If you are an avid reader who loves to explore thrillers, murder mysteries and crime fiction, the chances are very rare that you haven’t heard about Agatha Christie. She is popularly known as the queen of crime (fictional works)!
Agatha Christie’s own life had some mysterious phases too. Her sudden disappearance from public eyes and then reappearance (in 1928) is often considered as her mysterious hide-out. There are many real and fake stories about it are circulated in tabloids and newspaper those days. You can find some of them on Internet even today.
Famous author Lindsay Jayne Ashford decided to write a fictional novel on Agatha Christie‘s disappearance, her divorce with Archie, her re-marriage and other stuff. In that terms, we can categorise this book as a historical fiction.
|Book Title||:||The Woman on the Orient Express|
|Author||:||Lindsay Jayne Ashford|
Lake Union Publishing Published: (20 September 2016) (Paperback/Kindle)
Brilliance Corp Published: (20 September 2016) (MP3 Una edition )
|# of Pages||:||
2626 KB (Kindle Edition)
|# of Chapters||:||32|
From Amazon India – Kindle Edition
From Amazon India – Paperback Edition
From Amazon India – Audiobook (MP3 CD)
From Amazon US (International) – Kindle Edition
From Amazon US (International) – Paperback Edition
From Amazon US (International) – Audiobook (MP3 CD)
As Agatha Christie really did board The Orient Express in autumn 1928 and she also had written a famous crime fiction named Murder On The Orient Express, the author has decided to name the book as The Woman on the Orient Express. A very cleverly thought book title we must say :).
Let us take a bird’s eye view to the plot of the book. I must warn you that there are some spoilers may be there.
Agatha Christie, a famous author whose crime fictions are loved by many, is running through the low phase in her personal life. Her husband is in love with someone else and is seriously planning to marry his new love. Agatha, who is almost shocked by knowing this fact, don’t know how to face this situation. She was also unsure about her only child’s reaction to this new marriage.
She decided to run away from the city to somewhere unknown, possibly to Baghdad, via the Orient Express! She wanted to be at the place where she is unknown, she needs some time in isolation. On the Orient Express, she met with two fellow ladies in different circumstances and they three became friends. Agatha also finds a mysterious passenger on the Orient Express and wish that “the little grey cells” of Hercule Poirot should help her to uncover the mystery.
Eventually, they all meet in Baghdad, Ur and other places. Actually, Agatha appointed one of those two ladies as her assistant and the other one is a reputed architect working at an archaeological site. Their relationships see a few ups and downs, but ultimately they remain friends.
In the same journey, Agatha finds her love of life too.
By the way, Agatha travels under a fake identity, Mrs. Mary Miler, as she wanted to remain unidentified throughout her journey. Other important characters in the book are, Nancy, Katharine, Max, Archie, Leonard, Rosalind and James.
Will Agatha gather the courage to face the situations? Will she marry again? What are the secrets of the two other women? Who was the mysterious passenger on the train? All these queries are answered in this book.
I must say that I bought the book with many expectations (some of them are met some are not). The association of Agatha Christie and one of her famous mystery novel, make me think that the book will be a thrilling murder mystery. I expected something mysterious to happen during the journey and Agatha Christie will think like her creation, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the truth. The book, however, has thrills, mystery and other stuff but not in the way expected at all.
If you want to enjoy the book, please read it without any expectations.
The author is really good at building scenes and exploring places. The way she talks about the train, various destinations during the journey, and gives some details for each of those important places en-route, through the characters, of course, is amazing. Also, the way she has explored Baghdad and other parts of middle east and Europe will give you a feeling of really visiting them. So in terms of exploring places through words, the author deserves full marks.
Lindsay develops characters gradually. She takes her own time to talk about various attributes of a character but gives you a whole picture at the end.
The remarkable research work done by the author is visible throughout the book. If you love books exploring journey, you will enjoy this book for sure. She makes you visit history and mythological stuff at places too.
She wrote some good dialogs in the book which are full of wisdom and philosophy like:
For the train, like life, must go on until it reaches its destination. You might not always like what you see out of the window, but if you pull down the blind, you will miss the beauty as well as the ugliness.
The trouble with still, peaceful places was that they allowed all manner of uninvited thoughts to push their way inside your head.
The author is good at exploring human emotions and she uses her skills in presenting various attributes of book characters. Eg:
She casts a spell on you, and before you know it, you’ve become her slave. Be careful of that, won’t you…
Some lines in the book are good takeaways, eg:
If there is a God, she thought, music must be his language.
The book also has some spelling/grammar mistakes, which could have been avoided to make it even better
When she stopped torturing herself and opened her eyes, he had disappeared. She told herself that her imagination was working overtime.
Another good thing about this book is the author’s notes, she mentions the references which she used to build a fictional story based on. Some of them are…
- Agatha Christie’s autobiography
- Agatha Christie: An English Mystery by Laura Thompson
- Agatha really did board the Orient Express in autumn 1928, granted divorce from Archie in October 1928.
Also, the author is able to build expectations in the initial segments of the book, which she failed to fulfilled fully at the end.
A book which can prove a good travel companion. While it has some good thrills, nice historical information about various places, a fantastic travelogue, good exploration of Europe, it cannot be considered as an overall great thriller. If you read the book without expectations, you will enjoy it.
We would give it 6.5 to 7 stars out of 10.
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