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Murder on the Orient Express

From Academic Kids

Murder on the Orient Express (Collins, London, 1934) also called Murder on the Calais Coach (Dodd Mead, New York, 1934) is a 1934 novel by Agatha Christie, made into a 1974 movie entitled Murder on the Orient Express.

The book was first published in Saturday Evening Post, from July 1 to September 30, 1933.

In this book detective Hercule Poirot is travelling on the Orient Express. On the journey, Poirot meets a very close friend Bouc, who works for the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits. The train is caught in heavy snows in the Balkans on the second night out from Istanbul, and American millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett is found stabbed to death the next morning. Since the train has been surrounded by fresh snow since before the apparent time of death, and the doors to the other cars were locked, it seems that the murderer must still be among the passengers in Ratchett's car. Poirot, Bouc, and Dr. Constantine, (a passenger on another car), work together to solve the case. They are aided by Pierre Michel, the middle-aged French conductor of the car. A key to the solution is Ratchett's revealed involvement in the Armstrong tragedy in America several years earlier, in which a baby was kidnapped and then murdered. (The fictitious Armstrong case was apparently inspired by the real-life kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's baby son.)

The twelve suspects are:

  • Hector MacQueen, a tall, young American man, the victim's secretary and translator.
  • Edward Masterman, a short pale Brit, the victim's valet.
  • Mary Debenham, a tall, dark, young British woman, working as a governess in Baghdad
  • Colonel Arbuthnot, a tall British army officer returning from India
  • Princess Dragomiroff, an elderly and very ugly Russian grande-dame
  • Hildegarde Schmidt, a middle-aged German woman, the Princess's lady's-maid
  • Count Andrenyi, a tall, dark Hungarian diplomat with English manner and clothing, travelling to France.
  • Countess Andrenyi, his pale young wife.
  • Greta Ohlsson, a middle-aged blonde Swedish missionary returning home for a vacation.
  • Mrs. Hubbard, an plump, elderly, very excitable American woman returning from a visit to her daughter, a teacher in Baghdad.
  • Antonio Foscanelli, a portly and exuberant Italian businessman
  • Cyrus Hardman, a large and gregarious Texan typewriter ribbon salesman.

The book was made into a 1974 movie entitled Murder on the Orient Express (starring Albert Finney as Poirot, Lauren Bacall as Mrs Hubbard, Ingrid Bergman as Greta, Jacqueline Bisset as Countess Andrenyi, Sean Connery as Colonel Arbuthnot, John Gielgud as Beddoes (the character of Masterman), Wendy Hiller as Princess Dragomiroff, Anthony Perkins as MacQueen and Vanessa Redgrave as Mary Debenham, as well as a made-for-television movie in 2001. Many viewers, unfamiliar with the plot, thought that the murder mystery would take place against a dramatic backdrop of a world-famous train speeding through exotic landscapes and were disappointed to find that the train is stalled in snow for most of the movie.

This book is also noted for its surprise ending.

See also

External links

es:Asesinato en el Orient Express fr:Le Crime de l'Orient-Express ja:オリエント急行殺人事件 pl:Morderstwo w Orient Expressie fi:Idn pikajunan arvoitus

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