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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Classic Christie Mystery a Liked-It-Didn't-Love-It Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

"Lies—and again lies—it amazes me, the amount of lies we had told to us this morning" (231).

By now, everyone probably knows the plot to Murder on the Orient Express, one of Agatha Christie's classic mysteries.  It's so simple, though, that I'll give you a refresher:

In the middle of a cold, winter's night, the Orient Express is forced to halt in its tracks because of a snowdrift in its path.  The train is full, with a variety of people from a number of different countries on board.  By morning, one of them—an American man named Mr. Ratchett—is dead.  He's been stabbed to death in his sleeping compartment, which was locked from within.  Although a window has been left open, that's the only apparent clue to the mystery.  Hercule Poirot, the famed Belgian detective, happens to be on the train and immediately begins an investigation.  As he interviews each person on the Orient Express, he comes up with more than one solution to the puzzling murder.  

Although Murder on the Orient Express is actually the tenth Poirot mystery, it's the only one I've read.  In fact, I've read only one other Christie novel—And Then There Were None—and that was a long time ago.  So, in a way, this is kind of my first introduction to her work.  For being such a reputed writer, I found her prose more business-like than beautiful.  It's very spare, very efficient.  She doesn't waste time on unnecessary details.  Because of this, I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters.  They tended to blend together.  Plot-wise, the novel takes some turns I didn't expect (as well as some I did).  Overall, it's an entertaining story that I liked, didn't love.  I've yet to see the film, but I'll definitely be interested to see how Hollywood's newest interpretation of the book plays out.

(Readalikes:  Probably other books by Christie?)


If this were a movie (and it is—several times over), it would be rated:

for violence; brief, mild language (no F-bombs), and mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Murder on the Orient Express from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. Her prose is definitely spare. Think it was the way of things when her books were written. No 300 page books for them. Certainly a lot of characters. I like the comparison to the Lindbergh child kidnapping. The movie was OK. We saw it in November. Was darker than other adaptations I've seen. David Suchet is Poirot for me, but I will say that I didn't like him in the role that Masterpiece Mystery shared. Way too religious and I don't think Poirot is ever presented as religious in the books. I prefer Albert Finney's Poirot and that interpretation of this book. Of course, it also included many big name actors of that time.

  2. You are pounding out the reviews! Go you! The plot of this one (I only saw the movie) didn’t do much for me. I’ve never read a Christie. One day.

  3. Those are the only two books of hers that I’ve read, too!

  4. I loved the movie, but I've heard it's way different than the book. You'll have to tell me when you see the movie.


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