Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

murderontheorientexpressMurder on the Orient Express is my first introduction to Hercule Poirot mystery from Agatha Christie. I’ve read almost all of the Miss Marple books but never a single one from Poirot.

Hercule Poirot is a Belgian detective on-board the Orient Express. An American guy was found dead on his compartment while the train was halted by a snow storm. Police can’t get in the train so Poirot took charge of the investigation.

Just like the Miss Marple books, this kept me guessing as the story progresses. And I wasn’t able to guess it right. Damn! Anyway, I liked that each character was given their own chapters and all of them were suspects. All of them were realistic, too.

This turned out to be a really great introduction of Hercules Poirot to me. It was a captivating read, smart and mysterious. Looking forward to my next Poirot mystery.

Quotable Quotes:

“If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it – often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect.”

“But I know human nature, my friend, and I tell you that, suddenly confronted with the possibility of being tried for murder, the most innocent person will lose his head and do the most absurd things.”

“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

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I have to admit I was really intrigued when I first saw this book on my feeds in Goodreads. The idea about the butterflies is just sick but I was definitely hooked. The story started with Maya being rescued by the FBI and we learn of the story during the interview process. It’s not easy to talk about the plot without spoilers so I won’t say more.

The story was brilliantly written, Dot Hutchison’s writing style is excellent and characterization was also good. I have to say, however, that the ending left me feeling off, I don’t know, but I think the plot twist didn’t work out well for me.

I don’t think this book is for everyone since it has several disturbing themes — rape, suicide, murder and sexual assault. All in all, it’s a great read and I think this could be an excellent movie.

Quotable Quotes :

“You seem to have this strange image of me as a lost child, like I’ve just been thrown on the side of the road like garbage, or roadkill, but kids like me? We’re not lost. We may be the only ones who never are. We always know exactly where we are and where we can go. And where we can’t.”

“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

“The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.”

“At some point, maybe you have to break.”

“Some wanted the freedom to be anyone they wanted, some of us wanted the freedom to be left alone.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I have now read all three of Gillian Flynn’s books and sometimes I can’t help but wonder what happened to her while growing up? 🙂 She’s probably the master of dark mysteries.

So in Dark Places, when Libby Day was seven years old, her mother and two sisters were murdered and his brother, Ben Day, was blamed for killing them and so he was jailed and sentenced to life imprisonment. More than twenty years later, Libby will reconnect with the people involved that night the murders happened.

Gillian Flynn is definitely a very talented writer and she knows very well how to create tortured souls and crazy women. The opening sentence in the book hooked me right away:

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”

Then not far from it comes this:

“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”

Ms. Flynn is one of my favorite authors/writers since I’ve read Gone Girl. All of her novels are great and quite dark in different ways but I really enjoy them and in Dark Places I liked how the uncertainty of it made the story and characters turned out so well.

So for people looking for dark themes — lies, secrets, devil worship, desperation — read this. And all of Gillian Flynn’s books. You will never be disappointed.

Favorite quotes:

“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”

“Worries find you easily enough without inviting them.”

“It’s a good enough life for me… can’t imagine wanting anything different.”

“I appreciate a straightforward apology the way a tone-deaf person enjoys a fine piece of music.”

“There were a lot of people who deserved a lesson, deserved to really understand, that nothing came easy, that most things were going to go sour.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Book #50 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Miss Marple’s Final Cases by Agatha Christie

The last Agatha Christie book I have at home is Book #50 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.  

This may not be the best Agatha Christie book but it’s still worth a read. Bite-size mysteries you can enjoy anytime, any day. The Dressmaker’s Doll is spooky and is my favorite in this collection.

I’m going to miss the witty and clever Miss Marple since I don’t have and I can’t find the other books that feature her. However, that won’t stop me from reading Agatha Christie’s other works.

Rating : 3.5/5 stars

Book #42 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

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Gwenda Reed was looking for a new house and chose to buy the one that seems familiar to her. From there, she starts to see/imagine things that should be in the house — stairs, wallpapers, doors, etc. Moreover, she prefers to sleep in the nursery.

The mystery slowly unfolds once she found out that she actually lived in the same house as a child eighteen years ago.

This could have been a great book if it weren’t so predictable to me. I think reading too much of Miss Marple these past few months made it easier for me to figure out the murderer. However, I’d still recommend it!

Favorite quote : “Jealousy, you know, is usually not an affair of causes. It is much more – how shall I say? – fundamental than that. Based on the knowledge that one’s love is not returned. And so one goes on waiting, watching, expecting …  that the loved one will turn to someone else. Which, again, invariably happens.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Book #41 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I read Gone Girl earlier this year and enjoyed it so I was really looking forward to reading Gillian Flynn’s other books. I finally bought a copy of her first novel and that makes it Book #41 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

Fucked-up girls! Disturbing.

So this is the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist sent back to her hometown by her editor to cover a story about the unsolved murder of two pre-teen girls.  As she tries to get more information about the murders, she identifies herself more and more with the victims.

Gillian Flynn is very good in creating likeable but damaged characters, which I liked most in this book as well as in Gone Girl. The main characters are incredibly flawed but smart.

I also personally think that Flynn was able to touch very well on themes about alcoholism and inflicted abuse in this book, some things that happen almost everywhere in the world today.

Overall, this novel is not as great as Gone Girl but it is worth reading.

Favorite quotes: “Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them.”

“How confusing to live in the shadow of a shadow.”

“I ached once, hard, like a period typed at the end of a sentence.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book #40 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Book #40 for my 2015 Reading Challenge is another Agatha Christie. a carribean mystery

So this book is set, as the title suggests, in the Caribbean. Yes, Miss Marple is on a Caribbean vacation.

The story is about a murderer who always gets away with his crime because people don’t want to listen. The pace was a bit slow compared to her other books but that didn’t stop me from reading. The relationship between Miss Marple and Mr. Rafiel, an unwell millionaire, is what I like most in this book. I think that the story belongs much to both of them. 🙂

Somehow, I guess I’m starting to understand the A. Christie formula already. 🙂 Or this just probably happened to be the easiest of her mysteries? Either way, I guessed it right on this one!

Favorite quote : “Life is more worth living, more full of interest when you are likely to lose it. It shouldn’t be, perhaps, but it is. When you’re young and strong and healthy, and life stretches ahead of you, living isn’t really important at all. It’s young people who commit suicide easily, out of despair from love, sometimes from sheer anxiety and worry. But old people know how valuable life is and how interesting.”

Rating : 4/5 stars