other mystery writers aghast.
In this mystery a widow has apparently committed suicide one year after her husband's mysterious death. The town doctor confirms the death and later dines with a friend (and the wealthiest man in town), who was also close with the widow. After the doctor leaves the man's house for the evening, he is called back only to find his friend has been stabbed in the neck. And there we have the murder of Roger Ackroyd.
Lucky for (almost) everyone, a strange foreigner has recently moved to the town for his retirement. He is none other than the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, and after a little coaxing from Ackroyd's niece, he takes on the case and begins investigating the murder with the good doctor as his sidekick.
There are a whole household of intriguing suspects, each of which would benefit from Ackroyd's death and every one of them seems to be hiding something. In this book, as in the other Agatha Christie novels I've read, the strength lies in the balance between a great mystery (lots of clues, red herrings, and teasing hints) and a masterful sense of character and psychology. Truly a perfect mystery.
This is the first Hercule Poirot book that I've read, and although I've seen some TV adaptations of Poirot stories and had a general familiarity with his character I've been told by a friend that I would get even more out of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd if I had a little more Poirot under my belt. Which is great because I can't wait to read some more...
[And sadly I just have a boring old 1990s copy of this book and not the awesome 1920s cover pictured above. I would gladly trade for a cooler cover any day of the week.]