Okay, I know I’m late to the party but I have finally read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I knew it was going to be a good read from the start as Agatha Christie is the best selling novelist of all time, having been outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. I’m in no way one of those read-the-book-before-you-see-the-movie people but when it comes to murder mysteries, I do feel the book would be ruined if I found out who the murderer was before reading it.

Murder on the Orient Express is a Poirot novel, meaning that it follows Belgian detective Hercule Poirot rather than Miss Marple. As you may have deduced, the novel follows Poirot investigating a murder that happened on a train called the Orient Express.

The layout of the novel is what made it such a pleasurable read. Christie first sets the scene and introduces the passengers briefly, including Poirot’s initial instincts about each of them. Then, once the murder of a brutish American man has occurred and Poirot has investigated the crime scene, each chapter becomes entirely about each passenger’s interview and evidence. At the end of the investigation, once Poirot has collected his thoughts, he corroborates the evidence and re-interviews certain passengers accordingly. At the very end, he reaches his conclusion and unless you’re a Sherlock Holmes level detective, you will be shook by the ending.

The way Christie is able to build each character with such vivid and complex backstory and personality in such a short novel is talent at its best. She does not ever delve into great detail yet you begin to have strong feelings of like and dislike (mainly the latter) just from subtle cues such as description of body language and physical appearance.

Perhaps the best part of Orient Express is how easy it is to read. Despite needing a fair understanding of French and/or Google translate on stand-by, the novel is very simple and accessible. It’s written in short sentences in a chronological order which is ideal for anybody who is trying to get into reading more regularly.

Murder on the Orient Express is an essential read for anybody and a great introduction to the Poirot series as a whole.