Star Rating: ★★★★✰
To celebrate the new film coming out (I’m so excited about seeing it, I can’t frickin’ wait), I thought I’d do a post about Murder on the Orient Express. I’d never actually read it before, but had seen the David Suchet version on TV a few years ago. (I’m slightly nervous about Kenneth Branagh as Poirot, David Suchet is so damn perfect! But I’m holding my judgement because I also love Kenneth Branagh. We shall see.)
The story follows Hercule Poirot as a passenger on the Orient Express train. He is propositioned by the millionaire Mr Ratchett, who thinks there is someone planning an attempt on his life, and he wants Poirot to find out who. Poirot declines (because he doesn’t like Mr Ratchett’s face, which is so perfectly Poirot I can’t contain my happiness about it). However, during the night Mr Ratchett is indeed killed, so Poirot must find out which of the 12 passengers committed the murder.
I went into this book knowing the ending, as I’d seen the TV version, but that didn’t stop me loving it. I love Poirot as a character anyway, he always makes me laugh. He’s so damn arrogant, but you can’t be mad at him for it because he’s also so damn smart. I love seeing people try to jump to their own conclusions while he sits back, letting them ramble on, then in one sentence makes them look ridiculous.
Murder on the Orient Express definitely doesn’t disappoint in that sense. Dr. Constantine and M. Bouc’s thought process when Poirot tells them to sit back and think made me actually laugh out loud. And then, of course, Poirot solves the case in two seconds flat.
You might think that an entire book set on a train would be pretty boring, but how dare you think that about Agatha Christie! Of course she can make one cramped train coach the setting of an amazingly intense and captivating story (with an ending that will blow your damn socks off, if you don’t know what it is). If anything the setting makes it even better, emphasising the claustrophobia of being stuck on the train with a dead body and a murderer.
It’s hard to say much about Murder on the Orient Express without giving too much away. There’s a reason it’s one of Agatha Christie’s most well-known and well-loved books. It questions everything you know (and everything Poirot may have taught you) about morality and injustice. It’s definitely one of the best crime novels ever written (no exaggeration). Basically just read it, that’s the only answer.
And let’s all cross our fingers that the film lives up to the book (and the David Suchet version).
(EDIT: The film is excellent. There were a few deviations from the book but I suppose I can give some artistic license! He might not be David Suchet, but Kenneth Branagh is a fine Poirot, even with that ridiculous moustache.)