Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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I’ve not read any Agatha Chrstie, so I thought I’d rectify that by getting into the Hercule Poirot series of books. To start off I chose Murder on the Orient Express because I watched the 2017 movie a couple of years ago and Death on the Nile because it has a movie coming out next year. I figure it would be a good contrast of movie-first vs book first.

Took me a bit under a week of leisurely reading to finish Murder on the Orient Express. I wasn’t in a rush since I already knew how the mystery turns out. The book wasn’t very long, but it was very well structured. A couple of chapters of setup before the crime itself happened, then a chapter each for Poirot to interrogate each of the suspects and then a few more chapters to piece everything together. The book pretty much followed the movie closely, though I think they changed some of the character details for the movie.

Death on the Nile had a much different pace, although it’s about as short as the first one. It feels like the author spent longer on setup, introducing the different characters even before they met Poirot on the trip to the titular Nile. (As opposed to Orient Express where the entire book narrated only scenes where Poirot was present.) I finished the book in three days; the last day I binged through the last 2/3 of the book once the crime finally happened. It helped that I didn’t know the eventual solution (though I had a hunch on who the culprit(s) might be, and the hunch eventually turned out correct), so I was eager to get to the end. I feel like this book gave a better preview of Poriot’s investigative abilities.

I find myself enjoying the author’s writing; the books aren’t overly long, and each chapter is usually straightforward, with scenes depicting things that are either red herrings or eventually leading up to the final mystery solution. The books seem like light, leisurely reading, unlike the sci-fi / fantasy epics I’m used to. The best comparison I have is to the Hardy Boys series although this series is of course way less juvenile. I can easily send myself reading through a few more of these Poirot books throughout the year. (I didn’t follow any recommended reading order, but the books are largely self-contained anyway… though I know Nile happens after Orient Express because Poirot references the prior case.) I should also probably try out some of the author’s non-Poirot books as well.

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