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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha…

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

by Agatha Christie

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8,309186374 (4.05)415
Title:Murder on the Orient Express
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Harpercollins (Mm) (1991), Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, read in 2013, Christie

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)


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English (175)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Piratical (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (186)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
A very readable mystery, complete with a surprising and satisfying conclusion. I will admit that I saw a movie adaptation of this mystery a few years back and could vaguely recall some of the details, so I guessed the solution more easily than another. Still, a great read and a classic among mysteries. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jun 27, 2016 |

“But I know human nature, my friend, and I tell you that, suddenly confronted with the possibility of being tried for murder, the most innocent person will lose his head and do the most absurd things.”

I've heard a lot about this story from Christie followers, telling me how good it is and how it rates a favorite for many. While it didn't steal the #1 spot for me from [b:And Then There Were None|16299|And Then There Were None|Agatha Christie|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1391120695s/16299.jpg|3038872] and [b:Death on the Nile|131359|Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot, #17)|Agatha Christie|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1224211907s/131359.jpg|3038762], it maneuvered its way into #3.

Ah, Poirot. He may think he's retired, but he keeps running into murders on his travels. This time he's come from an emotional upheaval and needs the break, after being saddened by a friend's death, but once on the train he sees it's no peaceful vacation. Murder takes place, but the clues are so obvious it's clear they were planted. Not only obvious, but they point the fingers at several and contradict each other.

Murder on the Orient Express was refreshing for a Christie book because she took a break from her straight-laced justice chase for once. It showed a different side to the understanding Poirot has, something he usually doesn't do or get involved in. The ending delivered a unique twist that comes back to a personal situation with Poirot in the beginning. How she ties these tiny knots together to make the rope so complex always surprises me.

Even though it's about a crime, a few sentences of humor are introduced, mainly when Poirot's mustache battles his soup and an overbearing character who won't shut up. Usually a suspect needs detailed interviewing, but this is one woman they're happy to get out of the interrogation chambers. Besides that, his two companions were a lot of fun since they suspected pretty much everybody after each questioning. How Poirot has patience with us and our little minds, I'll never know. :)

The mystery is hard to solve without Poirot's genius observations, but it's still neat to see how it plays out when he reveals his hand. Again I loved the ending focusing on justice in such a different sort of way. The irony with the numbers is genius too - those little touches make all the difference between a good story and a great one.

One of the contradictions on the train was a clear-standing prejudice of travelers of different nationalities holding their personal prejudices against "foreigners." It comes across more funny than anything, although some may itch to get offended, as silly as I think that is.

On the negative side, the book was mainly just interviews and not red herrings or different discoveries and explorations - sitting for hours talking isn't as exciting as the different trials on the ship with 'Death On the Nile' and the claustrophobic tightness of 'And Then There Were None.' ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Read my review on my blog.

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.

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.

read more of my shenanigans at auroralector.blogspot.com
  knotbox | Jun 9, 2016 |
Despite my undying love for Murder, She Wrote, I don''t really read mystery novels. My booky friends don't read them often, and half the time I pick up a book, it's because it was recommended by a friend. But when I saw Murder On the Orient Express for next to nothing at Barnes & Noble, I decided to go for it. No better place to start than the reported "Queen of Mystery", right?

Well, sort of. I liked the book. The characters were fun, and the idea of a murder on a train where the killer is still inside with everyone else is a great setup for a murder investigation. The tension of not being able to leave the train added interest to what could have been a merely ho-hum mystery.

That being said, I wasn't crazy about the ending. To me -- and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying this -- it was simply too unbelievable. I like the mysteries on Murder, She Wrote, because I can usually figure them out by the end, but not until the end. The solution hides until the last minute, then when it comes up, it's so obvious you feel stupid for not seeing it sooner. Murder On the Orient Express wasn't like that at all. I wasn't even close, but I wasn't mad at myself for not getting it when I heard the solution.

But, it was great fun to read and I plan on picking up another Poirot mystery -- I just won't expect it to be something I can solve myself. ( )
  shulera1 | Jun 7, 2016 |
A decent little whodunnit, for what that's worth, but considering the reputation of this book and of the author Agatha Christie (outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible, y'know) I was extremely disappointed. And that's mostly (but not solely) because of the reveal of the ending.

I won't include any spoilers in this review, but the 'whodunnit' sub-genre of crime fiction, of which Christie is the flag-bearer and Murder on the Orient Express one of the heavyweights, is all about keeping the reader guessing, teasing out clues (and red herrings) and giving them the opportunity to figure out who the murderer is themselves. I failed to figure it out myself when reading the book, so as I got towards the end I figured it must be something really juicy and I was excited how it would all fit together. But, ah...

It's to the book's credit that it kept me guessing – I enjoyed reading it – but it lost a lot of my goodwill when I realised the reason I couldn't figure out the murderer was because the whole solution was so farfetched, coincidental and impractical that no-one with a truly rational/logical mind could have even contemplated it as an option. It is a solution that could not have existed in a real-life crime, only in a novel: the parlour-room whodunnit genre reduced to a parlour trick. Sadly, I find myself agreeing with crime writer Raymond Chandler's famous criticism of the novel that only a halfwit could guess it" ('The Simple Art of Murder', 1950). I was surprised that so many reviewers say that their 'mind was blown' or somesuch. For me it was so silly as to be borderline insulting that I was expected to swallow it.

Elsewhere, the story indulges other coincidences. Most notably, how convenient – or inconvenient if you're the criminal – is it that a world-famous detective just happens to be on the same train (and coach!) that an elaborate murder has been planned on? And that the train gets stuck in a snowdrift, allowing said world-famous detective the opportunity to solve it? I know there has to be suspension of disbelief in just about any work of fiction just so you can get it off the ground, but when you add these misgivings to those about the reveal of the criminal at the end, you realise that Murder on the Orient Express is just a string of coincidences and unworkable scenarios tacked together by an (admittedly capable) writer.

Furthermore, the whole tone of the novel felt off. It is light-hearted, despite the brutal murder that takes place, only reinforcing in my mind the silliness of the whole endeavour and the idea that it is just a parlour game like a round of Cluedo. The dialogue is often comically simple and overblown ("Something has happened. Prepare yourself for a shock. Your employer, M. Ratchett, is dead!" (pg. 70) – Note: The latter sentence was in italics even in the book, emphasising the silliness). The writing is uninspiring; barring one or two moments of decent prosing, such as the opening paragraph of Part 3, Chapter 7, there's little for the reader to fall back on if the central mystery is failing to spark for them. The characters are stereotypes and the book is rooted in archaic assumptions: the attack could not have been 'a woman's crime', the Italians are known for their 'stabs with a knife', aristocrats and people of 'good standing' are above suspicion providing they give their 'word of honour' that they did not commit the murder. And Poirot himself – "neat, spruce and dandified" (pg. 56) – fails as a character to hold the reader's attention in the way that, say, Sherlock Holmes still can.

Murder on the Orient Express was, in the end, just a piece of entertaining fluff to pass a few hours. That's fine, which is why I've still given the book a three-star rating, but considering its reputation and that of Christie I was expecting something more substantial. I will still read more of Christie's work because this was an acceptable enough journey and quick to get through, but these sorts of whodunnit books only work if the ending makes you go 'wow' rather than 'meh'. For all its reputation, Murder on the Orient Express felt like a bit of a cheap trick." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
The book is filled with entertaining and descriptive events that will leave readers anticipating more.
Estambul, pleno invierno. Poirot decide tomar el Orient Express que en esta época suele hacer su recorrido prácticamente vacío. Pero aquel día, el tren va lleno y sólo gracias a una buena amiga consigue una litera en el coche-cama. A la mañana siguiente se despierta, descubre que una tormenta de nieve ha obligado a detener el tren y que un americano, llamado Ratcher, ha sido apuñalado salvajemente. Aparentemente nadie ha entrado ni ha salido del coche-cama. El asesino, sin duda, es alguno de los ocupantes entre los que se encuentra una altiva princesa rusa y una institutriz inglesa.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» 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
Suchet, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Arpachiyah, 1933
First words
It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria.
"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).
Last words
(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.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:36 -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 16 descriptions

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