Hercule Poirot is at it again. This time, the supersleuth finds himself trapped on a train with a murderer. He must figure out which one of the passengers he’s already met is capable of murder before the train gets shoveled out of the snow drift, and the murderer has a chance to escape.
OK, I get that it’s terrible that a) I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel before this point and b) I really didn’t enjoy my experience reading Agatha Christie.
Here’s the thing: I wanted to like this book. I really did. It was just really boring. Which is saying something, since it was about the murder of a child-killing kidnapper. I mean, it really should have been quite an interesting book. But Poirot solves his cases by sitting there and thinking. Which, while it may be an accurate and perfectly acceptable way to solve a case, having someone sit there with their eyes shut and think for hours is so incredibly boring to read about. I found myself really not caring “whodunnit”. Which is a fatal flaw in a whodunnit.
I also was really bothered by how much the plot and character interactions relied on stereotypes. Even though there were a few stereotypes that were subverted by the end of the book, it was still uncomfortable to read. I get that the book was written in the 30’s, so a lot of profiling was “acceptable” at the time, but shouldn’t those types of things be what kills the book with time? This story shouldn’t stand the test of time. The way that it talks about Italians, Syrians, Indians (from India, not Native Americans), women in general, even Western Europeans, is just unacceptable.
There are so many better mystery novels out there. Don’t bother with this one. It’s a product of its time, and belongs there.