The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (1928)

On board the Blue Train, newly minted heiress Katherine Grey is bound for Nice, and a life far removed from that of the quiet lady’s companion she has been. En route, she becomes the unintended confident of American heiress Ruth Kettering. Ruth has left her husband, and is on her way to meet a former lover, carrying with her a ruby known as the Heart of Fire. Before the Blue Train reaches Nice, Ruth Kettering will be dead and the Heart of Fire gone. Katherine finds herself drawn into a real-life “Roman Policier” by “a small man, distinctly foreign in appearance, with a rigidly waxed moustache and an egg-shaped head which he carried rather to the side.” For he is none other than Hercule Poirot, and it is his promise that they will investigate the crime together.

As a new convert to Hercule Poirot I have little to rate this against, but I did find it to be a delight. There are quite a number of intriguing characters, and Christie gives us very good characterizations of all, providing rich backgrounds and in depth personalities. There are a few standouts though. Of course there is Poirot, the great detective. An observer who quietly gathers information and stores it for the future…like the squirrel with the nut. Katherine Grey is a quiet, intelligent listener who makes a fine counterpart to Poirot. But I was particularly drawn to the relatively small character of Lenox Tamplin, I think because of, what becomes in the end, a very sympathetic portrayal of her.

A daughter such as Lenox was a sad thorn in Lady Tamplin’s side, a girl with no kind of tact, who actually looked older than her age, and whose perculiar sardonic form of humour was, to say the least, uncomfortable.” 

The story was well plotted and moves at a rapid pace. There are several side plots, but they all enhance the story, never bogging it down. I did spot the culprit as soon as they stepped on the page. It’s nothing they said or did, I just knew. But because this is a more involved mystery, and Christie’s diversions are well placed, while I identified some of the solution, I missed enough clues to keep me fooled. 

A very enjoyable read and yet more proof that I was a fool all these years to pass by Hercule.  

My Judgment – 4.25/5

BTW once I finished the book I decided to watch the movie done a part of the Poirot series. While it was very entertaining, other than the character names and the fact that a murder/robbery takes place on the Blue Train, it bore little if any resemblance to the book. Very disappointing in that sense (the movie that is).

Prior Rulings – Bev @ My Reader’s Block, The Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Murder Mystery, José @ A Crime is Afoot

Murder Mystery Bingo – Clues and Clichés: Monogram, Red Herrings: Former lover, Listening at keyhole

7 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (1928)

    1. This was her least favorite. I think maybe that’s why I wanted to read it. This was the book she was writing at the time if her disappearance. As she probably associated it with one of the worst periods in her life, she could have just thrown it away. But she didn’t, and after reading it I’m very glad she muddled through. It’s not perfect, but it is very good.

  1. As a new convert to Hercule Poirot I have little to rate this against, but I did find it to be a delight

    I felt the same when I read it, er, more than a few years ago — it might have been my second or third Poirot novel, and I was pretty surprised when I found out later that Christie disliked it so much (this is worse than Destination Unknown?!?). I couldn’t tell you a thing about it now, but I had a lovely time with it in my Christie nonage.

    yet more proof that I was a fool all these years to pass by Hercule.

    The important thing is, you’re here now. And look at all the wonderful books you have ahead of you!

    1. I’m very much out of my “nonage” and have no real excuse for never reading it😳. But for a book written during, what was arguably, the worst point in Christie’s life, it ain’t half bad.

      And how does Destination Unknown rate…on your Postern of Fate scale🤣🤣?

      1. Postern of Fate is at least from the dire end of Christie’s output, so gets a pass on those grounds, and not without charm from the elderly Beresfords. Destination Unknown is a great murder mystery…dealt with in four paragraphs at the end of 300 pages of weird Communist conspiracies and a disguise tactic that, were it by any less successful author, is insulting enough to ensure the book was never reprinted.

        It’s an odd, odd book, it really is. Not one I’m desperate to reread…!

      2. I can’t say that Postern was a favorite, but I didn’t think it was horrible either. Plus I have a soft spot for TnT (The Secret Adversary was my first Christie).

        I’m now in no hurry to read Destination Unknown either 😁

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