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.
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.
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.”