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

by Agatha Christie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,353146477 (4.06)306
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. 40
    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. 12
    The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (ashleylauren)
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» See also 306 mentions

English (136)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
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 |
I am so in awe of Agatha Christie. It amazes me that anybody can come up with this kind of story line with SO many details of so many characters. This is an intriguing story that kept me captured throughout.
  Mariesreads | Aug 13, 2014 |
Fast, entertaining read, but works up to a level of unbelievability that kills it. I'm not sure that Christie did not violate a fundamental rule of Mystery telling with her cute/clever twist. A little too clever for my taste, but still a fun read. ( )
  scott.bradley | Jul 24, 2014 |
I reread this to remind me of how good it was and how poor the recent adaption was. The book is wonderful and the train was the best part of the new adapation.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
One of the most famous Christie novels, this takes place in an archetypal cut-off environment, a snowbound train in the Balkans in the inter-war years, with no means of communication with the outside world. The ratiocination and simplicity of the prose is as smooth and satisfying as ever. However, I did not find the final resolution of the murder at all plausible, so this soured the ending for me. One other feature that amused me, but which jars now, is the readiness to believe that different nationalities are all of the same type - so an Italian man is suspected because the murder weapon is a knife that suits their hot Latin temperament, unlike that of an Englishman or American. ( )
  john257hopper | May 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (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 17 descriptions

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