Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

by

Agatha Christie

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Murder on the Orient Express Themes

Themes and Colors
Justice Theme Icon
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Deception and Genre Expectations Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Murder on the Orient Express, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Justice

Crime in popular imagination, including mystery novels, generally centers on individual motivations and perpetrators: one person commits a crime out of greed, jealousy, anger, or a pure streak of evil, while another seeks to unravel the clues in order to “bring the criminal to justice”—to identify and capture the criminal so he or she can be judged and punished for his or her crimes. In Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie complicates the…

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National Identity and International Connections

The Orient Express was a transcontinental railroad that knit together the countries of Europe from Istanbul, Turkey in the east to London, England in the west. As such, the passengers in Agatha Christie’s novel are drawn from various countries across Europe. In addition, all of the characters have spent time in the “melting pot” of America, where Ratchett’s original crime of murdering Daisy Armstrong took place (a crime that affected each of the passengers…

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Detective Methods and Inner Lives

Hercule Poirot is a recurring character in Agatha Christie’s mysteries, appearing in thirty-three novels and more than fifty short stories over the course of her career. Recurring detectives are a tradition in mystery stories, one which includes Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and, of course, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. These detectives are often eccentric or solitary, but despite that, they often appear dashing or imposing, even if only for their considerable intelligence. Within…

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Deception and Genre Expectations

When writing a mystery, one of the author’s main responsibilities is to confound any reader’s attempts to solve it. When Agatha Christie published Murder on the Orient Express in 1938, detective fiction had a rich tradition dating at least back to Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” published in 1841. Devoted readers were familiar with the conventions of the genre and knew the strategies authors used to throw them off the…

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