Murder on the Orient Express Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Murder on the Orient Express

Hercule Poirot is a private detective. He is summoned to London to solve a case and boards the Orient Express, securing a first class compartment, through his friend M. Bouc. Once aboard the train a passenger, who is traveling under the name of Rachett, asks him to make sure he survives through a possible attempt to end his life. Mr. Poirot refuses and soon after Rachett is murdered. While the train is stuck in a snow bank, M. Bouc asks Poirot to take on the case and find the murder.
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When Poirot takes on the case he finds incriminating clues such as a pipe cleaner and a button from a Wagon Lit conductor uniform. These two make it seem as if Colonel Arbuthnot and Pierre Michel both took part in the murder. The description of the murder by the Greek doctor, Dr. Constantine, showed that Rachett had been stabbed repeatedly to a total of twelve times all with varying amount strength. Due to further investigation of the room Hercule Poriot finds a burnt piece of paper linking this murder to a crime, which had happened years ago in America. It was the Armstrong case, where a man named Cassetti had kidnapped and killed a baby leading to a string of deaths, including the baby's mother, father, and nursery maid.

Hercule Poriot questions all the people on the train and finds that the murder went into Rachett's room and killed the drugged man and snuck out through Mrs. Hubbards room and awakened her. Then he or she snuck into their room before the Matron was able to call for the Wagon Lit, Pierre Michel. Then he begins to notice certain factors relating the set of passengers to the people who took part in the Armstrong case. He suspicions are most aroused when Princess Dragomiroff claimed to be Sonia Armstrong's godmother and the close friend of Linda Arden. Despite the fact that some of his information is false because of the loyalties on the train, Poirot makes a valiant attempt to solve the mystery before the snow melts and it is left to the idiotic police.

This book is a very good read. It is interesting and descriptive with a lot of interesting dialogue. There is great characterization of the stereotypes of each nationality. It is a fun, easy but exciting and shows the real intelligence, which is needed to solve these cases.

The review of this Book prepared by Liz

Hercule Poirot, the brilliant, French detective, is enjoying a leisurely ride back to France from Syria, when an intense and ferocious looking man, Ratchett, confronts Poirot with a case. Rachett has reason to believe that someone is trying to kill him, and for a large sum of money, $20,000 to be exact, Ratchett tries to hire Poirot to prevent the murder. Poirot declines this case, and a few hours later, Ratchett is found dead in his compartment. The same night as Ratchett's murder, the train is forced to stop in the middle of Jugo-Slavia, due to an severe snow storm. Poirot's friend, M. Bouc, who is also the director of the train, asks Poirot to solve the mystery of the murder before the Jugo-Slavian police arrive.

Poirot, M. Bouc, and a doctor, Dr. Constantine, work together to solve the mystery, by individually interviewing each of the 13 main suspects: Pierre Michel, Mary Debenham, Colonel Arbuthnot, Hector MacQueen, Antonio Foscarelli, Edward Henry Masterman, Cyrus Hardman, Princess Dragomiroff, Mrs. Hubbard, Hildegarde Schmidt, Count Andrenyi, and his wife, Countess Andrenyi. However, this is no simple case. All of the suspects have alibis that can be backed by at least one other suspect.

The murder case becomes even more complicated with the discovery that the victim was stabbed twelve times, with blows of many different strengths. Also, it appears that some blows were given by a left hand, and others were given by a right hand. A bloody knife is soon found in one of the passenger's bags.

Furthermore, Poirot discovers a handkerchief embroidered with a letter H, a pocket watch, stabbed and broken, that reads a quarter past one, and a pipe cleaner all at the scene of the crime. Also, a burnt note connecting the murder with the Armstrong case, a kidnapping, is found on the dead man's night stand. Poirot also finds a revolver under Rathcett's pillow, an open window, and a empty glass that had contained a drugged drink. Additionally, multiple witnesses claim to have seen a conductor that is no longer on the train, and a woman in a scarlet kimono, who is unrecognizable, on the night of Ratchett's murder. Hercule Poirot is put to the test of unwinding this maze of clues and deception to solve the mystery of the murder of M. Ratchett.

"Murder on the Orient Express" is filled with intriguing characters, shady happenings, and questionable alibi's. All of this leads up to a superior ending, made possible by the brilliant detective, Hercule Poirot.
The review of this Book prepared by Ilana Beller

Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective, is traveling from Syria to Paris. He finds one empty room on the unusually full Calais Coach for this time of year. People from all over the world are present in this crowded car and it is a diverse environment. An impromptu stop during the night due to a snowdrift halts the journey. In the morning an American is found dead and it is Monsieur Poirot's job to find out who on the Calais Coach carried out this murder. Will he be able to solve the crime before the next stop, before the police become involved?
The review of this Book prepared by Andrew Fouratt

The Orient Express is unusually crowed for winter. People from several different countries are traveling on the same train. A snowdrift stalls the train and a murder occurs. Only one or more of the passengers in the Calais coach could've done it. Undoubtedly, this difficult case will test the little-grey cells of Hercule Poirot to the limit. Can he solve the case before the police arrive?
The review of this Book prepared by Danielle

Hercule Poirot is on the Orient Express in a full car. The train stops due to a snow drift and a man is found dead in his cabin. Hercule must decide who killed the man before they all get off of the train. Several clues are left behind all pointing to different people, so Hercule must interview all passengers, including the crew.
The review of this Book prepared by Deanna Victor

A train is snowbound ond a murder is committed. It has to be someone on the train. Hercule Poirot solves another baffling crime.
The review of this Book prepared by Kate R

Chapter Analysis of Murder on the Orient Express

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 56.7%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 23.3%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   90% Special suspect?    -   relative Murder of certain profession?    -   businessmen Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   "All in the family" murder Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   40's-50's


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Eastern Europe Misc setting    -   moving train

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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