Monday, 23 September 2019

#re3 Murder Month 2019 - Murder On The Orient Express

  • Title And Author: Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 240 Pages

I am going to say this now but this reread wasn’t planned to happened. After I finished reading Howl’s Moving Castle (link here to read my write-up) where I struggled to finished, I wanted something light to read. Something fast. Something I could finish within a week. My brain decided that, even though I was thinking of reading this for Murder Month, I wanted to reread Murder on the Orient Express. So, I read this back in August and decided to pop my write-up of this now… 

I think we all know the basic premise of Murder on the Orient Express, but to refresh your memory, this is the tenth outing for Hercule Poirot and he is returning to Paris after a telegram comes to him, begging him to return to London. While on the Orient Express, his is approached by an American, Samuel Ratchett, who wants to hire Poirot as his personal detective. Poirot refuses, not liking the man. But the following morning, Poirot discovers that Ratchett is dead, stabbed 12 times while he slept and that Orient Express is at a standstill due to a vicious snowstorm, meaning the murderer is still on the train…
It took a little longer than a week to read this, but I still had fun rereading this. It worked really well as a platter-cleanser for Howl’s. And what was interesting rereading this and from memory of the movies (the latest movie starring Kenneth Branagh took real liberties and I sense these liberties will continue in the movie’s sequel, Death on the Nile) is seeing the tiny details and clues. Agatha Christie always tries and give the reader every clue possible, giving the readers a chance to solve the mystery. Though they are laid out in such a way, the reader won’t guess it fully. 

What I found interesting is that this book was published in the 1930s, within years of the kidnap and murder of renowned pilot Charles Lindbergh’s 20 month old son. Charles Lindbergh Jr was snatched from his nursery via the window on March 1st 1932. The baby’s nurse discovered the empty nursery an hour later with muddy footprints and a ransom note demanding $50,000 for the child’s safe return. Several days later, another ransom note was sent, raising the money demanded for the baby’s safe return to $70,000. Once paid, they will find Charles on a boat off the coast of Massachustts. There was no body and, in May of that year, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr was found in a field not far from the family home. It is commonly believed that he was murdered on the night of the kidnapping, killed by a blow to the head, whether on purpose or by accident, no one can say. 

At the time this was happening, the Police looked at individuals close to the family and after becoming focus of the police attention, 28 year old English maid Violet Sharp killed herself, drinking poison. 

Knowing this via reading articles online and listening to podcasts that discuss both the novel and the case makes me wonder if Agatha Christie was trying to write a crime novel with a moral and ethical dilemma at its heart. Plus, while Agatha Christie tie all her novel ends up, the real life inspiration wasn’t so neat. 

Now, I am going to admit that I am not well-read with Agatha Christie, but this is one of the better novels (on the Pewter Wolf, I have read/audiobooked And Then There Were None and The Murder of Roger Ackroydd, and both were the strongest Christie I’ve read). I’m looking forward into reading more from the Queen of Crime. 

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