Tea Tonic and Toxin: Mystery and Thriller Podcast and Book Club


by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. Once you read Murder on the Orient Express (1934), you’ll understand why.

Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon.

Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.

Weigh In: Share your thoughts using the form below!

Murder on the Orient Express - Tea, Tonic & Toxin Podcast

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Murder on the Orient Express:
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Murder on the Orient Express - Tea, Tonic & Toxin Podcast
Agatha Christie - Murder on the Calais Coach - Tea, Tonic & Toxin Podcast
Murder on the Orient Express - Tea, Tonic & Toxin Podcast

Murder on the Orient Express

Here are some conversation starters and questions to get you thinking about the book!

The story was partly inspired by the shocking real-life kidnapping case involving the Charles Lindbergh baby. In 1932, aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son was held for a $50,000 ransom. The ransom was paid, but Lindbergh’s son was later found dead. The case captivated and outraged the American public. What are the similarities and differences between the real-life story and the fictional account in this book?

Which character did you identify with most in Murder on the Orient Express? If you had to choose to be one of the characters on the Orient Express, who would you choose, and why? Or would you choose another alias altogether?

One of the early assumptions that Dr. Constantine, the Greek doctor, and M. Bouc make about the murderer is that it must have been either a woman or Antonio Foscarelli, the American of Italian descent. The narrator even says Foscarelli has a “typical looking Italian face, sunny looking and swarthy.” What role do stereotypes play in the novel?

The characters in Murder on the Orient Express are traveling from Syria to Istanbul and on to Calais and then London. Why did Agatha Christie set the murder on a train? What does the train symbolize in the novel?

The characters constantly reference America. Colonel Arbuthnot calls Americans “sentimental and idealistic.” Mr. Hardman says, “Europe wants waking up. She’s half asleep.” What does America symbolize in the book? How does diversity shape American culture? How is this diversity shown through the passengers, and how does it affect Poirot’s investigation of the case?

Poirot says, “I saw it as a perfect mosaic, each person playing his or her allotted part.” Were you able to identify the murderer before the very end? If so, what tipped you off? If not, who did you think the murderer was? Were you surprised when Poirot revealed whodunit?

The first time Poirot sees Samuel Ratchett, he says, “I could not rid myself of the impression that evil had passed me by very close.” What does it mean to be evil? Does pure evil exist? Along those lines, what’s the difference between vengeance and justice? Were the murderers justified in killing Ratchett because he was completely evil?

Have you seen either of the film versions of Murder on the Orient Express (1974 or 2017)? Before or after reading the book? Did it affect how you read the book?

About Tea, Tonic & Toxin

Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a book club and podcast for people who love mysteries, thrillers, introspection, and good conversation. Each month, your hosts, Sarah Harrison and Carolyn Daughters, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller from the 19th and 20th centuries. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolved.

Along the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading some of the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.

Tea, Tonic, and Toxin Book Club and Podcast - Mysteries and Thrillers

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