Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book: Murder On The Orient Express

I'm in love!

Well, at least infatuated. How -- I ask HOW?!? -- have I never read Agatha Christie before now? I fell for this book after reading a single page. Not to mention it had an adorable cover (sadly, not the cover shown, which is also acceptable).

I'm not really usually a mystery reader. I get frustrated with most mystery stories. They seem too formulaic. Stupid characters. Predictable. I now realize that most likely, Christie is the template which many modern mysteries built upon. Except, in this case at least (my first and only Agatha book so far), it's filled with charming characters and funny quirks and lovely nostalgic touches (which weren't of course nostalgic then).

I wish I had coffee and brandy after dinner each night. Served to me by a man in uniform. Yep. Sounds good to me.

Anyway. Without giving too much away, this is a pretty straightforward murder mystery. 12 (or so... I didn't really keep track) people are on a train in Europe. The Orient Express, elegant luxury train, cutting across Eastern Europe towards France. Everything is going along swimmingly... until they get snowed in. The train stops. And a man is found dead.

No tracks around the train. Which means... the murderer is still on board.

Luckily, so is Hercule Poirot, internationally famous detective. I loved how logical (almost Sherlock Holmes-like) he was. I love how all the clues are laid out. How each person got their interview, and then a summary of what they contributed. I liked how it deliciously tantalizing the answer seemed to be... just out of reach.

I think I figured out the who-dunnit about one page before it was revealed. I found the solution satisfactory, but I loved the actual ending of the book.

There are still some loose ends which I intend to look up. Whose button was it? What was Mary's secret? Was the Countess innocent?

I haven't seen the movie, nor any TV shows (Poirot, etc.). I'm a complete Agatha Christie newbie. However, I think that I will be reading many many more of these over the winter. I just loved the charming 30s style. I loved the tightly-written plot and quirky characters. I liked the feeling that I could figure out the mystery myself, if I really 'used my little grey cells.'

Thanks for all the recommendations! I will get through some of my current stack and then probably try another. I'm completely charmed and think that these look like perfect winter books. Cozy, wrapped in blankets in front of the fire with a nice pot of tea. And a big stack of mysteries. Now I get it!

1 comment:

Kate said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's one of my favorite ACs. The only adaptation I've seen was one with Alfred Molina as Poirot. It was kind of hokey but fun, and Molina was great.