This week’s musing asks:
Do you have a favorite series? Do you have a favorite book out of that series?
My all-time favorite is the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie. According to this page, Hercule Poirot appears in 41 works. Her most famous and well-received book is probably Murder on the Orient Express, which is a classic full of mysterious and contradicting clues and circumstances. Returning from an important case in Palestine, Hercule Poirot boards the Orient Express in Istanbul. The train is unusually crowded for the time of year (a clue that is often overlooked). Poirot secures a berth only with the help of his friend M. Bouc. That night, near Belgrade, at about twenty-three minutes before 1:00 am, Poirot wakes to the sound of a loud noise—somewhat like a wail. It seems to come from the compartment next to his, which is occupied by Mr. Ratchett, a sinister man who is suspicious of his personal safety. When Poirot peeks out his door, he sees the conductor knock on Mr. Ratchett’s door and ask if he is all right. A male voice 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 Poirot lies awake, he hears a Mrs. Hubbard ringing the bell urgently. When he 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 wakened 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. Some of the stab wounds are very deep, only three are lethal, and some are glancing blows. The evidence points to more than one killer.
Equally intrigues me is And Then There Was None, the creepiest of any Christie book I have read thus far. Although readers know the outcome of the story by way of the title, there is something very creepy about this book. Ten people dead on an island and not a living soul on it. The person who picked up the guests also perished. A curious assortment of strangers answers a suitable bait of a letter, respectively, and is summoned as weekend guest to a private island. These people would never have crossed paths were it not for U.N. Owen’s invitation: a doctor, a governess, a soldier of fortune, a carefree playboy, an ex-cop, a judge, a retired general and a married couple who are to be servants in a luxurious house that is well stocked with amenities.