The Mystery of the Blue Train

  
Title: The Mystery of the Blue Train

Author: Agatha Chrisite

Published: 1928

Challenges: Women’s Classic Literature

Synopsis:

Ruth Kettering’s marriage is in trouble.  Her husband has been spotted with a dancer of dubious reputation and Ruth has had enough.  Her millionaire father is pushing her towards a divorce, even though Ruth has been far from perfect herself.  Ruth needs a break and so she sets off for the continent on The Blue Train, taking with her some rare, precious and HUGE rubies that her father has bought her to cheer her up.  It is no great surprise that Ruth is later found bludgeoned to death in her train carriage and the rubies are missing.  Enter Hercule Poirot. 

My Thoughts:

I always harp on about my love for Agatha Chrisite and I have a mini mission to read all of the Poirot novels and I am slowly making my way through them.  As with most novels, it takes a while for Poirot to actually appear; first we are treated to some background information on the rubies (it is clear lots of people are eager to own them) and information about the marriage of our main character.  We meet Miss Katherine Grey, who has recently come into money and meets Ruth on the train before her death.  Katherine becomes like a mini sidekick to Poirot and helps him to solve this crime and provides a different focus for the story as we see how she feels about her recent money and the family who are so eager to be her friends now she is rich.  I liked that she came from the village of St Mary’s Mead, which if I am right is where Miss Marple lives.

As with most Poirot novels there are many potential suspect: the bitter husband (who gains £2million upon his wife’s death); her old flame; the maid and maybe just plain, old train robbers.  I was convinced I had figured it out, but as usual I was wrong and the real criminal was revealed with me thinking ‘oh yeah…’ But this is what I love about crime fiction and Christie in general, it’s easy reading, but I still have to use my brain. 

Challenges:

  

The Women’s Classic Literature Event was recently announced by The Classics Club and it is an event that celebrates women writer’s dating pre 1960. The event runs from now right until 31st December 2016 and although I have no set list, I am keen to see how many books I naturally choose to read in that time.  I don’t know if Agatha Chrisite would qualify for the event in everyone’s eyes but she certainly does for me and therefore she is the first book on /author on my list and I doubt this will be the last time she appears. I am going to keep a track of the books for this event on a separate page at the top of my blog and I am sure the list will begin to grow fairly quickly. 

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The Big Four

 

Title: The Big Four

Author: Agatha Christie

Published: 1927  

Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

Captain Hastings returns from South America to visit his old friend Poirot, only to find the Belgian detective wrapped up in cases and when a mysterious stranger talking about The Big Four arrives in the flat and then promptly dies, Poirot soon becomes engrossed in this mystery.  Hastings and Poirot are soon putting their own lives in danger as they come up against The Big Four, an international crime group who are planning something big.  This Poirot novel sees our detective and his hapless friend travel across Europe and Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ are truly put to the test.

My Thoughts

Of course I’m going to say I liked this book as I always like a good Poriot novel. It has everything I love in it: a mystery; Poirot; some tricky crimes and another chance for me to attempt to solve the mystery before I got to the end.  Poirot novels are usually known for cosy crime committed in quaint little British villages and a choice of criminals from a small circle of the victim’s intimate acquaintances, however The Big Four is slightly different in its choice of criminals, an international gang.  The book still has the typical Agatha Christie touches but I also felt it had a little bit of a James Bond style, even though this was written decades before Fleming wrote any Bond novels and even though it is still a little cosy.  There isn’t much more I can say about Christie books, I just love them.