Thursday, March 12, 2015

ALL ABOARD: MYSTERIES SET ON TRAINS



Yes, there is a need for speed and yes, time is money, but there is something special about taking a more leisurely train. If you're looking for adventure, a nostalgic railroad train is the way to go. The Monrovia Public Library has many fiction and non-fiction books on train travel, but let’s focus on a timeless genre: mysteries set on trains. Trains are great places for crime stories because they are enclosed spaces with places to hide, the passengers have a certain anonymity and there’s so much to witness from the windows.

Two of the greatest classic mystery stories are Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. Both authors are considered queens of the mystery genre and both wrote intensely plotted novels with vivid characters and multiple surprises. Published in 1934 and filmed 3 times, Murder on the Orient Express is about the death of a businessman who is stabbed multiple times. Christie's detective Hercule Poirot must solve a mystery where many passengers have a reason to murder the victim. Strangers on a Train is a 1950 psychological mystery about two train passengers who do not know each other, but agree to murder each other’s nemesis, supposedly ensuring that neither will be a suspect.
 
One-legged Moscow police officer Porfiry Rostnikov, a favorite Stuart Kaminsky character, must locate a courier with a mysterious package on Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express. Kaminsky’s grasp of Russian life and history mixed with intricate storytelling make this enjoyable reading.



Proving that favorite genres never go out of style, a new bestseller is The Girl on the Train. Author Paula Hawkins has written an atypical story of Rachel, a divorced sad-sack woman fired from a job for over-imbibing alcohol. Every day on the train she muses about a happy couple she sees from the window and then suddenly she becomes a suspect in a crime involving the couple.

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