The Woman on the Orient Express

The Woman on the Orient Express

Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her t...

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Title:The Woman on the Orient Express
Author:Lindsay Jayne Ashford
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The Woman on the Orient Express Reviews

  • Susan

    This wonderful, historical novel, mixes fact and fiction and puts Agatha Christie at the centre of a story based loosely on real life. It is 1928 when Agatha has divorced her husband, Archie, after he told her that he was in love with another woman. She has endured endless press speculation about her life, especially after the incident where she went missing after the breakup of her marriage. Now, with Archie about to re-marry, she is feeling forlorn, sensitive and depressed. Determined to get a

    This wonderful, historical novel, mixes fact and fiction and puts Agatha Christie at the centre of a story based loosely on real life. It is 1928 when Agatha has divorced her husband, Archie, after he told her that he was in love with another woman. She has endured endless press speculation about her life, especially after the incident where she went missing after the breakup of her marriage. Now, with Archie about to re-marry, she is feeling forlorn, sensitive and depressed. Determined to get away from England, she takes the Orient Express and head for Baghdad, under the name, Mary Miller.

    Her journey will introduce her to two other women, also travelling on the train. There is the beautiful, flirtatious widow, Katharine Keeling; who is heading to Mesopotamia to work on a dig there and who is due to marry the much older archaeologist, Leonard Wooley. There is also Nancy, a married woman who is fleeing her husband and who hopes to meet her married lover on the train. All three of the women have their secrets to bear, but the journey will bring them together. When Katharine invites them to visit the dig at Ur, events will threaten to overwhelm the women, who – despite their differences – do their best to help each other.

    I will say that I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and I was unsure about reading this novel based upon her life. However, it is wise to remember that this is a novel and, although there is some factual content, it is fiction and the character of Nancy does not actually exist. I have read Christie’s biography and her book about her life on expeditions in the Middle East, “Come, tell me how you live,” which is a charming memoir, and this novel does really help you imagine what that time, and place, was like. This is an evocative and well written book, which is sensitive to Christie as a woman and imagines her romance with Max Mallowan. I can, in all honesty, hardly recall enjoying a historical novel more than this one – I recommend it highly as a very enjoyable read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  • Duane

    I gave this 5 stars on "Audible" so I will do the same here. If I had just read the book it probably would have been a 4/4.5, but the narration by the very talented Justine Eyre was superb, thus the 5 stars.

    The writing was very good, and the concept of the story and the plot was great. Ashford created an excellent set of characters for her story, and if you're going to have Agatha Christie be one of them, you better have your A-game. She pulled it off quite nicely; I think Agatha would have bee

    I gave this 5 stars on "Audible" so I will do the same here. If I had just read the book it probably would have been a 4/4.5, but the narration by the very talented Justine Eyre was superb, thus the 5 stars.

    The writing was very good, and the concept of the story and the plot was great. Ashford created an excellent set of characters for her story, and if you're going to have Agatha Christie be one of them, you better have your A-game. She pulled it off quite nicely; I think Agatha would have been pleased.

    The story is based on a trip Agatha took to Mesopotamia on the Orient Express shortly after her divorce. This trip supposedly gave her the idea for her famous novel

    . It's excellent historical fiction with a fair share of mystery and intrigue thrown in, and a little adventure and romance to top it off. A very entertaining read.

  • Marita

    Three women are on the Orient Express on their way to Baghdad. Each one has a secret. Circumstances throw them together, and strong bonds are forged between them.

    This

    account of an actual train journey that Agatha Christie took imagines what might have happened on that trip. Fact is mixed with fiction, some characters were real people, others not. It happened in 1928 when Agatha was depressed due to her ex-husband remarrying. When Archie had told her in 1926 that he wanted a divor

    Three women are on the Orient Express on their way to Baghdad. Each one has a secret. Circumstances throw them together, and strong bonds are forged between them.

    This

    account of an actual train journey that Agatha Christie took imagines what might have happened on that trip. Fact is mixed with fiction, some characters were real people, others not. It happened in 1928 when Agatha was depressed due to her ex-husband remarrying. When Archie had told her in 1926 that he wanted a divorce and that he was having an affair, she had a breakdown and disappeared for a period of time. It had caused a huge hue and cry at the time with much speculation by all and sundry, and now she simply wanted to get away from it all. And so she travelled to Baghdad under an assumed name. Eventually Agatha Christie married Max Mallowan, and the novel conjures up their romance.

    (Wikipedia - public domain)

    The characters of the three women are sympathetically drawn. Katharine is manipulative, Ann/Nancy is desperate and Agatha/Mary is down in the dumps, but these three women soon come to lean on one another for support.

    There are some excellent descriptions of what they see and experience in Baghdad and its environs, and particularly at an archeological dig at Ur.

    1. Sir Max Mallowan was a prominent British archeologist. He and Agatha actually met a year later than this particular trip, and they were married in 1930.

    2. Katharine Woolley was a real person; Nancy Nelson is a fictitious character.

    3. Archie Christie married Nancy Neele in 1928

  • Brina

    Throughout my life I have always enjoyed reading mysteries as palette cleansers in between heavier reads. Whether its a contemporary series or historical stand alone, I am intrigued over the prospect of whodunit. Yet, my favorite mystery writer remains the Dame of British crime, Agatha Christie, especially cases featuring her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. When I found out about a historical novel featuring Christie, I was equally intrigued. Lindsay Jayne Ashford's Woman on the Orient Express

    Throughout my life I have always enjoyed reading mysteries as palette cleansers in between heavier reads. Whether its a contemporary series or historical stand alone, I am intrigued over the prospect of whodunit. Yet, my favorite mystery writer remains the Dame of British crime, Agatha Christie, especially cases featuring her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. When I found out about a historical novel featuring Christie, I was equally intrigued. Lindsay Jayne Ashford's Woman on the Orient Express focusing on Christie's life in the late 1920s ended up being fast reading fun with a story that did not disappoint.

    It is 1928. Agatha Christie has found out that her husband's long affair to Nancy Neele will end up in marriage. Christie is devastated emotionally but being the independent woman that she is decides to travel to Baghdad aboard the famous Orient Express train. In need of a holiday without the world knowing of her divorce or other private affairs, Christie assumes the name Mary Miller on her voyage. With a sharp mind that is always a step ahead of most, Christie believes that no one will find out about her secrets.

    On the train she meets archeologist Katharine Woolley who has many secrets of her own. As a trail blazing woman in her field, Woolley desires female companionship if only to boss her new found friends around. With a mind as sharp as a tack, she soon discovers Christie's identity but keeps it to herself until the right moment. Meanwhile the two women also meet Nancy Nelson who is running away from her husband because she is pregnant with another man's child. The three women eventually reveal each other's whereabouts to each other and strike up an enriching friendship.

    In real life, Christie did travel to Baghdad and Mesopotamia where she met Katharine Woolley as well as her future husband Max Mallowan. The Middle East would serve as the setting of many future mysteries including Murder in Mesopotamia and of course the timeless Murder on the Orient Express starring Hercule Poirot. Ashford researched the era well, mixing facts with fiction. Using detailed descriptions of time and place, she developed a detailed story with many characters that came to a nexus at the site of the Woolley's archeological dig in Ur, Iraq. Yet, like many of the mysteries I read, I found the writing to be fast paced, easy sentence structured without quality literary fiction. The novel did have a plot I enjoyed, which was perfect for a fast paced fun, summer read.

    While Woman on the Orient Express may not win awards for literary fiction, it did shed light on Agatha Christie's divorce and later married life. A sharp mind who is always on the lookout for writing materials, Christie journaled about her experiences in the desert, later turning them into many novels including my all time favorite mystery. Lindsay Jayne Ashford has created a fun story, which she followed up with a detailed epilogue. I always enjoy Agatha Christie's mysteries, and I also enjoyed reading about her, albeit in a fictionalized setting. For a fast paced read, Woman on the Orient Express is a solid 3.5/3.75 stars.

  • Luffy

    I approached this book not knowing beforehand about the fact that it was a fictional account of Agatha Christie's journey on the Orient express. I was amused by the premise when I began reading. But soon I was invested in the tale.

    Most of the journey from Calais to Istanbul made for an absorbing perusal. If you know where to look, there are references to Poirot's fictional journey in the same train. There is even a mystery in the story.

    Most of the main characters are women, and they have issues

    I approached this book not knowing beforehand about the fact that it was a fictional account of Agatha Christie's journey on the Orient express. I was amused by the premise when I began reading. But soon I was invested in the tale.

    Most of the journey from Calais to Istanbul made for an absorbing perusal. If you know where to look, there are references to Poirot's fictional journey in the same train. There is even a mystery in the story.

    Most of the main characters are women, and they have issues with romance or love. The three main characters hide something from their past. What kept me going was the syntax of the author. She had researched her subject well and it shows. The epilogue was so poignant. Altogether a very satisfying book.

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