Death On The Nile – Agatha Christie

Image Credits: HarperCollins

“How true is the saying that man was forced to invent work in order to escape the strain of having to think.”

This was my first book by Agatha Christie (I had heard about her mystery novels over the years thanks to the Murder on the Orient Express 1974 film adaptation by Sidney Lumet), so I was a bit nervous when I began reading it because I didn’t know her writing style, therefore I didn’t know what to expect.

Death on the Nile takes place in 1937 on a cruise ship along the Nile; the rich and famous used to flock there at the time to see Cairo (which was considered very glamourous in the 1930s) and the Egyptian pyramids.

Linnet Ridgeway, a rich and famous heiress, is traveling to Cairo with new husband Simon Doyle for their honeymoon; Simon used to be her best friend Jacqueline de Bellefort’s fiancé and the two of them had previously asked Linnet for help in finding work (they were having a hard time because of the Depression). Linnet has basically stolen Simon away from Jacqueline so the latter won’t go down without a fight and is stalking them on their Egyptian honeymoon.

Aboard the same Nile cruise there happens to be Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective who is the main character in a series of Agatha Christie mysteries.

The other passengers include a large cast of characters and they all have an intriguing past; Linnet’s trustee Andrew Pennington, her maid Louise Bourget, American socialite Marie Van Schuyler, her cousin Cornelia Robson and her nurse Miss Bowers, Tim Allerton and his mother Mrs. Allerton, communist Mr. Ferguson, romance novelist Mrs. Otterbourne and her daughter Rosalie, solicitor Jim Fanthorp, an Italian archaeologist named Guido Richetti and well-known physician Dr. Bessner.

It all seems to go rather smoothly until one night Linnet Doyle (née Ridgeway) is found murdered in her cruise cabin.

Colonel Race, Poirot’s companion, is on the same cruise ship because he’s been tipped that a serial killer is vacationing there under a fake identity; put in charge of the investigation, he works alongside Poirot to find out who Linnet’s killer is and whether they’re searching for the same person while trying to solve the crime.

The story is timeless and full of intrigue, so it will be appreciated especially by those who enjoy contemporary mysteries. The exotic setting, lively dialogue and remarkable character development help shaping a great detective novel, so I’m glad I started my Agatha Christie journey with this one. The intriguing mystery is slow burn and I didn’t guess who the murderer was until the very end, maybe because, as I just mentioned, this was my first time reading an Agatha Christie book.

SIMILAR BOOKS: I still haven’t read other Agatha Christie novels so I would probably pick up Murder on the Orient Express because I think it has a similar structure, being a travel mystery and featuring again the detective Hercule Poirot.

MOVIE ADAPTATIONS: I still haven’t watched the movie adaptations but there are two: one is from 1978 and it stars Peter Ustinov, Betty Davis, Angela Lansbury and Mia Farrow. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and received many award nominations, mainly at the BAFTAs, in various categories.

There is also a brand new adaptation by Kenneth Branagh, starring him alongside Annette Bening, Tom Bateman and Gal Gadot.

They both have mixed reviews and I am looking forward to watching them!



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