Murder on the Orient Express: Book Review

We went on vacation to Florida over Fall Break, and as usual we stopped in at a book store. I always try to buy something when I go into one, even if I never end up reading the book. This time, I bought not one book, not two, but four. Three of those were the Thrawn Trilogy, my nerdy, Star Wars pleasure. The other was a novel I’d been wanting to read for a long time, but never got around to:

Murder on the Orient Express

Let’s dive right in.

Good

  • Surprising End

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see the ending coming at all. I spent so much time trying to figure out who committed the murder, that I completely overlooked all the details I should have been paying attention to. I do love when a book makes me feel stupid. Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle are some of the very few authors that pull the fleece over your eyes so well, and you don’t notice until it’s too late.

While it wasn’t the most surprising ending, and I figured it out about 3/4 into the book, I only knew because the characters pretty much gave it away with their words. Just judging by the facts and the evidence, I would never have solved it.

  • Good Explanation

At the end of the book, there’s a fairly long chapter where Poirot explains the crime that’s just happened. He actually explains the crime two different ways, which sets up the decision at the end that I found very interesting. I won’t ruin the end of the book for you, but needless to say Christie did a good job of explaining the crime in its entirety, really summing things up so it was easier to understand.

That’s yet another similarity between her and Doyle. They each like to sort of lay everything out at the end, and make it exceedingly clear what happened. I have to say, I do love that part of the book.

  • Writing/Dialogue/Characters

While the murder definitely carried the story, without the characters being interesting I wouldn’t have managed to pay attention. They’re all unique, and they all capture your attention in one way or another, although there were times I wished some of them had different names, because there were quite a lot to keep track of.

Nonetheless, they enhanced the story, and I appreciated the differences in them. No cardboard cutouts here!

Bad

  • Missing in Action (literally)

Even for an older book, a “classic,” there weren’t very many action scenes. None at all, really. I’m trying to figure out how they even made a movie for this book, as I’m writing this review. I mean, I’ll get into it more in a second, but really there’s just not any… movement, I guess?

Poirot walks around the train, does his thing, and the train is stuck in snow anyways, so that’s not moving. They never really leave the train in the book, and inside the train there’s not much to do. There are ways to make this an entertaining, engaging, action-filled book, but-

  • Repetitive Plot

-the entire plot of the book is very repetitive. Basically, the murder happens, and he agrees to solve it. His process is as such: interview somebody, think about what they said, interview somebody else, think about what they said, gather all the interviews, think, interview more people, think.

So, yeah. There’s lots of thinking and chit-chat at the dinner table.

  • Research Paper?

As I just said, all he does is research. Also, the writing around Poirot just feels like a kid who’s researching a paper. Most of the time, he just spends his time talking, interviewing, and ends up at a table with the two other guys in charge, having a nice talk and testing them. That’s the main difference between Poirot and Holmes. In Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books, there are action scenes, intense parts, and suspense. In Poirot’s story, there isn’t much present danger.

Overall– 7.5/10

This book was definitely worth the money, and I found it to be a very engaging read towards the end. Also, there’s just something about the way she writes that had me hooked, and part of that might be because the book is so famous I simply wanted to know how it ended.

Whatever the case, this is a good book, and I highly recommend it if you’re somebody who enjoys an older book every once in a while. Very similar to Sherlock Holmes, really. Maybe I should review one of those books next.