Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
Song For This Book: Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
Why? I got a bit stuck on the train bit.
I’ve read a few Agatha Christie books over the years, but despite many recommendations for this one, I’d been putting it off. I’m not a fan of the Poirot television series, and while I’ve enjoyed the books more than the adaptions as a general, I didn’t see how a story set on a stuck train could be at all interesting. Limiting it to such a small cast and space surely couldn’t be that interesting.
For the record, I was totally wrong.
I can see why this book gets the rave reviews that it does. It’s so simple, but so brilliant at the same time. It’s a short, easy to read story that will keep you hooked in until you’ve turned the last page and figured out who the murder is. While this one can’t top And Then There Were None in my mind (and probably nothing ever will), it’s definitely taken over the second spot.
The Good Points of Murder on the Orient Express:
I love how straightforward this book is. Christie doesn’t bother with side plots or romance or anything of that sort. She just gets down to the mystery, gives you only as many details as you need to understand what’s going on, and leave it at that. And while I do sometimes enjoy such subplots, the fact that Christie has written a strong enough mystery that it can stand alone with no extra fluff is amazing.
Most bloody complex murder mystery. I could not even begin to guess who might have been the murderer until they actually said it in the book. And I’m usually pretty good at figuring these things out.
I love that Christie doesn’t feel the need to translate every one of Poirot’s French comments into English. You won’t miss anything important by not speaking French, but I love that they were left in. Yay for not dumbing down books!
The Downsides of Murder on the Orient Express:
Poirot is an intelligent character, but thank goodness that this book doesn’t focus much on him. He’s about as exciting as drying paint when he’s not talking through a mystery.
I did feel like they spent a lot of time messing around and spending too much time on very obvious stuff. But this is probably a personal preference.
I realize that this book is from the 30s, and that things were different then, but there is a fair bit of racism and sexism in this book. I’m glad that they didn’t edit all that stuff out, because it would have ruined the book, though. I’d never fault the author for doing what was normal at the time, but reading this in 2017, I wasn’t a bit fan of some of the comments that were made throughout. Another personal preference thing.
All in all, this was a fun read, and an incredible mystery that left me guessing until the very last page of the book. I can’t imagine what sort of mind Christie had to be able to put together mysteries like this; she must have been something else. If you love mysteries, trains, and books that confused the hell out of you, you’re going to love Murder on the Orient Express.
Find Murder on the Orient Express on Book Depository