When the Orient Express is stranded due to a snowdrift and a passenger is found murdered in one of the cabins, the Director of the company tasks Hercule Poirot with solving the mystery before they arrive at their destination.
Read if you like: mystery novels, stories set on train, large cast of characters, isolation trope
I’ve read a few Agatha Christie books so far, and this has to be my second favourite of them all (with And Then There Were None being the best!).
What I liked the most about Murder on the Orient Express is the way the story is structured. It’s almost like the author is inviting the reader to piece the clues together and figure out who the culprit is.
Each chapter finds Poirot interrogating different passengers in a systematic manner.
Most of the novel is set on the train. I would’ve liked for the snowdrift to have had a bigger impact on the atmosphere in the book. The sense of all of the passengers being stuck in one place isn’t a tangible feeling throughout the story.
Something that you may find different about the plot development in Murder on the Orient Express is that it is unlike typical mystery novels.
Usually, each plot development adds to a specific theory, building on it and enhancing the pace of the storytelling. But here, up until the end, because each interview reveals facts that almost lie side by side, there isn’t much in the way of Poirot pointing out his suspicions.
This is a medium-paced novel. I was engrossed throughout and read most of it in one sitting.
The ending is surprisingly good! It was unpredictable to me and made the novel one of the more memorable Agatha Christie reads.
I’m glad that Murder on the Orient Express is my first read of 2023. Looking forward to watching the film adaptation of the book soon.