Ross Reads: Murder on the Orient Express

Posted: 2008-09-11 in General
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Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie, is the first Christie novel I've ever read.  Surprisingly, it's one of those stories that I've always heard the title of but never knew anything about (never seen any of the movie-versions either).

In the book, Detective Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective, is a passenger on the fabled Orient Express train as it travels from Istanbul to Paris.  During the lengthy train ride, someone murders a much-hated millionaire, and all 13 of the suspects on the train with Poirot may have had reasons to commit the crime.  When the train is stalled on the tracks due to inclement weather, Poirot takes advantage of the isolation to investigate the crime, vowing to determine the identity of the killer before the train gets to Paris.

The novel was quite interesting.  I'm sometimes in a mood for a mystery, although I haven't read any of this style (apparently it's a variation on the theme of the English house-party mystery)  The style seemed a little dated & quaint by today's rough-hewn murder mystery plots, but it was well done.

The book definitely left me guessing all the way up until the very end.  Minutiae mentioned in passing are somehow mentally tucked away by Poirot until he can make sense of them all and come up with a reasonable explanation for the events that have occurred.  The ending itself left me with a lot to think about as well, bringing up issues of morality, justice, and society in a way that left all judgments on the issues to the reader.

Orient Express was a quick read, as I'm sure most of Christie's mysteries would be.  I'll be looking into more of her stuff when I go on trips or to the beach, as it's very suitable for times you just want a lighter, but still entertaining mystery.

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