A Not So Pleasant Train Ride

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie


This is the forth Agatha Christie novel that I've read and I must admit that it was a lot better than the last two offerings that I picked up (despite one of them being all the rave, I simply couldn't get into it as much as other books). Okay, this is your standard detective novel where there is a murder and Poirot then proceeds to interrogate everybody on the train, examine the evidence, and then come to his conclusion. However, it was the conclusion that stood out because despite what I expected, it wasn't narrowed down to one culprit.

[spoiler]In fact everybody on the train was complicit in the murder.


I have to say it wasn't what I expected from your typical murder mystery (despite not having read all that many, and only paying a half-hearted attention to the shows that my parents would watch).


Anyway, I guess one of the reasons that I liked this story is because it was set on a train and I have to admit that I like trains. In fact if you look at my Youtube Channel you will discover that it is almost entirely made up of raw footage of trains. What really surprised me when I set this channel up was that I ended up having people subscribe to it. Seriously it's not as if it is any good, and my film making skills are absolutely appalling (I use my mobile phone and it tends to bounce around everywhere). In fact there is one video that has been watched over 2500 times (and I wasn't even supposed to take that video). Okay, it's only one and a half minutes long (I have this rule that if a Youtube video is longer than 15 minutes then it is not worth watching, unless it is really interesting, but then again I really don't have huge amounts of time on my hands) which is probably why it has had so many hits, but then again compared to some of the other Youtube videos it's pretty much a drop in the ocean.



Well, it seems as if once again I've drifted off onto a tangent but then again this book is set on a train and I guess talking about trains sort of does connect with the book. Anyway, the version I read was called 'Murder on the Calais Coach' which I must admit is much less inspiring than Murder on the Orient Express (and I wonder wich executive decided to change the name to something that sounded nowhere near as good). It was interesting to discover that the original train would have coaches added and removed on its journey and the Calais Coach, as well as being a first class coach, was the coach that would travel the entire route from Istanbul (or as they said Stambul) to the terminus at Calais. However there were other coaches, such as the one that was added that took passengers from Athens to Paris.



Unfortunately the Orient Express no longer exists (though I am sure somebody will try to resurrect it sometime in the future). I suspect that when Eastern Europe fell to the communists after World War II it effectively cut off the entire route. The other thing would have been the rise of air travel. It is cheaper and at lot faster. Also a lot of these luxury trains have been replaced with high-speed rail. In a way people no longer have the time for luxury rail journeys and there are much faster ways to get from Istanbul to London. Okay, some luxury rail journeys still exist, such as the Indian-Pacific in Australia and the Eastern Orient Express that goes from Singapore to Bangkok, but in many cases they are just tourist trains. Back in Agatha's day the Orient Express would have been a much more convenient way to travel.


Oh, there was another thing that was bandied about that I had no idea until I plugged the name into Wikipedia, and that was the Wagon-Lit. I was wondering who on Earth they were, and a part of me thought they were private security guards hired by the Orient Express. However it turns out that they were employed by a catering company are are basically customer service officials that worked on the Orient Express.