Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

by Agatha Christie

Overview: Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Ecpress 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...Red herrings galore are put in the path of Hercule Poirot to try to keep him off the scent, but in adramtic denouement he succeeds in coming up with not one but two solutions to the crime.

Deanna Boe (02/08/18): The book starts with passengers boarding the Orient Express in Syria, and even more amazing in the city of Aleppo. People are boarding the train to return to Europe, mainly France and England. This included the celebrated and well known detective, Hercule Poirot.

Normally the train at this time of the year (winter) is not full, but for some unknown reason the First Class section is full, and some are forced to sleep in the Second Class section. The conductor is surprised and tells Poirot he is. Could there be a reason for these twelve people all to be together at this time? It hardly seems likely since they are all from different countries i.e. United States, England, France, Sweden, Germany and Italy. They also represent entirely different employment opportunities. Besides these twelve people we have a millionaire from the United States, Samuel Edward Ratchett. Ratchett approaches not only Poirot but also another man (who happens to be a detective from New York) immediately on boarding the train telling them he is afraid for his life and would they protect him? Neither took him up on his offer, which included being paid a large amount of money. Why not?

As you can guess, Ratchett is murdered during the night. Now Poirot is more or less forced to find the murderer. He interviews all that are on the train. Working with him is the doctor who had examined Ratchett and a train official. They sit with Poirot as he talks to each person, and after each person they discuss what had been said and how that person might be involved. Poirot analyzes every little nuance that had or had not been spoken. He understands and foresees far more than the two men sitting with him. How Poirot ties it all together is quite amazing at the end. If you have never read any of Agatha Christie’s novels, this would be the one to start with.
Rating: *****

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