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Hercule Poirot Mysteries #10
Goodreads⎮Reviewed Nov. 2017
Narrator: Kenneth Branagh
Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
Publisher: Harper Audio⎮2017
Synopsis: A new recording of the most widely read mystery of all time, performed by Kenneth Branagh.
Now a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox, releasing November 10, 2017 and directed by Kenneth Branagh.
“The murderer is with us – on the train now….”
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ ‘Tis the season of the family gatherings and my family has a semi-consistent tradition of seeing a movie together at some point during the holiday season. After seeing a trailer for the recent silver screen adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express, starring Kenneth Branagh as Agatha Christie’s famed protagonist Hercule Poirot, I knew I had to see it. In anticipation, I decided it was best to hear the audiobook first.
Murder On The Orient Express is a story that has been recorded on audiobook several times. I was tempted to listen to the Dan Stevens narrated version (aka Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey), when I realized that there was a movie tie in addition narrated by Hercule Poirot himself, my mind was made up.
This was my first Agatha Christie novel, but it was her tenth installment in the Hercule Poirot Mysteries series. I’m delighted to be able to say that it didn’t stop me from being able to fully enjoy Murder On The Orient Express. At some point, I do plan to go back and start the series at the beginning. I want to know more about Hercule as a main character, even though I’m given to understand that each installment in the series is able to be enjoyed on its own.
At just over six hours, Murder On The Orient Express was the perfect length for this story. If shorter, the mystery may have felt rushed and been difficult to comprehend. However, if it had been much longer, I may have lost interest. The pacing was on target with the level of intensity and the mystery was appropriately challenging. It’s not something I think I could have figured out on my own. This is a well known title that has been around for sometime, so it’s conclusion may be common knowledge to some. Beware of the internet spoilers.
Agatha Christie showed a great amount of ingenuity and originality with its conclusion. I was highly impressed with her storytelling ability. Murder On The Orient Express was originally published in 1934. Aside from the outdated stereotypes (i.e. hysterical women, hot-headed Italians), the story could have passed as having been written rather recently. I enjoyed fitting the faces of the movie cast to the character voices I was hearing.
Narration review: Kenneth Branagh was the reason I chose this particular audiobook version and he did not disappoint. Branagh’s stellar performance was most definitely award-worthy. He seamlessly slipped in and out of the dozen primary characters, giving each one everything he had. His varied accents left me awestruck. In fact, I’m curious to know about his natural accent, because I honestly couldn’t pick it out of the bunch. His vocal performance has left me even more eager to see him take on the role of Monsieur Poirot on-screen. ♣︎
$ Available at Audiobooks.com and Audible/Amazon