The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Having recently become addicted with the Hercule Poirot series, I looked to another in the collection by Agatha Christie. While just as on point, this book was far ‘deeper’ and denser than others in the series to date, offering a great deal more backstory for those who want to see the build up to the crime. Christie offers much to the reader, in hopes that they will be able to piece things together, as Poirot does effectively. Another great mystery that has me reaching for the next in the series.

After long feeling that there is something wrong in her marriage, Mrs. Ruth Kettering admits as much to her father. He directs her not to waste time ending things, officially, warning Ruth that any delay could prove problematic for all involved. Still, she is not sure and will use her scheduled travel time away to ponder all her options.

After boarding The Blue Train, a luxurious travel experience like no other, Ruth Kettering encounters young Katherine Grey, who has recently come into money of her own and wants to live lavishly. After dining together, the pair say their goodbyes and turn in for the night. It is only the next morning that Ruth Kettering is found brutally murdered in her berth and Katherine Grey is sure it relates to her acquaintance’s marital worries.

As luck would have it, Hercule Poirot is also on board and helps begin the process of investigating the crime, complementing the work the French officials are doing. He pieces things together from interviews and his sharp eye for clues, slowly building a case to show who the killer might be and how it all happened. All the while, young Katherine Grey sees the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest detective” at work and how he uses deductive reasoning to make sense of all he sees, before a killer can escape for good. Katherine is happy to add her two cents, for what it’s worth, to bring about some form of justice. Another great story by the Dame of Mystery, which has me exciting to push onwards with this hefty series.

While I only began reading the Agatha Christie books recently, I have always wanted to do so. I find that her writing is straightforward and clear, even if she can sometimes take longer to reveal something than I might normally like. Her narratives flow well and create a wonderful pathway for the curious reader to enjoy, making sure that they are entertained. While the pile of books in the series is high, I am happy to chip away at them, one by one.

Hercule Poirot is an interesting character to say the least. While little backstory is ever really revealed about him, Poirot is surely one not to be trifled with at any point. He knows his stuff and uses a keen ability to sit and wait for all to fall into place, making him an even more alluring character. He seems to always appear when needed and is keen to let everyone know that he is the best they have. Surely, some Belgian ego fuels him, but he gets the job done. I am aware that he will soon be asked to work on another train-based mystery in a future novel and hope that tale stays ‘on the tracks’ as this one did.

Agatha Christie does not need my praise to show how effective an author she is, though I am happy to add to the pile. Her stories are always entertaining and usually steer away from the fluff that seems to fill many books in the genre today. Shorter and to the point, Christie uses a strong narrative to push the story along. Always using unique and engaging characters, there is never anything drab about what she has to say through the eyes of others. Well-paced plot twists keep the story on point and help the reader develop an attachment to everything going on. Christie’s books most likely could be read as standalone, but I am not sure why anyone would want to ruin a good series by doing so. Perhaps the better approach would be, as I am doing to read a few, walk away, then return for more. Either way, it’s a wonderful reading experience for all involved.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for a wonderful piece that kept me wondering how you’d tie this one up. I am eager to see what else you have in store for us!