Murder on the Orient Express is a detective novel by British writer Agatha Christie featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 1 January 1934. In the United States, it was published on 28 February 1934, under the title of Murder in the Calais Coach, by Dodd, Mead and Company. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the U.S. edition at $2.00.
The elegant train of the 1930s, the Orient Express, is stopped by heavy snowfall, with many passengers. A murder is discovered, and Poirot's trip home to London from the Middle East is interrupted to solve the murder.
|Murder on the Orient Express|
Dust-jacket illustration of the first UK edition
|Publisher||Collins Crime Club|
|1 January 1934|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||256 (first edition, hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Hound of Death|
|Followed by||Unfinished Portrait|
After taking the Taurus Express from Aleppo in Syria to Istanbul, private detective Hercule Poirot arrives at the Tokatlian Hotel. There he receives a telegram prompting him to return to London. He instructs the concierge to book a first-class compartment on the Simplon-route Orient Express service, leaving that night. Although the train is fully booked, Poirot obtains a second-class berth, but only with the intervention of a friend and fellow Belgian who is also boarding the train, Monsieur Bouc, a director of the railway, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Aboard the train, a malevolent, elderly American, Samuel Ratchett, attempts to hire Poirot because he believes his life is threatened, but Poirot refuses out of distaste for the man.
In Belgrade, on the second night of the journey, two extra coaches are added to the train and Bouc gives up his first-class compartment to Poirot and moves to a different coach himself. That compartment adjoins Ratchett's. The train is stopped by a snowdrift near Vincovci (sic). Among the several events that disturb Poirot's sleep is a cry from Ratchett's compartment. The next morning, Bouc informs him that Ratchett has been murdered and asks Poirot to investigate.
When Poirot and Dr Constantine examine Ratchett's compartment, Poirot finds a trace of a burned note with the words "–member little Daisy Armstrong" on it, which leads him to doubt Ratchett's identity. A few years before, three year-old Daisy Armstrong was kidnapped by a man named Cassetti, who collected a ransom but killed the child anyway. Cassetti was caught but fled the country after he was acquitted on a technicality. Poirot concludes that Ratchett and Cassetti are one and the same.
Poirot proposes two possible solutions: Either a stranger boarded the train and murdered Cassetti, or every one of the passengers, all of whom were discovered to have had a connection to the Armstrong case, had all conspired to kill Cassetti together. Mrs. Hubbard – in fact Daisy Armstrong's grandmother – the famous actress Linda Arden, confesses the truth of the second solution, yet Monsieur Bouc and Dr. Constantine choose to present the first of the two to the Yugoslav police.
The Times Literary Supplement of 11 January 1934 outlined the plot and concluded that "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."
In The New York Times Book Review of 4 March 1934, Isaac Anderson wrote, "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?"
The reviewer in The Guardian of 12 January 1934 noted that the murder would have been "perfect" (i.e., a perfect crime) had Poirot not been on the train and also overheard a conversation between Miss Debenham and Colonel Arbuthnot before he boarded; however, "The 'little grey cells' worked admirably, and the solution surprised their owner as much as it may well surprise the reader, for the secret is well kept and the manner of the telling is in Mrs Christie's usual admirable manner."
Robert Barnard said that this novel was "The best of the railway stories. The Orient Express, snowed up in Yugoslavia, provides the ideal 'closed' set-up for a classic-style exercise in detection, as well as an excuse for an international cast-list. Contains my favourite line in all Christie: 'Poor creature, she's a Swede.' Impeccably clued, with a clever use of the Cyrillic script (cf. The Double Clue). The solution raised the ire of Raymond Chandler, but won't bother anyone who doesn't insist his detective fiction mirror real-life crime." The reference is to Chandler's criticism of Christie in his essay The Simple Art of Murder.
The kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's son in 1932 inspired that element in Christie's novel two years later. The film used many elements of the real life case: a young child, firstborn of the family, was kidnapped for ransom directly from the crib, the parents were famous, the father was a well known pilot and the mother pregnant, and the ransom was paid but the child found dead soon after. An innocent, but perhaps loose-lipped, maid employed by Lindbergh's parents was suspected of involvement in the crime. After being harshly interrogated by police, she committed suicide.
Two less notable events helped inspire her novel: Agatha Christie's first journey on the Orient Express in late 1928, and a blizzard near Cherkeskoy, Turkey, that marooned an Orient Express for six days just a few months later, in February 1929.
Flooding from rainfall that washed sections of track away in December 1931 halted Christie's return from her husband's archaeological dig at Nineveh aboard an Orient Express for twenty four hours. Her authorised biography details that event in a complete quotation of a letter to her husband, which describes several passengers on her train who inspired both the plot and the characters in her novel, including an American, Mrs. Hilton, who inspired Mrs. Hubbard.
John Moffatt starred as Poirot in a five-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation by Michael Bakewell, directed by Enyd Williams, and originally broadcast from 28 December 1992 – 1 January 1993. André Maranne appeared as Bouc, Joss Ackland as Cassetti, Sylvia Syms as Mrs Hubbard, Siân Phillips as Princess Dragomiroff, Francesca Annis as Mary Debenham, and Peter Polycarpou as Dr Constantine.
In 2017, the streaming service Audible released another radio adaptation that featured Tom Conti as the voice of Poirot. The voice cast also featured Sophie Okonedo as Mary Debenham, Eddie Marsan as Cassetti, and narration from Art Malik.
The book was made into a 1974 movie directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by John Brabourne and Richard B. Goodwin; it was a critical and commercial hit. The film starred Albert Finney as Poirot, Martin Balsam as Signor Bianchi, George Coulouris as Dr Constantine, and Richard Widmark as Ratchett/Cassetti, with the remaining cast suspects including Sean Connery (Arbuthnot), Lauren Bacall (Mrs Hubbard), Anthony Perkins (McQueen), John Gielgud (Beddoes), Michael York (Count Andrenyi), Jean-Pierre Cassel (Pierre Michel), Jacqueline Bisset (Countess Andrenyi), Wendy Hiller (Princess Dragomiroff), Vanessa Redgrave (Mary Debenham), Rachel Roberts (Hildegarde Schmidt), Colin Blakely (Hardman), Denis Quilley (Foscarelli), and Ingrid Bergman, who won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Greta Ohlsson. Only minor changes were made for the film: Masterman was renamed Beddoes, the dead maid was named Paulette instead of Susanne, Helena Goldenberg became Helena Grünwald (which is German for "Greenwood"), Antonio Foscarelli became Gino Foscarelli, Caroline Martha Hubbard became Harriet Belinda Hubbard, and the train line's Belgian/Flemish director, Monsieur Bouc, became instead an Italian director, Signor Bianchi.
On 16 June 2015, 20th Century Fox hired Kenneth Branagh to direct and star as Poirot in another film adaptation of the story, which was released on 3 November 2017. On 29 September 2016, the studio issued a press release announcing much of the cast, including Johnny Depp as Mr Ratchett, Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs Hubbard, Penélope Cruz as Pilar Estravados (a Hispanic version of Greta Ohlsson, the name coming from a character in Hercule Poirot's Christmas), Dame Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Sir Derek Jacobi as Masterman, Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr Arbuthnot, Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham, Lucy Boynton as Countess Andrenyi, Tom Bateman as Monsieur Bouc, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Biniamino Marquez (a Cuban version of Antonio Foscarelli), Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen, Marwan Kenzari as Pierre Michel, Sergei Polunin as Count Andrenyi, Willem Dafoe as Gerhard Hardman, and Olivia Colman as Hildegarde Schmidt. Greta Ohlsson is renamed to Pilar Estravados; the character of Colonel Arbuthnot is combined with Dr Constantine to create Dr Arbuthnot, a sniper who served under Colonel Armstrong in the war and had his medical school paid for by Armstrong; and Monsieur Bouc is changed from the director of the line to the director's nephew. Added was a direct link for Poirot to the Armstrong kidnapping—before Sonia's death, John Armstrong wrote to Poirot for help. Also unlike the book, the kidnapping did not take place on Long Island but in New Jersey, where the Lindbergh Kidnapping took place. Susanne Michel is switched from Pierre Michel's daughter to his sister. Cyrus Hardman poses as an Austrian scientist for part of the film. The last scene also sets up the possibility of Death on the Nile as a sequel.
A thoroughly modernised and poorly received made-for-TV version starring Alfred Molina as Poirot was presented by CBS in 2001. This version co-starred Meredith Baxter as Mrs Hubbard and Leslie Caron as the Princess Dragomiroff (renamed Señora Alvarado and portrayed as the widow of a South American dictator). Poirot is portrayed as significantly younger and less eccentric than Christie's detective, and is given a subplot involving a romantic relationship with Vera Rosakoff, who is loosely based on an infrequently recurring character of the same name. The story is updated to a contemporary setting, and four of the suspects (Hildegard Schmidt, Cyrus Hardman, Edward Masterman and Greta Ohlssohn) are deleted, as is Dr Constantine.
David Suchet reprised the role of Hercule Poirot in "Murder on the Orient Express" (2010), an 80-minute movie-length episode of the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot co-produced by ITV Studios and WGBH-TV, adapted for the screen by Stewart Harcourt. The original air date was 11 July 2010 in the United States, and it was aired on Christmas Day 2010 in the UK. The cast includes Dame Eileen Atkins as Princess Dragomiroff, Hugh Bonneville as Masterman, Jessica Chastain as Mary Debenham, Barbara Hershey as Mrs Hubbard, Toby Jones as Cassetti, and David Morrissey as Colonel Arbuthnot. The character Cyrus Hardman (the former American police officer turned private detective) has been largely amalgamated with the chauffeur Foscarelli (in as much as regards being the lover of the dead maid) and Dr Constantine (who in the novel is unrelated to the murders) becomes a co-conspirator. The main difference from the novel is the additional element of Poirot's Catholicism being brought to the forefront, and his personal and religious struggle with whether to expose the murderers or let them off the hook, as well as a much darker atmosphere of the film, in comparison with the novel.
The interior of the Orient Express was reproduced at Pinewood Studios in London, while other locations include the Freemason Hall, Nene Valley Railway, and a street in Malta (shot to represent Istanbul).
A Japanese adaptation was broadcast over two nights in January 2015 on Fuji Television, titled Orient Kyuukou Satsujin Jiken, and it featured several famous actors, including Ninomiya Kazunari, Matsushima Nanako, Tamaki Hiroshi, Kichise Michiko, Nishida Toshiyuki, and Sawamura Ikki. The main character, Suguro Takeru, modeled on Hercule Poirot, was played by actor Nomura Mansai.
The first night featured a storyline true to the original text, but set in Japan in 1933. In this version, the train Orient Kyuukou ran from the western city of Shimonoseki to Tokyo, with the train stopped by a small avalanche near Sekigahara, Gifu.
The second night was an original story.
American playwright Ken Ludwig adapted the novel into a play, which premiered at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey on March 14 2017. The production was directed by Emily Mann, and starred Allan Corduner in the role of Hercule Poirot.
The point and click computer game Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express was released in November 2006 for Windows and expanded on Agatha Christie's original story with a new playable central character as Hercule Poirot (voiced by David Suchet) is ill and recovering in his train compartment.
The story's first true publication was the US serialisation in six instalments in the Saturday Evening Post from 30 September to 4 November 1933 (Volume 206, Numbers 14 to 19). The title was Murder in the Calais Coach, and it was illustrated by William C. Hoople.
The UK serialisation appeared after book publication, appearing in three instalments in the Grand Magazine, in March, April, and May 1934 (Issues 349 to 351). This version was abridged from the book version (losing some 25% of the text), was without chapter divisions, and named the Russian princess as Dragiloff instead of Dragomiroff. Advertisements in the back pages of the UK first editions of The Listerdale Mystery, Why Didn't They Ask Evans, and Parker Pyne Investigates claimed that Murder on the Orient Express had proven to be Christie's best-selling book to date and the best-selling book published in the Collins Crime Club series.
The 28th British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1975, honoured the best films of 1974.Albert Finney
Albert Finney (9 May 1936 – 7 February 2019) was an English actor who worked in film, television and theatre. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in the theatre before attaining prominence on screen in the early 1960s, debuting with The Entertainer (1960), directed by Tony Richardson, who had previously directed him in the theatre. He maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television.
He is known for his roles in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (also 1960), Tom Jones (1963), Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Bourne Legacy (2012), and the James Bond film Skyfall (2012).
A recipient of BAFTA , Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards, Finney was nominated for an Academy Award five times, as Best Actor four times, for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984), and as Best Supporting Actor for Erin Brockovich (2000). He received several awards for his performance as Winston Churchill in the 2002 BBC–HBO television biographical film The Gathering Storm.Amber Moon
An Amber Moon is a cocktail containing Tabasco sauce, raw egg, and whiskey or sometimes vodka. The drink is similar to a Prairie oyster, but has fewer ingredients and includes alcohol. It is therefore intended more as a "pick me up" or "hair of the dog" hangover remedy.The Amber Moon is featured in the 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express, based on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie. In the film, the butler Mr. Beddoes, played by John Gielgud, brings this drink to his employer, Mr. Ratchett, just prior to the discovery of the murder. Beddoes knocks on the door of the dead man's train compartment and announces "Your Amber Moon, Mr. Ratchett." Beddoes is later questioned about the death of Ratchett by Hercule Poirot and relates "His breakfast was his amber moon. He never rose until it had had its full effect."Appointment with Death (film)
Appointment with Death is a 1988 British mystery film made by Golan-Globus Productions and produced and directed by Michael Winner. It is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel Appointment with Death featuring the detective Hercule Poirot. The screenplay was by Peter Buckman, Anthony Shaffer and Michael Winner.
The film stars Peter Ustinov as Poirot, along with Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud, Piper Laurie, Hayley Mills, Jenny Seagrove and David Soul.
Gielgud and Bacall had previously co-starred in another big-screen Poirot adaptation, 1974's Murder on the Orient Express.Lucy Boynton
Lucy Diana Boynton (born 17 January 1994) is an English-American actress. She made her film debut as the young Beatrix Potter in Miss Potter (2006). She went on to feature in the films Copperhead (2013), Sing Street (2016), Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Apostle (2018), before portraying Mary Austin in the biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).Michael Green (writer)
Michael Green is an American writer and producer. In addition to writing for television, Green has written several feature film screenplays, including Logan, Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049 and Murder on the Orient Express, all in 2017. For Logan, which he co-wrote with James Mangold and Scott Frank, Green was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.Murder on the Orient Express (1974 film)
Murder on the Orient Express is a 1974 British-American mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, produced by John Brabourne and Richard B. Goodwin, and based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.
The film features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney), who is asked to investigate the murder of an American business tycoon aboard the Orient Express train. The suspects are portrayed by a notably all-star cast, including Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Perkins and Wendy Hiller. The screenplay is by Paul Dehn as well as an uncredited Anthony Shaffer.The film was commercially and critically well-received, as well as receiving six nominations at the 47th Academy Awards: Best Actor (Finney), Best Supporting Actress (Bergman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. Of these nominations, Bergman was the only winner.Murder on the Orient Express (2001 film)
Murder on the Orient Express is a 2001 made-for-television mystery film directed by Carl Schenkel based on the 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, featuring Hercule Poirot. This version is set in the present day and has a smaller cast than the novel. The screenplay was written by Stephen Harrigan and the original music score was composed by Christopher Franke.Murder on the Orient Express (2017 film)
Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 mystery thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Colman, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth screen adaptation of Christie's novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot. The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, as he seeks to solve a murder on the famous trans-European train in the 1930s.
Principal photography began in November 2016 in the United Kingdom; it is one of the few productions in recent decades to have used 65 mm film cameras. Murder on the Orient Express had its world premiere on November 2, 2017 at Royal Albert Hall in London, and was released in theatres in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2017, and in the United States on November 10, 2017, by 20th Century Fox. The film grossed over $351 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the cast's performances and the production value, but some criticism for not adding anything new to previous adaptations.
A sequel, titled Death on the Nile, is scheduled for a release on October 2, 2020.Orient Express (board game)
Orient Express is a crime fiction board game published by Jumbo and Just Games. The game is based on the book Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. The game was designed by Jeff Smets and released in 1985. The game contains 10 different murder cases, each of which can be played only once. Five new plots were released in 1987.Philip Martin (director)
Philip Martin is a British television director and screenwriter.
Martin directed the television drama Hawking (2004), which was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama; the final installment of the ITV drama Prime Suspect (2006), which was nominated for the BAFTA for Best Drama Serial and won Martin the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special; and two episodes of the first series of Wallander (2008), which won the BAFTA for Best Drama Series and got him another Emmy nomination.
He also wrote and directed the BBC Films documentary Double Helix: The DNA Years (2004), and directed the BBC television drama Einstein and Eddington (2008). In 2009, he directed the Agatha Christie's Poirot adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, which was first broadcast in the United States in July 2010.Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories
Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories is a short story collection by Agatha Christie published in the UK only in November 1991 by HarperCollins. It was not published in the US but all the stories contained within it had previously been published in American volumes. The UK edition retailed at £13.99. It contains two stories with Hercule Poirot, two with Parker Pyne, two with Harley Quin and two gothic tales.The Alphabet Murders
The Alphabet Murders is a British detective film based on the novel The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, starring Tony Randall as Hercule Poirot.The Harlequin Tea Set
The Harlequin Tea Set is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the US by G. P. Putnam's Sons on 14 April 1997. It contains nine short stories each of which involves a separate mystery. With the exception of The Harlequin Tea Set, which was published in the collection Problem at Pollensa Bay, all stories were published in the UK in 1997 in the anthology While the Light Lasts and Other Stories.
The collection of nine stories include:
"While the Light Lasts"
"The House of Dreams"
"The Lonely God"
"Within a Wall"
"The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" (a Hercule Poirot story)
"The Harlequin Tea Set" (a Harley Quin story)The Under Dog and Other Stories
The Under Dog and Other Stories is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the United States in 1951, Dodd Mead and Company. The title story was published in booklet form along with Blackman's Wood (by E. Phillips Oppenheim) in the United Kingdom in 1929 by The Reader's Library.The first US edition retailed at $2.50.It contains works from the early days of Christie's career, all featuring Hercule Poirot. All the stories were published in British and American magazines between 1923 and 1926. All of the stories, save the title story, were to appear again in 1974 in Poirot's Early Cases.The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories
The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1948. The first edition retailed at $2.50. The story The Second Gong features Hercule Poirot, the only character in the stories who appears in any other of Christie's works.
Each story has also appeared in either of the UK collections The Hound of Death, The Listerdale Mystery or Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories and therefore this collection was not published in the UK. Some of the stories are fantasy fiction rather than mysteries.
|As Mary |
|Short story |
|Radio and |