Oh what, an old book? But Anne you never review those! I know, I’ve shocked everyone by reading a book by a dead author, but I can always make an exception for the wonderful Agatha Christie, the mentor to my idol Jessica Fletcher. I got this book from the library, which was extra fun because it’s an old edition. I chose Murder on the Orient Express specifically because there is a movie adaptation coming out in a few months, and I had never read this book before so I wanted to get it done before I ruined it by seeing the film. As I expected, I enjoyed every minute of reading the book, so I’m more than ready to have my high expectations dashed while I watch Hollywood’s interpretation of Christie’s genius.
The detective is Hercule Poirot who is a famous, extremely intelligent and subtle character that features in many of Christie’s books. We join him on a train through snowy mountains when someone is murdered only a few compartments down from him. Because of the snow, the train is also stranded where it sits, limiting the movements of all the potential suspects, making it impossible for anyone to escape. This of course sets up the perfect mystery, so we follow Poirot as he pieces together the night in question, interviewing the passengers, scouring the train for clues, and most of all sitting back and ‘pondering’.
Surprisingly this book holds up quite well, 83 years since its publication. The dialogue is of course dated, but still funny where it’s supposed to be. Not to say that this is a laugh-out-loud book, but the characters are clever, and I enjoyed getting to know them and their little quirks. That’s what I love about mystery novels, they continue to hold our imagination no matter what era they were written in.
The ending surprised me; I had no inkling of what was going to take place and although it seemed sort of bizarre it wasn’t completely unbelievable. And most of the clues Poirot used to solve the mystery were buried in the interviews he conducted, so a very savvy reader can put them together should they pay very close attention. Christie very deftly places two characters alongside Poirot to help him solve the mystery, and both men serve to distract us readers from the real criminals, as well as ease our own feelings of inadequacy around Poirot, as they are just as impressed with his detective skills as we are. There’s so much more I could say about this book; it was such a satisfying read, and not all that long either.
I wonder if the mystery writers of today will produce works of such long-standing favour for future generations, I suppose we will have to wait and see.
This isn’t my favourite Christie but the solution is so original! I’m not sure about the film – on the one hand, Judi Dench. On the other hand, Kenneth Branagh looks nothing like Poirot and I’d find that moustache hard to take for the length of an entire film…
how do you imagine Poirot? I’m not a big enough Christie fan to know what he ‘should’ look like…
Hmm… smallish, rotund, excessively neat, egg-shaped head and very tidy waxed moustache. David Suchet’s version of him is almost exactly as I imagine him. Kenneth Branagh is too big and… manly-looking, and his facial hair looks more like a large escaped rodent than a neat waxed moustache… 😉
Totally agree with FF about that mustache! This one is one of my favorites by Christie. I had to laugh about getting your hopes dashed, but it’s true!
yes I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be disappointed haha. I keep my expectations low throughout life, and then am always pleasantly surprised
You make me want to reread her.
oh fabulous! You totally should, I’m glad I’m being so influential with this book haha
I feel like mystery writes today want to come up with the most twisty plot ever in order to make the book enjoyable, and that doesn’t work for me. It sounds cliched, but writers of previous generations knew how to gain out attention without bells and whistles.
yes I think you’re right Melanie. Authors of today are probably feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of books being published (and self-published) that they need to find something really unique to grab a reader’s attention. But sometimes, it’s just the classic, simple whodunnit that is the most successful of all!
Love this one, I read it many eyars ago and still remember it. WHo can forget that ending??? I watched the classic movie and Im anxious for the next one!
Oohh I haven’t seen the classic movie, how is it?
Really good!!! I like that Poirot better than Branagh for sure xD
I read my first Christie last weekend, I enjoyed it but I prefer my book faster-paced!
Haha yes it was written back in a slower time that’s for sure 🙂
The 1974 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express for the big screen was a great movie with an amazing cast of movie stars (for the day) Alberta Finney as Hercule along with Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and on….The remake will have to be pretty stellar to beat it! Definitely worth trying to find and watch!
Oohh that sounds like a good movie! Sean Connery in 1974, yes please!
A very nicely written review, and that was a good idea to read the book before seeing the new movie version. I re-read this book recently and marvelled at Agatha Christie’s story-telling skill. I find it hard to imagine most modern crime writers having the staying power of Agatha Christie. She was, I think, something of a one-off. Her plotting, in particular, is outstanding.
I couldn’t agree more! She’s a hard dame to live up to, but I suppose only time will tell. Thanks for stopping by!
Yes! I’m doing the same! Reading the book before watching the movie. This is a classic. I still can’t believe I haven’t read it before! Loved your review!
Thanks so much for dropping by! I’ll include my movie review in November after I’ve seen it 🙂