A few weeks ago, I went through my parents’ bookshelf to see if I could find any books that I might be interested in. I left their room a few hours later with my arms full of piles on piles of books. One of them was a novel you’re probably familiar with: Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile.
An engaging detective fiction, the book manages to captivate the reader throughout the entire reading experience.
Summary (courtesy of Goodreads)
Death on the Nile is a pre-Second World War novel, first published in 1937. It shows Agatha Christie’s interest in Egypt and archaeology and also reflects much of the flavour and social nuances of the pre-war period. Although the novel is set in Egypt, an exotic location, it is essentially a ‘locked room mystery’, as the characters are passengers on the river-steamer SS Karnak, cruising on the Nile. Amongst them is the famous Hercule Poirot, a short man dressed in a white silk suit, a panama hat and carrying a highly ornamental fly whisk with a sham amber handle – a funny little man.
Although I’m fairly certain that, since I read a translation, a lot of the original English text was lost in the process, I am confident that I’ve picked up some of Christie’s mannerisms. Just like with Agatha Christie’s other novels I’ve read, the writing was exquisite. I’ve read snippets of the book in English and from what I’ve seen, it was simple and forthcoming while also managing to leave the reader satisfied. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the entire book in English.
Now, this is one of the two things that couldn’t be possibly lost in translation. Say what you want, but Agatha Christie sure knows how to build up a character and make it seem relatable in the most unlikely situations.
One of the main characters, naturally, is Hercule Poirot. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his perspective and trying to figure out what he was thinking in some parts of the novel. He felt real- the way in which Agatha Christie wrote him gave the character dimension, flair. The thing I probably loved most about him is the transparency with which he carries both his flaws and his qualities. More often than not, they’re related.
Take, for example, his intelligence. His logical thinking has no parallel- and he knows it. And because of that knowledge, there are times he seems quite condescending. It all adds up to his character, though, so it’s all more than okay with me.
The rest of the characters were intriguing, as well. Their stories were intricately woven and you could definitely see the amount of effort behind their depictions. Everyone had their distinguishing trait and they all had that spark many characters lack.
I agreed with some characters’ points of view- when it came to others, I couldn’t be more opposed to the way they perceived the world. I could picture myself butting heads with some of them or nodding in awed approval regarding others- and that it exactly why I loved this book.
This is the second of the two things that couldn’t be lost or gained in translation. The plot. Seeing it’s an Agatha Christie book, do I really need to comment on this?
Brilliant, engaging, concise and breathtaking plot twists, spiced with a dash of foreshadowing. I definitely did not notice any plot holes along the way, and looking back on it, I still can’t think of anything off the top of my head- and that comes from a very picky reader.
Quotes (again, courtesy of Goodreads)
“It often seems to me that’s all detective work is, wiping out your false starts and beginning again.”
“They conceive a certain theory, and everything has to fit into that theory. If one little fact will not fit it, they throw it aside. But it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.”
“Because—if you do—evil will come…Yes, very surely evil will come…It will enter in and make its home within you, and after a little while it will no longer be possible to drive it out.”
“How true is the saying that man was forced to invent work in order to escape the strain of having to think.”
General + rating
As you could probably tell along the way, this novel has been a solid 5 star / “Outstanding” for me. I definitely recommend it! It was a short read and the story flowed so beautifully I couldn’t stop myself and finished it in a few hours.
Have you read the book? Are you planning on doing so? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you on the next one!
Keep hustling x
P.S.: If you want to stay up to date on my bookish journeys, make sure to follow my Goodreads account!