Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Classic
‘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 Simon Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.
Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…
This was my first experience of reading an Agatha Christie novel and I must say I was a little apprehensive going into the book as everyone loves it who has read it but normally with murder mysteries it is blatantly obvious who the killer is in the first few chapters of the book. However this book was completely different and it really made me see why everyone loves this book and why Christie is regarded as the best murder mystery writer of all time.
The book is about (if you hadn’t already guessed) a murder on a train, famous detective Hercule Poirot is aboard and takes on the case to try and figure out who was the killer. Each chapter is a different version of events from each passenger in the carriage who may be responsible for the murder.
Unlike most modern murder mysteries the characters were described in depth, each having their own address! This is very rare for a book in which the characters only appear in this one book and not in a series however it really added to the story and allowed the reader to create their own vision of each character by knowing their backstory, where they were born, why they were on the train etc.
Also unlike the murder mysteries of today the ending didn’t seem rushed, every single clue slotted into place and everything was explained. Most books nowadays seem to decide who the murderer is a few pages before the end and try and attempt to fit all the clues around this person. That did not happen in this book, each clue was perfectly explained and didn’t leave anything out. I liked this about the book because it wasn’t a simple “yeah you were the killer, all sorted, all clues can be traced back to you”. Instead there were clues that didn’t add up, contradicting stories etc. and so many twists and turns but it really did make a fabulous mystery and you HAD to keep reading to find out who the killer was.
I will admit I was completely fooled by who the killer was in the end, without giving too much away (what is the point in reading the book if I tell you who the killer is?!) I thought that I had everything figured out, then some small clue would be discovered and I’d change my whole view until I had the murder pinned on someone else and the process would repeat. I think everyone on that train had been accused of being the killer before the end of the book! However Christie is clever about how she writes the book and all the clues are there at the start of the story however you overlook them and at the end you think “how the hell did I miss that?!” that I think is what makes a brilliant murder mystery.
I think one of the main reasons that people don’t pick this up is that it is a classic and published in the 1930’s therefore the writing is a little old fashioned which may put off some readers however it is definitely worth the read if you want an interesting murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very end. I would definitely recommend this read, do not be put off by your previous experiences in this genre which is why I put this off for so long. It is a really good read and fans of this genre will definitely enjoy it.
Summing up: An interesting murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end