Dying to Get In


A new adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved cases, Murder on the Orient Express (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), directed by Kenneth Branagh, is steaming towards us, scheduled to arrive on Nov. 22, 2017, ideal timing for awards considerations.

To fit the enormous cast onto the cover of their new issue, Entertainment Weekly took the unusual approach of rotating the image, asserting, “a goodly portion of planet Earth’s most famous residents have gathered” for the shoot (we did what everyone at the newsstands will be doing, flipped it sideways).

According to the magazine, “The book’s large number of supporting characters allowed Branagh to cast stars keen to take roles that were chunkier than cameos but did not demand too much of their time.” In addition to Branagh, who both directs and plays Hercule Poirot, among the others featured on the cover are Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Penélope Cruz, and Johnny Depp.

The mystery places the meticulous Hercule Poirot on the famed Orient Express. The train is delayed by a snowstorm, a perfect setting for murder.  Branagh tells The Hollywood Reporter that “This is not only a who dunnit and how dunnit, it’s crucially a why dunnit.”

Underlining Christie’s timeless appeal, the NYT highlighted her recently in one of their “Enthusiast” features (“an occasional column dedicated to the books we love to read and reread”), describing why reading Christie is so pleasurable:

“[Christie] captures something elemental about mysteries: that motive and opportunity may suffice for a crime, but the satisfying part is the detective’s revelation of whodunit, how and why. I never tried to piece together the clues. I vastly preferred to hear it from Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple. Why spend time with such endearing, clever characters if you’re not going to let them do their job? And while their job was ostensibly solving crimes, really it was storytelling.”

The trailer is not yet been released. HarperCollins is publishing mass market and trade paperback tie-ins on Oct. 31st.

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