Monday, November 20, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

So with the new movie out, I had to read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express quickly.  I got it from the library a few weeks ago, but had a bit of a hard time starting it because it wasn’t what I really wanted to be reading right now.  But yesterday afternoon I finally took the plunge and started.  It’s a super quick read too – I managed to finish it last night!

Murder on the Orient Express is an interesting read, rather different from And Then There Were None because this time you are following Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.  On his way to Paris, he books passage on the Orient Express.  Overnight on their second night, one of the other passengers is found dead in his compartment to multiple stab wounds.  Thanks to the train being stuck in a snowdrift, it is obvious that the murderer is one of the other passengers.  It’s up to Poirot, with the help of his friend, M. Bouc and the Greek Dr. Constantine, to find the murderer.

Since you are following Poirot, and he is the one solving the crime, you know right off the bat that he is innocent (which is very different from And Then There Were none; in that book, EVERYONE was a suspect). Likewise, his two friends (M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine) are immediately presumed to be innocent of the crime.  

The remaining passengers are a varied lot (which reminded me of And Then There Were None): you have a Russian princess, her German maid, a Swiss nurse, the Count and Countess Andrenyi, an American matron, an American salesman, a British valet, an Italian salesman, an English governess, an American secretary, a Colonel, and the victim, a philanthropist.  Poirot notes that it is odd to see the Orient Express so full at this time of year (it’s an off-season for travelling) – the detective only made it onto the train because his friend M. Bouc is the director of the train line. 
Once the crime is committed, Poirot and company must use their wits to reason their way through the crime (because everyone is stuck on the train – they have no access to modern scientific methods for solving crimes).  They interview everyone and discover that everyone has a verified alibi.  So how could this crime have possibly been committed?

Murder on the Orient Express is a fun and fast read.  I didn’t find it as satisfying as And Then There Were None, but it is still a good story and well worth reading.

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