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The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,878742,692 (3.56)172
The daughter of an American millionaire dies on a train en route for Nice... When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake serene Ruth Kettering from her slumbers. But she will never wake again - for a heavy blow has killed her, disfiguring her features almost beyond recognition. What is more, her precious rubies are missing. The prime suspect is Ruth's estranged husband, Derek. Yet Poirot is not convinced, so he stages an eerie re-enactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board...… (more)
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English (62)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Indonesian (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (72)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
A nice mystery on wheels ( )
  MYvos | Sep 1, 2022 |
Summary: A rich heiress carrying a rare ruby is murdered on the fashionable overnight train to the French Riviera on which retired detective Hercule Poirot happens to be riding.

Agatha Christie’s most well-known train mystery is Murder on the Orient Express (1934). This was preceded by a lesser-known train mystery, The Mystery of the Blue Train, published six years earlier. It wasn’t one of her favorites and one she struggled to write. But I thought it contained some interesting plot twists and a surprise ending that I wasn’t looking for.

The plot revolves around the murder of Ruth Kettering, daughter of American tycoon, Rufus Van Aldin. Just before departing for a trip to the Riviera on the Blue Train, a luxury, overnight train through France, she agrees to her father’s counsel to divorce her philandering husband, Derek Kettering, whose most recent “bit of stuff” is an opportunistic dancer, Mirelle. He also gives her the fabulous gift of a rare ruby, with a history of murder attached to it. Van Aldin tries to buy Derek off, which he refuses, even though he faces mounting debts with no income besides Ruth’s. The only way he will get anything from her is if she dies. He also knows Ruth has resumed an affair with the Comte de la Roche, who is a rogue and a swindler who thusfar has escaped the reach of the law.

Ruth is accompanied by her new maid, Ada Mason, who after her death, tells authorities that Ruth asked her to leave at Paris and stay at the Ritz. Katherine Grey is a single woman who has been an elder companion, whose service meant so much that she was left a sizable sum by the woman she cared for. She has decided that there are things to see and experience that are now possible. She has been invited to stay with her cousin, the Viscountess Tamplin and her daughter, who also hope to benefit from Katherine’s new found wealth. And Poirot, retired and seeking to enjoy the world, is also on the train, talks wisely to Katherine, who thinks detective stories are just something fictional people are part of. It turns out she will end up far more involved than she could have imagined. Poirot agrees to assist, as well as to work for Van Aldin, and his quiet, war veteran assistant, Major Knighton.

The case revolves around the time between when Ada left Ruth in Paris and who the tall male was seen entering and leaving Ruth’s compartment before the train passed through Lyons. Initial suspicions center around Ruth’s love, the Comte de la Roche, in league with a jewel dealer. Was this just a jewelry theft gone bad or something more? Yet Poirot is not so sure and suspicions turn to Derek. A cigarette case found in the compartment is thought to be his. Then Mirelle, who Derek has decided to ditch in his interest in Katherine, goes to Poirot and tells him that she saw Derek leave Ruth’s compartment at about the time the murder was purported to occur. Katherine also saw a man around Ruth’s compartment and possibly enter it.

One other detail troubles Poirot. Why did Ruth’s murderer not only strangle her but also strike her face with a disfiguring blow. Could Derek have done that? Katherine, who is now being pursued by both Derek and Major Knighton is drawn into Poirot’s counsels. At the risk of looking “past it” with Van Aldin, Poirot keeps looking, and particularly for a shadowy figure known as the Marquis.

As I mentioned, I wasn’t expecting the ending, which made this all the more fun. Poirot and Katherine match each other in very different ways in their own self-possession. I would have liked to see them together again–and perhaps Poirot would have as well–but she makes a different choice that, depending on your perspective, may seem “safe” or alternatively reflect a mature self-understanding. I think the latter and found her one of the most interesting of Christie’s characters, in her understated way. ( )
  BobonBooks | Jul 13, 2022 |
I thought I didn't like this one but I really enjoyed this re-listen. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
Since the main action of The Mystery of the Blue Train takes place on a train, and there would be no mystery without the train, I chose this for “A book set on a plane, train, or cruise ship” for my PopSugar reading challenge. The Blue Train is an upscale night train to Nice, and the stops on the train’s route, the layout of the compartments, and even the discussions in the train’s dining car are key to the mystery. A story about this luxe night train through France is a perfect read for these endless months of not-actual-lockdown-but-still-no-unnecessary-travel.

full review on my book blog
  TheFictionAddiction | May 8, 2022 |
Agatha Christie - Poirot #6

That's more like it! After reading some of the earlier Poirot stories I was getting a bit impatient for what I considered some classic Poirot 'action'. This book does the job nicely.

Poirot doesn't make an appearance for a while in this book. The first section is some of the back stories for characters involved in the mystery later.

Once Poirot makeas an appearance, we're off. I was pleased to see Hastings wasn't in the book!

A nice story with some great plot twists and turns. There are a couple of the female characters that I thought would have been great additions to some of Agatha Christie's other tales - guessing they don't turn up??? Katherine Grey (living in St. Mary Mead could have joined Miss Marple) and Lenox Taplin seemed fun and astute.

Enjoyable train mystery. A warm up to the Orient Express? ( )
  Sandman-1961 | Apr 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Cuando el lujoso Tren Azul llega a Niza, un guardia intenta despertar a Ruth Kettering para anunciarle su parada. Pero ella no despertará nunca más, ya que un disparo de gran calibre la ha matado, desfigurando sus rasgos hasta volverla casi irreconocible. Además, sus valiosísimos rubíes han desaparecido. El principal sospechoso del crimen es el arruinado marido de la dama, Derek. Pero Poirot no está convencido, y decide hacer una reconstrucción de ese día hasta llegar a la clave del asesinato...
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallorquí Figuerola, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moffatt, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pipinen, AarreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savonuzzi, ClaudioPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Settanni, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedicated to
two distinguished members
of the O. F. D.
CARLOTTA and PETER
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It was close on midnight when a man crossed the Place de la Concorde.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is a reworking of the plot of the short story "The Plymouth Express."
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The daughter of an American millionaire dies on a train en route for Nice... When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake serene Ruth Kettering from her slumbers. But she will never wake again - for a heavy blow has killed her, disfiguring her features almost beyond recognition. What is more, her precious rubies are missing. The prime suspect is Ruth's estranged husband, Derek. Yet Poirot is not convinced, so he stages an eerie re-enactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board...

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