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Murder on the Orient Express (original 1934; edition 1991)

by Agatha Christie

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7,452150468 (4.06)314
Member:drewfull
Title:Murder on the Orient Express
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Harpercollins (Mm) (1991), Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:mystery, read in 2013, Christie

Work details

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)

  1. 50
    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Ludi_Ling)
    Ludi_Ling: Both Christie classics, where no-one and everyone could have done the murder.
  2. 22
    The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (ashleylauren)
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English (140)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Reread it while working - it hasn't lost any of its charm (although there are some old-fashioned ideas about race that were jarring) ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Reread it while working - it hasn't lost any of its charm (although there are some old-fashioned ideas about race that were jarring) ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
In Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot plays the funny foreigner, impishly innocuous traveling back from Syria where he has solved a case vaguely described as very shocking and somewhat melodramatic. He's not at all perturbed when he over hears a conversation during their late-night stop in Konya, revealing more about his reserved English traveling companions.
"Mary--"
The girl interrupted him.
"Not now. Not now. When it's all over. When it's behind us--then--"
The young woman travelling with him, an English governess, displays suspicious behavior that Poirot immediately picks up on, and this is why I, as a reader, fixated on her for the rest of the novel. Her behavior alone tips me off that something is going on. While I liked her immediately for the murder, and stuck by my suspicion of her for almost the entire book, anyone who is familiar with the famous little detective mystery knows my mistake, and I won't re-hash it here.

What I enjoyed so immensely about this short book is Agatha Christie's sense of humor. Her character of Hercule Poirot is intended to better satire the contrast between Continental Europeans and the average English mind. His unique ways and strange appearance seems to be on everyone's mind when they see him, and his amusement at English behavior works so effectively because he is an outsider. I don't believe Agatha Christie was regarded as a humorist, but it is her charm and the concise writing of this novel that kept me enthralled.
"I say, sir," said the young man quite suddenly. "If you'd rather have the lower berth--easier and all that--well, it's all right by me."
A likeable [sic] young fellow.
"No, no," protested Poirot. "I would not deprive you--"
"That's all right--"
"You are too amiable--"
Polite protests on both sides.
While description is curtailed to the stations, hotels and the Stamboul-Calais coach, and a seemingly disparate group of travelers, Christie succinctly builds a surprisingly lively book. If all her books are this enjoyable, I look forward to reading them. Writing less does work.

198 pp. Pocket Book. Sept, 1975. Paper.
  knotbox | Dec 1, 2014 |
This is perhaps the mot famous of the Poirot novels and has been made into a BBC film I saw recently --good aside from some blatantly anti-Catholic additions. The plot is so well known I hardly need to say (spoiler warning) before commenting that (Like Roger Ackroyd) it is essentially a "very clever once" idea -- that all the suspects did the crime, because they were all linked in some way to a family devastated by the kidnapping and murder f a young child (based, as others have pointed out, on the Lindbergh baby case). ( )
  antiquary | Nov 12, 2014 |
Rating: 5* of five, mostly for the Agatha Christie's Poirot adaptation

The Publisher Says: Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

My Review: Well, that was a concise-to-the-point-of-terseness summary. But I suspect most of us who are voracious or even simply serious readers of mystery fiction don't need too much more than that to recall the details to mind.

The novel, published in 1934, is a bit of a stretch for a modern mystery-reader's sense of fair play. Poirot's famous/infamous "little gray cells" are pumpin' full-bore and lead him to near-miraculous feats of deduction. The novel's Poirot is, at the end, almost cavalier about the hugely out-of-character ending. It almost feels as if Christie said to herself, "Self, I've had enough of this character's ethics and am writing MY ending not his."

Her book, her rules.

The filmed version offers more scope for fair play with the reader as Poirot is seen to do things and discover things that lead him to a startling and evidently disturbing conclusion. In keeping with the films' expansion of the Poirot character, the book's resolution is more nuanced, and affords a modern viewer more satisfaction in that the character of Poirot is clearly emotionally involved in the murder's resolution and becomes a richer, more relatable person as a result.

Both versions of the story are so improbable as to be absurd, on the face of it. But in a world run on decent principles, such a story and such a resolution would be more common than not. I feel very Old-Testament-y about people who harm children or animals for cruelty or sport.

The film's other deviations from the novel are also deepening the sense of Poirot's reality as a person, and indicative of just how very surprising this ending is within the understanding Christie has given us of Poirot's essential relationship to crime-solving. A scene at the beginning of the film, between Poirot and a soldier, is particularly important in setting the tone for this story's exceptional place in the Poirot canon. Another early scene in Istanbul is, in my opinion, gratuitous; well conceived, but not necessary, and frankly unpleasant in the light it sheds on Poirot.

But the sheer visual beauty of this film! The pitch-perfect Poirot of David Suchet! Ah mes amis, this is the treat most exceptional, this feast is the repast most gustatorial for the lover of the how you call a crime drama. It is the pleasure most complete. Replenish yourselves and your little gray cells!


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
  richardderus | Aug 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
The book is filled with entertaining and descriptive events that will leave readers anticipating more.
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Del Buono, OresteContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karro, LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moffatt, JohnPerformersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordberg, NilsAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitta, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Postif, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seeberg, Axel S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suchet, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To
M.E.L.M.
Arpachiyah, 1933
First words
It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria.
Quotations
"Colonel Arbuthnot smokes a pipe," he said. "In the compartment of Mr. Ratchett I found a pipe-cleaner. Mr. Ratchett smoked only cigars."....
Poirot shook his head violently. "That is just it...it is impossible--quite impossible -- that an honourable, slightly stupid, upright Englishman should stab an enemy twelve times with a knife! Do you not feel, my friends, how impossible it is? "That is the psychology." said M. Bouc. "And one must respect the psychology. This crime has a signature, and it is certainly not the signature of Colonel Arbuthnot." (p. 121,122).
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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aka Murder in the Calais Coach
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Haiku summary
Everyone did it,
Or maybe just one person,
Or no one at all.
(SandSing7)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425200450, Mass Market Paperback)

Agatha Christie's most famous murder mystery, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer - in case he or she decides to strike again.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of year, but by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. With tension mounting, detective Hercule Poirot comes up with not one, but two solutions to the crime.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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