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This little gem of a mystery novel is set on a river/canal in France that is populated with locks. The yacht, the symbolism of the lock being able to keep the suspects there, and the devolution of the antagonist all set a mood that is hard to escape or overlook. Rain also plays a key role in the novel. It is rain that comes down for a majority of the novel and it is Maigret who is raining down on the suspects.

“Startled by the touch of what felt like a human face, he went to get his lantern, and cast its light over the corpse which was going to send Dizy into a turmoil and upset the whole life of the canal.”

Maigret comes on the scene and eventually figures out that it is a case of revenge served extremely cold.  There are a few people who it could be but for sure it isn’t the most obvious. It is Jean the ex-doctor who is the murderer in this little novel and why? Because his back story tugs at one’s heart strings. It is as if he is self-condemned to a life of quiet, laborious desperation. But you will have to read this book to get the whole story.

Once again an excellent novel and a good start for me in the mysteries of Maigret and Georges Simenon. Adieu.

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On a train trip to New York this weekend I read the above novel. This would be the first time I picked up an Agatha Christie book.  I was more than pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns and the excitment and suspense packed into the dining car and the Stamboul-Calais car on board the Orient Express.  You’ll get no plot summary here, nor any spoilers.  The thing I wanted to focus on was the self-reference that was in the novel. What I mean is the way that Christie kind of plays off of the detective fiction genre.  For instance Col. Arbuthnot says “…apologetically. “But you know what it is-early hours of the morning-everything very still. The thing had a sinister look-like a detective story. All nonsense really.” Here we have Christie poking some fun around in her work and ultimately, I think, trying to distance herself from the rest of the crowd.

Later on in the novel we see some more of this little phenom going on. When the fake letters are explained by M. Poirot we can see that they might “…have been lifted bodily out of an indifferently written American crime novel.” Not that Christie has anything against America and the making of Americans(lol) but really all her English characters have something against “foreigners”.  I have nothing against Foreigner as you can see by me placing this link here for your enjoyment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbDXvDo83Gs

Seriously now, Murder on the Orient Express is a classic example of the Detective Genre and any writer could learn a thing or two from reading this book.

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