NO SPOILERS AHEAD!
Diving into the classics this week, you could do worse than to pick up an Agatha Christie. I picked up a copy of Murder On The Orient Express while doing a weekly grocery shop, having just finished my last book, and looking for some new entertainment. Being honest, nothing else took my fancy, but this classic stood out to me. I surprised myself by not having read it before!
With such a legendary book, I didn’t know what to expect going into it. All I knew was that this had stood the test of time for a reason.
Set on the famous Orient Express, 12 people find themselves stuck on a train in a snow drift. Given that in Britain we have just had the worst snow storm I can remember, I found myself getting stuck into the story, the setting, everything.
Mrs Christie lets Poirot take the lead, unexpectedly finding himself on a train, with a murder committed on the other side of his wall.
The pacing was brilliant, unveiling new information and piecing it all together like a jigsaw puzzle. We are witness to interviews of the suspects, taking in one at a time what they say happened, the story all weaving together.
I would never spoil an ending, but I can say it was perhaps one of the most bittersweet conclusions that Mrs Christie could have written. I came into the book expecting for a murder to be solved but left with so much more.
I can see why some people wouldn’t like this book, but personally, I love it. Then again, I did grow up watching Mrs Marple whilst playing Cluedo (thanks, Mum.)
The only issue I had with this book is the somewhat outdated way some characters jumped to conclusions based on the characters home countries, as such one policeman exclaiming the Italian passenger must have committed the crime, due to its nature, “Latin temperament” was a notable quote. And I couldn’t forget the terrible misfortune of M. Poirot having to make do with a second class cabin (of which a big deal was made).
However, getting through these, how shall we say, differences, in how the world works now, the story still stands as a brilliant guessing game. I wanted to jump into the mind of Poirot, to see what he sees, trying to figure out the crime with him, as every conversation, he enters into has such meaning later on in the story, it is a definite must-read for any murder mystery fans.