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The Mystery of the Blue Train

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An Alternate Cover of this ISBN can be found here. A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot i An Alternate Cover of this ISBN can be found here. A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it...


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An Alternate Cover of this ISBN can be found here. A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot i An Alternate Cover of this ISBN can be found here. A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it...

30 review for The Mystery of the Blue Train

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    In many ways this is a typical Hercule Poirot type of mystery: a wealthy man's daughter is murdered on a train for a set of fabulous rubies, and only a limited number of people could have gotten on or off the train at the right times to make them suspects ... or so one might think, but who ever knows for sure with Agatha Christie? This book was, for me, a cut above the typical Poirot mystery, and I think it's mostly because I liked the main character so much. Katherine Grey has "beautiful gray eyes," a Madonn In many ways this is a typical Hercule Poirot type of mystery: a wealthy man's daughter is murdered on a train for a set of fabulous rubies, and only a limited number of people could have gotten on or off the train at the right times to make them suspects ... or so one might think, but who ever knows for sure with Agatha Christie? This book was, for me, a cut above the typical Poirot mystery, and I think it's mostly because I liked the main character so much. Katherine Grey has "beautiful gray eyes," a Madonna-like manner, and a quiet sense of humor. She has been a crotchety old woman's companion for 10 years and unexpectedly inherited her fortune, and decides to travel. The other old ladies in the English village are dubious:"And so you've come into a lot of money, I hear? Well, well. Take care of it. And you're going up to London to have a good time? Don't think you'll get married, though, my dear, because you won't. You're not the kind to attract the men. And, besides, you're getting on. How old are you now?" "Thirty-three," Katherine told her. "Well," remarked Miss Viner doubtfully, "that's not so very bad. You've lost your first freshness, of course." "I'm afraid so," said Katherine, much entertained. "But you're a very nice girl," said Miss Viner kindly.As it turns out, men are in fact attracted to Katherine, except it's a problem when one of them could be the murderer. And Katherine was, during her travels, coincidentally one of the last to see the murdered woman alive. Luckily we've got Poirot there to solve the problem! The book shows its 1928 roots a little with the social attitudes and a soupçon of 1920s-type spiritualism. But it's an enjoyable read overall, and yet another time that Dame Agatha had me fooled until the very end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6), Agatha Christie (1891 – 1976) The Mystery of the Blue Train is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom by William Collins & Sons on 29 March 1928, and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The book features her detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot boards Le Train Bleu (a luxury French night express train which operated from 1886 to 2003.), bound for the French Ri The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6), Agatha Christie (1891 – 1976) The Mystery of the Blue Train is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom by William Collins & Sons on 29 March 1928, and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The book features her detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot boards Le Train Bleu (a luxury French night express train which operated from 1886 to 2003.), bound for the French Riviera. So does Katherine Grey, who is having her first winter out of England, after recently receiving a relatively large inheritance. On board the train Grey meets Ruth Kettering, an American heiress leaving her unhappy marriage to meet her lover. The next morning, though, Ruth is found dead in her compartment, a victim of strangulation. The famous ruby, "Heart of Fire", which had recently been given to Ruth by her father, is discovered to be missing. Ruth's father, the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin, and his secretary, Major Knighton, persuade Poirot to take on the case. Ruth's maid, Ada Mason, says she saw a man in Ruth's compartment but could not see who he was. The police suspect that Ruth's lover, killed her and stole the ruby, 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. Further suspicion is thrown on Derek when a cigarette case with the letter "K" is found there. 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 asks Van Aldin and Knighton to come with him on the Blue Train to recreate the murder. and ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نهم ماه اکتبر سال 1994 میلادی عنوان: رمز قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: بهرام افراسیابی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، راد، 1372، در 335 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای کارآگاهی از نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20 م عنوان: رمز در قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: بهرام افراسیابی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، مهرفام، 1389، در 335 ص؛ شابک: 9789649915166؛ عنوان: راز قطار آبی؛ نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: مجتبی عبدالله‌نژاد؛ ناشر: هرمس؛ سال نشر: 1388 (چاپ اول)؛ تعداد صفحات: 324 صفحه، شابک: 9789643635725؛ آمریکایی ثروتمندی به نام: «روفوس وان‌ آلدین»، نگران دخترش: «روت کترینگ»، است. ازدواج دخترش با اشراف‌زاده انگلیسی تهیدستی، به نام: «درک کترینگ»، در آستانه ی فروپاشی است، و «روفوس» از مدتها پیش، دخترش را تشویق می‌کرده، از همسر بی‌وفا، و نامرد خود جدا شود. «روفوس»، برای اینکه دخترش را خوشحال کند، یاقوتهای تاریخی و نفیسی را، که به: «قلب آتش»، معروف هستند، برای او می‌خرد، و به دخترش هشدار می‌دهد، که جواهرات را از کشور خارج نکند. «روت» اما، بی‌توجه به هشدار پدرش، همراه جواهرات راه می‌افتد، تا برای دیدار دلداده ی پیشین خویش، «کنت آرمان دولارش»، با قطار آبی، از: لندن به: «نیس»، برود ...؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    Oh so very close to 5 stars. If only we had halves !?!? I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the settings , the characters and of course Poirot's masterful investigation into the murder and robbery. I must admit towards the end I thought I had worked out who did it, but didn't know why. Well I was completely wrong ha ha. Oh well. It just goes to show how enjoyable these books are. As I said at the start it is certainly a 4.5 star read and one of the most enjoyable Poirot novels Oh so very close to 5 stars. If only we had halves !?!? I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the settings , the characters and of course Poirot's masterful investigation into the murder and robbery. I must admit towards the end I thought I had worked out who did it, but didn't know why. Well I was completely wrong ha ha. Oh well. It just goes to show how enjoyable these books are. As I said at the start it is certainly a 4.5 star read and one of the most enjoyable Poirot novels so far, and it takes me ahead of the game in this group buddy read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    3.5 "Life is like a train [...]. Trust the train, Mademoiselle," murmured Poirot again. "And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows." I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm kind of in a Christie mood right now. So sue me. Before I begin, there's one thing I want to be clear about: I've read more than 20 of Christie's books, and I enjoyed unreservedly every single one of them. I may have complaints about the solution of the mystery or about some other nothing, but every single tim 3.5 "Life is like a train [...]. Trust the train, Mademoiselle," murmured Poirot again. "And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows." I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm kind of in a Christie mood right now. So sue me. Before I begin, there's one thing I want to be clear about: I've read more than 20 of Christie's books, and I enjoyed unreservedly every single one of them. I may have complaints about the solution of the mystery or about some other nothing, but every single time, I enjoy them. This time is no different. So, Christie, I love you. Poirot, you're my lifetime hero. Thank you both being real. (Well, you know what I mean.) The Mystery of the Blue Train plot is fabulous, and not once was I bored. I was slightly disappointed in the solution because the reason why I like crime novels, mostly, is that they get their strength from the great deal of strong, violent emotion they usually involve. Well, Lady Kettering's murder was not as much "of passion" as I would have liked -and as it seemed at first. The solution is intelligent, of course, and the planning of the deed is brilliant, more than brilliant. But its motive is not about passion; and since I am a silly, emotional reader, I felt a little letdown. Otherwise, I'm completely satisfied.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Evgeny

    The book was the first to use a troupe which would become fairly common later in the series. Namely it takes a while for Poirot to show up. Here he was mentioned the first time in chapter 10. The beginning was romantic and mysterious. Russian immigrants that escape the Revolution, priceless jewels from the Russian Royal crown, people shadowing each other, robbers, an American millionaire, and so on. In any way several people introduced in the beginning ended up on a train going through France. Upon re The book was the first to use a troupe which would become fairly common later in the series. Namely it takes a while for Poirot to show up. Here he was mentioned the first time in chapter 10. The beginning was romantic and mysterious. Russian immigrants that escape the Revolution, priceless jewels from the Russian Royal crown, people shadowing each other, robbers, an American millionaire, and so on. In any way several people introduced in the beginning ended up on a train going through France. Upon reaching the destination one of the passengers ended up dead. Any reader who can use the brains during the initial chapters can predict the identity of the victim in advance. Here is where Poirot finally showed up - he happened to be on the same train, but in a different car. Even though he retired the circumstances were intriguing enough for him to become interested and offering his help in investigation. Lucky thing for everybody involved (except for the culprit obviously) he did as only he arrived at the solution of a complicated mystery. I do not recall ever reading this book before. I am proud to say I figured the identity of the culprit (but not the motive) before Poirot announced it. Yay for me! I said it before, but it is worth repeating again: any Poirot mystery is worth at least 4 stars (The Big Four is the only exception; for the sake of my mental balance I consider it to have never been written, or written by an evil twin of Agatha Christie). This time is not an exception and 4 star it is: the mystery was complicated and fast-moving with lots of red herrings and unexpected twists. The reader was also given all the clues for solving it before Poirot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    This book reminds me that Dennis Diderot said something along the lines of "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." By the time I reached about the 100th page I doubted I could wait until the entrails of the last priest were available, dried and suitably braided for that excellent task, nor was I particularly fussed whether certain people were technically kings or not, fortunately for my blood pressure I avoided Downton Abbey when it was on, This book reminds me that Dennis Diderot said something along the lines of "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." By the time I reached about the 100th page I doubted I could wait until the entrails of the last priest were available, dried and suitably braided for that excellent task, nor was I particularly fussed whether certain people were technically kings or not, fortunately for my blood pressure I avoided Downton Abbey when it was on, so I found a novel about toss pots behaving like toss pots close to unbearable, particularly as there was only the one death (view spoiler)[ and that not caused by irritable person with convenient chair in the library (hide spoiler)] "I can sound my h's dear, as well as anyone, but Helen is not a suitable name for a servant. I don't know what the mothers in the lower classes are coming to nowadays" (p193) first up against a wall come the Revolution? Why wait until the revolution? Particularly since the location of the wine cellar key has already been revealed to us (p.192) I picked this up as a train book and I presume it was written for that purpose. It struck me as curiously restrained, or perhaps very conventional, when for example we learn that the marriage between wealthy American heiress and waste of space English aristo had been disastrous and unhappy from the start I was suspecting that the husband was using wife's capital to amuse himself with ten years worth of North-African boys, indeed I struggle to accept that the Parisian chorus girl alone could have rendered the marriage so sour - but then I need to remind myself of my earlier observation on the qualities of the husband. Likewise when the prospect of cross dressing train jumping criminals was introduced I imagined a more far reaching scenario than Christie put forward but that's why she was the best selling novelist and I'm not, restraint being the writer's best friend. there's a tongue in cheek (view spoiler)[ hopefully (view spoiler)[ as evidence for tongue-in-cheekness the breakthrough comes when (view spoiler)[ an informant tells the greatest detective in the world that the victim's ghost has revealed who the murderer is, the remainder then just the mere matter of finding evidence that might sway a jury or investigating magistrate or what have you (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] awfulness about her characters, apart from Hercule Poirot, a character apparently inspired by the First World war Belgian refugees , or so I heard someone say on the television(view spoiler)[ I guess they were famed for their crime resolving abilities, which must have been useful if Miss Marple happened to be too far away (hide spoiler)] - who incidently, I'm convinced is a woman (view spoiler)[ or a Catholic priest, or both (hide spoiler)] - and I felt there was a lazy skill evidenced in the writing, the ending particularly disjointed, I regretted a little that she hadn't turned her typewriter to something a bit less frivolous (view spoiler)[ it is rich person porn: fancy clothes, fancy trains, villas in the south of France, gentlemen can't be criminals and if they are ,certainly not violent ones, all very "Daily Mail" (hide spoiler)] , but that is possibly my inner Calvinist speaking.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.” Poirot graced so many Agatha Christie novels that there's bound to be misses as well as hits. This one is in the middle - a good book but not one of the best with him in it. I liked it but didn't love it. I'd recommend starting with others starring the detective first. Christie whips out intriguing characters that have a richer back “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.” Poirot graced so many Agatha Christie novels that there's bound to be misses as well as hits. This one is in the middle - a good book but not one of the best with him in it. I liked it but didn't love it. I'd recommend starting with others starring the detective first. Christie whips out intriguing characters that have a richer background of emotion in this one compared to some of her other works - an almost saintly, now rich young woman Katherine Grey who has a quiet humor and little bit of mischief about her. Besides her, there is a controlling and wealthy father of the victim who helps Poirot (kind-of) in the investigation. These two stand out as well done characters to complement the detective, who I usually adore. The issue is here he faded in the background and something about Poirot just felt 'off.' I'm not sure what it was, but he just wasn't as likable this time. I can't complain much about characterization, and the story itself was complex. Christie brought into play jewel theft and having to solve different issues while the reader sorts out whether it will lead to one villain with one crime or several villains with different crimes and a big coincidence. It's not easy to guess the mystery as the writer leads the reader astray from original assessments, and there's more to this story than a simple layer underneath - the ending wraps this up well and in a satisfying matter. The issue is that it's just not that interesting following the story. I grew bored several times and struggled with so many points of view shifts from characters I cared little about. Overall it was a good story bogged down with too much misdirection. Had the author put Poirot more into the limelight and had him discover these sideplots rather that keep showing them through other small character's eyes, then maybe it would have been more intriguing. It showed in this book she was kind of tired of the detective that made her so famous. Unlike some of her other works, the crime doesn't stay in the scene. This year I had the joy of reading Murder on the Orient Express, where the crime happened on a train they stayed trapped on. My other favorites by her include Death on the Nile where they solve a murder on a boat, and 'And then there were none', where the group solves murder in a claustrophobic feel while they're trapped on an island. Here the train is visited only briefly and people travel all over the place afterward. This hurt the tight-knit mystery feel some of her better books hold.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I am currently reading the Poirot novels in order and this was published in 1928 and written in the Canary Islands in 1927, where Christie had retreated. Her beloved mother had died, her marriage lay in ruins and this was a difficult time for her. During her famous disappearance, her current novel had been the bold, and innovative, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Afterwards, she had cobbled together, “The Big Four,” from some short stories and, now, she again looked to her short stories for inspi I am currently reading the Poirot novels in order and this was published in 1928 and written in the Canary Islands in 1927, where Christie had retreated. Her beloved mother had died, her marriage lay in ruins and this was a difficult time for her. During her famous disappearance, her current novel had been the bold, and innovative, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Afterwards, she had cobbled together, “The Big Four,” from some short stories and, now, she again looked to her short stories for inspiration. Indeed, this novel is based upon the 1923 short story, “The Plymouth Express,” which can be found in, “Poirot’s Early Cases.” Agatha Christie herself, “always hated,” this novel. However, for Christie fans, it has a lot to offer. There is the interesting setting – the murder on the luxurious train (sadly, not much of the story actually occurs on the train itself), the exotic location of the Riveria and Poirot – as ever, doing a little match-making alongside his sleuthing. This novel also features the first mention of St Mary Mead (home, in later work, of Miss Marple) and of a character, Mr Goby, who later appears in, “After the Funeral,” and “The Third Girl.” There is, indeed, a little of the Miss Marple in the elderly ladies that Katherine Grey looks after. A companion, she is left a large amount of money by the lady she cares for, and decides to visit relatives on the Riveria. On the train there, she meets both Poirot and millionaire’s daughter, Ruth Kettering. Ruth’s marriage is heading for divorce and she is on the way to meet her lover, when she is found dead on the train. Is the motive the fabulous rubies that her father, Rufus Van Aldin, had given to her, shortly before her journey? Aldin asks Poirot to find Ruth’s murderer and he turns his little grey cells to the problem. The novel has a good start, but gets a little lost in the twists and turns of the plot. Something of a weak ending for Christie, but she was obviously not at her best and still producing great work under immense pressure.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Iryna *Book and Sword*

    2.5/5 stars (not rounding up) I must be getting very picky, as this is the very first book by Agatha Christie that I did not enjoy. Usually, I just generally like them - they are all nice and cozy little mysteries, but apparently not this one. It started out well enough, but then the writing became choppy and confusing. Pages were filled with useless blabbering and unnecessary conversations. There was very little actual detective work in it. And in the end many, many questions were left unanswered. I 2.5/5 stars (not rounding up) I must be getting very picky, as this is the very first book by Agatha Christie that I did not enjoy. Usually, I just generally like them - they are all nice and cozy little mysteries, but apparently not this one. It started out well enough, but then the writing became choppy and confusing. Pages were filled with useless blabbering and unnecessary conversations. There was very little actual detective work in it. And in the end many, many questions were left unanswered. It felt rushed and unfinished. I suspected the correct murderer from the very start, but then I started suspecting bunch of other people too. But still in the end - it was all just very anti-climatic. There are many GREAT mysteries by Agatha Christie, I mean she wrote over 80 books. But this is not one of them. My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    Another most enjoyable Hercule Poirot mystery by the Queen of Crime. Poirot does not even make his entrance in the book until chapter 10, but for the rest of the book his presence is always felt. There are 2 main suspects in the murder and theft of jewels of the daughter of a very rich American traveling on the Blue Train in France. But anyone who reads Agatha Christie knows that the killer is never obvious. When one of the suspects is arrested, Hercule Poirot is not satisfied and continues Another most enjoyable Hercule Poirot mystery by the Queen of Crime. Poirot does not even make his entrance in the book until chapter 10, but for the rest of the book his presence is always felt. There are 2 main suspects in the murder and theft of jewels of the daughter of a very rich American traveling on the Blue Train in France. But anyone who reads Agatha Christie knows that the killer is never obvious. When one of the suspects is arrested, Hercule Poirot is not satisfied and continues his investigation until with his usual flair, he unmasks the true culprit. Another triumph for Hercule Poirot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Miss Katherine Grey was on the way to the Riviera after her circumstances changed when she came into money. A lady’s maid, she felt the need to see more of the world now that she had the means so her journey on The Blue Train was an experience she hadn’t wanted to miss. When she had dinner with Mrs Ruth Kettering, she had little idea that her encounter would change the direction of her life in more ways than one. M. Hercule Poirot was also travelling on The Blue Train and when a body Miss Katherine Grey was on the way to the Riviera after her circumstances changed when she came into money. A lady’s maid, she felt the need to see more of the world now that she had the means so her journey on The Blue Train was an experience she hadn’t wanted to miss. When she had dinner with Mrs Ruth Kettering, she had little idea that her encounter would change the direction of her life in more ways than one. M. Hercule Poirot was also travelling on The Blue Train and when a body was discovered, brutally murdered, he was right on the spot to assist the French police. He interviewed Katherine whose skills as a witness were second to none. But with several suspects, would Poirot identify the killer? Or would the wrong man be imprisoned? And what was the story about the rubies? The Mystery of the Blue Train is #6 in the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie and although it took the first quarter of the book to get to the journey on the Blue Train, once that level was passed, the pace picked up and Poirot started using his grey cells. Smart, intriguing and clever, Hercule Poirot would have to be my favourite detective! He always gets results – “he’s the best detective in the world”. Just ask him, he’ll tell you 😉 Recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This is my fourth read in the Hercule Poirot series. I'm presently reading Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot in the written order (skipping one or two depending on my interest and accessibility). In The Mystery of the Blue Train, a wealthy woman is found murdered; and Poirot, happening to be travelling in the same train, involves himself in the unraveling of the mysterious death. As with the previous reads, the murder-mystery plot is ingenious. My view is that Agatha Christie's u This is my fourth read in the Hercule Poirot series. I'm presently reading Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot in the written order (skipping one or two depending on my interest and accessibility). In The Mystery of the Blue Train, a wealthy woman is found murdered; and Poirot, happening to be travelling in the same train, involves himself in the unraveling of the mysterious death. As with the previous reads, the murder-mystery plot is ingenious. My view is that Agatha Christie's unrivaled popularity as a murder-mystery writer is undoubtedly rests on her brilliantly written plots. She has an amazing ability to make plot twists and to astonish the reader at the end. She lays down clues; invites the reader to solve the mystery alongside her famous detective Poirot. But at the end, Poirot, or rather Christie, beats the reader. However, in this book, the clues were rather vague. In an attempt to misdirect the reader and to take him by surprise at the end, Christie keeps things hidden in Poirot's mind without expressing them. Poirot works in secrecy, without exposing what is going on within his mind to the reader. This secrecy and the vagueness of the clues made me, as a reader, to fall out a little with the story. The end surprised me; no doubt of that. And then, I realized that the author has, from time to time, given clues through other characters that I missed as I was looking for clues earnestly through Poirot's order and method. But I rather wished, there were a little more transparency. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the read, though perhaps not as much the others I have read of her thus far.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    All aboard The Mystery of the Blue Train, for a most unexpected ride, courtesy of the Grand Dame of Golden Age mysteries herself! Since this passenger locomotive was constructed in 1928, it is only to be expected that this train will trundle along sometimes, before getting up speed, and blasting its whistle, to dash along to its destination at an express rate. For our entertainment during the ride, we will peek into each of the individual isolated compartments, meeting their occu All aboard The Mystery of the Blue Train, for a most unexpected ride, courtesy of the Grand Dame of Golden Age mysteries herself! Since this passenger locomotive was constructed in 1928, it is only to be expected that this train will trundle along sometimes, before getting up speed, and blasting its whistle, to dash along to its destination at an express rate. For our entertainment during the ride, we will peek into each of the individual isolated compartments, meeting their occupants, who are as variously diverse, and stereotyped, as 1928 would have us believe. The British are level headed and slightly priggish, the French temperamental, the Russians creative and flamboyant, the Americans hard-nosed and mercenary. We watch them all act out their little charades, as the train hurtles along. The passengers slot into types, not only according to their nationalities, but also by their social positions. These too, we recognise, albeit uncomfortably, as we glimpse into those carriages. A wealthy spinster will of course, in 1928, need a paid companion. We are destined to dislike the wealthy woman, but admire the intelligence and patience of the paid companion: “Katherine Grey was born with the power of managing old ladies, dogs, and small boys, and she did it without any apparent sense of strain.” But is she as naïve as she appears? 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: the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin. 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. Someone will surely meet their death on “Le Train Bleu”. 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: smashed in, perhaps in a ferocious attack. There are precious jewels: rubies without price. And there are avaricious people on the train; shady characters who desire such rubies. Few of the passengers are what they seem. “‘Trust the train, Mademoiselle,’ murmured Poirot again. ’And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows … ‘Ah, mais c’est Anglais ca … everything in black and white, everything clear cut and well defined. But life, it is not like that … There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before.’” A 1928 novel demands starry characters. There is a spoilt wealthy young heiress, Ruth Kettering. There are minor members of the aristocracy: the Comte de la Roche, and a Marquis. There is an infamous Parisienne dancer and actress, known as “Mirelle”. There is a Greek antique dealer, and dubious Russians, involved with stolen merchandise. There are violent Parisian street ruffians, whom the author refers to as “apaches”. All of course, are decidedly un-English, and Agatha Christie does not flinch in portraying what she expected her 1928 English readers to view as “foreigners” with all their stereotypical peccadillos. 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. Their relationships and roles change as quickly as the landscape viewed through the windows of “Le Train Bleu”. None are to be trusted. Is there an Everyman? Perhaps. 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. Now we are here, at our journey’s end. 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: “You mock yourself at me,” said Poirot genially. “But no matter. Papa Poirot, he always laughs the last.” “My name is Hercule Poirot … and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.” So did we enjoy our journey on “Le Train Bleu”? 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. Two years earlier had been a disastrous time in the author’s personal life. 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 1927, 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. During their stay, Agatha Christie unearthed a short story she had written four years earlier, called, “The Plymouth Express”. In Agatha Christie’s mind, this marked the turning point in her career, where she needed to changed from an amateur author, to a professional. She decided to work her story up to the full length novel, which we now know as The Mystery of the Blue Train. The short story “The Plymouth Express” can itself be read as part of the collection “Poirot’s Early Cases” (or “The Under Dog and Other Stories” in the USA). The seemingly inscrutable dedication can be decoded, and shows her bitter state of mind concerning the events in her life. It reads: “To the two distinguished members of the O.F.D. - Carlotta and Peter”. “O.F.D.” stood for the “Order of the Faithful Dogs”, as opposed to the “Order of the Faithless Rats”. “Carlotta” was Charlotte Fisher, Agatha Christie’s secretary, who was also her daughter Rosalind’s governess, and “Peter”, was the little girl’s much loved wire-haired terrier! Incidentally, Peter also had another book dedicated to him, in 1937, one year before his death. The novel was “Dumb Witness”, another Poirot mystery starring a wire-haired terrier. He was even pictured on the dustjacket of the first edition. Noticeable is how Agatha Christie keeps her cards up her sleeve, whilst letting an observant reader be “in the know”. Charles Dickens, whom she referenced in an earlier novel, regularly employed a way of carefully alluding to someone, without revealing their name. Sometimes they would be “the stranger”, and others would be more specific, such as (my personal favourite) the man with “the mustache that goes up and the nose that goes down”. Agatha Christie often refers to a “little man with an egg-shaped head”, and we always know to which pompous Belgian detective this refers. She makes good use of this device with minor characters in The Mystery of the Blue Train. We may feel that she is merely painting a thumbnail sketch, rather than fully developing any character, but when certain features are highlighted, such as “a face with a mask of crude paint” or “a marvellous vision in orange and black”, we are almost bound to recognise the character on their return. 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.) The story is a typical adventure, involving the desire for jewels, in this case including the famous “Heart of Fire” ruby. 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: “Le Train Bleu”, bound for Nice, on the glamorous French Riviera. On the train are several of the characters we have already met, such as the wealthy Ruth Kettering, and her maid Ada Cole. But where is Ruth’s husband, Derek? 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. (view spoiler)[She meets Ruth Kettering, the American heiress unhappy in her marriage, and travelling to meet her lover, the Comte de la Roche. Perhaps because the two never expect to meet again, Ruth confides in Katherine, and seems to be impressed by Ruth’s common-sense advice. We believe she may yet change her plans. The next morning, however, Ruth is found dead in her compartment. She has been strangled, and the priceless ruby, the “Heart of Fire”, which had recently been given to Ruth by her father, is missing. Ruth’s father, the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin, although ruthless in business, had idolised his daughter, and indulged her every whim. Money is no object for him, so he will not rest until the murderer has been caught. Knowing of Hercule Poirot’s excellent reputation, he urges the former detective to take on the case. 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. Ruth’s maid, Ada Mason, reports seeing a man in Ruth’s compartment but could not see who he was. The Comte de la Roche is already known to the police as a notoriously shady character. Naturally enough, the police suspect that he has deliberately inveigled himself into Ruth’s affections, in order to murder her and steal the ruby. However, Poirot does not think he is guilty. Instead, he suspects Ruth’s husband, Derek Kettering, whom he discovers had also been on “Le Train Bleu”, but claims not to have seen Ruth. When a cigarette case with the letter “K” is found in the compartment, this seems to condemn him further. And Katherine, whom Poirot has made a confidante, says that she saw Derek enter Ruth’s compartment. (hide spoiler)] We often find that Hercule Poirot will single out a character, and apparently share his thoughts with them, or even seek their advice. Sometimes it is in the spirit of “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer”, and sometimes it is simply that they are one of the few level-headed and trustworthy people around. 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. True, in this novel we have our first sight of Poirot’s valet, George, but he is no substitute. 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: “It amused her to see the little man plume himself like a bird, thrusting out his chest, and assuming an air of mock modesty that would have deceived no one.” or: “‘I never prophesy,’ he declared pompously. ‘It is true that I have the habit of being always right - but I do not boast of it.’” Yes, such comments are wryly amusing, but they are frankly so obvious, that they can become a little tiresome. Another interesting fact about Katherine Grey, is that she comes from the little village of “St. Mary Mead”. Now we all know which detective, with the convincing appearance of a dotty old biddy, lives there! But the Miss Marple murder mystery books had yet to be written, and this is the first ever mention of “St. Mary Mead”. Hercule Poirot makes further secret investigations, and deduces that (view spoiler)[the murder and the jewel theft might not be connected, as the famous jewel thief “The Marquis” is connected with the crime. Later on, the dancer “Mirelle”, whom we learn had been on the train with Derek Kettering, also says that she saw Derek leave Ruth’s compartment around the time the murder would have taken place, and this leads to his arrest. This accords with Poirot’s initial thoughts, and both the police and the public believe that the case has now been solved, as does the reader. 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. He stages a ridiculous reconstruction of the murder on the “Le Train Bleu”, having asked Van Aldin and his secretary to accompany him. But he behaves in such a comically harebrained fashion, that Van Aldin begins to regret employing him, and to seriously doubt his competence. (hide spoiler)] This part seems me to be the weakest part of the novel, being rather tiresome to read, and adding nothing to the plot. 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. (view spoiler)[ The maid, Ada Mason is really Kitty Kidd, a renowned male impersonator and actress. Katherine had described what she thought was a boy getting off the train, but in actuality, it was really Ada Mason. Since it had only been Ada Mason’s word that anyone had been with Ruth in the compartment, this could clearly have been a lie. Also, Derek Kettering had gone into Ruth’s compartment, to talk to her when he knew that she was on the “Le Train Bleu”, but he had left when he saw that she was apparently asleep. Poirot, using his little grey cells, saw that the cigarette case bearing the initial “K”, might not stand for “Kettering”, but for “Knighton”. Nobody would have thought of suspecting Major Knighton, as he was supposedly in Paris. By matching Knighton’s history and length of stay in countries which had had major unsolved crimes involving jewels, Hercule Poirot deduced that the murderer, and Ada Mason’s accomplice, was not Derek Kettering, but Major Knighton. He was really the notorious and anonymous jewel thief, “The Marquis”. 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. (hide spoiler)] So how does this novel stand up. 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. In Agatha Christie’s autobiography, she referred to this novel, and stated that she “always hated it”. The author’s fragile state has meant that there is little humour in the book, and the omission of Captain Hasting is keenly felt. 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. I would say that the “Le Train Bleu” never becomes derailed, we have a convincing diversion nearing our destination, and the reader never nods off as the momentum gathers. It is not her best tale by far, but deserving of a middle rating. “‘Me, I have a little idea. Many people have mocked themselves at the little ideas of Hercule Poirot - and they have been wrong.’ ‘You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes - two people. One is le bon Dieu’ - he raised a hand to heaven, and then settling himself back in his chair and shutting his eyelids, he murmured comfortably: ‘and the other is Hercule Poirot.’” And how did Agatha Christie ultimately feel about The Mystery of the Blue Train? She wrote: “… each time I read it again, I think it commonplace, full of clichés, with an uninteresting plot. Many people, I am sorry to say, like it. Authors are always said to be no judge of their own books.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    “Those who have listened do not find it easy to talk; they keep their sorrows and joys to themselves and tell no one.” I will try to make this a fast non-spoilery review So, Agatha's book are my guilty pleasure reads and this was my 5th book and it was good, I started reading her best and most famous books so I try to go to those less famous works without high expectations. 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. “You telbooks.“You “Those who have listened do not find it easy to talk; they keep their sorrows and joys to themselves and tell no one.” I will try to make this a fast non-spoilery review So, Agatha's book are my guilty pleasure reads and this was my 5th book and it was good, I started reading her best and most famous books so I try to go to those less famous works without high expectations. 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. “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot” I also like how Agatha likes to use french terms and it always brings me back to those french classes in school, nostalgia people!! I also like the idea how a lady who was born in 1890 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... & she focuses on the psychology of the characters which is always refreshing. 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 :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    Another very enjoyable entry in the Poirot series, the first third of this (which is before the detective makes his appearance) reminded me a lot of Patricia Highsmith and the theme did feel a bit more adult than in the preceding books. The mystery is not sensational, but not too fantastic either and Poirot is probably most sympathetically portrayed here this far. A good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melindam

    Update 23 Jan I am sorry to say this about an Agatha Christie book, but it was MEH-MEH-MEH. 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, beca Update 23 Jan I am sorry to say this about an Agatha Christie book, but it was MEH-MEH-MEH. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lotte

    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. 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 piece it all together! It's definitely not the best Christie novel overall, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Arg! How did I miss all the clues? Guess I didn’t use my “little gray cells.” This book introduced St. 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! 😊

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Anze

    “Ah, mais c'est Anglais ca," he murmured, "everything in black and white, everything clear cut and well defined. But life, it is not like that, Mademoiselle. There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before.” American heiress Ruth Kettering is riding the luxurious Blue Train bound for the French Riviera. When the train reaches its destination the conductor attempts to rouse Mrs. Kettering but finds that she is dead, with her face disfigured. Moreover the Hearts of Fire rubie “Ah, mais c'est Anglais ca," he murmured, "everything in black and white, everything clear cut and well defined. But life, it is not like that, Mademoiselle. There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before.” American heiress Ruth Kettering is riding the luxurious Blue Train bound for the French Riviera. When the train reaches its destination the conductor attempts to rouse Mrs. Kettering but finds that she is dead, with her face disfigured. Moreover the Hearts of Fire rubies that her father, American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin, had gifted her just a few days before has been stolen. As she was about to divorce Derek Kettering, her husband, and he was riding the same train, he becomes suspect number one. Onboard the train was also Hercule Poirot and he is not so sure that M. Kettering is guilty. As Poirot reconstructs the events on the Blue Train, he uncovers a much more complicated web of lies. Another standstill murder and another great work by Christie! Ruth Kettering boards the Blue Train towards the French Riviera to meet a man that she has loved since before she married Derek Kettering. On the train also ride Derek, the woman he has been seeing, Ruth's maid, a simpler woman who has recently come into money and the one and only Hercule Poirot. When the Blue Train reaches its final destination, Ruth is found dead, murdered at some point along the journey. Her face is irrecognizable as it has been disfigured and the case with her gems has been taken (in which she had the valuable Hearts of Fire rubies). Naturally suspicion falls on the soon-to-be ex-husband who would have been left penniless had the divorce come through. But as the investigation developes, others are found to have reason to want Ruth dead. I love the setting and tone of this book. I particularly enjoy Christie's "closed room" mysteries. The narrative is entertaining and a delight. As per usual, I got the culprit wrong and was looking in the wrong direction all along. What can be said of Christie that has not already been said? She is simply fabulous. Originally published in 1928, this is the sixth installment in the Hercule Poirot series. This book came about during a difficult time in Agatha Christie's life: her mother recently died, her marriage was ending (and not in the best terms) and she had famously dissappeared (a story that is simply fascinating). This book is based on a short story (by Christie) titled The Plymouth Express which was publised in 1923. It is in this book that Christie first introduces the fictional village of St. Mary Mead, the home of Miss Jane Marple (and indeed the lady from St. Mary Mead in this book is very Marple-like). The Mystery of the Blue Train is alluded to in Death in the Nile.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ova - Excuse My Reading

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one! Didn't guess for one second who the murderer was which I love. The description of the train journey was a delight. I have a fondness for these old trains. There were some great characters in this story. Christie is a master of her craft.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna Maria

    Agatha Christie is considered "the Queen of Crime" as she wrote many masterpieces. This book is not one of my favourites, but the plot is well built and Hercule Poirot is a fictional and logical Belgian detective that focuses on getting people to talk and of course in the end he solves the case and discovers the crime! I will soon read again other novels of Agatha Christie where there besides Hercule Poirot there is also Miss Marple, an old lady who has spent her life in the small village of St Agatha Christie is considered "the Queen of Crime" as she wrote many masterpieces. This book is not one of my favourites, but the plot is well built and Hercule Poirot is a fictional and logical Belgian detective that focuses on getting people to talk and of course in the end he solves the case and discovers the crime! I will soon read again other novels of Agatha Christie where there besides Hercule Poirot there is also Miss Marple, an old lady who has spent her life in the small village of St Mary Mead, but as she often points out she has had every opportunity to observe human nature.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    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. 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 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. There is no motive for murder. In the movie " Once Upon A Time In the West" Henry Fonda says, people are scared when they are dying. That I can understand, but here the dead bodies don't give evidence line is not convincing and lacks punch. But we needed a murder, and a murder simply had to be conjured. Where would we be if Ruth was alive, if only being a victim of theft only? For one, I would have wanted very much to read this story, but it would be a short story. There wouldn't be enough to go on to make of the theft of the rubies a fascinating tale as this book turned out to be. A few random things now; that premonition of the attractive Katherine Grey that came out of the blue, was a manipulation of the author, who hid part of the experience. But I did guess the murderer's identity. I knew who was the Marquis. There was the simple line that surgeons were surprised of Knighton's limp. That was the only hint I could pick up. But as of the identity of his accomplice, Kitty Kidd, I was so wrong! I thought she was Lennox Tamplin, simply because I pounced on the detail that in a certain picture, she had averted her face and shown only her nape. That was a red herring that I'm still digesting! I thought she must have dual identities. The whole Tamplin entourage was a dead end. Too much prose wasted for little importance. This 5 well earned stars is perhaps the strongest one. I would have given it more if possible. I do not remember which book has so much romance and class as this book. From now on, I think it's all downhill. In my youth I read most of the Poirot mysteries in French, in disorder. I remember little of them for most of them. There's the Mystery of the Orient Express, but that one I know of too well. I dare not choose a too pedestrian book. And I prefer Marple over Poirot. Agatha Christie is very confident in her plots. When she makes a character praise the denouement, it's an act of faith. I recommend this book to anyone who reads and has not read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    The Mystery of the Blue Train is about the death of Ruth Kettering. 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 The Mystery of the Blue Train is about the death of Ruth Kettering. 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.. so uh yeah, there's that. 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.” The Mystery of the Blue Train is not one of Christie’s best, but as the sixth Hercules Poirot (of 39!) it is a strong effort. Having also just read Agatha: The Real Story of Agatha Christie, the graphic biography that insists she was the Very Model of a Modern Woman, and a feminist, I felt supported in my view that the disparaging c “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.” The Mystery of the Blue Train is not one of Christie’s best, but as the sixth Hercules Poirot (of 39!) it is a strong effort. Having also just read Agatha: The Real Story of Agatha Christie, the graphic biography that insists she was the Very Model of a Modern Woman, and a feminist, I felt supported in my view that the disparaging comments she has various characters make about women throughout had a purpose in the mystery’s solution. I know an author’s autobiography is usually a sketchy source at best for divining purpose in fiction, but Christie had just been cheated on and dumped by her first husband in the year before this was published, but I thought this book’s (in part) focus on women may have come from her life events. Ruth’s Dad: "Have you got the grit to tell the world you made a mistake. There’s only one way out of this mess, Ruthie, cut your losses and start afresh. . . ” “You mean. . .” “Divorce.” “Divorce!” As with other, better books from Christie, a murder takes place on a train (some take place on boats, too!), the night or “blue” train from Calais to Nice, (as Christie herself did much world travel via train). (Yes, I was reading this about a location in Nice on the day of the Nice truck bombing, which was somewhat strange). In this one she tries third person omniscient (rather than have some buffoon like Hastings narrate it) and experiments with having us not meet Poirot at all for more than a third of the book. I have heard this lesser known book from Christie was done rather quickly, as she needed cash for her and her daughter, but that seems unfair, because while this one wasn’t particularly innovative, I can see her working on different things as a writer, developing her craft. So: Ruth Van Kettering is murdered. She was unhappily married to Derek, who is struggling financially but could use the money he might get from Ruth’s rich daddy, who hires Poirot to do the investigation. Ruth also was given rare rubies from her father, and they are of course missing at the time of her death. Derek also “hangs out” with an exotic dancer named Mirelle who seems hotly unpredictable. Ruth's and Derek's marriage is one of convenience, not love (and for any mystery reader, the obviousness of him as possible murderer takes him out of the running pretty quickly, eh?). Then there’s someone Ruth may have been seeing on the side, the Comte de La Roche who could also use the cash. A sophisticated ladies man. But is the murder linked to the theft? There’s a woman, Katherine Grey, that we come to like very much, one of the best of Christie’s early characters. She’s been working for a crusty old lady, Miss Viner for many years and is going to receive an inheritance from the old crank (who contributes some comic relief). Oh, and Grey has "contacts" with The Count and Derek, too. But who is M. Marquis? And what of Mr. Kettering’s valet, Knighton, and his maid? Do we have enough characters for a line-up? There are many many slyly satirical comments about women throughout, such as this exchange between Miss Viner and Katherine: Ms. Viner: “Don't think you'll get married, though, my dear, because you won't. You're not the kind to attract the men. And, besides, you're getting on. How old are you now?" "Thirty-three," Katherine told her. "Well," remarked Miss Viner doubtfully, "that's not so very bad. You've lost your first freshness, of course." "I'm afraid so," said Katherine, much entertained. . An early statement from Olga: “Most women have that madness. I do not.” At one point Derek says: “She might bring me bad luck. Women do.” The book is full of such satirical observations about women, which led me to think because she was exorcising some demons, making a fun feminist point overall. This one takes a while to get going. Too long. It doesn’t match up to her very best, but I still liked it. I rate it somewhere between 3 and 4, rounded down for some of the slowness of the opening. The resolution is neither all that surprising or satisfying, after we have of course spent the whole book looking at obvious and obviously wrong choices for murderer. But it’s a good read, overall.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Young

    I think I recall reading that Dame Agatha was in a hurry to complete this novel, that she needed the money to support herself and her daughter, and that she did not consider it one of her better efforts. Nonetheless, I was anxious to read it; it is definitely a lesser-known work of hers and I love having a new Christie to read. Besides, I wondered if she were not being rather too hard on herself--and I was correct. This is a perfectly respectable addition to her canon, with Poirot in fine form a I think I recall reading that Dame Agatha was in a hurry to complete this novel, that she needed the money to support herself and her daughter, and that she did not consider it one of her better efforts. Nonetheless, I was anxious to read it; it is definitely a lesser-known work of hers and I love having a new Christie to read. Besides, I wondered if she were not being rather too hard on herself--and I was correct. This is a perfectly respectable addition to her canon, with Poirot in fine form and a very charming amateur to help him--what does it mean that Miss Grey lives in St. Mary Mead two years before Miss Marple, its most famous resident, was introduced? I kept expecting Poirot to run into Miss Marple, as though she had always lived there even before Christie first wrote about her! I admit that I am biased against the "adventure" angle of some of Christie's earliest (1920s) mysteries--notorious jewel thieves in disguise were no doubt intended as good escapism for post-WWI readers, but I much prefer the eminently rational puzzles of her best work; she can dazzle the reader with fiendish ingenuity in an entirely prosaic setting. However, there are some good twists in The Mystery of the Blue Train; I figured out the culprits rather early but she still kept me guessing--in fact, I was surprised to find I was right! And there were a number of details that I did *not* see coming, such as the reason for disfiguring the corpse. Overall, this was much better than I expected, and I think my favorite thing, really, was seeing her play around with the logistics of a murder on a train. I can see her warming up for one of her greatest novels of all time, Murder on the Orient Express.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    audio. Ruth Kettering did not marry for love. She had money, which her impoverished husband needed, and he had a stately home to be inherited. However, her husband has not been discreet with his dalliances, and Ruths millionaire father strongly advises her to divorce him. But is Ruth quite as innocent as she seems? She has some rather murky shadows in her past which threaten to surface when she is found murdered in her luxury compartment on The Blue Train en-route to meet her for audio. Ruth Kettering did not marry for love. She had money, which her impoverished husband needed, and he had a stately home to be inherited. However, her husband has not been discreet with his dalliances, and Ruths millionaire father strongly advises her to divorce him. But is Ruth quite as innocent as she seems? She has some rather murky shadows in her past which threaten to surface when she is found murdered in her luxury compartment on The Blue Train en-route to meet her former lover. And who has her jewels, which have disappeared? Ruth's father hires Hercule Poirot to bring his daughter's killer to justice. The twists and turns are Classic Christie! What more can one say?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Singh

    A typical Christie murder mystery set in the luxurious Blue train. The beginning is quite mysterious and eerie and builds up for the train journey where the action takes place. However in the second half the story loses its pace and becomes a drag. Poirot's investigations at some point becomes too boring and you actually weave a sigh once the murderer is revealed. Average plot

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I have always enjoyed Agatha Christie, particularly those stories featuring Hercule Poirot. However, this was not one of my favorites and I believe Christie indicated in her autobiography that she didn't like it either. For me it started out slow and I didn't even recognize it for a Hercule Poirot story. It has all of the classic trademarks of Christie though. The murder takes place on a train and therefore the suspects are limited to just a few. You know it's one of the passengers but which one? Fortuna I have always enjoyed Agatha Christie, particularly those stories featuring Hercule Poirot. However, this was not one of my favorites and I believe Christie indicated in her autobiography that she didn't like it either. For me it started out slow and I didn't even recognize it for a Hercule Poirot story. It has all of the classic trademarks of Christie though. The murder takes place on a train and therefore the suspects are limited to just a few. You know it's one of the passengers but which one? Fortunately Hercule Poirot is one of the passengers. “You tell your lies and you think nobody knows. But there are two people who know. Yes- two people. One is le bon Dieu - and the other is Hercule Poirot.” Ruth Kettering and her husband Derek are not happily married. He is unfaithful and broke and married Ruth for her money. She is the only daughter of Rufus van Aldin, an American millionaire. van Aldin encourages Ruth to divorce Derek at the same time that he is presenting her with some rubies. One of the rubies is the legendary Heart of Fire which is supposedly cursed. Ruth is planning on going to Nice on the Blue Train and her father warns her not to take the rubies and to lock them in a bank. Of course Ruth doesn't listen to her father and not only takes the rubies with her but she has her own secrets. When the train arrives in Nice the conductor attempts to wake Ruth only to discover that she has been murdered. She was strangled. But she was also beaten so badly that her face is disfigured and not recognizable. Why? Of course the main suspect is Ruth's husband, Derek, but Poirot is not so sure. There are several others who may have killed Ruth and stolen the rubies. Was it a robbery gone bad? Or was the theft of the rubies a cover for murder? On the train at the time Ruth was murdered was Katherine Grey from St. Mary Mead. Katherine recently came into some money and decided to treat herself with a visit to Nice. St. Mary Mead may be familiar to readers of Miss Marple stories. Rufus van Aldin hires Poirot to find out who murdered his daughter and at the end Poirot and van Aldin will take the Blue Train where Poirot will reveal what happened and the identity of the murderer. Not the worse story in the series but not the best.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000... Description: The 'Heart of Fire' is one of the world's legendary jewels which once adorned the crown of the Tsars. But legend proclaims the stunning ruby brings death in its wake. So the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin may live to regret his purchase... Another case for Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. The glamorous Blue Train carries the rich and the famous to their beloved Riviera. But the future looks far from bright for one passenger... First published in 1928, The Mystery of th https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000... Description: The 'Heart of Fire' is one of the world's legendary jewels which once adorned the crown of the Tsars. But legend proclaims the stunning ruby brings death in its wake. So the American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin may live to regret his purchase... Another case for Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. The glamorous Blue Train carries the rich and the famous to their beloved Riviera. But the future looks far from bright for one passenger... First published in 1928, The Mystery of the Blue Train is based on a short story from 1923, The Plymouth Express. Dramatised in six-parts by Michael Bakewell. Stars Janet Maw as Katherine Grey, Robert Beatty as Rufus Van Aldin, Avril Clarke as Ruth Kettering, Anthony Smee as Derek Kettering, Michael Deacon as Major Knighton, Gwen Cherrell as Lady Tamplin, Moir Leslie as Lenox, Judy Buxton as Mirelle, Peter Woodthorpe as Dr Harrison, John Harrison as Krassnine, Tessa Worsley as Olga, Jane Leonard as Zia, Garard Green as Scattergood and Ronald Herdman as Papopolous. Director: David Johnston. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1985

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