I have a confession to make. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel. Why is this a big deal, you might be asking yourself if you have also never jumped on the Christie train. (Train? Get it? Because this entire book takes place on a train! *laughs forever at own joke*) Well, I’m a life-long bookworm, with a degree in English literature to prove it. And Agatha Christie is the unarguable queen of an entire genre. Did you now that Agatha Christie is the best selling novelist of all time, second only to the Bible and the works of Shakespeare in terms of sales? Because I sure didn’t. I knew that she was a big deal in the mystery genre, but bestselling novelist of all time? I was unaware. But I know now, and have now taken my first step to rectifying my oversight.
So the question is: what did I think of my first Christie novel? I loved it! This was the tenth installment of the Hercule Poirot series, but thankfully it was a perfect place to start. From what I’ve gathered, each Poirot novel stands perfectly well on its own, and that was definitely the case with Murder on the Orient Express. This little novel was published in 1934, and it has aged incredibly well. Even though the book was published 83 years ago, the language was incredibly simple and easy to sink into, and the plot was super engaging. I loved that all of the suspects were confined to the train with Poirot and the victim, and that Poirot had no outside assistance to aid his crime solving. Also, that ending was a complete surprise to me. I usually manage to guess plot twists and endings, especially in murder mysteries. I didn’t guess this ending, and it was refreshing.
The characters were wonderfully varied. Some of them tended to almost be caricatures, but always for a reason. The star of the book, Poirot, actually took a back seat to the other characters, but this was very purposeful. Poirot is a more laid-back and introverted person than many famous detectives, which works incredibly well for his line of work. When people don’t notice you, it’s easy to observe things they’d prefer remained hidden.
Sherlock Holmes has always been my favorite detective. I’ve read every single novel and short story Conan Doyle crafted about the famous man with the mind palace, and I am completely addicted to the BBC show starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Seriously, I’ve watched each episode at least half a dozen times. Not that there are many episodes to watch… *sobs in a corner* That being said, I already love Hercule Poirot. I don’t know that he’ll ever quite equal Sherlock, but I fully intend to give him every opportunity. I will be reading more Christie novels, and soon.