Murder on the Orient Express is a tense, nail-biting mystery written by one of the most widely published authors of all time, Agatha Christie. The book stars detective Hercule Poirot, who is on the Orient Express when a millionaire named Samuel Ratchett is found dead in his compartment. With a body stabbed a dozen times in the train, the detective must look for answers among his fellow passengers who just might be the killer.
This novel, although old-fashioned, is mystery at its peak. Red herrings are packed piles and piles atop each other and every single passenger Poirot interviews could be lying, adding a mysterious tone throughout the entire book. As the book goes along and the case drags, the pace gets a little faster and the book adds a more tense tone. As the book crescendoes to the climax and the solution, Poirot’s allies grow more desperate. The book then reveals its big twist, and the story concludes itself.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is not just because of the mystery and the twist, but because of how it plays with tone emotion. You sympathize for these characters and you feel the raw emotion pop out as the book peels off its layers like an onion. The theme of this book blurs the line between good and evil and right and wrong. In the end, Hercule Poirot makes a difficult choice that is both right and wrong. The tone, emotion, and the themes make this book not just a clever mystery, but a tragic, dramatic story that makes the reader learn a lesson.
The writing is also top-notch. Every little detail is not hidden from the reader adding more and more elements atop mysteries as the book goes on. You can not only understand the physical clues, but understand the psychology behind the characters that guides you closer to who the killer is. Poirot interviews the passengers like a professional and every word that he or the passengers speak has a secret double meaning. Agatha Christie is truly a gifted writer.
Finally, this book is so relatable because of the emotions that drive the crime. Because you want to understand why the killer did what they did and you feel what the passengers feel as Poirot inches toward the solution, you can't put the book down. I felt the passengers' feverish excitement and their deepest despair. I felt the core of their guilt and the wound filled with grief that wouldn’t go away.
Murder on the Orient Express is a book hard to leave behind and impossible not to finish in just a few sittings. The book has mystery, emotion, a tense tone, and a big twist. The book also has countless movie and TV adaptations. Agatha Christie also wrote other brilliant books like Death on the Nile, Murder on the Links, And Then There Were None, and ABC Murders.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Collins Crime Club, 1934. Buy the book here and help support Stone Soup in the process!