I first read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express in February 2018. My review was originally posted then on Goodreads, but has since been edited slightly for posting here.
Agatha Christie is always amazing, and this doesn’t disappoint. Murder on the Orient Express is as much a brain teaser as it is a murder mystery, and that is what is so fun about it. You feel yourself cataloguing information, trying to put together a cohesive picture of what happened that night, just as Poirot is doing so. It was still an intriguing read, even though I’d seen the recent film adaptation before reading this. Putting yourself in Poirot’s eyes to see if you can see what he sees is at least half the fun of this novel, after all! (And I can say without shame that I am not nearly as observant as he.)
This is the first Poirot novel I have read, though I intend to read more. I enjoyed meeting him here; he is an interesting character — very intelligent and methodical, with a keen insight into how humans think and behave. He is not as fascinating and dear to me as Sherlock Holmes, but he is still an engaging protagonist. Christie’s characterization is generally very good of the other characters as well, especially of Mary Debenham and Mrs. Hubbard. And the moral question presented at the end of the novel is a great one, which will spark much thought and discussion by anyone who reads this book.
Murder on the Orient Express is not my favorite Christie novel (my first taste of her writing in And Then There Were None will, I suspect, never be bested), but it is clear why it is such a classic. The ending feels earned rather than silly, which I suspect only the Queen of Mystery herself could have pulled off. And she does so to great effect here.
Overall rating: 8.5/10