Reading Challenge

RC2017: Murder on the Orient Express

I selected Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie for my 2017 Reading Challenge because it has been made into a movie that will be out in November. Well, I should say the movie is being remade, since there is a 1974 version already out there. This is the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve read, and I’m fighting back the urge to abandon all other books in my Reading Challenge to just continue reading Agatha Christie exclusively.

For those of you unfamiliar with Murder on the Orient Express, my quick synopsis follows. This book is actually one in a series: the Hercule Poirot series. Hercule Poirot is a detective who, after receiving a telegram telling him to return to London immediately, gets a spot on the Simplon-Orient Express thanks to his friend, M. Bouc (the train is uncharacteristically booked, and M. Bouc is a director of the train line). On the second night of the journey, a snow drift makes traveling further impossible, so the train stops. On the morning of the third day, M. Bouc summons Hercule Poirot to tell him a passenger, Ratchett, was murdered sometime in the night and he hopes Hercule will investigate while they wait for line service.

Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie

Thus ensues collection of evidence, passenger interviews, and deliberation by Hercule Poirot, M. Bouc, and the medical doctor, Dr. Constantine. While I tend to gravitate away from books with a lot of dialogue, the interactions and discussions between the characters are so rich that it’s impossible not to get swept up in the story. Agatha Christie’s writing is straightforward, but has a certain degree of elegance that is hard to turn away from. Each detail of the mystery is so well formulated and Hercule Poirot is so thoughtful and meticulous, that it’s nearly impossible not to stay on your toes while becoming invested in every other character.

I’m putting the 1974 movie on hold at the library so I can watch it before the new one comes out in November. When I first started reading the book, I could immediately imagine it as a play or a movie, so I’m excited to watch it on the screen. Additionally when I began reading, and especially now that I’ve finished, I thought Why didn’t I discover Agatha Christie when I was younger?! Younger me would have loved her writing, as adult me does now.

Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie


Do you have a recommendation for which Hercule Poirot mystery I should read next? Or a different Agatha Christie novel? Leave them in the comments, and tell me if you are an Agatha Christie fan yourself.

“If you will be so good, M. Hardman, assemble everyone here. There are two possible solutions of this case. I want to lay them both before you all.”



  • angelanoelauthor

    I read “Murder on the Orient Express” with my book club a few years back. I had high expectations. Though I found it interesting to read, it definitely wasn’t the high-suspense and drama I expected. Have you read The Woman in White?” by Wilkie Collins? This was considered the first “mystery novel” and called by some the first detective novel. Both MURDER and Wilkie’s novel were good reads, but I struggled with “readers hindsight.” I know what modern novels sound like, the cadence, descriptions etc. The formality of language and a lot of the telling not showing of both of these books made them feel a bit dated. However, I would read any Agatha Christie or other classics in any genre–we can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been!

    • kmac14

      The Woman in White has been on my TBR list for so long, and on my bookshelf for far longer, as well as The Moonstone – I will read them before the end of the year, I will! 😉 This year has really been the first time I’ve willingly waded into the Mystery genre waters, so I can’t make an adequate comparison between modern and classic mysteries, but I’m interested to see if I typically prefer the former (in other genres, I prefer the latter). But that is true, it’s important to read and study those building blocks that have led us to where we are today! Thank you for your comment!

  • Jennifer

    Which to read? My goodness…all of them! Thirty years after originally binge reading Christie, plots and characters still jump into my head. My favorite stories involve Miss Marple, but really, all of them. Read all of them.

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