While devouring Sherlock Holmes during my childhood, I looked on eagerly at the innumerable Agatha Christie books whose thrilling covers called out to me. However, I found it difficult to make progress through them since they were written for a more mature audience. A few years later, there was the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series on TV, which again I could not understand despite my interest in the genre. So when one of Christie’s most famous works, Murder on the Orient Express appeared on my radar I jumped on the opportunity to get started on her works.
The book starts off in the pre-WW2 1930s Europe, where the famous Belgian detective Poirot finds himself traveling on the Orient Express on a long journey. The train is fully booked though it is winter and filled with a colorful bunch of characters from the US, England, India and various European nations. The train gets stuck in a snowdrift and the next morning we discover that a passenger named Ratchett has been murdered with numerous stab wounds! The case gets naturally handed over to Poirot to solve. The train is grounded amidst snow and the murderer is one of the other 12 passengers still on the train - who is it?!
Christie has created a wonderful bunch of characters here and it is never a bore as Poirot interviews each one separately and we discover more about each and suspect them in turn. The settings and details also helps us experience the world of the 1930s, especially among the upper class folks in US and Europe. How does it score on the mystery scale? I must admit, the author totally played me like a fiddle! The real truth was beyond every theory I had in mind - and that is real high praise when one has been reading and watching murder mysteries for several decades. I felt thoroughly satisfied by the book and by the knowledge that I now have a large collection of Christie works I can read now as my guilty pleasure.