By Agatha Christie, published by Harper Collins.
Goodreads synopsis: “The murderer is with us – on the train now…”
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.
Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…
My review: This was the first title I’ve ever read by Agatha Christie- and a brilliant introduction to her writing! I can definitely see, even just from reading one of her books, why she is one of the bestselling authors of all time. Right from the start, I was totally hooked into the story. The murder didn’t happen right away, or course, and there was a brilliant build-up to it. All of the many passengers were introduced really well, and I also really loved the backdrop. A train stuck in a snowdrift was a brilliant setting, because it made it scary- nobody could get in or out, and they would be stuck for days. It really added an eerie essence to the story.
The murder itself was gory and terrifying, and as it happened, certain things came to light that connected almost every passenger to the murdered man, Ratchett. Although it was ridiculously coincidental that most of the train had close connections to Ratchett and had grown to hate him, it was still very fun to read how Poirot worked out the mystery.
There were lots of clues dropped along the way throughout the story, that kept me wondering who-did-it every time I put the book down (-reluctantly!). Many things I thought connected to the murder were really just decoys, that made the outcome really unpredictable and the mystery hard for the reader to solve. They’re the things that pulled me into the book and made it utterly page-turning- my need to discover the criminal by working out the layered mystery!
Not very much was revealed about Poirot, in terms of background information. This is the tenth book in his detective series, so I can’t really say Agatha Christie doesn’t show much about him- she probably has in previous Poirot titles. He didn’t seem emotional in any way about the brutal stabbing, nor did he seem to express any emotion about the girl Ratchett had kidnapped a while before his death. He was quite like a robot, in my opinion!
However, I really did adore the way he went about working out the crime. He managed it expertly and was able to extract important evidence from the most undecipherable of things like a pipe cleaner or the place of a knife wound. He could even leak the truth out of the most stubborn passengers. I really liked his determination and patience too. He had the intelligence and personality of Sherlock Holmes, I think.
Overall, Murder on the Orient Express was a really brilliant read. The plot was clever and complex, with each character detailed and three-dimensional. It’s a must for crime fans and mystery lovers. It is packed full of suspense and action throughout, with the essence of mystery that keeps you guessing all of the way up to the reveal at the end. Although the outcome, explained by Poirot, was pretty long-winded, it was still understandable and genius. I love Agatha Christie’s writing, and will definitely be reading more from her when I can!
My Goodreads rating: 4/5!
I borrowed Murder on the Orient Express from my Dad’s seemingly-endless bookshelves.