Can you believe that I have just read my first Agatha Christie novel? Crazy, right? Agatha Christie had always been one of those writers that I have heard so much of and I do like reading mystery novels, but somehow I could never bring myself to reading her books. That is, until I saw the new editions by Harper Collins, they are so beautiful that I just had to buy a few of them.
One of those was Murder on the Orient Express, a classic, that I have heard so much of. Funnily enough, even though I had heard so much of the book, not once did I hear who the murderer was. I am really glad, I didn’t know anything about the outcome of the book before I started reading it. That way, the ending was truly a surprise for me.
Murder on the Orient Express follows Hercule Poirot, a detective on his way from Istanbul to London. He boards the train to Calais. The train is unusually full this time of the year. During the second night on the train, the train and its passengers are snowed in. This is also the time, when the murder of Mr. Samuel Ratchett occurs. Everyone on board of the sleeper train except Poirot is a suspect, as it is evident that the murderer did not leave the train.
The book is divided in three parts, the facts (everything up until the murder occurs), the evidence (including Poirot questioning the suspects) and then Poirot’s deduction. I enjoyed reading it in this divided way as I knew with each part what I could expect from it. It took me a bit, I would say a quarter of the book, to get into the writing. As Murder on the Orient Express was written in the 1930s, the language is sometimes quite different to what I am used to. After I got used to the language and writing style,though, Murder on the Orient Express was a fairly easy read.
Hercule Poirot as a protagonist has something about him, that I really enjoyed, which makes sense given that there are 33 books with Poirot as the detective. Poirot is arrogant and thinks of himself as the most clever person in the room, yet he never feels unlikable during the book. He notices things, that normal people probably wouldn’t and catching a criminal is more a challenge to him that anything else, as you can see when he refuses to take the case Ratchett offered him. Honestly, I can’t wait to read more Hercule Poirot stories and see if his likeability is the same after a couple of more reads.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would really recommend reading it. Even though it is already the tenth book in the Poirot series, as it is probably one of the most famous Agatha Christie novels of all time, it never felt like you had to know anything about the first nine books of the series. So Murder on the Orient Express is certainly a good starting point.
The ending is pretty good, and definitely a trope, that many crime books and crime shows have copied over the years. I recognised it immediately. What about you? Have you read Murder on the Orient Express before? Did you watch the movie? Did you enjoy any of them? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear your thoughts about it and if you have a recommendation about which Agatha Christie novel I should read next, please let me know.
Title: Murder on the Orient Express/Mord im Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: HarperCollins/Hoffmann und Campe Verlag
Publishing Date (first publication): 01-01-1934/1934* (as Die Frau im Kimono)
*I couldn’t find the exact German publishing date.