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Monday, May 4, 2015

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

There are a few Agatha Christie books that I can read over and over and over.  Well, more than a few, but there are also quite a few that I have listened to, as well as read in print.  Murder On The Orient Express is one of these.  A Hercule Poirot mystery and a different kind of investigation - a locked room mystery.  Mostly.  I listened to this book, which was read by David Suchet - who was born to play Hercule Poirot.  I have loved his Poirot so much, but I was not so happy with the adaptation of this book that Mr. Suchet starred in.  For film, I prefer the older movie that starred Albert Finney as Poirot and had a multitude of film's finest as characters.

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!



36 comments:

  1. I love locked room mysteries; they are always so intense and so fun to read! This one sounds like a winner to me! But before this, I need to read AND THEN THERE WERE NONE from my TBR first! ;)

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    1. You really should try this one, Melody. Totally different from And Then There Were None. :-)

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  2. Sounds interesting. I love Agatha Christie. She just has an eerie, intense way of telling her stories! And Then There Were None is a favorite. I haven't read this one actually, but I probably should at some point.

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    1. Jillian, you definitely should read this one. Very interesting storyline.

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  3. This is one of my favourite Agatha Christie books and I'm with you - David Suchet is Poirot!! Glad you enjoyed this audio version too.

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    1. Yes, I can't even imagine anyone else as Poirot anymore.

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  4. This is one of those books I always keep meaning to read... you make it (and long train travel) sound so good!

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    1. JoAnn, this is a good intro into Agatha Christie's books. :-)

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  5. I remember the David Suchet version of this and it was quite dark and serious... unusually for me with his Poirot, I didn't love it as I usually do. I want to read some more AC soon and as I've not read this (as far as I remember) I might try it. Enjoyed hearing about your train journey, sadly I've never done one that long.

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    1. Yes, I agree about the TV adaptation with David Suchet. I did not love it. Much preferred this movie instead. It's a little dramatic and over the top, but some great actors in it. You should try it or at least watch the movie.

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  6. While I am "laid-up" with Siatica, I am leaving this comment..... Tessa was here. :-)

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    1. Tessa, I'm so sorry about your sciatica. Very painful. And thanks for leaving a comment anyway. :-)

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  7. I just reread this and it's one of my favorites. There's so many details that I always pick up something I've missed in previous readings. I haven't seen the 1974 movie version but I'll have to look for it! Your train journey sounds fantastic. I've only been on one train ride and that was as part of a field trip when I was a little girl. It was fun but only about an hour or so. The main thing I remember was that another passenger had a suitcase that was covered with stickers.

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    1. Isn't that funny what we remember? I'll likely never take another long train journey, but actually, I'd love to take the one that crosses Canada between Banff and the Vancouver. Have heard it is gorgeous.

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  8. It has been years since I've read this!

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  9. I have always wanted to read an Agatha Christie book and never have but I need to. I'm sure my library has several on audio and that would be perfect for me. I'm going to check if they have this one.

    As for riding on a train sadly I haven't had the chance but it's one of the things on my list to do. We have one that goes through some beautiful country and other than a car it's probably the best way to see it.

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    1. You should try one on audio, Darlene. I bet your library has one that would suit.

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  10. I agree, this is one of those books I can read over and over again. I've never traveled on a long train trip, but I've seen commercials for the ones that go through the Rockies and it looks absolutely beautiful! Its on my bucket list.
    Nice review, Kay!

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. Doesn't that trip through the Rockies look wonderful? One day.

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  11. I was on an Agatha Christie kick many years ago after seeing the movie adaptation and really enjoyed this book. For some reason, I didn't read many of the books, though. I really do need to remedy that and have downloaded a couple on my Nook.

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    1. The best part is that these vintage mysteries are not as long as the ones now. They read quickly.

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  12. This is one of my favourite Poirot mysteries too. I've reread it so many times, and even though the ending is unforgettable (and I generally like rereads where I don't remember whodoneit) I always enjoy it. And I love it in audio.

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  13. I have never had a chance to travel by train overnight, although I've always wanted to. I sometimes dream of traveling cross country by train . . . I was surprised to learn how expensive it is when I looked into it a few years ago! I don't know that it will ever happen, but one can dream.

    It's been a while since I last read an Agatha Christie book. I was a huge fan of hers during my younger years, bingeing on her books like there was no tomorrow. I do want to re-visit her books at some day--and read the ones I didn't read the first time around. It's been so long I think I wouldn't remember which I've read and which I haven't, save one (which I read more recently).

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    1. It is expensive to travel by train, especially if you get a sleeper. Not something I could afford every day. And as to the rereads of the Christie books, just start again and it will be like they are brand new. LOL

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  14. This is one of the Poirot books I could read over and over too! I also love David Suchet as Poirot, but I haven't seen the older film adaptation. I'd like to though!

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    1. Hope you try it. I like it better. But give me David Suchet for everything else Poirot.

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  15. This is also one of my favorite of Agatha'a stories. I'm fascinated every time I read it by how intricate it is. I have also traveled by train quite a lot. The Starlight route is amazing with its wide diversity of landscape. There are beautiful parts you can't see any other way than by train. Sounds like its time to plan another train trip. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. That Starlight route is very nice, isn't it? We really enjoyed it.

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  16. Love Agatha Christie.

    Thanks for reminding me of this book.

    Elizabeth

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  17. Yay! My library has this available on audio, so I put in a request for it.

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Les. Can't remember - have you read much AC?

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  18. I've looked into Amtrak for a fun excersion for Gage, but when it stops in Cleveland it is always the middle of the night. Maybe when he's older, because I have no doubt that he will still love trains!

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    1. It might be a fun adventure one day.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!