Published 1937, reprinted 2007
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
New York, NY
Death On the Nile is Agatha Christie's 22nd detective/crime novel and the 15th to include Hercule Poirot as the lead detective. In this story Poirot is on holiday and for the most part works alone in solving the crime. His faithful sidekick, Captain Hastings is not present in this book.
"Linnet Ridgeway has it all: beauty, brains, money, and a new, handsome husband. Unfortunately, her husband's jilted ex-fiancee -- and Linnet's former best friend -- has followed them on their Egyptian honeymoon cruise and seems to be shadowing the couple at every turn. When Linnet is murdered, the killer seems obvious -- until she produces an airtight alibi. Soon all of the other passengers on board, including an American lawyer, a nervous chambermaid, and a communist, are suspects. Hercule Poirot must call upon all of his skills of reason and deduction to break this case before the murderer strikes again." (Summary courtesy of the publisher)
From the very first few pages I knew Death On the Nile was going to be a good read. The story, which is almost entirely set in Egypt, is filled with interesting and colorful characters; from the lovable to the eccentric, and nearly all with one vice or another. The story plot is fast moving and the crimes (for yes, there is more than just a murder in this story) are just as clever as they are mysterious. In the end all of these factors make Death On the Nile a thrilling detective novel.
As if that wasn't enough to make me like this book I get to add the fact that I actually solved the mystery (the who and the why and part of the how) midway through the book! You can imagine me glee as Poirot lay out the who, how, where, when and why of the mystery while I sat there nodding my head! For some solving the mystery before the end of the book might be disappointing or might mean the clues were too obvious and the book poorly planned, but I do not find either to be the case with Death On the Nile. I think I just got lucky... Or maybe I've read enough of Christie's stories that I was able to recognize the important clues, but whatever the case even though I solved the crime I still found the story grabbed my attention from the beginning and held me all the way to the end.
I hesitate to name any particular book as "the best" especially since there are still over two dozen that I've never read, but I feel safe in saying that Death On the Nile is one of Agatha Christie's greatest mystery novels. It's been a while since I felt this way, in fact I think it's been at least a year since I read one of her crime novels that I liked as well as this one. The last few seemed to be lacking something, but with this one -- everything just comes together!
If you could only read one Agatha Christie novel this year I might be torn as to which one to recommend and yet in the end I think I'd suggest Death On the Nile. It's a worthwhile read so go find it in your library!
Death On the Nile film adaptations. A few weeks after finishing the book I borrowed the 2004 adaptation with David Suchet staring as Hercule Poirot. For the most part I enjoyed the movie. It was fun to see the characters come alive on the screen and I found several of the actors fitted nicely into their role. There were a few liberties taken with the story, one in particular I found very annoying, but for the most part it was a fair adaptation. Not as good as the book, but a worthwhile hour once you've read the book, or for the person who prefers movies to books. (Horrors! Now there's a crime for you.)