“Murder on the Orient Express,” a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, continues to baffle and entertain readers after 83 years. Originally published in 1934, the book follows one of Christie’s most recognizable characters, the Belgium detective, Monsieur Hercule Poirot. While stranded on a train, Poirot has until the snow thaws to discover the murderer amongst the international mix of passengers.
Described as a funny little man with a fantastically groomed mustache, Poirot uses the little gray cells of the brain rather than brawn to uncover the truth. His advanced mind often leaves other characters and the reader behind and keeps everyone guessing until his final reveal.
This story in particular stumps the reader immediately with a murder committed by someone who initially appears to be an impossible phenomenon. The evidence suggests that the murderer is simultaneously a man and a woman, strong and weak, and right handed and left handed.
Greeted with this conundrum, Poirot must interview the passengers and uncover the truth in a mess of lies. In the end, you’re left wondering who the real victim is and whether the murder should remain unsolved.
With a film adaption coming to theatres November 9, 2017, I worry the intricate storyline, which emphasizes the details, flashback storytelling, and above all, the use of the mind, will be lost to a blockbuster style of film. Written more as an extended riddle, Christie weaves a story that gives you the pieces of the puzzle before showing you the picture it will create. While not the typical story you see in cinema nowadays, I hope the film adaption stays true to the novel that has stood the test of time.