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 — 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 since it was published 83 years ago. The dialogue is, of course, dated but it’s still funny where it’s supposed to be. Not to say that this is a laugh-out-loud book. 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. 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 favor for future generations? I suppose we will have to wait and see.
About Agatha Christie
Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time.
She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play – The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. // More About Agatha Christie
|| Book Reviewer || About Anne Logan
Anne Logan has worked in the Canadian publishing industry for 7 years and loved every minute of it. She reads a lot and I does not want to keep her opinions to myself, and so she reviews books.