Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Orient Express cover

In the seventh grade, I read Murder on the Orient Express, either right before or after I read Death on the Nile, without really having any idea who Agatha Christie was. I remember enjoying this a lot and finding it very exciting and suspenseful, and of course the ending blew my mind. Then I pretty much forgot about the book until I did my senior research project on detective novels and spent my summer reading a ton of them.

The hotel chain Country Inns and Suites does a thing where they have a shelf of books in their lobbies, and the idea is that you can take a book and return it the next time you’re staying in one of their hotels. So when I was staying in the hotel a couple years ago, right before my family and I checked out I was looking at their book selection, mostly out of curiosity. In between all the cheap thrillers and Christian-lit anthologies, lo and behold, there’s a copy of Murder on the Orient Express. So obviously I took it, planning to reread it at some point. (sorry, Country Inns and Suites, but you probably ain’t getting this back)

My point is, reading this book again after about ten years was an interesting experience. I knew what the solution was, but it had been long enough that I’d forgotten most of the details of the case and enjoyed rediscovering them. Also, knowing what I now know about detective novels and how they’re written, it was really cool to see Christie working behind the scenes of the story, leading the reader to believe in the various red herrings that she put up for them to suspect. However, I have to say that, since I already knew who had done the murder, the middle section (where Poirot interviews all thirteen passengers on the train, one at a time, about where they were and what they did on the night of the murder) got very dull very quickly.

But I’m still giving this four stars, because the solution is brilliant and because this book is a perfect example of how detective novels are written, and how the perfect murder is crafted.

Verdict: four out of five stars


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