Agatha Christie is rightly considered the epitome of the detective novelist. She wrote over 80 novels and I've read over a dozen of them. If I had to pick one to recommend, I'd give a slight edge to the one-off, And Then There Were None, but Murder on the Orient Express, featuring her private detective Hercule Poirot, would be a close second. Like the other novel, this book features one of those Christie twists that left me slack-jawed and guaranteed I'd never forget the novel. And despite this being one of 33 novels featuring Hercule Poirot, order doesn't matter, so you don't have to read any of the seven previously published novels with him--I hadn't read any of them before reading this one, and only read two of them since. I doesn't add to anything if you do. The point of the Poirot novels isn't character development or long-term story arcs, they're about the solution of the case with Poirot playing the Great Detective a la Sherlock Holmes. There's more to this novel then just the twist though. This is a pleasure to read as Christie throws at you several memorable vividly-drawn characters in what is essentially a classic locked-room murder mystery--the killing occurred in a snow-bound train--the Orient Express. This story also holds interest as there is a thinly described allusion to a then notorious real-life crime. The film tips its hat to that angle right in the beginning--one reason I'd prefer the book is for the slower reveal.Although truly, the film does do justice to the book with a cast you could hardly match today: Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar), Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave. But read the novel first.