Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie.  The hero is the famous detective, Hercule Poirot.  Poirot is described throughout Christie’s novels as a small Belgian man with an egg-shaped head and a distinctive moustache.  The novel is set almost entirely on a train called the Orient Express.  The train was on its way to London, but becomes stuck in the middle of the night due to a snowdrift.  The next morning, a man named Mr. Rachett is found dead in his bed having been stabbed multiple times.  Poirot, intrigued by the mysterious circumstances surrounding this apparent murder, puts the “little grey cells” in his mind to work.  In other words, as he always does, Poirot uses his brain power to solve the case.

One thing I enjoyed about this novel is that we have more suspects than most Poirot stories.  The various personalities made the story quite colorful and entertaining.  Many nationalities are represented, such as American, British, Hungarian, Russian, Swedish and Italian.  One of my favorite suspects is an old woman named Mrs. Hubbard.  She tends to ramble and rattle on about her daughter or anything else that pops into her head.  I found it amusing to read about the passengers’ interactions as they all claimed alibis to absolve themselves of the murder.  The victim seems to have had a very bad reputation, so many suspects might have been motivated to kill him.  This made it very hard to guess which suspect was the actual killer.

This is one of my favorite Agatha Christie books.  There are many characters to keep track of, which makes the story interesting and exciting, but the mystery becomes difficult to figure out.  The ending was quite surprising and different from other Poirot stories that I have read.  Overall, I found this novel to be quite thrilling.  I would also recommend Agatha Christie’s other Poirot books, such as Cards on the Table and The ABC Murders.  Hercule Poirot is one of my favorite characters, and I have enjoyed all of the Poirot mysteries that I have read so far.

-Oliver H.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Lord Edgware dies by Agatha Christie

When beautiful actress Jane Wilkinson asks the great detective Hercule Poirot for advice, a reader may expect the usual Agatha Christie repertoire – blackmail, threats, perhaps multiple near-death encounters. The real reason, though, is relatively innocent: divorce from Janees eccentric husband, Lord Edgware. Mysteriously, when Poirot confronts Lord Edgware, he remarks that he has already agreed to the divorce, arousing Poirot’s suspicions regarding the true nature of the request.

Things come to a head when Lord Edgware is found murdered shortly thereafter and all signs point to his estranged wife. While it initially appears to be a cut-and-dry case, Jane is revealed to have an airtight alibi – she was attending a dinner party that same evening, leading the search for suspects to branch out for people who not only wanted Lord Edgware dead, but Lady Edgware hanged too.

As Poirot sets out to prove Jane Wilkinson’s innocence, it becomes immediately clear that suspects abound, considering that everyone who knew Lord Edgware despised him. Among the most prominent people are his daughter Geraldine, who hated him; his nephew Ronald, who Lord Edgware cut off from his inheritance; the talented mimic Carlotta Adams, who is shown to have an interest in the Edgware fortune; and Bryan Martin, a lover-turned-hater of Jane Wilkinson.

Red herrings and suspicious acts abound in this stunning example of Agatha Christie at her finest. Even experienced readers may find themselves unable to determine who really killed Lord Edgware until the final, startling conclusion expertly delivered by the always brilliant Hercule Poirot. 

-Mahak M.

Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie

The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie - Agatha ChristieA string of Pekinese kidnappings…a romance left half-finished by the strange disappearance of a young woman…a malicious Parisian gangster fleeing to one of the most remote places on Earth…the largest political scandal in England…a stolen painting and a kidnapped schoolgirl…a series of women dying under odd circumstances, only connected by a mysterious religious sect…an innocent woman on the verge of being framed for a dastardly crime…. 

The only thing that connects these decidedly unusual yet distinctly unrelated cases is one man, and one man alone: the great Hercule Poirot (and his mustaches).

Based on the original Labours of Hercules, Poirot endeavors to act in his namesake by carefully selecting twelve special cases before his retirement from detective work in order to cultivate vegetable marrows.. From the Nemean Lion to the Erymanthian Boar, from the Flock of Geryon to the Capture of Cerberus, Poirot will stop at nothing to bring criminals to justice, and, on occasion, to take matters into his own private hands.  

While writing short stories isn’t standard fare for Agatha Christie, this collection of twelve short stories is the perfect mix of murder, intrigue, and Hercule Poirot (featuring his little grey cells) that any fan of the celebrated Queen of Mystery will surely not be disappointed.

-Mahak M. 

The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library