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Hercule Poirot #6

The Mystery of the Blue Train

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A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train from London to the French Riviera -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit, and confusion. Is Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it?

Librarian's note: the first fifteen novels in the Hercule Poirot series are 1) The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1920; 2) The Murder on the Links, 1923; 3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1926; 4) The Big Four, 1927; 5) The Mystery of the Blue Train, 1928; 6) Peril at End House, 1932; 7) Lord Edgware Dies, 1933; 8) Murder on the Orient Express, 1934; 9) Three Act Tragedy, 1935; 10) Death in the Clouds, 1935; 11) The A.B.C. Murders, 1936; 12) Murder in Mesopotamia, 1936; 13) Cards on the Table, 1936; 14) Dumb Witness, 1937; and 15) Death on the Nile, 1937. These are just the novels; Poirot also appears in this period in a play, Black Coffee, 1930, and two collections of short stories, Poirot Investigates, 1924, and Murder in the Mews, 1937. Each novel, play and short story has its own entry on Goodreads.

317 pages, Hardcover

First published March 29, 1928

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About the author

Agatha Christie

4,985 books61.5k followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

More than seventy detective novels of British writer Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie include The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), and And Then There Were None (1939); she also wrote plays, including The Mousetrap (1952).

This best-selling author of all time wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in romance. Her books sold more than a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, people translated her works into 103 languages at least, the most for an individual author. Of the most enduring figures in crime literature, she created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She atuhored The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theater.

The youngest of three children of the Miller family. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie's room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha's greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empir

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews44 followers
October 14, 2021
The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6), Agatha Christie (1891 – 1976)

The Mystery of the Blue Train is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie. The book features her detective Hercule Poirot.

Poirot boards a luxury French night express train which operated from 1886 to 2003, bound for the French Riviera. So does Katherine Grey, who is having her first winter out of England, after recently receiving a relatively large inheritance.

On board the train Grey meets Ruth Kettering, an American heiress leaving her unhappy marriage to meet her lover. The next morning, though, Ruth is found dead in her compartment, a victim of strangulation. The famous ruby, "Heart of Fire", which had recently been given to Ruth by her father, is discovered to be missing.

Ruth's father, the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin, and his secretary, Major Knighton, persuade Poirot to take on the case. Ruth's maid, Ada Mason, says she saw a man in Ruth's compartment but could not see who he was.

The police suspect that Ruth's lover, killed her and stole the ruby, but Poirot does not think he is guilty. He is suspicious of Ruth's husband, Derek Kettering, who was on the same train but claims not to have seen Ruth.

Katherine says she saw Derek enter Ruth's compartment. Further suspicion is thrown on Derek when a cigarette case with the letter "K" is found there. Poirot investigates and finds out that the murder and the jewel theft might not be connected, as the famous jewel thief The Marquis is connected to the crime. Eventually, the dancer Mirelle, who was on the train with Derek, tells Poirot she saw Derek leave Ruth's compartment around the time the murder would have taken place.

Derek is then arrested. Everyone is convinced the case is solved, but Poirot is not sure. He does more investigating and learns more information, talking to his friends and to Katherine, eventually coming to the truth. He asks Van Aldin and Knighton to come with him on the Blue Train to recreate the murder. and ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «رمز قطار آبی»؛ «رمز در قطار آبی»؛ «معمای قطار آبی»؛ سری «هرکول پوارو» کتاب ششم؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز نهم ماه اکتبر سال 1994میلادی

عنوان: رمز قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: بهرام افراسیابی؛ تهران، راد، 1372، در 335ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، مهرفام، 1390، در 335ص؛ شابک 9789649915166؛ موضوع داستانهای کارآگاهی از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 20م

عنوان: معمای قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: سپیده حبیبی؛ بازآرا (ویراستار): شیدا ذاکری؛ نشر تهران، موسسه نگارش الکترونیک کتاب، سال1395، در46ص، مصور؛ شابک9786008299196؛

عنوان: راز قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: مجتبی عبدالله ‌نژاد؛ ناشر هرمس؛ سال نشر: 1388 (چاپ اول)؛ تعداد صفحات324صفحه، شابک9789643635725؛ چاپ دوم هرمس، کتابهای کارآگاه؛ 1392؛ در شش و در314ص؛ شابک9789643635725؛

در این داستان، «آمریکایی» ثروتمندی به نام «روفوس وان‌ آلدین»، نگران دخترش «روت کترینگ»، است؛ ازدواج دخترش با اشراف‌زاده «انگلیسی» تهیدستی، به نام «درک کترینگ»، در آستانه ی فروپاشی است، و «روفوس» از مدتها پیش، دخترش را تشویق می‌کرده، از همسر بی‌وفا، و نامرد خود جدا شود؛ «روفوس»، برای اینکه دخترش را خوشحال کند، یاقوتهای تاریخی و نفیسی را، که به «قلب آتش»، معروف هستند، برای او می‌خرد، و به دخترش هشدار می‌دهد، که جواهرات را، از کشور خارج نکند؛ «روت» اما، بی‌توجه به هشدار پدرش، همراه جواهرات راه می‌افتد، تا برای دیدار دلداده ی پیشین خویش، «کنت آرمان دولارش»، با قطار آبی، از «لندن» به «نیس»، برود؛ ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 21/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
September 25, 2019
In many ways this is a typical Hercule Poirot type of mystery: a wealthy man's daughter is murdered on a train for a set of fabulous rubies, and only a limited number of people could have gotten on or off the train at the right times to make them suspects ... or so one might think, but who ever knows for sure with Agatha Christie?

This book was, for me, a cut above the typical Poirot mystery, and I think it's mostly because I liked the main character so much. Katherine Grey has "beautiful gray eyes," a Madonna-like manner, and a quiet sense of humor. She has been a crotchety old woman's companion for 10 years and unexpectedly inherited her fortune, and decides to travel. The other old ladies in the English village are dubious:
"And so you've come into a lot of money, I hear? Well, well. Take care of it. And you're going up to London to have a good time? Don't think you'll get married, though, my dear, because you won't. You're not the kind to attract the men. And, besides, you're getting on. How old are you now?"

"Thirty-three," Katherine told her.

"Well," remarked Miss Viner doubtfully, "that's not so very bad. You've lost your first freshness, of course."

"I'm afraid so," said Katherine, much entertained.

"But you're a very nice girl," said Miss Viner kindly.
As it turns out, men are in fact attracted to Katherine, except it's a problem when one of them could be the murderer. And Katherine was, during her travels, coincidentally one of the last to see the murdered woman alive. Luckily we've got Poirot there to solve the problem!


The book shows its 1928 roots a little with the social attitudes and a soupçon of 1920s-type spiritualism. But it's an enjoyable read overall, and yet another time that Dame Agatha had me fooled until the very end.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,063 reviews69.5k followers
February 7, 2023
3.5 stars

Quite a really twisty resolution to the mystery.

One of the better ones, I would venture to say. If you're wondering why so many people are still into Christie's books all these years later, this is an excellent example of what makes her cozy mysteries so much fun to read.


I'm not in love with the romantic ending. Because seriously? That was just a poor choice on the lady's part. I've said this before, but sometimes Agatha's male leads were just cringy and there's no way the women should have ended up with them. Although, maybe she was just honest. If I had a dollar for every woman I know who ended up with a sexy loser, I'd have like...$15-$20 bucks in my pocket right now.


Point is, forget the romance in this one and focus on the MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN.
This is the one where the rich chick is getting ready to divorce her loser of a husband. Her dad is all like, give that scummy cheater the heave-ho, baby girl!, and she's thinking that's a good idea.
Except it turns out that she's the original cheater in their relationship and she isn't keen on the rest of her high society friends finding out about that. But not to worry, dad will take care of that while she's on vacation. And totally not on vacation with her scuzzy con man of an ex-boyfriend.


Turns out, it doesn't matter because she's found on the Blue Train with her face bashed in & her jewels missing. Conveniently, her ex-husband and his ho-bag mistress were on the train, as well. But were they the only ones who knew her?
Obviously, the dead chick isn't the main character.
No, the main character is a kind young lady who came into a good chunk of money because she was a really sweet companion to a lonely old woman. She ends up being one of the last people the dead woman confided in and that's how she ends up embroiled in the murder.


Poirot is hired by the grieving father to figure out who coshed his beloved daughter in the head.
Was it murder or a robbery gone wrong?


Well, I'm not telling you! Read it for yourself.
Recommended for fans of Christie's Poirot stories.
Profile Image for Adrian.
574 reviews209 followers
July 2, 2018
Oh so very close to 5 stars. If only we had halves !?!?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the settings , the characters and of course Poirot's masterful investigation into the murder and robbery. I must admit towards the end I thought I had worked out who did it, but didn't know why. Well I was completely wrong ha ha. Oh well. It just goes to show how enjoyable these books are.

As I said at the start it is certainly a 4.5 star read and one of the most enjoyable Poirot novels so far, and it takes me ahead of the game in this group buddy read.
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,258 reviews1,132 followers
August 4, 2023
All aboard The Mystery of the Blue Train, for a most unexpected ride, courtesy of the Grand Dame of Golden Age mysteries herself!

Since this passenger locomotive was constructed in 1928, it is only to be expected that this train will trundle along sometimes, before getting up speed, and blasting its whistle, to dash along to its destination at an express rate.

For our entertainment during the ride, we will peek into each of the individual isolated compartments, meeting their occupants, who are as variously diverse, and stereotyped, as 1928 would have us believe. The British are level headed and slightly priggish, the French temperamental, the Russians creative and flamboyant, the Americans hard-nosed and mercenary. We watch them all act out their little charades, as the train hurtles along.

The passengers slot into types, not only according to their nationalities, but also by their social positions. These too, we recognise, albeit uncomfortably, as we glimpse into those carriages. A wealthy spinster will of course, in 1928, need a paid companion. We are destined to dislike the wealthy woman, but admire the intelligence and patience of the paid companion:

“Katherine Grey was born with the power of managing old ladies, dogs, and small boys, and she did it without any apparent sense of strain.”

But is she as naïve as she appears?

We see more evidence of a similar relationship, with another self-obsessed woman, in a carriage further along the train. We have an American heiress, who of course is beautiful, and spoilt. Another another outwardly appealing person holds a comparatively menial position. He is Major Knighton, the secretary to an important businessman: the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin. We watch this masquerade, which is illuminated against the lowering, threatening night sky, behind the windows of the carriages. There is a sense of foreboding. Someone will surely meet their death on “Le Train Bleu”.

Occasionally the train goes through a tunnel. When we reach the other side, we find we are looking into another compartment. Do we know these people? Have we watched them before? Possibly, but all the players in this piece of theatre seem to have switched.

Another train screeches along on the opposite track. We see flashes of light blaze through the windows - one, two, three! Each second reveals a little more of the puzzle. But is what we see to be trusted? Can we ever believe our own eyes? There is a body. The face is unrecognisable: smashed in, perhaps in a ferocious attack. There are precious jewels: rubies without price. And there are avaricious people on the train; shady characters who desire such rubies. Few of the passengers are what they seem.

“‘Trust the train, Mademoiselle,’ murmured Poirot again. ’And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows …

‘Ah, mais c’est Anglais ca … everything in black and white, everything clear cut and well defined. But life, it is not like that … There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before.’”

A 1928 novel demands starry characters. There is a spoilt wealthy young heiress, Ruth Kettering. There are minor members of the aristocracy: the Comte de la Roche, and a Marquis. There is an infamous Parisienne dancer and actress, known as “Mirelle”. There is a Greek antique dealer, and dubious Russians, involved with stolen merchandise. There are violent Parisian street ruffians, whom the author refers to as “apaches”. All of course, are decidedly un-English, and Agatha Christie does not flinch in portraying what she expected her 1928 English readers to view as “foreigners” with all their stereotypical peccadillos.

This novel is packed with dramatic cameo characters. We have both the deliberately flamboyant and the studiously ordinary, the nouveau riches, the servants who are no better than they should be, the pompous jumped-up officials … all are here for us to observe as they play their parts. Their relationships and roles change as quickly as the landscape viewed through the windows of “Le Train Bleu”. None are to be trusted. Is there an Everyman? Perhaps. But we must beware of him or her too.

We are nearing our destination. We think we know all the passengers on this train. We even think we know what has happened, and who to trust, guided and steered as we have been by the driver of the train. But no, the ringmaster of this circus, Hercule Poirot, moves all his chesspiece passengers around again. We do not see at all. Half the lights have flickered and gone out.

Now we are here, at our journey’s end. Some of our favourite players are still here, smiling benignantly. They have played their parts well, and their futures look bright. Others have played a more dastardly game, and will reap the rewards they deserve.

The ringmaster primps and preens. We thought him a funny little man, and often went into his compartment to watch his antics:

“You mock yourself at me,” said Poirot genially. “But no matter. Papa Poirot, he always laughs the last.”

“My name is Hercule Poirot … and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.”

So did we enjoy our journey on “Le Train Bleu”? Yes, up to a point.

But this cavalcade moves in fits and starts, and there is a great almighty rush towards the climax. The plotting seems patchy, with too much new information brought in far too close to our destination. This is frustrating for the reader. Even Agatha Christie herself had reservations about The Mystery of the Blue Train, which she had found an ordeal to write.

Two years earlier had been a disastrous time in the author’s personal life. Her mother had died, and she had discovered that her husband, Archie, was involved with another woman. After the breakdown of her marriage to Archibald Christie, she was to famously disappear without trace for ten days in December of that year. These were events which were to disturb her for the rest of her life, and she remained suspicious of who her true friends were.

By the next year, Agatha had separated from Archie, and turned back to writing, in order to support herself. In early 1927, she visited the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, with her daughter, Rosalind. They arrived by steam boat, disembarking in the main port of Santa Cruz before heading north to Valle de la Orotava. During their stay, Agatha Christie unearthed a short story she had written four years earlier, called, “The Plymouth Express”.

In Agatha Christie’s mind, this marked the turning point in her career, where she needed to changed from an amateur author, to a professional. She decided to work her story up to the full length novel, which we now know as The Mystery of the Blue Train. The short story “The Plymouth Express” can itself be read as part of the collection “Poirot’s Early Cases” (or “The Under Dog and Other Stories” in the USA).

The seemingly inscrutable dedication can be decoded, and shows her bitter state of mind concerning the events in her life. It reads: “To the two distinguished members of the O.F.D. - Carlotta and Peter”. “O.F.D.” stood for the “Order of the Faithful Dogs”, as opposed to the “Order of the Faithless Rats”. “Carlotta” was Charlotte Fisher, Agatha Christie’s secretary, who was also her daughter Rosalind’s governess, and “Peter”, was the little girl’s much loved wire-haired terrier! Incidentally, Peter also had another book dedicated to him, in 1937, one year before his death. The novel was “Dumb Witness”, another Poirot mystery starring a wire-haired terrier. He was even pictured on the dustjacket of the first edition.

Noticeable is how Agatha Christie keeps her cards up her sleeve, whilst letting an observant reader be “in the know”. Charles Dickens, whom she referenced in an earlier novel, regularly employed a way of carefully alluding to someone, without revealing their name. Sometimes they would be “the stranger”, and others would be more specific, such as (my personal favourite) the man with “the mustache that goes up and the nose that goes down”.

Agatha Christie often refers to a “little man with an egg-shaped head”, and we always know to which pompous Belgian detective this refers. She makes good use of this device with minor characters in The Mystery of the Blue Train. We may feel that she is merely painting a thumbnail sketch, rather than fully developing any character, but when certain features are highlighted, such as “a face with a mask of crude paint” or “a marvellous vision in orange and black”, we are almost bound to recognise the character on their return. Even though the writing appears to deliberately mystify us, there are basic clues dotted around by virtue of this writing feature. They both entertain us, and encourage us, as Poirot would say, to use our little grey cells. (And of course, all this is sadly, necessarily missing, in any dramatisation.)

The story is a typical adventure, involving the desire for jewels, in this case including the famous “Heart of Fire” ruby. Enormous greed leads to deception, violence and murder. We begin with several scenes which will only make sense later, featuring a man with a shock of thick white hair. The distinguished Belgian police ex-detective, Hercule Poirot is nowhere to be seen. Indeed he does not appear until almost half way through the book.

Soon we are on the train. Not the Plymouth Express of the short story, but a far grander, more romantic affair: “Le Train Bleu”, bound for Nice, on the glamorous French Riviera. On the train are several of the characters we have already met, such as the wealthy Ruth Kettering, and her maid Ada Cole. But where is Ruth’s husband, Derek? And is Ruth on her way to an illicit meeting with her lover, or not?

We meet Katherine Grey, who is having her first winter holiday abroad, after recently inheriting quite a lot of money.

We often find that Hercule Poirot will single out a character, and apparently share his thoughts with them, or even seek their advice. Sometimes it is in the spirit of “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer”, and sometimes it is simply that they are one of the few level-headed and trustworthy people around. In The Mystery of the Blue Train, Poirot has confided in Katherine Grey, yet we do not yet know on whose side she will turn out to be.

It has to be said that when Agatha Christie has a new sounding board for Hercule Poirot, the lack of Captain Arthur Hastings is a sad loss. True, in this novel we have our first sight of Poirot’s valet, George, but he is no substitute. We know the character of Captain Arthur Hastings well now, and when he is the narrator, the humour is much more in evidence. There is very little humour in this novel, and when it does pop up, it is nearly always at the expense of Hercule Poirot, with descriptions of him such as:

“It amused her to see the little man plume himself like a bird, thrusting out his chest, and assuming an air of mock modesty that would have deceived no one.” or:

“‘I never prophesy,’ he declared pompously. ‘It is true that I have the habit of being always right - but I do not boast of it.’”

Yes, such comments are wryly amusing, but they are frankly so obvious, that they can become a little tiresome.

Another interesting fact about Katherine Grey, is that she comes from the little village of “St. Mary Mead”. Now we all know which detective, with the convincing appearance of a dotty old biddy, lives there! But the Miss Marple murder mystery books had yet to be written, and this is the first ever mention of “St. Mary Mead”.

Hercule Poirot makes further secret investigations, and deduces that This part seems me to be the weakest part of the novel, being rather tiresome to read, and adding nothing to the plot. Furthermore, immediately afterwards, we bafflingly learn all the subsequent facts that Poirot has discovered, of which we have not formerly been aware, and which are essential to the final explanation.

So how does this novel stand up. Is it, as the author feared, an unsuccessful novel? It certainly could have been so, as it is difficult to expand a short story into a satisfactory full-length mystery novel, without including a lot of irrelevant padding. And the fact that she was writing under such emotional pressure does not bode well. In Agatha Christie’s autobiography, she referred to this novel, and stated that she “always hated it”.

The author’s fragile state has meant that there is little humour in the book, and the omission of Captain Hasting is keenly felt. Some of the characterisations are a little crass for modern tastes, and parts read like a cheap thriller. There are definitely parts which are a little bumpy, in our express journey. But it is a convoluted plot, and a complicated and intricate crime.

I would say that the “Le Train Bleu” never becomes derailed, we have a convincing diversion nearing our destination, and the reader never nods off as the momentum gathers. It is not her best tale by far, but deserving of a middle rating.

“‘Me, I have a little idea. Many people have mocked themselves at the little ideas of Hercule Poirot - and they have been wrong.’

‘You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes - two people. One is le bon Dieu’ - he raised a hand to heaven, and then settling himself back in his chair and shutting his eyelids, he murmured comfortably: ‘and the other is Hercule Poirot.’”

And how did Agatha Christie ultimately feel about The Mystery of the Blue Train?

She wrote:

“… each time I read it again, I think it commonplace, full of clichés, with an uninteresting plot. Many people, I am sorry to say, like it. Authors are always said to be no judge of their own books.”
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
764 reviews762 followers
July 15, 2019
The Mystery of the Blue Train is very well named. Reading it in French made it doubly joyful, because there were a few exotic words that I need to look up.

The book is full of interesting tidbits that bind the characters together. Take the example of Katherine Grey. Her role here was superficial, but the author found a way to include her in her murder mystery.

I keep getting attracted to this book. It holds a grip on me. There's something magical in the victim's living, breathing words before she dies. That always was something I wanted to come back to, and I did. And I can see myself reading it again.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,011 followers
September 13, 2016

"Life is like a train [...]. Trust the train, Mademoiselle," murmured Poirot again. "And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows."

I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm kind of in a Christie mood right now. So sue me.

Before I begin, there's one thing I want to be clear about: I've read more than 20 of Christie's books, and I enjoyed unreservedly every single one of them. I may have complaints about the solution of the mystery or about some other nothing, but every single time, I enjoy them. This time is no different. So, Christie, I love you. Poirot, you're my lifetime hero. Thank you both being real. (Well, you know what I mean.)

The Mystery of the Blue Train plot is fabulous, and not once was I bored. I was slightly disappointed in the solution because the reason why I like crime novels, mostly, is that they get their strength from the great deal of strong, violent emotion they usually involve. Well, Lady Kettering's murder was not as much "of passion" as I would have liked -and as it seemed at first. The solution is intelligent, of course, and the planning of the deed is brilliant, more than brilliant. But its motive is not about passion; and since I am a silly, emotional reader, I felt a little letdown.

Otherwise, I'm completely satisfied.
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
August 4, 2020
I just got word that school is starting in four weeks. Finally a semblance of normalcy and a return to reading some heavier literary fiction and nonfiction. Part of me is thrilled. The other part has gotten used to the convenience and relaxation of having the kids home and the propensity of turning to comfort reads to help me through these times. When I look back at 2020, it will well be known as the year of comfort reading. One author who I have turned to as much as any this summer is Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime. Where I live it does not get dark in the summer until nearly ten at night, conducive to long hours of reading, mysteries lending themselves to this schedule being fast paced whodunits. Mystery of the Blue Train is the fifth Christie mystery I have read this year, the fourth featuring Hercule Poirot, our favorite mustachioed Belgian detective.

Mystery of the Blue Train is Christie’s sixth case featuring Hercule Poirot and has all the elements of the later cases that made the sleuth world famous. It was written in 1928 and already Christie had the presence of mind to feature Poirot traveling to a holiday via train where a murder happened to find him. Poirot is already retired and alludes to the cases of his past that gained him notoriety. Even though Christie does not have the sleuth use his catch phrase “little grey cells,” Poirot is willing to assist the local police and notes that he never forgets and is all knowing. All local police are in awe of his presence and happy to have his assistance on a case, Christie thinking this early in her career to omit a key clue until the end that only Poirot knows. She realized the key to writing a whodunit is to key readers on their toes thereby leaving out information so that readers would have to read the entire case to find out the guilty party. Poirot knows, though, he always knows, and crooks know this as well as the police do.

In this installment of Poirot, millionaire heiress Ruth Van Aldin Kettering has been urged to divorce her husband by her father. Ruth is in every regard her father’s daughter and dutifully obeys him, and, giddily accepts his gift of an expensive ruby as a token of affection. Little does her father know that Ruth has planned to rendezvous with her longtime love el Comte de la Roche on the French Riviera. She would escape England on the rich man’s Blue Train and is urged by her father to keep the rubies in his bank. In this, Ruth is not her father’s daughter as she displays her wealth, bringing the rubies with her. On the first night of the voyage, Ruth is found murdered, with the suspects being either el Comte or her bitter husband Derek Kettering. Poirot just happens to be on the same train, and, even though he is also traveling to the Riviera on a holiday, he is happy to take the case. He notes that if a doctor happened to be on a stroll and sees a person bleeding, of course, he would help; Poirot feels the same about murder cases. It would be on his conscience if he did not take the case and the guilty suspect walked free. This, Poirot takes a working holiday.

In 1928, Christie wrote a number of cases on hiatus while reeling from the death of her mother. She is on record as not be fond of the books she wrote during this period, but they went a long way toward the development of Poirot’s characters and also giving birth to the idea of Miss Marple. A key character in the Mystery of the Blue Train is Katherine Gray of St Mary Mead. She had just come into money for the first time and was enticed to holiday with relatives in Nice. Miss Gray also had the propensity to read detective stories and used her own grey cells to assist Poirot on this case. Christie’s idea for a female detective from St Mary Mead has been born, with Miss Marple appearing later and using her female intuition to outsmart local detectives on a number of cases. That she got her start on a case where Poirot gets assistance from a number of female characters is not lost on me. Lenox Tamplin, Zia Papopoulos, and Katherine Grey may not be lead characters, but they are all sharp women who are indicative of the 1920s and the beginning of the modern woman. Poirot finds them all charming in their own way, and each of them offers at least one incite that assists him in solving this case.

In the end, Poirot uses the withheld information to solve a case that had baffled the police. His acumen and wit are what make him a world famous detective, and the descriptions of the Belgian’s wardrobe and appearance in a seaside setting have be envisioning David Suchet as Poirot, something Dame Christie did not have at the forefront of her mind when she wrote this case. With normalcy returning, I will still be revisiting both Poirot and Miss Marple many times in the coming month. Their cases and locales continue to bring me comfort as I begin to navigate through heavier reads in the coming months. One of these days, I may even figure out whodunit.

4 🕵️‍♂️stars
Profile Image for Jaline.
444 reviews1,652 followers
November 7, 2019
Another light, yet complex mystery by Ms Christie. This one was well textured and fascinating. Somewhere near the middle, it almost broke into a comedic strain and then recovered itself to charge through to a great ending. Ah, Ms Christie. You did it again.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
July 15, 2020
“You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes--two people. One is le bon Dieu--and the other is Hercule Poirot.”

The Mystery of the Blue Train is a fine title, and I like the blue cover of this edition that I read, and though it is not one of Christie’s best, as the sixth (which is to say early) Hercules Poirot (of 39!) it is a strong effort. Having also just read Agatha: The Real Story of Agatha Christie, the graphic biography that insists she was the Very Model of a Modern Woman, and a feminist, I felt supported in my view that the disparaging comments she has various characters make about women throughout had a purpose in the mystery’s solution. I know an author’s autobiography is usually a sketchy source at best for divining purpose in fiction, but Christie had just been cheated on and dumped by her first husband in the year before this was published, and I thought this book’s (in part) focus on women may have come in part from her life events.

Ruth’s Dad: "Have you got the grit to tell the world you made a mistake. There’s only one way out of this mess, Ruthie, cut your losses and start afresh. . . ”
“You mean. . .”

As with other, better books from Christie, a murder takes place on a train (oh, some take place on boats, too!), the night or “blue” train from Calais to Nice, (as Christie herself did much world travel via train). (oh, and I was reading this about a location in Nice on the day I read of a truck bombing in Nice, which was somewhat strange). In this one Christie tries third person omniscient (rather than have some buffoon like Hastings narrate it) and experiments with having us not meet Poirot at all for more than a third of the book. You know very well that anything that happens with respect to solving the case is a wash until Poirot gets on the scene, and even then it is a slow, deliberate process. I have heard this lesser known book from Christie was done rather quickly, as she needed cash for her and her daughter, but that seems unfair, because while this one wasn’t particularly innovative, I can see her working on different things as a writer, developing her craft.

So: Ruth Van Kettering is murdered. She was unhappily married to Derek, who is struggling financially but could use the money he might get from Ruth’s rich daddy, who hires Poirot to do the investigation. Ruth also was given rare rubies from her father, and they are of course missing at the time of her death. Derek also “hangs out” with an exotic dancer named Mirelle who seems (hotly) unpredictable. Ruth's and Derek's marriage is one of convenience, not love (and for any mystery reader, the obviousness of him as possible murderer takes him out of the running pretty quickly, eh?).

Then there’s someone Ruth may have been seeing on the side, too, the Comte de La Roche who could also use the cash. A sophisticated ladies man. But is the murder linked to the theft?

There’s a woman, Katherine Grey, that we come to like very much, one of the best of Christie’s early characters. She’s been working for a crusty old lady, Miss Viner, for many years and is going to receive an inheritance from the old crank (who contributes some comic relief). Oh, and Grey has "contacts" with The Count and Derek, too.

But who is M. Marquis? And what of Mr. Kettering’s valet, Knighton, and his maid? Do we have enough characters for a line-up? Not to worry, we will interview all of them! We will get to the bottom of this!

There are many many slyly satirical comments about women throughout, such as this exchange between Miss Viner and Katherine:
Ms. Viner: “Don't think you'll get married, though, my dear, because you won't. You're not the kind to attract the men. And, besides, you're getting on. How old are you now?"
"Thirty-three," Katherine told her.
"Well," remarked Miss Viner doubtfully, "that's not so very bad. You've lost your first freshness, of course."
"I'm afraid so," said Katherine, much entertained.

An early statement from Olga: “Most women have that madness. I do not.”

At one point Derek says: “She might bring me bad luck. Women do.”

The book is full of such observations about women, which led me to think she was exorcising some demons, making a fun feminist point overall.

This one takes a while to get going. Too long. It doesn’t match up to her very best, but I still liked it. I rate it somewhere between 3 and 4, rounded down for some of the slowness of the opening. The resolution is neither all that surprising or satisfying, after we have of course spent the whole book looking at obvious and obviously wrong choices for murderer. But it’s a good read, overall.
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,566 reviews1,896 followers
October 3, 2018
This book reminds me that Dennis Diderot said something along the lines of "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." By the time I reached about the 100th page I doubted I could wait until the entrails of the last priest were available, dried and suitably braided for that excellent task, nor was I particularly fussed whether certain people were technically kings or not, fortunately for my blood pressure I avoided Downton Abbey when it was on, so I found a novel about toss pots behaving like toss pots close to unbearable, particularly as there was only the one death

"I can sound my h's dear, as well as anyone, but Helen is not a suitable name for a servant. I don't know what the mothers in the lower classes are coming to nowadays" (p193) first up against a wall come the Revolution? Why wait until the revolution? Particularly since the location of the wine cellar key has already been revealed to us (p.192)

I picked this up as a train book and I presume it was written for that purpose. It struck me as curiously restrained, or perhaps very conventional, when for example we learn that the marriage between wealthy American heiress and waste of space English aristo had been disastrous and unhappy from the start I was suspecting that the husband was using wife's capital to amuse himself with ten years worth of North-African boys, indeed I struggle to accept that the Parisian chorus girl alone could have rendered the marriage so sour - but then I need to remind myself of my earlier observation on the qualities of the husband. Likewise when the prospect of cross dressing train jumping criminals was introduced I imagined a more far reaching scenario than Christie put forward but that's why she was the best selling novelist and I'm not, restraint being the writer's best friend.
there's a tongue in cheek awfulness about her characters, apart from Hercule Poirot, a character apparently inspired by the First World war Belgian refugees , or so I heard someone say on the television - who incidently, I'm convinced is a woman - and I felt there was a lazy skill evidenced in the writing, the ending particularly disjointed, I regretted a little that she hadn't turned her typewriter to something a bit less frivolous , but that is possibly my inner Calvinist speaking.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,699 reviews594 followers
July 3, 2018
I am currently reading the Poirot novels in order and this was published in 1928 and written in the Canary Islands in 1927, where Christie had retreated. Her beloved mother had died, her marriage lay in ruins and this was a difficult time for her. During her famous disappearance, her current novel had been the bold, and innovative, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Afterwards, she had cobbled together, “The Big Four,” from some short stories and, now, she again looked to her short stories for inspiration. Indeed, this novel is based upon the 1923 short story, “The Plymouth Express,” which can be found in, “Poirot’s Early Cases.”

Agatha Christie herself, “always hated,” this novel. However, for Christie fans, it has a lot to offer. There is the interesting setting – the murder on the luxurious train (sadly, not much of the story actually occurs on the train itself), the exotic location of the Riveria and Poirot – as ever, doing a little match-making alongside his sleuthing. This novel also features the first mention of St Mary Mead (home, in later work, of Miss Marple) and of a character, Mr Goby, who later appears in, “After the Funeral,” and “The Third Girl.”

There is, indeed, a little of the Miss Marple in the elderly ladies that Katherine Grey looks after. A companion, she is left a large amount of money by the lady she cares for, and decides to visit relatives on the Riveria. On the train there, she meets both Poirot and millionaire’s daughter, Ruth Kettering. Ruth’s marriage is heading for divorce and she is on the way to meet her lover, when she is found dead on the train. Is the motive the fabulous rubies that her father, Rufus Van Aldin, had given to her, shortly before her journey? Aldin asks Poirot to find Ruth’s murderer and he turns his little grey cells to the problem. The novel has a good start, but gets a little lost in the twists and turns of the plot. Something of a weak ending for Christie, but she was obviously not at her best and still producing great work under immense pressure.

Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews495 followers
August 22, 2020
In this sixth installment of the Poirot series, a wealthy woman is found murdered, and Poirot, happening to be traveling on the same train, involves himself in the unraveling of the mysterious death.

The murder-mystery plot is a good one. Agatha Christie's unrivaled popularity as a murder-mystery writer undoubtedly rests on her clever plots. She has an amazing ability to make plot twists and to astonish the reader at the end. She lays down clues; invites the reader to solve the mystery alongside her famous detective Poirot. But in the end, Poirot, or rather Christie beats the reader.

However, in this particular book, the clues were rather vague. In an attempt to misdirect the reader and to take him by surprise at the end, Christie keeps things hidden in Poirot's mind without expressing them. Poirot works in secrecy, without exposing what is going on within his mind to the reader. This secrecy and the vagueness of the clues made me fall out a little with the story. On reflection, I realized that Christie has given clues through other characters and that I have missed while looking for them through Poirot's order and method. But I wish, there was more transparency.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the read, though perhaps not as much the others I have read of her thus far.
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
764 reviews762 followers
September 4, 2021
By Jove, if it isn't Monsieur Poirot. I've been reading all the Marple novels recently for the first time. I had forgotten about Poirot stories. This book threatens to be the best of the lot. I knew I had forgotten mostly about it, except the basic premise. This book has a fragile beauty and a grim charm to it. The fact that Poirot's shenanigans are kept to a minimum helps. It didn't feel like a re read at all. Therefore I do not cheat and I did honestly succeed in guessing the murderer's identity. More of that later.

The book has to end somewhere. I didn't catch the hint regarding the ruby, the "Heart of Fire". Was the original in Mirelle's possession or was it a fake? Mirelle could not exact no revenge on her lost lover, but she is an unimaginable character. Agatha Christie makes me meet people I will never meet, not here, not in this age. I'm speaking of people in high places, but also people who have served in war, and those doughty Empire builders who were definitely English. I cannot judge how true these characters are, and when someone like Mirelle, or the Compte de la Roche appears, I'm at a loss to understand whether Agatha Christie is improvising or whether these creatures really walked the good Earth at some point in the lost past.

The beginning was intriguing. There's a transaction of the ruby being carried, and a lot of very varied people being introduced. I would have liked this segment to go on more. But then in a jarring change Poirot appears and things get dull. But this doesn't last long. The passages where the victim is on the train are fantastic. A luxury train is very archaic. It's also very ghostly, like a ship in a mist. But a train, I think has more romance, especially one peopled by the sorts that the author imagined here. The victim is millionaire extraordinaire Van Aldin's daughter. She is a flawed beauty, a very beautiful woman who has inherited two millions (and a too masculine jaw line) and is about to die needlessly. Herein lies the one glitch in this story, if I must nitpick. The murder was not essential. And if I remember correctly, most Agatha Christie murders happen because of urgency and viral necessity. Someone named the Marquis doesn't sound like a serial killer. But here he is made out to be a ruthless(omigod, pun accidental) killer. The trouble of killing, but also of all the clever alibis being planned, they aren't worth doing if the cleverness is there. There is no motive for murder. In the movie " Once Upon A Time In the West" Henry Fonda says, people are scared when they are dying. That I can understand, but here the dead bodies don't give evidence line is not convincing and lacks punch. But we needed a murder, and a murder simply had to be conjured. Where would we be if Ruth was alive, if only being a victim of theft only? For one, I would have wanted very much to read this story, but it would be a short story. There wouldn't be enough to go on to make of the theft of the rubies a fascinating tale as this book turned out to be.

A few random things now; that premonition of the attractive Katherine Grey that came out of the blue, was a manipulation of the author, who hid part of the experience. But I did guess the murderer's identity. I knew who was the Marquis. There was the simple line that surgeons were surprised of Knighton's limp. That was the only hint I could pick up. But as of the identity of his accomplice, Kitty Kidd, I was so wrong! I thought she was Lennox Tamplin, simply because I pounced on the detail that in a certain picture, she had averted her face and shown only her nape. That was a red herring that I'm still digesting! I thought she must have dual identities. The whole Tamplin entourage was a dead end. Too much prose wasted for little importance.

This 5 well earned stars is perhaps the strongest one. I would have given it more if possible. I do not remember which book has so much romance and class as this book. From now on, I think it's all downhill. In my youth I read most of the Poirot mysteries in French, in disorder. I remember little of them for most of them. There's the Mystery of the Orient Express, but that one I know of too well. I dare not choose a too pedestrian book. And I prefer Marple over Poirot. Agatha Christie is very confident in her plots. When she makes a character praise the denouement, it's an act of faith. I recommend this book to anyone who reads and has not read it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katerina.
406 reviews50 followers
November 18, 2020
As always the mystery that Agatha Christie unfolds in The Mystery Of the Blue Train is a complicated and an intriguing one! I love how she gives you many suspects and you try to find out who the most probable is among them but there is always more to the story that you must find out to correctly identify the murderer.
The reading of the story was even more pleasurable since I've read this time in english.

My favourite character in this story was Katherine and even though Derek Kettering wasn't perfect I liked him also and I so wanted for him to not be the murderer whether he was or not you'll have to read the story for yourself and find out.

The thing that frustrates me in the Hercule Poirot books is that the french words and sentences are not being translated in some kind of footnote and that takes something away from the story and it irritates the hell out of me when while reading I have to google translate something to make sense to me.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,473 reviews1,087 followers
February 13, 2017

“You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.”

Poirot graced so many Agatha Christie novels that there's bound to be misses as well as hits. This one is in the middle - a good book but not one of the best with him in it. I liked it but didn't love it. I'd recommend starting with others starring the detective first.

Christie whips out intriguing characters that have a richer background of emotion in this one compared to some of her other works - an almost saintly, now rich young woman Katherine Grey who has a quiet humor and little bit of mischief about her. Besides her, there is a controlling and wealthy father of the victim who helps Poirot (kind-of) in the investigation. These two stand out as well done characters to complement the detective, who I usually adore. The issue is here he faded in the background and something about Poirot just felt 'off.' I'm not sure what it was, but he just wasn't as likable this time.

I can't complain much about characterization, and the story itself was complex. Christie brought into play jewel theft and having to solve different issues while the reader sorts out whether it will lead to one villain with one crime or several villains with different crimes and a big coincidence.

It's not easy to guess the mystery as the writer leads the reader astray from original assessments, and there's more to this story than a simple layer underneath - the ending wraps this up well and in a satisfying matter. The issue is that it's just not that interesting following the story. I grew bored several times and struggled with so many points of view shifts from characters I cared little about.

Overall it was a good story bogged down with too much misdirection. Had the author put Poirot more into the limelight and had him discover these sideplots rather that keep showing them through other small character's eyes, then maybe it would have been more intriguing. It showed in this book she was kind of tired of the detective that made her so famous.

Unlike some of her other works, the crime doesn't stay in the scene. This year I had the joy of reading Murder on the Orient Express, where the crime happened on a train they stayed trapped on. My other favorites by her include Death on the Nile where they solve a murder on a boat, and 'And then there were none', where the group solves murder in a claustrophobic feel while they're trapped on an island. Here the train is visited only briefly and people travel all over the place afterward. This hurt the tight-knit mystery feel some of her better books hold.
Profile Image for Iryna *Book and Sword*.
447 reviews641 followers
November 11, 2017
2.5/5 stars (not rounding up)

I must be getting very picky, as this is the very first book by Agatha Christie that I did not enjoy.
Usually, I just generally like them - they are all nice and cozy little mysteries, but apparently not this one.

It started out well enough, but then the writing became choppy and confusing. Pages were filled with useless blabbering and unnecessary conversations. There was very little actual detective work in it. And in the end many, many questions were left unanswered.
It felt rushed and unfinished.

I suspected the correct murderer from the very start, but then I started suspecting bunch of other people too. But still in the end - it was all just very anti-climatic.

There are many GREAT mysteries by Agatha Christie, I mean she wrote over 80 books.
But this is not one of them.

Profile Image for Julie.
2,015 reviews38 followers
June 28, 2020
An enjoyable convoluted mystery. Most meaningful quote: "Mademoiselle Katherine has spent a great deal of her life listening, and those who have listened do not find it easy to talk; they keep their sorrows and joys to themselves and tell no one."
5,311 reviews117 followers
September 21, 2023
5 Stars. There are so many superbs among Agatha Christie's works. In all my days, I've never read this one. If someone were to ask, "What do you think of Christie's great novel set on a train?" I'd respond, "Murder on the Orient Express" is one of the best ever written." Oops, that was her second in which a nasty occurs on a train. "Blue .." came out 6 years earlier in 1928. Both are great. This one's all about jewels, stolen and not. Fabulous rubies which previously belonged to Empress Catherine of Russia. Are you sure they aren't replicas? But it's more than that. Rufus Van Aldin, an American millionaire when that really meant something, has two interests, jewels with a provenance like the Heart of Fire, and his only child, 28-year-old Ruth Kettering. She's married to Derek who also has two interests, money of which he has none but his wife a lot, and the lovely dancer Mirelle. But Mirelle has only one interest, money. We follow a young woman, Katherine Grey, who recently inherited a great deal, as she travels to the beautiful south of France on the Blue Train. Hercule Poirot is on the same train. Most of the others are too. Along with a murderer. (November 2021)
Profile Image for Kalliope.
691 reviews22 followers
December 27, 2021

I was drawn to this Christie mystery on two counts. I saw a beautiful edition in a lot prepared for Christmas. And then, the name. The evocative name.

If many writers have chosen Hotels or Spas as fruitful settings for novels, so are trains. Not only do these places offer fortuitous encounters for a nice range of personalities, but, as Poiret says at the end: Life is like a train. It goes on. And it is a good thing that this is so. Although this blue version is not as famous as Christie’s volume on the Murder on the Orient Express, it is also memorable.

The Train Bleu stopped running in 2003 but had begun its route from Calais to the French Riviera in 1886, although its heyday was in the period between the two wars, also the time when this novel was published (1928). It was a surprise to me that this train would go around Paris (I think no trains do so now), stopping at the Gare de Lyon, where there is the legendary and eponymous restaurant, inaugurated in 1900 for the Exposition Universale and now a Monument Historique. But the novel squirts Paris, like the train, and it moves between London (Curzon street) and the French coast where it offers us some very picturesque scenes near the Blue Sea.

As is often the case, the plot and the intrigue are somewhat recherchés, as Poirot would say, and the reader feels that Christie cheats since she holds information that is not revealed until the end, in a rabbit-out-of-the-hat manner. But it remains a charming read, with the portrayal of the often eccentric characters as the most appealing factor, and the references that create a nostalgia for bygone days, such as, for example, the repeated references to the fact that any given quantity of money was very different in dollars and in sterling, .

Pleasant reading for the Christmas evenings.

Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,835 followers
July 20, 2012
لغز القطار الأزرق

كالكثيرين، لأجاثا كريستي في مخيلتي مذاق المراهقة، عندما كنت أقرؤها في عصريات صيف بعيد، محاولاً بدأب معرفة القاتل، قبل أن يتوصل إليه هرقل بوارو، وهو مالم أفلح به أبداً، لأن أجاثا لم تكن عادلة، كانت تبقي أهم الخيوط بين يديها، لهذا لم تكن أجاثا كريستي مفضلة لدي في تلكم المرحلة، بسبب شعور الغبن الذي كان يجتاحني بعد الفراغ من الرواية، كيف كان لي أن أعرف أن القاتل فلان ! والمؤلفة أخفت عني علاقاته وماضيه ! وألمحت إليها مجرد إلماح في فصول سابقة، كانت روايات الجريمة والغموض في ذهني، وربما لازالت لعبة بين المؤلف وقارئه، فالمؤلف يراهن على أن الحل بمتناول القارئ، ولكن احترافيته تجعله يخدع القارئ إلى خيوط ميتة حتى نهاية الرواية عندما تنكشف كل الحقائق، ويشعر القارئ بمتعة عجيبة، متعة هزيمته أمام هذا الكاتب الجيد.

رغم أن أجاثا لم تكن كذلك، إلا أنه لازال للذاكرة لعبتها، فحقيقة أنني لم أكن أشتري كتبها في تلكم الأيام لأسباب يطول شرحها، وتوفر هذه الكتب في بيت إحدى قريباتي عندما نزورها، غلف قراءاتي لها بذلكم الغلاف اللذيذ، حيث كانت أمامي مهمة عسيرة، وهي أن أختار رواية من بين الأغلفة الزاهية، ومن ثم أتفرغ لقراءتها من دون أي شواغل، حتى ينتهي موعد زيارتنا الذي كان يمتد في الماضي ما بين صلاة العصر وحتى منتصف الليل، عندما يأتي والدي ليأخذنا إلى المنزل، أما مكان قراءتي فكان أسفل السلم، متكئاً على الجدار، تلقي علي شمس الصيف أشعتها الأخيرة قبل الغروب، وتتناهى إلى سمعي أصوات اللعب والركض لبقية الأطفال في فناء المنزل، أما أنا، فهناك محبوس في عالم كريستي الغامض، بالطبع لم أكمل أي رواية من تلكم الروايات، كلها كانت ألغازاً ناقصة، انتهى الوقت وأنا لازلت ملفوفاً بخيوطها المتشابكة.. يا للذاكرة، ويا لتداعيها.

الآن لم يعد لأجاثا ذلكم المذاق، كأشياء كثيرة، فلذا قرأت هذه الرواية، عندما فقدت رواية يوسا (قصة مايتا) التي اصطحبتها معي في جولتي الأسبانية، وكنت أمني نفسي بقراءة مذهلة لهذا البيروفي العبقري، ولكن الرواية بقيت في القطار الذي أخذني من إشبيلية إلى قرطبة، ورغم امتلاء الآيباد بالكتب، إلى أن حاجتي له طيلة الوقت، جعلتني لا أضيف إلى أحماله، حمل القراءة، فلذا استوليت على هذه الرواية التي جاءت بها رفيقتي.

بدت الرواية واعدة ومناسبة ظرفياً، فأحداثها تقع على قطار أزرق فرنسي، وأنا أقرؤها غالباً في القطارات الأسبانية، ولكن النقمة الطفولية سرعان ما عادت لي، ومنعتني الاستمتاع بالرواية، فالكثير من الأحداث يتم التلميح لها، بحيث أن القارئ الذي بدأ الرواية متحمساً للعب دور هرقل بوارو، سرعان ما ينزوي ويترك الأحداث تجري، محاولاً فقط فهم ما الذي يدور؟ يبدو أن مفهومي للإثارة والغموض، مختلف تماماً عن المفهوم الذي كتبت به كريستي رواياتها.

تحولت هذه الرواية إلى فيلم بذات العنوان سنة 2005 م، أدى دور هرقل بوارو فيه البريطاني دايفد ساشيت.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,822 reviews12.9k followers
April 27, 2022
Having recently become addicted with the Hercule Poirot series, I looked to another in the collection by Agatha Christie. While just as on point, this book was far ‘deeper’ and denser than others in the series to date, offering a great deal more backstory for those who want to see the build up to the crime. Christie offers much to the reader, in hopes that they will be able to piece things together, as Poirot does effectively. Another great mystery that has me reaching for the next in the series.

After long feeling that there is something wrong in her marriage, Mrs. Ruth Kettering admits as much to her father. He directs her not to waste time ending things, officially, warning Ruth that any delay could prove problematic for all involved. Still, she is not sure and will use her scheduled travel time away to ponder all her options.

After boarding The Blue Train, a luxurious travel experience like no other, Ruth Kettering encounters young Katherine Grey, who has recently come into money of her own and wants to live lavishly. After dining together, the pair say their goodbyes and turn in for the night. It is only the next morning that Ruth Kettering is found brutally murdered in her berth and Katherine Grey is sure it relates to her acquaintance’s marital worries.

As luck would have it, Hercule Poirot is also on board and helps begin the process of investigating the crime, complementing the work the French officials are doing. He pieces things together from interviews and his sharp eye for clues, slowly building a case to show who the killer might be and how it all happened. All the while, young Katherine Grey sees the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest detective” at work and how he uses deductive reasoning to make sense of all he sees, before a killer can escape for good. Katherine is happy to add her two cents, for what it’s worth, to bring about some form of justice. Another great story by the Dame of Mystery, which has me exciting to push onwards with this hefty series.

While I only began reading the Agatha Christie books recently, I have always wanted to do so. I find that her writing is straightforward and clear, even if she can sometimes take longer to reveal something than I might normally like. Her narratives flow well and create a wonderful pathway for the curious reader to enjoy, making sure that they are entertained. While the pile of books in the series is high, I am happy to chip away at them, one by one.

Hercule Poirot is an interesting character to say the least. While little backstory is ever really revealed about him, Poirot is surely one not to be trifled with at any point. He knows his stuff and uses a keen ability to sit and wait for all to fall into place, making him an even more alluring character. He seems to always appear when needed and is keen to let everyone know that he is the best they have. Surely, some Belgian ego fuels him, but he gets the job done. I am aware that he will soon be asked to work on another train-based mystery in a future novel and hope that tale stays ‘on the tracks’ as this one did.

Agatha Christie does not need my praise to show how effective an author she is, though I am happy to add to the pile. Her stories are always entertaining and usually steer away from the fluff that seems to fill many books in the genre today. Shorter and to the point, Christie uses a strong narrative to push the story along. Always using unique and engaging characters, there is never anything drab about what she has to say through the eyes of others. Well-paced plot twists keep the story on point and help the reader develop an attachment to everything going on. Christie’s books most likely could be read as standalone, but I am not sure why anyone would want to ruin a good series by doing so. Perhaps the better approach would be, as I am doing to read a few, walk away, then return for more. Either way, it’s a wonderful reading experience for all involved.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for a wonderful piece that kept me wondering how you’d tie this one up. I am eager to see what else you have in store for us!

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Profile Image for Gabriel.
501 reviews708 followers
March 8, 2021
Agatha Christie como siempre es una excelente apuesta para pasar un gran rato entre sus casos policíacos.

Las páginas pasan volando hasta que llegas al final y todo el meollo del asunto se destapa. Esta vez he estado a punto de descifrar todo el caso, pero como siempre, se me escaparon algunas detalles de las manos. Aunque me siento contento de por lo menos saber quién fue el asesin@.

Es un buen libro, cumple con lo suyo solo que darle más estrellas me parece demasiado porque no me sorprendió demasiado el final y me hizo falta estar más del lado del estresante Poirot y su personalidad tan malditamente intrigante durante todo el libro.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,232 reviews2,734 followers
July 12, 2019
Miss Katherine Grey was on the way to the Riviera after her circumstances changed when she came into money. A lady’s maid, she felt the need to see more of the world now that she had the means so her journey on The Blue Train was an experience she hadn’t wanted to miss. When she had dinner with Mrs Ruth Kettering, she had little idea that her encounter would change the direction of her life in more ways than one.

M. Hercule Poirot was also travelling on The Blue Train and when a body was discovered, brutally murdered, he was right on the spot to assist the French police. He interviewed Katherine whose skills as a witness were second to none. But with several suspects, would Poirot identify the killer? Or would the wrong man be imprisoned? And what was the story about the rubies?

The Mystery of the Blue Train is #6 in the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie and although it took the first quarter of the book to get to the journey on the Blue Train, once that level was passed, the pace picked up and Poirot started using his grey cells. Smart, intriguing and clever, Hercule Poirot would have to be my favourite detective! He always gets results – “he’s the best detective in the world”. Just ask him, he’ll tell you 😉 Recommended.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,340 reviews101 followers
November 20, 2017
Arg! How did I miss all the clues? Guess I didn’t use my “little gray cells.”
This book introduced St. Mary Mead which is where Agatha Christie has based another series featuring a sweet little old lady who solves crimes while drinking tea and knitting.
Excellent who- dunnit! 😊
Profile Image for Elena Rodríguez.
684 reviews309 followers
June 27, 2020
Maldito Poirot.

La verdad, no lo voy a negar. Las historias de Agatha Christie me entretienen. Los tres primeros libros que leí de ella no tanto, igual se debe a que estoy leyéndolos por orden ( poirot 1, poirot 2 etc), pero a medida que voy aumentando en mi pila de leídos lecturas de ellos, más me gustan. Además yo creo que he tomado como rutina leer uno de Agatha Christie cuando estoy demasiado quemada de algún libro de fantasía y necesito un descanso.

Sus tramas no son tan complicadas, sus personajes tampoco. Ella te muestra un asesinato, unos posibles sospechosos y al detective del caso. Tras esto, te haces tu propia idea de quién puede ser el asesino (bueno, para ser sinceros, yo lo intento pero mis indagaciones en comparación con las Hastings o Poirot no llegan ni a la suela del zapato), se produce un giro de trama y yo me quedo con la boca abierta pensando: mis indagaciones a la deriva (por no decir una palabrota, así de claro).

Tras todo eso, de lo que puedo estar segura es que Agatha Christie sabe tejer una buena historia misterio que me mantiene entretenida del principio a fin.
Profile Image for Melindam.
666 reviews294 followers
January 24, 2018
Update 23 Jan
I am sorry to say this about an Agatha Christie book, but it was MEH-MEH-MEH. Badly structured, trying to be too many things at the same time, like Agatha Christie couldn't quite make up her mind what it was she was writing. There were too many characters and uninteresting, bland ones at that. Not the finest hour of detective fiction altogether. No wonder I did not remember much about it.

Update 19 Jan
I read this a long time ago and it did not make a big impression, because I couldn't for the life of me remember, who the murderer was or why the victim was killed (one of my benchmarks for detective fiction, though definitely not the only one) - so maybe this will be like reading the book for the first time. Let's see.
Profile Image for Thomas Stroemquist.
1,520 reviews126 followers
July 7, 2019
Another very enjoyable entry in the Poirot series, the first third of this (which is before the detective makes his appearance) reminded me a lot of Patricia Highsmith and the theme did feel a bit more adult than in the preceding books. The mystery is not sensational, but not too fantastic either and Poirot is probably most sympathetically portrayed here this far. A good read.
Profile Image for Teresa.
580 reviews128 followers
July 21, 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed this one! Didn't guess for one second who the murderer was which I love. The description of the train journey was a delight. I have a fondness for these old trains. There were some great characters in this story.
Christie is a master of her craft.
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