Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Published by Harper Collins on November 1991 (first published 1934)
Series: Hercule Poirot, #10
Genre(s): fiction, classics, crime, mystery, suspense
Format & Pages: paperback, 256
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“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 Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
Murder on the Orient Express is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it several times over the past couple decades and enjoy the experience every time despite knowing the outcome. I. Love. This. Book!!!
“The murderer is with us – on the train now…”
Agatha Christie’s storytelling is always on point, but Murder on the Orient Express (along with And Then There Were None) stands a head above of the rest of her books. It is such a cleverly plotted, fast paced read, this mystery sucks you in and keeps you guessing until the very end. At this point, I can clearly see all the clues planted throughout the story that point to the mystery’s solution, but they are done so nonchalantly that they are so easy to pass over if you don’t know what to look for. The closed room setting (or train, as it were) adds tension and drama to an already suspenseful story. And the characters are fascinating, most especially Hercule Poirot, one of the quirkiest detectives I’ve come across.
I have been eagerly and
impatiently waiting for the new Murder on the Orient Express Movie ever since seeing a preview for it back in May. After finally watching the movie, I feel I can definitively say the book was better. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie and am glad to have seen it, but it won’t be something I watch over and over again the way I read the book over and over again. Obviously, I’m a bit biased. So let me break it down.
While not an exact replica of the book, the movie follows the basic plot quite closely – which is important. It added some early scenes setting up Poirot’s character for those who are not familiar with him, and a few details were either added or removed, but anyone who knows the story will be able to more or less expect what to happen next. Some dramatic liberties were taken to add action and suspense, which I personally don’t mind and believe will also help to broaden its potential audience. The settings and costumes were beautiful – this movie looked spectacular.
My biggest issue with the movie was with the acting itself. It felt, for lack of a better word, campy. You know how with really good actors, you don’t actually see the acting itself because they so thoroughly portray their character? Despite the amazing cast here, I felt like I was watching them act rather than seeing their characters. They all seemed to be trying too hard. I have to speculate this was a direction decision as I’ve seen these actors flawlessly deliver in other roles. That being said, I have yet to come across anyone else with this particular opinion, so maybe it’s just me.
Ultimately, I definitely have to recommend reading Murder on the Orient Express instead of seeing this movie. For what it’s worth, I have heard that the 1974 version of the movie is significantly better – and I will be checking that out when I get a chance. But if you’re a mystery book lover and haven’t read Murder on the Orient Express yet? Go pick it up now! It doesn’t disappoint.