This is a difficult review to write without giving away key plot points. I had never read anything by Agatha Christie before this, and I really wanted to read one of her books since you always hear what a great writer she is and how her mysteries are so wonderful.
I agree that she is a great writer. The story was interesting and flowed and kept my attention. I love Hercule Poirot, her fictional Belgian detective. I am most familiar with the television portrayal by David Suchet, but I admit to never having watched the show – I saw his portrayal mostly in advertisements.
I chose Murder on the Orient Express because of a recent episode of Dr. Who – “Mummy on the Orient Express”. I admit that is a silly way of falling into reading this book, but that’s how it happened.
In the novel (first published in 1934), a murder has taken place on the famous Simplon-Orient Express train. Hercule Poirot happens to be riding the train on his way from Istanbul to London. I knew right away who was going to be murdered when the character approaches Poirot and asks for his help. He was concerned he was going to be murdered. Poirot refuses to help because “I don’t like your face.” The character is described as evil-looking. Of course, he ends up dead.
I enjoyed the interactions between the characters as Poirot takes charge and begins to interview the passengers one by one. I liked the humor and the dialogue (even if I did have to use the translator on my Kindle more than once to look up the French phrases I couldn’t decipher on my own).
What I did not like was how far-fetched the whole “mystery” turned out to be. The fact that everyone on the train was related to an earlier murder case was just ridiculous. The fact that they all got together and planned it this way was unbelievable to me. I find it hard to digest that not one of the players in the farce wouldn’t have had a conscience and said “no, I don’t want to play along.” What I disliked the most was the ending. I won’t give that away. It was a non-ending to me.
I may try another Christie mystery – maybe this one was just too unbelievable. Perhaps others are better.