Death on the Nile

By Agatha Christie

In my last couple of days in Japan I found myself again without a book to read on the flight home, so I went back to the same bookstore I had gotten Murder on the Orient Express from and I found that they had replaced it on the shelf with another Christie novel, Death on the Nile. I was happy to scoop it up. This book took me longer to read than the first. I liked it, but I found it to be a slower pace than the Orient Express, and a few of the characters were difficult to tell apart. I probably would not have felt this book was slow if I had not just finished mainlining Orient Express, and I think my vaguely critical experience of this book means I need to give myself some breathing room before reading more Christie, so as not to find myself doing constant comparisons.

I think the reason I like Poirot so much is that he’s a criminal detective who is largely uninterested in punishment. In Orient Express, he intentionally helps a dozen murderers escape prosecution. In Nile, he similarly concocts a false story so that a many-time jewel thief can find love. And, at the end, he knows that the two murderers will escape justice via murder suicide, and he does nothing to prevent their deaths. Poirot is interested in people, and interested in neat problems, and the work of criminal law provides both of those to him in spades, but he’s never caught up in justice. I love that.