Well, after a long, long hiatus from reading Agatha Christie novels and because I saw the latest movie version of it, I just had to read this book! After the overt violence in Natchez Burning, the covert violence set in a bygone era of train travel glamor to countries that are now torn apart by war it was a heavenly read! I know, right, how does that make any sense, covert violence, war and it was a heavenly read?! It really was!
I think I just loved the setting. I really love stories set in this time period and I love the glamor of the travel modes in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Christie puts together a great cast of characters, all of different nationalities, ages and social standings. Somehow they all end up travelling together during a slow time of the year. It is to be a 3 day trip across Europe for her famous detective Hercule Poirot when he finds himself having to solve a murder, which happened on the train as it was attempting to pass through Yugoslavia but ended up stuck in a snowdrift stopping the train in the middle of the night. Poirot is asked by M. Bouc, the director of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lit, to investigate and solve the murder before the train is dug out of the snowdrift and before the Yugoslavian police show up and complicate things with the upper-class passengers on the train. So now it seems that we have a cast of characters from various parts of the world and a murderer among them as the train is still trapped for some indefinite time in a snowdrift!
I had to love the writing style, an ugly ‘dragon’ Russian princess with a face like a sheep, ( I had to wonder what the actress felt about being cast in a role with that description!) a loud, brash American woman who never seemed to shut up, and several snobby Brits, a Swedish ladies maid, a French valet … It was a wonderful read full of tantalizing hints and clues given by both the passengers and Poirot, but even though I saw the movie, (I forgot how it ended – too tired to remember it) I did not remember ‘who done it” until almost the end of the book, but still could not put the clues together until explained by the infamous Hercule Poirot! I love that fact that no matter how hard you try, you cannot figure out the truth of the matter unless himself, Hercule Poirot, explains it to you!