2012 Challenges, Books, The Classics Club

Book 102: Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

It has been a long time since I read a (non-young adult fiction) book in a day, but this novel certainly sucked me in. It was very easy to read and I enjoyed the characters. And it’s not like I spent the day in my room reading, I was out and about getting my haircut and running errands!

I’ve always wondered how some people are able to read 100+ books in a year (and I may be wrong), but reading novels like this where you fly through the pages could have something to do with it! I would definitely love to go back and read some more of Christie’s works, but I doubt I will unless I participate in some sort of mystery challenge. On the plus side, this book counts towards THREE challenges! It counts towards my Mount TBR Reading Challenge (9/25) and counts as the first book for both the Back to the Classics Challenge (1/9) and The Classics Club (1/85)!

I think what I liked most about Murder on the Orient Express was the panache/sass with which Christie writes her stories and portrays her characters, such as the character described below,

“The woman opposite him was a mere girl—twenty at a guess. A tight-fitting little black coat and skirt, white satin blouse, small chic black toque perched at the fashionable outrageous angle. She was smoking a cigarette in a long holder. Her manicured hands had deep red nails. She wore one large emerald set in platinum. There was coquetry in her glance and voice.” (30)

With descriptions like this how could you not enjoy the sassy way Christie wrote her novels. From the somewhat cheeky Poirot to the rather droll Bouc each character offers something to the story. Although it takes until the end of the novel to find out what happens, it’s worth it. There were times where the circumstances just seemed entirely way too contrived, but then when you get to the end of the novel it’s like oh okay it all makes sense.

In addition to her great writing and somewhat believable story I truly enjoyed how Christie actually poked fun of detective movies and books. At least once every 50 pages or so Poirot makes an offhand comment about oh if it were only as easy as in the films, or hey that’s what would happen in one of those detective stories. It made me smile and truly appreciate the wit Christie had.

On Sunday we took Tom’s mom to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and I found this awesome painting which reminded me of the novel. Partially because of the composition, but partially because of the monochromatic book cover. The piece is called The Enunciation by Mark Tansey and is particularly fitting to Murder on the Orient Express because of it’s taking place on two trains and the appearance (or lack thereof) of a mysterious male with a feminine voice or a very tall female and the woman in the painting is the alter ego of the man in the painting.

Recommendation: READ IT. It was a quick enjoyable read and I could definitely see reading more of Christie’s novels, especially one featuring the pop-cultural icon Miss. Marple.

Opening Line: “It was five o’clock on a winter’s morning in Syria.”

Closing Line: “‘Then,’ said Poirot, ‘having placed my solution before you, I have the honour to retire from the case…'” (Whited Out.)

Additional Quote from Murder on the Orient Express
“‘I saw it as a perfect mosaic, each person playing his or her allotted part. It was so arranged that, if suspicion should fall on any one person, the evidence of one or more of the others would clear the accused person and confuse the issue.'” (314)


19 thoughts on “Book 102: Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie”

  1. Agatha Christie’s been on my to be read list for ages now. I actually have And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express sitting next to me right now, so maybe I should shuffle those up the queue a bit.


  2. I haven’t read any Christie yet, but I’ve heard so many good things. And your endorsement tells me to start reading her works soon.


    1. You should! Especially if you want a nice (relatively) light read for a weekend away. Most people could probably wrap up one of these in a long weekend and enjoy reading it too.


  3. I loved Murder on the Orient Express! I think it was the first crime/mystery novel I ever read. I have to admit that I basically only did so because I wanted to have something to talk about with a guy I had a crush on at the time (Christie is one of his favourite writers), but after that first introduction to her books, I dived in and have a bookshelf full of them. I have to say that I prefer the Marple books to the Poirot ones–my favourite is 4.50 from Paddington, for precisely the same excellent, slightly snarky characterisation that you mention here. I know this is an old review but I liked it so much that I figured I would leave a comment anyway.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment! I’ll have to check out 4.50 from Paddington after your recommendation. It really was her characterization that really made me enjoy the novel as much as I did.


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