Agatha Christie Challenge: Book Number 8

The Mystery on the Blue Train is one of Agatha Christie’s lesser known works. Written shortly after Christie’s own sensational divorce, the novel uses divorce as an integral part of the narrative. It’s an entertaining read with a deftly drawn plot, comical asides, and engaging characters. 

The book had its origins in Christie’s 1922 novella, The Plymouth Express, which tells the story of a young heiress who is murdered while on board a train. Christie took that story and expanded it into this full-length Poirot novel. Like many of Christie’s travel stories, The Mystery on the Blue Train evokes an age when travel was a luxury. Images of the Riviera, grand hotels, witty conversation, and smartly dressed people punctuate the book giving it an elegant feel.

The book marks the first mention of the village of St. Mary Mead, the setting for many future Miss Marple stories; and introduces us to a minor character, Miss Viner, who is an unassuming yet crafty spinster with an uncanny ability to see through people. Many critics believe that Miss Viner was the prototype for Jane Marple.

Rating B