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Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)
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Poirot Buddy Reads > Poirot buddy read 12: SPOILER thread: Murder on the Orient Express

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Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
This is the spoiler thread for classic mystery Murder on the Orient Express. Welcome aboard!


Jessica | 367 comments Yay! Let's go :-)


message 3: by Sandy (last edited Dec 09, 2018 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sandy | 2796 comments Mod
I'll start this off on a rather negative note (sorry about that). I'm not sure when I first read this or if even I had read it versus just seeing many film versions. Either way, I felt the solution and Poirot's reaction were both cop-outs. After this read, on audio with Kenneth Branagh, I am a bit more positive and upgraded my rating by a star. I enjoyed following Poirot's thought process and his two friends' confusion.

However, without the only unburned scrap of the letter having the murdered child's name on it, I'm not sure any progress would have been made.

Then, on a train that was expected to be empty at that season, to discover that any of the passengers had connections to the old murder gave the plot away (my opinion only). Unfortunately I don't remember not knowing the ending and assume I was fooled on my first reading.

Finally I thought having Poirot defer the decision of prosecution was out of character.

I expect criticism and will try to take it 'like a man' (there must be a better expression!).


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2066 comments I think quite often Poirot has not been too eager to have the villain, punished unlike Miss Marple who wants to see them punished .


Tracey | 254 comments I think Poirot was satisfied with suicide as an outcome for a murderer, rather than facing trial, in the murder of Roger Ackroyd. So he does have some history of not following the legal system.

I really enjoyed this, even though I knew the solution (from the most recent film). It was lovely to read Christie weave all the clues in. And as an English woman, I found Poirot's comments on the nature of the English rather amusing!


Jessica | 367 comments Sandy wrote: "I'll start this off on a rather negative note (sorry about that). I'm not sure when I first read this or if even I had read it versus just seeing many film versions. Either way, I felt the solution..."

I certainly understand your feelings, I also struggle with the question of golden age detectives letting criminals go or taking matters in their own hands.

No matter how horrible the original deed, this group of twelve people all went to great lengths to pull of a great crime. It had taken a lot of preparation and still they all very deliberatly took part. They try to justify it to themselves as trial by jury and share the burden of killing by using a knife making it impossoble to determine which individual blow was the fatal one.

But putting that ethical issue aside, I did really enjoy the investigation. We have a nice enclosed setting, a constant set of suspects, a linear timeline and only conversations and deductions to go on. The conversations between Poirot, the doctor and mister Bouc were very funny, especially when Agatha treats us with a glimpse of their (very irrelevant to the case) inner dialogues in the first chapter of part 3.


Susan in Perthshire (susanageofaquarius) | 74 comments I think it is so fiendishly clever, that I still love re-reading it despite having known who did it for decades! The glamour of the Orient Express, the scene setting, the wee pen pictures of the characters - I just think this is Christie at her most ingenious and entertaining. I have no ethical qualms at all, (goodness know what that would say about me if it applied to real life!) but I can see why some would.
I have seen most of the film and television adaptations and I think they each offer something new - so I enjoy watching them too.

Every re-read makes me admire Christie’s skill even more. As I note each small clue that develops through to the final denouement, I think - “oh that’s clever!”.


Frances (francesab) | 384 comments I just finished this morning, and also really enjoyed the reread experience, knowing the final outcome ahead (which I did NOT guess on reading this for the first time many years ago, no doubt in my teens). I agree, what a treat to watch the clues being scattered about and watching Poirot question the many suspects. What an incredibly clever and devious author Christie was-I don't think I've ever solved one of her mysteries on first reading. I am enjoying this reread in chronological order.


message 9: by Tara (new) - added it

Tara  | 809 comments I think to understand what comes across as Poirot's ease with allowing the murderers to go free, a key passage is Poirot's impression of Rachett early in the book, and how underneath his veneer of civility lurked a face of evil. That, coupled with a heinous and despicable crime against a child (and which destroyed an entire family), it is understandable how people wouldn't be in a hurry to see people punished for allowing him to meet his maker.
The slow unraveling of the connection of various passengers to the Armstrong family certainly lends credence to the multiple murderer idea, although I do not think it is necessarily obvious that they were ALL involved. I don't remember guessing the outcome on my first reading. Definitely a classic!


message 10: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1376 comments I'm way behind in this reading project and haven't started this one, although I have read it several times. I recall my reaction the first time I read it - I threw the book across the room. It may even have been in a train compartment/room.


Jessica | 367 comments Jan C wrote: "I recall my reaction the first time I read it - I threw the book across the room. It may ..."

Haha that's quite a reaction!


message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
I'm halfway through and finding it a reasonably enjoyable but not very gripping read, doubtless because I already know the outcome from seeing the films (and sadly it had already been 'spoiled' for me before I saw a film!)

I can understand your original reaction, Jan - it's a pet peeve of mine when several characters turn out to have done it in a conspiracy, and this book takes that idea to another level!


message 13: by Tara (new) - added it

Tara  | 809 comments Judy wrote: "I'm halfway through and finding it a reasonably enjoyable but not very gripping read, doubtless because I already know the outcome from seeing the films (and sadly it had already been 'spoiled' for..."

Its an interesting idea in concept, but foolish I think to have that many people involved. There are no guarantees that one or more of them with weaker constitutions, or perhaps just guilty consciences, wouldn't tell others what they had done.
While watching the Finney film yesterday (I still think his portrayal is ridiculous, but the ensemble cast is great), I started thinking about the blood splatter. There is no way that they all would have escaped without getting blood all over their clothing, and partnered with the fact they were stuck on a snowbound train, they would have had no way of disposing of the evidence. Quite a major oversight on that point.


message 14: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1376 comments I may not be recalling correctly, but I don't believe the train was stuck at the time of the murder. It was a bad break for them.


message 15: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "Its an interesting idea in concept, but foolish I think to have that many people involved. There are no guarantees that one or more of them with weaker constitutions, or perhaps just guilty consciences, wouldn't tell others what they had done. ..."

Yes, great points about the blood and disposing of the evidence - and what are the chances they would all agree to take part in the first place, rather than one of them telling the police beforehand? Or that they would all actually be willing to stab someone?

The more you think about it, the more it is totally unrealistic, though that is the case with many GA mysteries, of course!


message 16: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
I've finished now and written a review, which I'm afraid is a bit unenthusiastic - I liked the Orient Express atmosphere but I do find the story completely unbelievable, though I'm sure I would have found it more exciting if I'd read it without already knowing the solution:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 17: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
Having now read a few other reviews, I see a couple of people ask how Poirot can be sure that Ratchett is Cassetti just from that scrap of half-burnt paper. Does anyone have thoughts on this?


Jessica | 367 comments Yes, that is rather a leap isn't it? Somewhere in the book Poirot says that he likes this case because they are all shut off from the outside world, and they cannot rely on additional research so they need to use the grey cells only.

It must have been a big story in the newspaper. Perhaps upon reading that name, Poirot's encyclopedic detective brain had enough information (and confidence...) already to make the connection.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8977 comments Mod
It gave me a slight pang to see the mention of Debenhams department stores (under a slightly different previous name).Such a British institution but struggling at the moment like many high street stores.


message 20: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2066 comments Judy wrote: "I've finished now and written a review, which I'm afraid is a bit unenthusiastic - I liked the Orient Express atmosphere but I do find the story completely unbelievable, though I'm sure I would hav..."

I agree . I think when you first read/see the story , you are completely astounded, but sebsequent dealings with it make you question and analyse and you realise the shortfalls.


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