Murder on the Orient Express is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 1 January 1934 and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year under the title of Murder in the Calais Coach. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the U.S. edition at $2.00.
The U.S. title of Murder on the Train was used to avoid confusion with the 1932 Graham Greene novel Stamboul Train which had been published in the United States as Orient Express.
Hercule Poirot is traveling when he is suddenly called back to London. He travels back with a friend, a director of the Wagon Lit. Company, to Calais. During the first night of the trip, the train is forced to stop due to a snow drift that has partially obstructed the tracks. The next morning the body of one of the passengers is found, the victim having suffered multiple stab wounds. At the request of the company's director, Poirot launches an investigation into the man's death and quickly discovers that there is no shortage of suspects among the travelers.
Returning from an important case in Aleppo Syria, Hercule Poirot boards the Orient Express in Istanbul. The train is unusually crowded for the time of year. Poirot secures a berth only with the help of his friend M. Bouc, a director of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. When Mr. Harris fails to show up, Poirot takes his place. On the second night, Poirot gets a compartment to himself.
That night, near Belgrade, at about twenty-three minutes before 1:00 am, Poirot wakes to the sound of a loud noise. It seems to come from the compartment next to his, which is occupied by Mr. Samuel Edward Ratchett. When Poirot peeks out his door, he sees the conductor knock on Mr. Ratchett's door and asks if he is all right. A man replies in French "Ce n'est rien. Je me suis trompé", which means "It's nothing. I made a mistake", and the conductor moves on to answer a bell down the passage. Poirot decides to go back to bed, but he is disturbed by the fact that the train is unusually still and his mouth is dry.
As he lies awake, he hears a Mrs. Hubbard ringing the bell urgently. When Poirot then rings the conductor for a bottle of mineral water, he learns that Mrs. Hubbard claimed that someone had been in her compartment. He also learns that the train has stopped due to a snowstorm. Poirot dismisses the conductor and tries to go back to sleep, only to be awakened again by a thump on his door. This time when Poirot gets up and looks out of his compartment, the passage is completely silent, and he sees nothing except the back of a woman in a scarlet kimono retreating down the passage in the distance.
The next day he awakens to find that Ratchett is dead, having been stabbed twelve times in his sleep, M. Bouc suggesting that Poirot take the case because it is so obviously his kind of case; nothing more is required than for him to sit, think, and take in the available evidence.
However, the clues and circumstances are very mysterious. Some of the stab wounds are very deep, only three are lethal, and some are glancing blows. Furthermore, some of them appear to have been inflicted by a right-handed person and some by a left-handed person.
Poirot finds several more clues in the victim's cabin and on board the train, including a linen handkerchief embroidered with the initial "H", a pipe cleaner, and a button from a conductor's uniform. All of these clues suggest that the murderer or murderers were somewhat sloppy. However, each clue seemingly points to different suspects, which suggests that some of the clues were planted.
By reconstructing parts of a burned letter, Poirot discovers that Mr. Ratchett was a notorious fugitive from the U.S. named Cassetti. Five years earlier, Cassetti kidnapped three-year-old American heiress Daisy Armstrong. Though the Armstrong family paid a large ransom, Cassetti murdered the little girl and fled the country with the money. Daisy's mother Sonia, was pregnant when she heard of Daisy's death. The shock sent her into premature labor, and both she and the child died. Her husband, Colonel Armstrong, shot himself out of grief. Daisy's nurse-maid, Susanne, was suspected of complicity in the crime by the police, despite her protests. She threw herself out of a window and died, after which she was proved innocent. Although Casetti was caught, his resources allowed him to get himself acquitted on an unspecified technicality, although he still fled the country to escape further prosecution for the crime.
As the evidence mounts, it continues to point in wildly different directions and it appears that Poirot is being challenged by a mastermind. A critical piece of missing evidence – the scarlet kimono worn the night of the murder by an unknown woman – turns up in Poirot's own luggage
After meditating on the evidence, Poirot assembles the twelve suspects, M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine in the restaurant car. He lays out two possible explanations of Ratchett's murder.
The first explanation is that a stranger – some gangster enemy of Ratchett – boarded the train at Vinkovci, the last stop, murdered Ratchett for reasons unknown, and escaped unnoticed. The crime occurred an hour earlier than everyone thought because the victim and several others failed to note that the train had just crossed into a different time zone. The other noises heard by Poirot on the coach that evening were unrelated to the murder. However, Dr. Constantine says that Poirot must surely be aware that this does not fully explain the circumstances of the case.
Poirot's second explanation is rather more sensational: All of the suspects are guilty. Poirot's suspicions were first piqued by the fact that all the passengers on the train were of so many different nationalities and social classes, and that only in the "melting pot" of the States would a group of such different people form some connection with each other.
Poirot reveals that the twelve other passengers on the train were all connected to the Armstrong family in some way:
- Hector McQueen, Ratchett/Cassetti's secretary, was an aspiring actor who became boyishly devoted to Sonia Armstrong, having seen her during the original trial against Cassetti where his father served as the Armstrongs' lawyer;
- Edward Henry Masterman, Ratchett/Cassetti's valet, was Colonel Armstrong's batman during the war and later his valet;
- Colonel John Arbuthnot was Colonel Armstrong's comrade and best friend;
- Mrs. Caroline Martha Hubbard in actuality is Linda Arden (née Goldenberg), the most famous tragic actress of the New York stage, and was Sonia Armstrong's mother and Daisy's grandmother;
- Countess Elena Andrenyi (née Helena Goldenberg) was Sonia Armstrong's sister;
- Princess Natalia Dragomiroff was Sonia Armstrong's godmother as she was a friend of her mother;
- Miss Mary Debenham was Sonia Armstrong's secretary and Daisy Armstrong's governess;
- Fräulein Hildegarde Schmidt, Princess Dragomiroff's maid, was the Armstrong family's cook;
- Antonio Foscarelli, a car salesman based in Chicago, was the Armstrong family's chauffeur;
- Miss Greta Ohlsson, a Swedish missionary, was Daisy Armstrong's nurse;
- Pierre Michel, the train conductor, was the brother of Susanne, the nurse-maid who committed suicide;
- Cyrus Hardman, a private detective ostensibly retained as a bodyguard by Ratchett/Cassetti, was a policeman in love with Susanne;
All these friends and relations had been gravely affected by Daisy's murder and outraged by Cassetti's subsequent escape. They took it into their own hands to serve as Cassetti's executioners, to avenge a crime the law was unable to punish.
Each of the suspects stabbed Ratchett once so that no one could know who delivered the fatal blow. Twelve of the conspirators participated to allow for a "twelve-person jury", with Count Andrenyi acting for his wife, as she – Daisy's aunt – would have been the most likely suspect. One extra berth was booked under a fictitious name – Harris – so that no one but the conspirators and the victim would be on board the coach, and this fictitious person would subsequently disappear and become the primary suspect in Ratchett's murder. (The only person not involved in the plot would be M. Bouc, for whom the cabin next to Ratchett was already reserved.)
The unexpected stoppage in the snowbank and Poirot's unexpected presence in Bouc's cabin caused complications to the conspirators that resulted in several crucial clues being left behind.
Poirot summarizes that there was no other way the murder could have taken place, given the evidence. Several of the suspects have broken down in tears as he has revealed their connection to the Armstrong family, and Mrs. Hubbard/Linda Arden confesses that the second theory is correct and that Col. Arbuthnot and Mary Debenham are in love. She then appeals to Poirot, M. Bouc, and Dr. Constantine, not to turn them into the police. Fully in sympathy with the Armstrong family, and feeling nothing but disgust for the victim, Cassetti, Bouc pronounces the first explanation as correct, and Poirot and Dr. Constantine agree, Dr. Constantine suggesting that he will edit his original report of Casetti's body to comply with Poirot's first deduction as he now 'recognizes' some mistakes he has made.
His task completed, Poirot states he has "the honor to retire from the case."
- Samuel Edward Ratchett/Lanfranco Cassetti, an unsavory-looking man with a dark secret.
- Hector Willard MacQueen, a tall, handsome, young American, the victim's secretary, and translator.
- Edward Henry Masterman, the victim's British valet.
- Pierre-Paul Michel, the French conductor of the Calais coach.
- Mary Hermione Debenham, a tall, dark, young British woman, working as a governess in Baghdad.
- Colonel John Arbuthnot, a tall British army officer returning from India.
- Princess Natalia Dragomiroff, an imperious, elderly Russian noblewoman and grande dame.
- Fraulein Hildegarde Schmidt, a middle-aged German woman, Princess Dragomiroff's maid.
- Count Rudolph Andrenyi, a tall, dark Hungarian diplomat with English manner and clothing, traveling to France.
- Countess Helena Andrenyi, the Count's pale young wife.
- Greta Ohlsson, a middle-aged blonde Swedish missionary returning home for a vacation who cannot speak much English.
- Mrs. Caroline Martha Hubbard/Linda Arden, a plump, elderly, very excitable American returning from a visit to her daughter, a teacher in Baghdad.
- Antonio Foscarelli, a swarthy and exuberant Italian-American businessman from Chicago.
- Cyrus Bethman Hardman, a private investigator from New York City.
Arrangement of the Calais Coach:
|Athens-Paris Coach||Michel||16. Hardman||15. Arbuthnot||14. Dragomiroff||13. R. Andrenyi||12. E. Andrenyi||3. Hubbard||2. Ratchett||1. Poirot||10. Ohlsson
First-class compartment (1 person) Second-class compartment (2 people) Compartment where murder occurred (first class)
Literary significance and receptionEdit
The Times Literary Supplement of January 11, 1934, outlined the plot and concluded that "The little grey cells solve once more the seemingly insoluble. Mrs. Christie makes an improbable tale very real, and keeps her readers enthralled and guessing to the end."
In The New York Times Book Review of March 4, 1934, Isaac Anderson finished by saying, "The great Belgian detective's guesses are more than shrewd; they are positively miraculous. Although both the murder plot and the solution verge upon the impossible, Agatha Christie has contrived to make them appear quite convincing for the time being, and what more than that can a mystery addict desire?"
The reviewer in The Guardian of January 12, 1934, stated that the murder would have been “perfect” had Poirot not been on the train and also overheard a conversation between Miss Devonham and Colonel Arbuthnot before he boarded, however, "'The little grey cells' worked admirably, and the solution surprised their owner as much as it may well surprise the reader, for the secret is well kept and the manner of the telling is in Mrs. Christie’s usual admirable manner.”
Robert Barnard: "The best of the railway stories. The Orient Express snowed up in Yugoslavia, provides the ideal 'closed' set-up for a classic-style exercise in detection, as well as an excuse for an international cast-list. Contains my favourite line in all Christie: 'Poor creature, she's a Swede.' Impeccably clued, with a clever use of the Cyrillic script (cf. The Double Clue). The solution raised the ire of Raymond Chandler, but won't bother anyone who doesn't insist his detective fiction mirror real-life crime." The reference is to Chandler's criticism of Christie in his essay The Simple Art of Murder.
References and allusionsEdit
References to actual history, geography, and current scienceEdit
The Armstrong kidnapping case was based on the actual kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's son in 1932, just before the book was written. A maid employed by Mrs. Lindbergh's parents was suspected of involvement in the crime, and after being harshly interrogated by police, committed suicide.
Another less-remembered, real-life event also helped inspire the novel. Agatha Christie first traveled on the Orient Express in the autumn of 1928. Just a few months later, in February 1929, an Orient Express train was trapped by a blizzard near Cherkeskoy, Turkey, remaining marooned for six days.
Christie herself was involved in a similar incident in December 1931 while returning from a visit to her husband's archaeological dig at Nineveh. The Orient Express train she was on was stuck for twenty-four hours, due to rainfall, flooding and sections of the track being washed away. Her authorized biography quotes in full a letter to her husband detailing the event. The letter includes descriptions of some passengers on the train, who influenced the plot and characters of the book: in particular an American lady, Mrs. Hilton, who was the inspiration for Mrs. Hubbard.
References in other worksEdit
- The episode "It's Never Too Late for Now" of the NBC television series 30 Rock is a parody of Murder on the Orient Express.
- In paleontology, the theory that multiple factors led to the Permian-Triassic extinction event, the largest mass extinction in Earth history, is called the "Murder on the Orient Express Model." The term was first used by Douglas Erwin in 1993.
- In Muppets Tonight, episode 108, guest star Jason Alexander played Hercule Poirot in a sketch spoofing this novel. The sketch is called "Murder on the Disoriented Express" and features Kermit the Frog as the conductor and Mr. Poodlepants as the victim. Other muppets, including Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Bobo the Bear, also appear and confuse Poirot with Hercules and then Superman.
- Murder on the Orient Express was parodied on an episode of SCTV, in which the story has been turned into a b-movie by William Castle, titled Death Takes No Holiday. John Candy plays Poirot while Andrea Martin plays Agatha Christie. In the penultimate moment, when Poirot grills the suspect-passengers (floating the theory that perhaps the train itself is the murderer), the film cuts to William Castle, played by Dave Thomas, who tells the audience that he will let them choose who the murderer is.
- In Sex And The City Season 5 Episode 07 The Big Journey, Carrie and Samantha take a trip from New York to San Francisco in a Cross-state train, Carrie booked a first class deluxe suit in the train and when they arrive they are surprised to see how small it is, Samantha then says "I'm starting to understand why there was a murder on the orient express."
- Two episodes of the television series Monk reflect Poirot's solutions to Murder on the Orient Express:
- In Spoiler Alert MC Frontalot refers to the oriental train.
- After solving the case in Palestine but before boarding Orient express, Poirot decided to travel to Iraq. While there, he was asked to solve a murder case that is described in Christie's 1936 novel "Murder in Mesopotamia"
- In a 2008 episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, entitled "The Unicorn and the Wasp", the eponymous Doctor meets Agatha Christie in 1926, whilst she is staying at a country house, where a murder takes place and the Doctor's partner, Donna Noble (who also references other books written by Christie, giving her continual inspiration throughout the episode), suggests that everyone present is responsible for the murder, referring to Murder on the Orient Express. However, as these events take place before Murder on the Orient Express was written, it is clear, as Agatha Christie overhears her, that the suggestion served as inspiration for Murder on the Orient Express.
- Randall Garrett's fictional detective Lord Darcy is forced to solve a murder aboard a train in "The Napoli Express" (first published in "Lord Darcy Investigates" in 1983) in an alternate-history poke at the original Christie tale.
- In "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" episode 50 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Pinkie Pie takes on responsibility for taking care of the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness, a cake made by Mr. and Mrs. Cake that is supposed to arrive at a contest for best desserts. After someone takes a bite out of the cake while Pinkie is asleep on the train she, her friends, and three other bakers are in, it is up to her and her sidekick Twilight Sparkle to find out who did it.
- In the episode "Murder on the Halloween Express" of the T.V. series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina takes her mortal friends on a Halloween mystery train in the hopes of instilling some Halloween spirit in them, not knowing that the train was, in fact, an Other Realm Express. Sabrina's friends then transform into different characters in a murder case and Sabrina herself is left with investigating and solving the mystery...or else they will never be able to leave the train.
- The train detectives Sam and Max visited in the second episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse is (humorously) called the "Disorient Express".
- The July 29, 2016 installment of the "Dick Tracy" comic strip depicts Tracy and his wife Tess riding on the Orient Express. It is indicated that in the fictional world of "Dick Tracy", Poirot was a real person (as were Sherlock Holmes and C. Auguste Dupin).
John Moffatt starred as Poirot in a five-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation by Michael Bakewell directed by Enyd Williams, with Andre Maranne as M. Bouc, Joss Ackland as Ratchett, Sylvia Syms as Mrs. Hubbard, Siân Phillips as Princess Dragomiroff, Francesca Annis as Mary Debenham and Peter Polycarpou as Dr. Constantine.
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)Edit
- Main article: Murder on the Orient Express (1974 film)
The book was made into a 1974 movie, which is considered one of the most successful cinematic adaptations of Christie's work ever. The film starred Albert Finney as Poirot, Martin Balsam as M. Bianchi, Richard Widmark as Ratchett and an all-star cast of suspects including Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, John Gielgud, Michael York, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jacqueline Bisset, Dame Wendy Hiller, Vanessa Redgrave, Colin Blakely and Ingrid Bergman (who won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Greta Ohlsson). Only minor changes were made for the film: Masterman was renamed Beddoes, the dead maid was named Paulette instead of Susanne, Arbuthnot became Arbuthnott, and M. Bouc became M. Bianchi.
Murder on the Orient Express (2001)Edit
- Main article: Murder on the Orient Express (2001 film)
The novel was made into a made-for-television film which was first aired in 2001 with Alfred Molina as Poirot. This adaptation changes the setting to modern day, and also omits many characters from the novel, making the number of suspects significantly shorter. A love interest for Poirot is also introduced.
Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (2010)Edit
The original air date was July 11, 2010 in the United States, and it was aired
Part of the filming included Malta standing in for Istanbul. Philip Martin directs this installment, with the screenplay being written by Stewart Harcourt (who also wrote the screenplay for The Clocks).
Loosely faithful to the original story, it has a number of major differences, such as the character of Cyrus Hardman being omitted from the story, with Doctor Constantine (who is changed from a Greek doctor to Mrs. Armstrong's American obstetrician) taking his place among the "jury", and Antonio Foscarelli being the lover of the maid (whose name is changed from Susanne to Françoise) as well as being the chauffeur. Most notably, instead of each member of the 'Jury' coming to Cassetti's room during the night and stabbing him one at a time, where they line up and stab him one after the other, resulting in him dying from the sheer quantity of wounds sustained rather than leaving any ambiguity about which one of the jury struck the fatal blow.
Following a trend of religious elements introduced to the series after 2003, the script includes extended religious and moral dialogues. Other deviations from the novel include scenes of the stoning of an adulteress on the streets of Istanbul, and Mary Debenham having a useless right arm as a result of injuries sustained while trying to stop Daisy Armstrong's kidnapping and being the organizer of the plan, whereas in the novel it was Caroline Hubbard/Linda Arden.
The adaptation is unusual in that the narrative begins with Poirot in the midst of solving his recent case in Palestine (referring back to the case mentioned in the book).
Helena, Countess Andrenyi's real maiden name, along with that of their mother's name, is changed from Goldenberg to Wasserstein, German for "water stone" then anglicized to Waterston. In the 1974 movie directed by Sidney Lumet, it had been Grünwald, German for "Greenwood". This movie version has Princess Dragomiroff volunteering to be turned in, while in the book it is Linda Arden who asks Poirot to turn her in, if anyone at all, as the lone assassin.
The adaptation concludes with an emphasis on Poirot's moral dilemma. Arbuthnot is tempted to murder Poirot and Bouc after the truth is revealed, but is convinced by the other murderers that doing so would make him as bad as Cassetti. This, Poirot's attitude towards the Istanbul stoning, and a conversation with Mary Debenham lead to Poirot presenting the police with the false account of a lone assassin. The murderers are clearly relieved by this, but Poirot continues to struggle with his decision as he walks away from the train.
A notable anachronism in this version is a reference by Mr. Bouc to "the famous battleship Bismarck", built several years after the events in the novel.
On November 21, 2006, The Adventure Company released a PC adaptation of the book. The game starred David Suchet as the voice of Hercule Poirot and had the players play the role of a blonde French (English educated) woman named Antoinette Marceau working for the train company on behalf of M. Bouc (who does not appear in the game). To create an original mystery for people who had already read the book, additional content was created resulting in a "third solution" expanding on the first two that Poirot proposes in the novel.
An activity called Murder on the Orient Express appears in Microsoft Train Simulator and follows a similar plot line to the book.
Graphic novel adaptationEdit
Murder on the Orient Express was released by HarperCollins as a graphic novel adaptation on July 16, 2007, adapted by François Rivière and illustrated by Solidor (Jean-François Miniac) (ISBN 0-00-724658-7). This was translated from the edition first published in France by Emmanuel Proust éditions in 2003 under the title of Le Crime de L'Orient-Express.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Edit
- Main article: Murder on the Orient Express (2017 film)
In 2017, a second feature film adaptation of the novel was released by 20th Century Fox. Kenneth Branagh both directed the film and starred as Poirot. The supporting cast included Penélope Cruz as Pilar Estravados (the Greta Ohlsson equivalent), Willem Dafoe as Gerhard Hardman (the Cyrus Hardman equivalent), Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Johnny Depp as Ratchett/Cassetti, Derek Jacobi as Masterman, Josh Gad as Hector Macqueen, Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard, Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham and Olivia Colman as Hildegarde Schmidt, with Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr. Arbuthnot (a composite character of Colonel Arbuthnot and Dr. Constantine), Tom Bateman as Bouc, Lucy Boynton as Countess Andrenyi, Marwan Kenzari as Michel, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Biniamino Marquez (the Antonio Foscarelli equivalent) and Sergei Polunin as Count Andrenyi.
- 1934, Collins Crime Club (London), January 1, 1934, Hardcover, 256 pp
- 1934, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), 1934, Hardcover, 302 pp
- c.1934, Lawrence E. Spivak, Abridged edition, 126 pp
- 1940, Pocket Books (New York), Paperback, (Pocket number 79), 246 pp
- 1948, Penguin Books, Paperback, (Penguin number 689), 222 pp
- 1959, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 192 pp
- 1965, Ulverscroft Large-print Edition, Hardcover, 253 pp ISBN 0-7089-0188-3
- 1968, Greenway edition of collected works (William Collins), Hardcover, 254 pp
- 1968, Greenway edition of collected works (Dodd Mead), Hardcover, 254 pp
- 1978, Pocket Books (New York), Paperback
- 2006, Poirot Facsimile Edition (Facsimile of 1934 UK first edition), September 4, 2006, Hardcover, 256 pp ISBN 0-00-723440-6
The story's first true publication was the US serialization in six installments in the Saturday Evening Post from September 30 to November 4, 1933 (Volume 206, Numbers 14 to 19). The title was Murder in the Calais Coach, and it was illustrated by William C. Hoople.
The UK serialization appeared after book publication. The story appeared in three installments in the Grand Magazine, in March, April, and May 1934 (Issues 349 to 351). This version was abridged from the book version (losing some 25% of the text), was without chapter divisions, and named the Russian princess as Dragiloff instead of Dragomiroff.
Advertisements in the back pages of the UK first editions of The Listerdale Mystery, Why Didn't They Ask Evans and Parker Pyne Investigates claimed that Murder on the Orient Express had proven to be Christie’s best-selling book to date and the best-selling book published in the Collins Crime Club series.
The dedication of the book reads:
"To M.E.L.M. Arpachiyah, 1933"
"M.E.L.M." is Christie's second husband, archaeologist Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan (1904–78). She dedicated four books to him, either singly or jointly, the others being The Sittaford Mystery (1931), Come Tell Me How You Live (1946), and Christie's final written work, Postern of Fate (1973).
Christie and Mallowan were married after a short engagement on September 11, 1930, followed by a honeymoon in Italy. After his final seasons working on someone else's dig (Reginald Campbell Thompson – see the dedication to Lord Edgware Dies), Max raised the funds to lead an expedition of his own. With sponsorship from the Trustees of the British Museum and the British School of Archeology in Iraq, he set off in 1933 for a mound at Arpachiyah, north-west of Nineveh where "after several anxious weeks... considerable quantities of beautifully decorated pottery and figures came to the surface." A notable feature of this season is that for the first time, Christie, the rank amateur, assisted the professionals in their work. She was responsible for keeping written records and proved highly adept at cleaning and re-assembling pottery fragments. As at Nineveh, she also found the time to continue writing, with this book, Why Didn't They Ask Evans, and Unfinished Portrait being drafted at the dig (although a claim has been made that Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul – see External Links below). Despite this success, after 1933, Mallowan discontinued work in Iraq due to the worsening political situation and moved on to Syria.
The blurb on the inside flap of the dust jacket of the first edition (which is also repeated opposite the title page) reads:
"The famous Orient Express, thundering along on its three-days' journey across Europe, came to a sudden stop in the night. Snowdrifts blocked the line at a desolate spot somewhere in the Balkans. Everything was deathly quiet. 'Decidedly I suffer from the nerves,' murmured Hercule Poirot, and fell asleep again. He awoke to find himself very much wanted. For in the night murder had been committed. Mr. Ratchett, an American millionaire, was found lying dead in his berth – stabbed. The untrodden snow around the train proved that the murderer was still on board. Poirot investigates. He lies back and thinks – with his little grey cells...
Murder on the Orient Express must rank as one of the most ingenious stories ever devised. The solution is brilliant. One can but admire the amazing resource of Agatha Christie."
Murder On The Orient Express is thrilling. Enthralling, and the best book I have ever read
- Arabic: جريمة في قطار الشرق السريع (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Bulgarian: Убийство в Ориент Eкспрес (=Ubiystvo v Orient Express, Murder on the Orient Express)
- Chinese: 東方快車謀殺案 (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Croatian: Ubojstvo u Orijent Ekspresu (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Czech: Vražda v Orient-expresu (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Danish: Mordet i Orientekspressen (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Dutch: Moord op de Oriënt-Expres (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Estonian: Mõrv Idaekspressis (Murder on the Orient Express) or Kes tappis ameeriklase? (Who Killed the American?)
- Finnish: Idän pikajunan arvoitus (Mystery of the Orient Express)
- French: Le Crime de l'Orient-Express (The Crime of the Orient Express)
- German: Mord im Orient-Express (Murder on the Orient Express) (since 1974 (movie)), changed 1951: Der rote Kimono (The Red Kimono), first edition in 1934: Die Frau im Kimono (The Woman in a Kimono)
- Greek: Έγκλημα Στο Εξπρές Οριάν (Murder on the Orient Express)
- hebrew: "רצח באוריינט אקספרס" (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Hungarian: A behavazott express (The Express Stuck in Snow), Gyilkosság az Orient expresszen (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Icelandic: Morðið í austurlandahraðlestinni (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Indonesian: "Pembunuhan di Orient Express" (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Italian: Assassinio sull'Orient Express (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Japanese: オリエント急行の殺人 (=Oriento kyūkō no satsujin, Murder on the Orient Express)
- Korean: 오리엔트 특급 살인 (=Olienteu teuggeub sal-in, Murder on the Orient Express)
- Macedonian: Убиство во Ориент Експрес (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Malti: Qtil fuq l-Orient Express (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Norwegian: Mord på Orientekspressen (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Polish: Morderstwo w Orient Expresie (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Portuguese (Brazilian): Assassinato no Expresso do Oriente (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Portuguese (European): Um Crime no Expresso Oriente (A Crime on the Orient Express)
- Romanian: Crima din Orient Express (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Russian: Убийство в «Восточном экспрессе» (=Ubiystvo v «Vostochnom ekspresse», Murder on the Orient Express)
- Spanish: Asesinato en el Orient Express (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Slovak: Vražda v Orient exprese (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Slovenian: Umor v Orient Ekspresu (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Serbian: Ubistvo u Orijent Ekspresu (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Swedish: Mordet på Orient Expressen (Murder on the Orient Express)
- Turkish: Doğu Ekspresinde Cinayet (Murder on the Orient Express)