Sunday, 8 November 2015

Caroline vs. Murder on the Orient Express

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As I was packing up to leave Tokyo, I read a couple short novels to keep my mind occupied on commutes, etc., without having to worry about hauling around thick books on holiday.  Space matters in luggage and carry-on bags!  I picked up Murder on the Orient Express at the same time I got The Guest Cat, and it lasted me through my last few days in Tokyo and the first couple days of our holiday in the UK.  Part of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series, Murder isn't very long, but is suspenseful and exciting.  This is actually the first Agatha Christie I have ever read, so I'm looking forward to delving into more of her famous mysteries.

I loved these excerpts:
"At a small table, sitting very upright, was one of the ugliest old ladies he had ever seen. It was an ugliness of distinction - it fascinated rather than repelled. She sat very upright. Round her neck was a collar of very large pearls which, improbable though it seemed, were real. Her hands were covered with rings. Her sable coat was pushed back on her shoulders. A very small expensive black toque was hideously unbecoming to the yellow, toad-like face beneath it." p.39
"'C'est une femme,' said the chef de train again. 'Women are like that. When they are enraged they have great strength.' He nodded so sagely that everyone suspected a personal experience of his own." p.65
"'There is a large American on the train,' said M. Bouc, pursuing his idea - 'a common-looking man with terrible clothes. He chews the gum which I believe is not done in good circles.'" p.65
"'...My name is Hercule Poirot.' If he expected an effect he did not get one. MacQueen said merely, 'Oh, yes?' and waited for him to go on. 'You know the name, perhaps.' 'Why, it does seem kind of familiar - only I always thought it was a woman's dressmaker.' Hercule Poirot looked at him with distaste." p.71-72
"'Great strength was needed for these blows. They have penetrated the muscle.' 'They were, in your opinion, delivered by a man?' 'Most Certainly.' 'They could not have been delivered by a woman?' 'A young, vigorous, athletic woman might have struck them, especially if she were in the grip of a strong emotion, but it is in my opinion highly unlikely.'" p.83-84
"He went out of the compartment and returned a few moments later with a small spirit stove and a pair of curling tongs. 'I use them for the moustaches,' he said, referring to the latter." p.90
"Triumphantly she hauled a large handbag into view and proceeded to burrow in its interior. She took out in turn two large clean handkerchiefs, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, a bottle of aspirin, a packet of Glauber's salts, a celluloid tube of bright green peppermints, a bunch of keys, a pair of scissors, a book of American Express cheques, a snapshot of an extraordinarily plain-looking child, some letters, five strings of pseudo Oriental beads and a small metal object - a button." p.133
"'I am not a Yugo-Slavian detective, Madame. I am an international detective.' 'You belong to the League of Nations?' 'I belong to the world, Madame, said Poirot dramatically." p.165
"Even the loquacious Mrs Hubbard was unnaturally quiet. She murmured as she sat: 'I don't feel as though I've got the heart to eat anything,' and then partook of everything offered her..." p.287
xx, C.

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