‘The murderer is with us – on the train now…’
This novel follows the famous Belgium detective Hercule Poirot on board the Orient Express. One night one of the passengers is viciously killed and Poirot is hired to find the passenger who did it. The passengers become increasingly restless as the train is at a standstill, meaning there is no escape for any of them.
The first thing I have to admit is that the reason I picked up this book was because I knew the film was coming out. But I surprisingly really enjoyed it and now understand why Agatha Christie is such a treasured writer and known as the ‘Queen of crime’. The plot was not only captivating but also amazingly presented on the page, as it kept you guessing who the killer was and going through the mystery through the eyes of Poirot. It almost felt like watching an episode of CSI without the technology aspect.
Christie’s writing style is rather an easy one to read, as she lays out all the details in a very simplistic and structured way, yet it was still a complex plot. With the constant setting of the train it meant that she focused on the characters which I felt made the novel more dramatic, as you felt almost as confined and paranoid as those trapped on the train, not knowing which characters to like. This was not only my first Agatha Christie book but also my first mystery/ crime novel and its now introduced me to a whole new genre to enjoy. She manages to make such an enticing plot line in only 200 pages.
Poirot is such a likeable character and rather quip when talking to other characters. I feel the dialogue in this novel plays a huge part in driving the arc of the story, and its written really well and I started to do the french accent in my head for Poirot, making it very authentic. One of my favourite moments would have to be Poirot’s first encounter with Ratchett, as he is such a blunt and almost unsociable character but you can’t help but to like him more for it. Definitely recommend, especially as an introductory book to Christie’s work.
I also watched the 2017 film adaptation and I feel it was definitely true to the book. Really loved Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot as I feel his captured his troubled mind and OCD-like qualities he possesses which some may miss within the book. The casting was also very good as each actor played their part well but my favourite would have to be Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs Hubbard. She definitely captures her chaotic and loud personality but also her emotional and sad essence, and Michelle did an amazing job in showing both these sides to the character. The music also played a massive part in the film and I feel it made it much more dramatic and captured the emotions of each of the scenes. One thing I did do was I didn’t finish the book before I went to see the movie at the cinema, as I didn’t want to spoil the end of the film, and so I felt it made the film more shocking and enjoyable but at the same time it meant I knew what to expect at the end of the book. Recommend both of them.
No. of pages – 274
Publication date – 1st January, 1934 (I read the 2013 edition)
Rating – 4/5 stars
Quote – “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”