Publisher: Dodd, Mead, & Co, 1938
My Rating: A-
A lovely cruise down the Nile River is the perfect trip for honeymooners unless the wife’s former best friend, who is also the husband’s ex-fiance, is also on board, determined to spoil the fun. The honeymoon is definitely over when the wife, also one of the richest women in England, is murdered.
In addition to those three, there are about 15 other passengers on board. Each one has something of interest to offer to the story. Fortunately, two of the passengers are well known for the detective work: Colonel Race and Hercule Poirot. Together they begin a thorough and orderly investigation of all the facts. As they proceed they are thrown a few surprises and additional challenges.
This is now my 29th book in my goal of reading all of Agatha Christie’s 87 novels. I’m reading them in order, as she wrote them. Within the last four or five books I’ve begun to see the value of reading them this way. By now the author is confident in her writing abilities and in the public’s acceptance of her books. It shows.
As I read this one, my overwhelming thought was that Agatha Christie must have had so much fun writing this book. The fun just came through loud and clear. In the beginning she took her time setting up all the characters and laying out the plot. The murder doesn’t occur until almost the mid-point of the book.
Here are some of the other things I really liked about Death On the Nile:
- Each one of the characters on board the ship were interesting. I always the feeling that each one was possibly more than what they appeared on the surface. That added to the mystery.
- Ms. Christie did an excellent job of describing the people on board. She seemed to take more care with the details.
- Hercule Poirot was much more lighthearted in this story. He actually made little jokes about himself. I was glad the other “official” along on this trip was Colonel Race. I always imagine him as the classically handsome man-of-the-world who always knows the right thing to do. He’s a great partner for Poirot.
- I liked the romances allowed among a few of the characters.
I only have a couple of disappointments in the book, and they are small disappointments. For one thing, I thought she waited too long to stage the murder. I knew who was going to be killed and I kept expecting it to happen at the start of each chapter. Did Ms. Christie want the reader to be happy when she was finally murdered? Again, this is a minor complaint, and probably due to my impatience.
Something I would have liked in the book was a drawing of the ship. It would have helped a lot in understanding the movements of all the passengers. Plus, I had to keep reminding myself the definitions of stern, aft, port, and so forth.
All in all a fun, interesting, and compelling mystery. The final outcome and “who-dun-it” could only have come from the pen of Agatha Christie.
For more Agatha Christie, check out the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge at Mysteries In Paradise.