Episode 8: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Download Episode 8

In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Morning Chatter

#NaNoPrep has begun.

We discuss the new NaNoWriMo stuff, which Lissa already has!

“These are the traditions in my house, you order it the first day it’s announced, and you use it all as soon as it comes. It’s like a kid on Christmas but it happens right after Labor Day every year and it’s beautiful.” -Lissa

“Every year before NaNoWriMo starts, I pre-order the winners tshirt because notoriously I won’t wear it unless I win and make 50,000 words because I’m ethical, but I’m also cheap, and I don’t want to have spent the money on something I can never wear. So this causes me to succeed every year, just for the tshirt.” Marian explaining “The Marian Rakestraw challenge”

Lissa has been comfort reading including a witty new Eloisa James regencies and The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is described at goodreads.com:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again. 

And alternate description of the book at goodreads.com said simply:

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!


“I like to see an angry Englishman,” said Poirot. “They are very amusing. The more emotional they feel the less command they have of language.”
― Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Bonus Content for This Book

This book is famous enough to have been made into at least 3 movies and has more than 19,000 Goodreads ratings.

If you are listening to the audiobook, you should know THERE IS A MAP OF THE TRAIN CAR in the print book.

Also, you can easily find many online resources about the real train The Orient Express now and historically.

What cheats are allowed in detective novels?

  • We aren’t sure yet. But we enjoy discussing it. Also, spoilers.
  • Which elements are the clues?
  • What does the author gift herself?
  • What does the author gift the reader?

To further study cozy mystery novels for comparison, Marian is rereading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Whose Body? and Lissa commits to try listening to the audiobook based on a 20 year old promise to her roommate from library grad school (Hi, Patrick!).

Old Book Problems

“I’m from a hometown that has something called the “Italian Fest” and stabbing with knives has never been part of that culture that they celebrated…and I’ve never heard that Italians might stab people with knives. So I was glad that if that was going to be part of how the detectives were making their decisions that they explained the stereotypes to me.” – Lissa

“Everybody in this book is described by racial characteristics, or religious ones, or class ones.” -Marian

More Books We Discussed

Lissa’s knowledge of Agatha Christie mostly has come from repeatedly reading To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last by Connie Willis, and we both highly recommend it. Although you should read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome first.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis has a time-travel historian character we both love, although only Lissa has named a child after the main character.

Snapshot of your Character” handout that Lissa made for NaNoWrimo a few years ago to help keep track of what a character knows at a moment in time.

Marian is looking for a good beat sheet for outlining a mystery novel. She has tried Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron and the “Whydunit” section of Save the Cat.

Coming Up

Next episode: Marian is reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach and Lissa is reading Heartland by Sarah Smarsh and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. How can reading non-fiction make us better fiction writers? Would we ever consider writing non-fiction books ourselves? Listen in to find out!

You heard it hear first: Lounging around and reading a lot of books is a great way to prepare for NaNoWrimo.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

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