Christie's dedication in the book reads: "To the two distinguished members of the O.F.D. – Carlotta and Peter". This dedication is. The Mystery of the Blue Train book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. An Alternate Cover of this ISBN can be found here. The Mystery of the Blue Train: Hercule Poirot Investigates and millions of other books are available for instant access. view Kindle eBook | view Audible.
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The writing of this book (part of which took place on the Canary Islands in early ) was an ordeal for Agatha Christie. The events of with the death of her . Decide if you agree or disagree with Agatha Christie's critique of her novel The Mystery of the Blue Train. representative of the law was making notes in a pocket-book, and one or two late passers-by had collected on the spot. To one of these the man with the white.
Skip to main navigation Skip to content. Home News Book of the Month: The Mystery of the Blue Train. Book of the Month Book of the Month: Share on: Join the conversation f t y g. Keep updated with our newsletter. These too, we recognise, albeit uncomfortably, as we glimpse into those carriages. A wealthy spinster will of course, in , need a paid companion.
We are destined to dislike the wealthy woman, but admire the intelligence and patience of the paid companion: We see more evidence of a similar relationship, with another self-obsessed woman, in a carriage further along the train.
We have an American heiress, who of course is beautiful, and spoilt. Another another outwardly appealing person holds a comparatively menial position. He is Major Knighton, the secretary to an important businessman: We watch this masquerade, which is illuminated against the lowering, threatening night sky, behind the windows of the carriages. There is a sense of foreboding. Occasionally the train goes through a tunnel. When we reach the other side, we find we are looking into another compartment.
Do we know these people? Have we watched them before? Possibly, but all the players in this piece of theatre seem to have switched. Another train screeches along on the opposite track. We see flashes of light blaze through the windows - one, two, three!
Each second reveals a little more of the puzzle. But is what we see to be trusted? Can we ever believe our own eyes? There is a body. The face is unrecognisable: There are precious jewels: And there are avaricious people on the train; shady characters who desire such rubies. Few of the passengers are what they seem.
But life, it is not like that … There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before. There is a spoilt wealthy young heiress, Ruth Kettering. There are minor members of the aristocracy: There is a Greek antique dealer, and dubious Russians, involved with stolen merchandise.
This novel is packed with dramatic cameo characters. We have both the deliberately flamboyant and the studiously ordinary, the nouveau riches, the servants who are no better than they should be, the pompous jumped-up officials … all are here for us to observe as they play their parts.
None are to be trusted. Is there an Everyman? But we must beware of him or her too. We are nearing our destination. We think we know all the passengers on this train. We even think we know what has happened, and who to trust, guided and steered as we have been by the driver of the train.
But no, the ringmaster of this circus, Hercule Poirot, moves all his chesspiece passengers around again. We do not see at all. Half the lights have flickered and gone out.
Some of our favourite players are still here, smiling benignantly. They have played their parts well, and their futures look bright. Others have played a more dastardly game, and will reap the rewards they deserve. The ringmaster primps and preens.
We thought him a funny little man, and often went into his compartment to watch his antics: Papa Poirot, he always laughs the last. Yes, up to a point. But this cavalcade moves in fits and starts, and there is a great almighty rush towards the climax.
The plotting seems patchy, with too much new information brought in far too close to our destination. This is frustrating for the reader. Even Agatha Christie herself had reservations about The Mystery of the Blue Train , which she had found an ordeal to write. Her mother had died, and she had discovered that her husband, Archie, was involved with another woman.
After the breakdown of her marriage to Archibald Christie, she was to famously disappear without trace for ten days in December of that year. These were events which were to disturb her for the rest of her life, and she remained suspicious of who her true friends were. By the next year, Agatha had separated from Archie, and turned back to writing, in order to support herself. In early , she visited the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, with her daughter, Rosalind.
They arrived by steam boat, disembarking in the main port of Santa Cruz before heading north to Valle de la Orotava.
She decided to work her story up to the full length novel, which we now know as The Mystery of the Blue Train. The seemingly inscrutable dedication can be decoded, and shows her bitter state of mind concerning the events in her life. It reads: Incidentally, Peter also had another book dedicated to him, in , one year before his death. He was even pictured on the dustjacket of the first edition.
Charles Dickens, whom she referenced in an earlier novel, regularly employed a way of carefully alluding to someone, without revealing their name. She makes good use of this device with minor characters in The Mystery of the Blue Train. Even though the writing appears to deliberately mystify us, there are basic clues dotted around by virtue of this writing feature. They both entertain us, and encourage us, as Poirot would say, to use our little grey cells.
And of course, all this is sadly, necessarily missing, in any dramatisation. Enormous greed leads to deception, violence and murder. We begin with several scenes which will only make sense later, featuring a man with a shock of thick white hair.
The distinguished Belgian police ex-detective, Hercule Poirot is nowhere to be seen. Indeed he does not appear until almost half way through the book. Soon we are on the train. Not the Plymouth Express of the short story, but a far grander, more romantic affair: On the train are several of the characters we have already met, such as the wealthy Ruth Kettering, and her maid Ada Cole.
And is Ruth on her way to an illicit meeting with her lover, or not? We meet Katherine Grey, who is having her first winter holiday abroad, after recently inheriting quite a lot of money. We believe she may yet change her plans. The next morning, however, Ruth is found dead in her compartment.
Money is no object for him, so he will not rest until the murderer has been caught. Poirot reluctantly agrees, despite his former intention to enjoy his retirement, and travel for leisure. We learn several details, which may or may not be red herrings. The Comte de la Roche is already known to the police as a notoriously shady character. However, Poirot does not think he is guilty. In The Mystery of the Blue Train , Poirot has confided in Katherine Grey, yet we do not yet know on whose side she will turn out to be.
It has to be said that when Agatha Christie has a new sounding board for Hercule Poirot, the lack of Captain Arthur Hastings is a sad loss. We know the character of Captain Arthur Hastings well now, and when he is the narrator, the humour is much more in evidence. There is very little humour in this novel, and when it does pop up, it is nearly always at the expense of Hercule Poirot, with descriptions of him such as: Now we all know which detective, with the convincing appearance of a dotty old biddy, lives there!
However, Hercule Poirot now has major reservations as to whether the true murderer has yet been identified. Eventually Hercule Poirot works out the truth, but we are not privy to his calculations. But he behaves in such a comically harebrained fashion, that Van Aldin begins to regret employing him, and to seriously doubt his competence.
Furthermore, immediately afterwards, we bafflingly learn all the subsequent facts that Poirot has discovered, of which we have not formerly been aware, and which are essential to the final explanation. Katherine had described what she thought was a boy getting off the train, but in actuality, it was really Ada Mason. Nobody would have thought of suspecting Major Knighton, as he was supposedly in Paris.
He accuses Major Knighton in front of his employer, Van Aldin, and of course, the reader. The police then arrest Knighton and the case is finally closed. Is it, as the author feared, an unsuccessful novel?
It certainly could have been so, as it is difficult to expand a short story into a satisfactory full-length mystery novel, without including a lot of irrelevant padding.
And the fact that she was writing under such emotional pressure does not bode well. Some of the characterisations are a little crass for modern tastes, and parts read like a cheap thriller. There are definitely parts which are a little bumpy, in our express journey. But it is a convoluted plot, and a complicated and intricate crime.
It is not her best tale by far, but deserving of a middle rating. Many people have mocked themselves at the little ideas of Hercule Poirot - and they have been wrong. Yes - two people. She wrote: Many people, I am sorry to say, like it. Authors are always said to be no judge of their own books. Oct 31, Melindam rated it it was ok Shelves: Badly structured, trying to be too many things at the same time, like Agatha Christie couldn't quite make up her mind what it was she was writing.
There were too many characters and uninteresting, bland ones at that. Not the finest hour of detective fiction altogether. No wonder I did not remember much about it. Update 19 Jan I read this a long time ago and it did not make a big impression, because I couldn't for the life of me remember, who the murderer was or why the victim was killed one of my benchmarks for detective fiction, though definitely not the only one - so maybe this will be like reading the book for the first time.
Let's see. I like Hercules Poirot, he is the most peculiar and impertinent detective ever, and I like how the character is so unique but it feels real in all her books. I also like the idea how a lady who was born in could become the most sold author ever, I can't imagine my grandma writing such books, so Agatha is definitely on my list of the coolest ladies ever This book did not surprise me as always, I could guess the murderer, although I kept changing my mind but I said if it came to this then there was a major hint I will keep this vague!
And the reveal was fun and good but the whole book could have been shorter, anyway I am not regretting reading this book, more Agatha books will be read soon: I absolutely love mysteries set on trains, planes or boats. The sense of enclosure and entrapment that these kinds of settings convey work really well in classic murder mysteries. Plus, the ways in which an enclosed space like a train effectively reduces the number of possible suspects is really interesting psychologically.
Even though this is only partly set on a train, the scene of the crime and the circumstances of the murder worked as an interesting puzzle and I had a lot of fun trying to pi I absolutely love mysteries set on trains, planes or boats.
Even though this is only partly set on a train, the scene of the crime and the circumstances of the murder worked as an interesting puzzle and I had a lot of fun trying to piece it all together!
It's definitely not the best Christie novel overall, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Nov 20, Cyndi rated it really liked it. How did I miss all the clues? Mary Mead which is where Agatha Christie has based another series featuring a sweet little old lady who solves crimes while drinking tea and knitting. Excellent who- dunnit! Apr 25, Ova - Excuse My Reading rated it really liked it.
What can I say? Any train mystery by Christie is a joy to read. I can't say it's one of her best books, but still much better than most of the crime fiction.
Dec 05, Alaina rated it liked it Shelves: Not only did she die from a heavy blow to the head, but her face was beyond recognition. Oh, and her rubies were stolen. But wha the actual fuck happened on this train to this poor women? Well her father sure wanted to figure that out so he hired the best god damn detective ever - Poirot.
And who is our prime suspect? Ruth's husband of course. But did he do it? At first I had no idea who killed poor Ruth but I wanted some god damn revenge.
So I was totally on board with pinning this whole thing on her ex-husband Derek. I mean, come on, the guy acted like he gave no fucks that she was dead. Plus, he jumped pretty quickly into another ladies arms.. Now aside from Derek being a grade A douche bag, this book was kind of "meh" to me. It wasn't my favorite but I also didn't hate it that much either. It just seemed super slow paced and that no one really wanted to solve this murder.
Like all they did was talk and talk and talk and then BAM murder was solved! At one point I stopped caring about the murder and Ruth's revenge.
I just kind of wanted this book to be over. I guess I just expected more from this book. I hope the next book is better. Dec 03, Luffy rated it it was amazing Shelves: By Jove, if it isn't Monsieur Poirot.
I've been reading all the Marple novels recently for the first time. I had forgotten about Poirot stories. This book threatens to be the best of the lot. I knew I had forgotten mostly about it, except the basic premise. This book has a fragile beauty and a grim charm to it. The fact that Poirot's shenanigans are kept to a minimum helps. It didn't feel like a re read at all. Therefore I do not cheat and I did honestly succeed in guessing the murderer's ident By Jove, if it isn't Monsieur Poirot.
Therefore I do not cheat and I did honestly succeed in guessing the murderer's identity. More of that later. The book has to end somewhere.
I didn't catch the hint regarding the ruby, the "Heart of Fire". Was the original in Mirelle's possession or was it a fake? Mirelle could not exact no revenge on her lost lover, but she is an unimaginable character. Agatha Christie makes me meet people I will never meet, not here, not in this age.
I'm speaking of people in high places, but also people who have served in war, and those doughty Empire builders who were definitely English. I cannot judge how true these characters are, and when someone like Mirelle, or the Compte de la Roche appears, I'm at a loss to understand whether Agatha Christie is improvising or whether these creatures really walked the good Earth at some point in the lost past.
The beginning was intriguing. There's a transaction of the ruby being carried, and a lot of very varied people being introduced. I would have liked this segment to go on more. But then in a jarring change Poirot appears and things get dull. But this doesn't last long. The passages where the victim is on the train are fantastic.
A luxury train is very archaic. It's also very ghostly, like a ship in a mist. But a train, I think has more romance, especially one peopled by the sorts that the author imagined here.
The victim is millionaire extraordinaire Van Aldin's daughter. She is a flawed beauty, a very beautiful woman who has inherited two millions and a too masculine jaw line and is about to die needlessly. Herein lies the one glitch in this story, if I must nitpick.
The murder was not essential. And if I remember correctly, most Agatha Christie murders happen because of urgency and viral necessity. Someone named the Marquis doesn't sound like a serial killer. But here he is made out to be a ruthless omigod, pun accidental killer.
The trouble of killing, but also of all the clever alibis being planned, they aren't worth doing if the cleverness is there. The police suspect that Ruth's lover, the Comte de la Roche, killed her and stole the rubies, but Poirot does not think he is guilty. He is suspicious of Ruth's husband, Derek Kettering, who was on the same train but claims not to have seen Ruth.
Katherine says she saw Derek enter Ruth's compartment.
This also throws suspicion on Derek when a cigarette case with the letter "K" is found. Poirot investigates and finds out that the murder and the jewel theft might not be connected, as the famous jewel thief The Marquis is connected to the crime.
Eventually, the dancer Mirelle, who was on the train with Derek, tells Poirot she saw Derek leave Ruth's compartment around the time the murder would have taken place. Derek is then arrested. Everyone is convinced the case is solved, but Poirot is not sure. He does more investigating and learns more information, talking to his friends and to Katherine, eventually coming to the truth.
He tells them that Ada Mason is really Kitty Kidd, a renowned male impersonator and actress. Katherine saw what she thought was a boy getting off the train, but it was really Mason. Poirot realized that Mason was the only person who saw anyone with Ruth in the compartment, so this could have been a lie. He reveals that the murderer and Mason's accomplice is Knighton, who is really The Marquis.
He also says that the cigarette case with the K on it does not stand for Kettering, but Knighton. Since Knighton was supposedly in Paris, no one would have suspected him.
Derek did go into the compartment to talk to Ruth once he saw she was on the train, but he left when he saw she was asleep. The police then arrest Knighton and the case is closed. This novel features the first description of the fictional village of St. Mary Mead , which would later be the home of Christie's detective Miss Marple.
It also features the first appearance of the minor recurring character, Mr. Goby , who would later appear in After the Funeral and Third Girl. The book also features the first appearance of Poirot's valet, George. Literary significance and reception Edit The Times Literary Supplement gave a more positive reaction to the book than Christie herself in its issue of 3 May After recounting the set-up of the story the reviewer concluded: "The reader will not be disappointed when the distinguished Belgian on psychological grounds declines to suspect the arrested husband and, by acting on the suggestion of an ugly girl who consistently derides her preposterous mother, builds up inferences almost out of the air, supports them by a masterly array of negative evidence and lands his fish to the surprise of everyone".