Have you ever travelled by train? I mean a long journey - overnight or even over several nights? I have travelled twice between Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. Once from the south going north and once the other direction. The second journey was the best, as my daughter and I were able to share a sleeping compartment with a bathroom included. It was lovely to go south all the way down through Oregon and California to Los Angeles. That route is called the Coast Starlight (yes, they name some of the routes). Changing in LA and heading east across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, we rode on the Sunset Limited. There is a rhythm and a sense of turning back time to me. Big picture windows and a dining car and a club car. I loved it.
Murder On The Orient Express tells of a train journey like no other. It has a dead body, Mr. Ratchett, and a varied cast of characters, all travelling from Istanbul across Asia Minor and Europe to Calais in France. This train is very luxurious and the passengers include a Russian princess, a Hungarian count and countess, Mr. Ratchett and his valet and secretary, a Greek doctor, an English Colonel, an American private detective, a British governess, a gentleman that is a director of the train company, and a few others, as well as Hercule Poirot. All seems well at first. Poirot is offered a job by Mr. Ratchett, who says that his life is in danger. Poirot, who does not like Mr. Ratchett's face, declines.
As the train is travelling through Yugoslavia, the snow is falling heavily in the mountains. Poirot wakes up in the night to find the train has stopped, stuck in a snow drift. All is silent or mostly so. However, in the morning, Mr. Ratchett is dead, stabbed many, many times. The snow outside the train is pristine. Who has killed this man and how did that person escape? Or did they?
Over the course of the next hours, Poirot interviews the passengers and tries to determine exactly what has taken place. Without any resources, other than 'the little grey cells', he tracks a killer. A note is found that refers back to a famous American kidnapping, which Christie based on the Lindbergh case. Little Daisy Armstrong was taken from her family and killed. The kidnappers were not convicted. How does this murder relate? Well, to find that out, you'll need to read the book or watch the movie. And use your 'little grey cells'.
And, for fun, I've included the trailer to the 1974 film adaptation of this book. Enjoy!