Tag Archives: Hercule Poirot

Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (4/5)

8 Jun

I heard this one was going to be turned into a movie and I wanted to read it before the film came out. My husband and I needed a book to listen to for our drive to the cottage over Memorial Day weekend and we picked this one. We finished it up last week over dinner. I love having a husband who loves books, too!

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie

Other books by Agatha Christie reviewed on this blog:
El misterio de la guía de ferrociarriles 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

I really enjoyed this story. I think that I listened to it in big chunks helped me enjoy it because I could keep track of the small details. My husband and read this book a long time ago and he remembered the final reveal, but he had fun picking up on the small details along the way. I was changing my guess at the murderer every ten minutes! Christie really is a master of mysteries.

I loved the variety of characters Christie was able to create and how distinct each of them was. She did a good job of building all of these people and then slowly revealing their secrets. I loved each time we found out something new. A part of me was very glad Poirot was on the train to solve the case, but it seems like mystery chases him! He was on his way home from solving one case to dive right back into another. Can’t the guy get a break?

I loved and hated Mrs. Hubbard. She was a great character but she made me feel like Christie must really hate Americans. Her hysterics were very believable and as annoying as she seemed, she also came off as a very loving mother and grandmother. She made for great drama on the train to be sure.

This wasn’t a book where I was looking to connect with any of the characters so I can’t say I related to any of them. I’m going to talk about the reveal a bit here so skip to the end of this paragraph if you don’t want that ruined! I have experienced times where I felt justice wasn’t served and I’ve wanted to do something about it myself but I never have. I could understand why the people involved wanted to do something, but I would never do it myself.

Agatha Christie
Image via Biography.com

OK, one more paragraph about the reveal so skip down again if you’re so inclined. I promise this is the last one. I loved the reveal! I thought it was such a perfect fit and I was, as always, impressed Poirot could think of it. It started to seem more and more suspicious that so many people connected with the Armstrong case were on the train. They, of course, would have recognized each other but were pretending not to know each other, which is when I started to suspect it was something bigger. I was sitting slack-jawed the whole time Poirot revealed it. Amazing!

I can’t think of a part of this book I didn’t like. I thought the part on the first train was dull, but that became important later. And I got a little frustrated when Poirot seemed to know the ending but wasn’t giving anything away but, again, that was important at the end. The book moved along well and I really enjoyed it!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Dan Stevens. He did an amazing job doing all the voices! I wondered if it was full cast at one point but I think Stevens is just that talented. I didn’t realize until we were done with it that he plays Beast in the new Beauty and the Beast movie! I’m tempted to just start listening to all of his audiobooks, it looks like he’s done some great classics!

OK, one more paragraph of semi-spoilers. Sorry about that. The biggest theme I got from this book is revenge. It became obvious very early on that the murder was one of passion. The number of stab wounds was excessive for a murder and the revealed connections made it more clear. When is revenge justified? Was this murder justified? It’s up to the reader to determine.

Writer’s Takeaway: Christie had me feeling stupid and I liked it. I was OK not knowing what Poirot was thinking all the time. I still liked the story when I was guessing to the last minute who the murderer was. I don’t feel this way often, but Christie did a great job of it! She gave me just enough as she went through the story, having Poirot reveal a little at a time so that I enjoyed feeling smarter than the passengers. It’s a great balance.

This was a really enjoyable read and I hope others take a chance to read it before the film comes out. Johnny Depp and Kenneth Branagh! Be still my heart.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Classics Challenge #1) | Pretty Books
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (spoiler-free review) | Alastair Savage

Advertisements

Book Review: El misterio de la guia de ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie (4/5)

9 Feb

At my old job, I made friends with a Mexican engineer who was in the US on a work assignment. Right before he left, he gave me this book as a gift so I could read it and practice my Spanish. I gave him Of Mice and Men in return and I feel it was a fair trade. It’s been a few years that I’ve been hanging onto it but I’m glad I could make it my Spanish read for 2017.

Cover image via Amazon

Cover image via Amazon

El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles (The A.B.C. Murders) by Agatha Christie

Summary from Goodreads:

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card, he leaves beside each victim’s corpse the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place. Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans.

This was my first Christie novel and reading it in Spanish was a fun twist! I really enjoyed Poirot and Hastings though I kept getting feelings of Holmes and Watson. I don’t know either very well so it’s likely from watching Sherlock over my husband’s shoulder. I kept paying close attention, hoping I would pick up on the answer to the mystery, but when Poirot explained how he figured it out in the end, I realized I never could have figured it out from what I read. I was a little disappointed in that. I made an effort to read very carefully and slowly so I could absorb all the details. Oh well.

I’m sure there are people with minds like Poirot who would figure out cases like this, but it seems extraordinary to me. I’m more like Hastings, thinking I’m investigating something and in the end having no idea what I’m doing. People with that extraordinary ability should be in law enforcement and I’m guessing they are and that’s why I don’t know them. It did seem a bit over the top. But then again, a murder-solving character should, right?

Cust was a fun character. I really believed he was guilty because of how suspicious he acted but Poirot’s explanation of what happened to him made me feel bad for him. I like when an author can change how I perceive a character as quickly as Christie did with Cust. All of his emotions took on a very different light quickly.

I sympathized with Thora Grey. I felt she had a lot of assumptions thrust on her and that’s something I think a lot of women face regardless of how they look. Thora did her job well and Franklin assumed she would marry his brother, assuming Carmichael would fall in love with her. None of this was through any fault of her own and she was dedicated to continuing her job after Carmichael died. I felt she was unjustly punished and if I were her, I would have been much more upset than she was.

Agatha Christie Image via Biography.com

Agatha Christie
Image via Biography.com

I enjoyed the murder scene investigations. I thought the way Japp and Poirot looked at the scene were very telling of who knew what was going on and who didn’t. I would have been inclined to look at things like Japp did but when Poirot started asking questions, I could see his logic and the genius behind what he asked, particularly of Megan Barnard.

I was really disappointed that some of the evidence Poirot used to identify the murderer wasn’t in the text. I began to suspect that Cust was a red herring but I wanted to find the clues myself and I couldn’t do that with what Poirot used to solve the case.

 

I’m going to talk blatantly about the murderer now so if you want to read this book for yourself, I recommend skipping to the next paragraph. Franklin was so greedy that he developed an elaborate scheme to get his brother’s money and I think it speaks volumes to greed at the time this was written. 1936 was a global recession and I can only imagine that Franklin felt he would be more secure with his brother’s money and avoid any kind of downfall that might happen to a poor man. It was sad to me that he would resort to that level and says that he wasn’t close with his brother growing up. I know my brother and I weren’t particularly close, but I would never thinking of murdering him for his money!

Writer’s Takeaway: I liked that Poirot was Belgian. It was good that Christie considered his nationality in parts of the story where it was worth noting that he was a foreigner in the UK. It made him stand out amongst the British police and I think his round-about way of thinking and great detective work was partially due to him wanting to excel against a group he felt outside of. It was a small but very well thought-out detail that enriched the story.

I enjoyed the story but wished I’d had a better chance of guessing the ending. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
El Misterio De La Guía de Ferrocarriles | El Príncipe De Las Mil Historias