I read Death on the Nile because I knew the movie was coming out and I’m one of those people who has to read the book first. Also, it’s been a minute since I’ve read a Christie and as fall slowly descends upon us I thought it would be a good fit!
Oh Christie. I could write whole essays on the way she shaped literature and genre. It is inconceivable to imagine what the landscape of mysteries and thrillers would look like today without her work. We have her to thank for detective thrillers, suspense, murder mysteries mainstream success and infinite inspiration.
But since this is a blog post and not an academic arena, I will instead, just talk about Death on the Nile.
A classic Poirot, we start by meeting a beautiful, wealthy, respected family descendent, and tragically unfulfilled woman, Linnet Ridgeway. She has everything she could ever want except true love. But at least she has her bestie Jacqueline de Bellefort! Jacqueline isn’t anywhere near rich and doesn’t come from a respected family like Linnet, but they remain close.
That is, until Linnet steal’s Jacqueline’s fiancé Simon Doyle. Which is messed up for sure, especially because Linnet already has so many advantages in life. That being said, I feel like an unfair amount of the blame is put on her. Simon’s the one that left Jacqueline and then got married to Linnet! Why isn’t he painted as the villain by society!
Back to the plot; Jacqueline has not taken the loss lightly and follows them around, popping up at inconvenient times and making Linnet feel unsafe. Even when their plans are expensive and last minute, she’s able to follow. So what is a rich couple do to in the 1930’s in this situation? Why, sneak away and take their honeymoon in Egypt of course!
Nothing says romance like a boat trip down the Nile! Seriously. That sounds dope.
And it is on this trip that Linnet is MURDERED! But who could it be? Her mysterious banker who just so happens to be on the trip? The disgraced socialite from America? The political activist with a secret identity? The young man who gossips to distract others from his own secrets? A crew member? So many suspects, so little time! Not to mention every new clue contradicts the one before it.
Thank goodness for Poirot!
Honestly, this one was fun. Because I know how Christie works, I was able to guess the ending almost exactly right, but if you weren’t trying to solve it and you were just along for the ride, it probably would have been much harder to decipher.
Unfortunately if you do read this one, you do have to cringe through some blatantly racist moments. Especially when Christie is talking about the children hanging out near the Nile. The book was published in 1937 and while that certainly does not excuse the harmful stereotypes, they are reflective of the era. And there wasn’t an abundance of them so I’m hoping that’s a sign Christie wasn’t being intentionally cruel.
The language is a little dated but overall it’s an enjoyable story with some killer plot twists. And everything wraps up nicely at the end with justice and peace, something I think we could all use right now. If you need another feel good mystery, I recommend Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie!
As for the movie, I’ll be watching this glamourous trailer on repeat until I can see my all time favorite British actor who’s 59, Kenneth Branagh, preform on the big screen once again. If you’re wondering who my all time favorite British actor who’s 60 is, it’s Colin Firth.