Murder on the Orient Express By Agatha Christie
Originally published 1 Jan 1934 By Colins Crime Club
Audiobook published 24 October 2017 By Harper Audio, narrated by Kenneth Branagh
Summary: “The murderer is with us – on the train now…”
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.
Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…
What an engaging and thrilling ride!
I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book before, but after seeing the trailer of Murder on the Orient Express in the cinema, I googled it right away and placed a hold on the audiobook. 3 different holds later (one on the ebook, one on the BBC version of the audiobook, and a third on the latest audiobook read by Kenneth Branagh) I finally got a hold on the latest re-reading of the book.
Agatha Christie is famous for her crime novels and I can definitely see why now. Murder on the Orient Express was so exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat! It was so imaginative and so fun to imagine an entire train, the different colourful characters involved and to figure out the mystery as we went along in the story.
The story is told in 3 different parts: the opening, where we learn about the different characters, the murder itself and later the closing and discovery of the murderer. Initially I was quite bored — I didn’t quite care for the opening chapters but things definitely changed once the body was discovered and the mystery was on its way. My favourite character had to be Mrs Hubbard, to was in the compartment right next to the victim. She was quite insane and hilarious the way she spoke to Poirot in such a matter-of-fact manner.
The thing that bummed me out the most was the audiobook. While it was completely captivating and for the most part engaging, I felt that the narrator just wasn’t that good. Murder on the Orient Express has A LOT of characters, many of which speak in foreign languages. The narrator seemed to garble it all up and his attempt at the different accents, back and forth seemed to be quite a difficult task for him. There were points in time during the reading where it seemed so impossible to understand him with the thick French accent that he had given Poirot that I eventually had to pull out the book and read along with the audiobook to understand what was going on.
Given the circumstance that it is a murder mystery, listening and understanding the details is extremely critical; some of which I felt that I could not properly enjoy because of the narration. I’ve heard that the Audible version of the story is much better than this movie tie-in version, so if you’d like to give the audiobook a go, perhaps opt for that.
Nevertheless, the plot was extremely enjoyable and I’d love to listen to move of Agatha Christie’s works in the future!