This is a textbook for crime novels and I am not kidding.
Considered one of the best books of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot detective series, Murder on the orient express is a guide on how to write a crime novel. Even the chapters are named as evidence of A, evidence of B as such. Chapters are so perfectly planned that they urge you to know what happened next.
Hercule Poirot boards on Orient express which runs from Istanbul to London. On second day morning a passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
Agatha Christie plays with stereotypes well. She keeps Hercule Poirot short and ugly so that when we read his deductions we understand that appearances do not determine who we are. She also uses rockstars, cops, young women and old women to blend us into her narrative and then reveals who they truly are.
The novel is full of twists and turns. It keeps us guessing and challenges our perception on murderers, revenge and relations.
By the way I read this in a train which is truly fascinating.
At the verge of survival, humans turn into animals.
As Agatha christie rightly says it is very difficult to write 10 murders one after another without the murderer becoming obvious. The clever trick author pulled is that all the ten people had committed terrible crimes or at least accused of. But None of their crimes are proved or can be proven. Hence Every one in the ten people could be the murderer. The morality of actions is well illustrated. The professional mistakes conflicting with ethics was well described. Book is short and fast paced. Suspense is well maintained. Language is simple. The transition of humans into animals at the verge of survival was well articulated.
Even in the face of death the professional organisation is still maintained; The authority of judge over police and doctor diagnosis. It shows the human tendency for a societal structure. Beginning is little clumsy since it starts with introduction of ten characters one after other. But they meet at a place, then things take violent turn. This is my first book by Agatha christie. But from what I read and understood and heard from others this could be her Masterpiece.