After feeling, and deciding, that The Analects of Confucius would be a rather tough read for me after facing a rather severe panic attack this evening I’ve decided to put it aside for a while and, whilst the depression that always follows these panic attacks subsides, I’ve elected to pick up another book.
Murder on the Orient Express.
The Murder on the Orient Express was written by Agatha Christie whom, as the above image indicates, was the queen of mystery, and was originally published by the Collins Crime Club on new years day nineteen thirty four. Met with critical acclaim the, now classic, book received rave reviews from such sources as the Times Literary supplement and the The New York Times Book Review which read, as follows, respectively.
“The little grey cells solve once more the seemingly insoluble. Mrs. Christie makes an improbable tale very real, and keeps her readers enthralled and guessing to the end.”
“The great Belgian detective’s guesses are more than shrewd; they are positively miraculous. Although both the murder plot and the solution verge upon the impossible, Agatha Christie has contrived to make them appear quite convincing for the time being, and what more than that can a mystery addict desire?”
As stated in the second of those praising quotes “The great Belgian” detective does it again, this is in reference to the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, who stars in thirty three of Christie’s literary works and in over fifty of her short stories before finally shaking off his mortal coil in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.
Seen as a rather short fellow, Poirot is a detective of the highest calibre and, whilst not as eccentric as Holmes (who Christie was still writing in the style of),
is shown to have a certain flare for exercising his ‘little grey cells’ bordering on prideful arrogance that one would associate with an Arthur Conan Doyle book.
Whilst I have very little knowledge of the book’s contents myself, other than that which I gathered on a very brief skim read in a train station, I do believe that I understand the source material of Christie to begin to understand the logical deduction I must exercise myself in order to, quote, beat her and figure out the murderer before he, or she, is revealed.
That, for me, is the ultimate enjoyment one can derive from reading a murder mystery, weighing up your own mental skills against that of the detective and thus trying to deduce the culprit before they do, elementary really (something Holmes never said by the way); fortunately for the reader, unlike many other authors of the day, Christie doesn’t cheat.
What I mean by that is, she doesn’t have phantom clues, she doesn’t allow the protagonist to see a clue that she doesn’t show the reader, even if it’s simply a passing phrase on one line, if the detective can see it so can you, it’s up to you to decide what is useful, what is not and what is a red herring.
But I’ve rambled on enough and am in dire need of some sleep, no matter how unlikely the prospect of rest is. Good night.