For most parts, Murder on the Orient Express is a gripping novel. For most parts, I was hooked and felt that I could devour it in just one sitting. Three main elements make this book intriguing. First, the setting of the crime- a train- The Orient Express. I think the constant knowledge that the killer is still on the train, hiding amongst the passengers, waiting, watching, listening, lends a great suspense to the novel. Second, the characters, quite a few, are fleshed out well and are engaging to read about. Third, the plot- fast paced and intense. Hercule Poirot is a delight to read as always pleasantly surprising readers with his ingenious deductions.
Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Publishing Date: 1st September, 2013. First published in 1934.
Genres: Crime Fiction, Mystery
From Goodreads: This title finds the Orient Express stopped in its tracks. The luxurious train set of with a full passenger list but by the morning there was one fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. With tension mounting, detective Hercule Poirot comes up with two solutions to the crime.
As I said earlier, for most parts, the book is riveting to read, but, not all of it. The ending, though completely unexpected, even masterful I may say, disappointed me very much. Why? Was it because I had already guessed the murderer? No. In fact, I couldn’t have guessed the identity of the murderer in ages. Then, why was I disappointed? Here is why- when reading crime fiction (or any Agatha Christie novel), I look forward to two things 1) The identity of the murderer and 2) How the crime was carried out. Dame Christie has always enthralled me by making me keep guessing the identity of the murderer till the last few chapters and by the absolutely ingenious ways in which the crime is planned and carried out. In Murder on the Orient Express once I came to know who done it, the way the crime was carried out didn’t seem brilliant anymore. I felt, okay so that’s the murderer- then the crime could be carried out super easily. That was a big let-down. I have read other reviewers say this and I have to agree with them- Christie cheated.
Although, the ending disappointed me it does bring up a thought-provoking subject about justice and injustice. Justice is every human’s birth right. But, injustice is bitter. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. Injustice robs the peace and happiness of the innocent and awards them to the perpetrator. Injustice is an evil that at times may come in the guise of justice. Injustice can have grave consequences. When justice system fails, vengeance erupts in the hearts of the innocent, who can take matters into their own hands. I believe Murder on the Orient Express is a novel that shouts out Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s quote from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, ’It’s is every man’s business to see justice done’.
The disappointing ending, though quite novel, stripped the ingenuity of the way the crime was planned and committed. But, the rest of the book is written too well to rate it anything less than a four star. Murder on the Orient Express is regarded as one of Christie’s best works, it is indeed very good, but, fails to be one of the best on my bookshelf.