And so the Classics Challenge continues! Even though we’re well into March I’m going to talk about the classic I read in February – the glorious mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express by the Queen of crime novels herself, Agatha Christie.
I discovered this classic after I went on an Agatha Christie binge over Christmas, perfect if you’re trying to not to stuff your face full of turkey (And Then There Were None will help with that – I’m never good at dealing with blood) and I decided to make it my February classic because nothing can chase the singleton Valentine’s day blues away like the bumbling French detective, M. Hercule Poirot.
Like most (if not all) of Christie’s novels, Murder on the Orient Express is a classics because it is not predictable at all, full of vivid characters which all arouse suspicion, a smash hit of a storyline and clever clues that you only pick up on after you’ve reached the climax. Murder on the Orient Express is set on a train which after it breaks down in the snow, an American millionaire is discovered murdered in his carriage – meaning the killer must be on the train. What follows is 200 pages of interrogation by Poirot, discovering secrets which were best kept hidden, analysing every character scene by scene and finding out that everyone has skeletons in their wardrobe, some horrific and some heartbreaking.
As you can tell, I think Murder on the Orient Express is a pretty incredible book, challenging expectations of the mystery genre and it makes it pretty clear why so many (including myself) regard Christie as a trailblazer of the crime genre. It will definitely stay a classic because everyone is a sucker for a ‘whodunnit’ – there’s a reason why they’re one of the most popular TV genres and why murder-mystery dinner parties are still a regular occurrence in many social circles – and no writer quite reaches Christie’s calibre when it comes to mysteries.
In conclusion, I would recommend this book to everyone that loves crime novels, but also to anyone who’s fairly new to the genre – it’ll hook you in and lead you to a dazzling climax and you’ll wonder why on earth you never read Agatha Christie until now.