Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Death on the Nile: Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile is the 15th novel in the Hercule Poirot series. I have been reading the books -- within each series -- in order when possible, but this time I skipped ahead three books to this one so I could watch the movie version (from 1978).

From the back of my paperback edition:
Linnet Doyle is young, beautiful, and rich. She's the girl who has everything--including the man her best friend loves. Linnet and her new husband take a cruise on the Nile, where they meet the brilliant detective Hercule Poirot. It should be an idyllic trip, yet Poirot has a vague, uneasy feeling that something is dangerously amiss...
The first section of the book (very brief) sets up the story, introducing the varied group of people who will end up taking a cruise on the Nile.

I enjoyed the last Poirot book that I read, Death in the Clouds, but I liked this one even more. It was a good bit darker. The death occurs on the cruise in an enclosed environment, and Hercule Poirot, along with his old friend Colonel Race, must solve the mystery.

What did I like?


  • I have a fondness for Colonel Race (in The Man in the Brown Suit, which also involves a luxury cruise) and I liked that he has a significant role here. 
  • In Death in the Clouds, Poirot talks about the psychology of crime and that is also a big element here. 
  • There was a large cast of interesting characters, thus lots of suspects. I did figure out who did it way in advance but still Christie kept me wondering ... all the way through the book. I love the way she does that.
  • There were many mysteries beyond just the normal whodunit. A lot of the relationships and the reasons for people taking the trip were questionable and had me wondering. A perfect mystery in that respect.



I think the Poirot books are just getting better and better. I look forward to getting back to the three I skipped:  Murder in Mesopotamia (1936); Cards on the Table (1936); and Dumb Witness (1937), aka Poirot Loses a Client. But sometime soon I will also move ahead to Evil Under the Sun, because I want to watch the movie based on that book.

The Film Adaptation


I watched the 1978 film with Peter Ustinov as Poirot. I think he is a fine Poirot. The back cover (above) shows the most prominent stars in the cast, which include: Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, David Niven, George Kennedy and Jack Warden. Some of the main roles are played by actors I was less familiar with but they were good in their roles: Lois Chiles as Linnet and Simon MacCorkindale as Simon, her husband.

I preferred the book over the movie because of the depth of the characterizations  and the details of relationships in the book, even though Christie did keep some of the motivations vague in order to heighten the suspense. In the movie, some of the minor characters changed or disappeared from the story entirely. But the movie was very entertaining and I liked all the actors and how they portrayed the characters.

See reviews at A Crime is Afoot (with lots of links to other reviews), Classics Mysteries, Vintage Pop Fictions, and Clothes in Books.


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Publisher:   HarperPaperbacks, 1992 (orig. pub. 1937)
Length:       313 pages
Format:      Paperback
Series:       Hercule Poirot #15
Setting:      Egypt
Genre:       Mystery
Source:      I purchased my copies.



22 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite Christie books and I really enjoyed this film adaptation of it. Such a great bunch of actors that are part of it - sort of a 'best of' - like Murder on the Orient Express with Albert Finney as Poirot and all those wonderful people. And I'm thinking that this is Kenneth Branagh's next Poirot movie (I'll try again to get through it though his mustache is hilarious).

    I encourage you to go back and read Cards on the Table (another favorite of mine), but Evil Under the Sun is also a favorite. Sigh. How nice to be experiencing those for the first time! Enjoy!

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    1. It will be interesting to see what Kenneth Branagh does with this movie, Kay. I liked his version of Murder on the Orient Express but not as well as the Albert Finney film. Cards on the Table is one I have been looking forward to for a while.

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  2. I've loved that film version of Death on the Nile for years. In fact I remember it coming out and being very excited that Peter Ustinov was playing Poirot and that David Niven was in it too. Such a sumptuous, gorgeous film. But do you know, I don't think I've ever read the book!

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    1. I liked the book a lot, Cath. I sort of knew what was going on but there were still little surprises throughout. And some of the characters were left out of the film. If I had waited longer to watch the film after reading the book, I might not have noticed.

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  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel, Tracy. I've always liked the character of Jacqueline. Oh, and of Mrs. Allerton, too. I like the interplay of characters, too, among other things. I have to admit, I disliked the movie. It didn't keep to the story as I wish it had, and I have to confess I didn't care as much for Peter Ustinov in the role of Poirot. But that's just my view...

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    1. Lots of good and interesting characters in the book, Margot. I sometimes don't mind if the stories are changed for a film adaptation, as long as they generally stick with the plot.

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  4. Yes, I agree. This is a good book and a good movie, I enjoyed them both. I also want to see Evil Under the Sun again. I'm really enjoying your Christie reviews!

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    1. Thanks, Rick. I was surprised that they did such a good job with the movie, and thought that the actors fit the roles well. I am looking forward to reading Evil Under the Sun and following it up with the film.

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  5. I’ve been wanting to read The Man in the Brown Suit for quite awhile! Thanks for reminding me! Hope you are not near the fires! Remember there’s room at this inn for y’all if you need it😉

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    1. I am sure you will enjoy The Man in the Brown Suit, Peggy. It is different and a very good read.

      The fires in Southern California are pretty far from us. Far enough not to be concerned about them moving this direction. We may be getting some bad air quality but it isn't bad. Both the fires to the south of us and the ones up in Northern California are very scary and sad, so much devastation and loss of life.

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    2. We've been getting a lot of smoke here in Portland from the NorCal fires, to the point of unhealthy air quality. Thankfully, today we have easterly winds which should blow it out to sea.

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    3. Sorry to hear that. I would not have thought that the smoke would reach that far, Rick. I know how miserable the smoke in the air can be.

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  6. I'm quite remiss with Christie, and have neither read Death on the Nile nor seen the flick. You've got me interested now, Tracy. :)

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    1. Absolutely, Mathew, I think you would enjoy this book. On some level, it would have some delights for you. The movie is a great period piece and not as dark as the book. Not to say the book is super dark, just more than most Christie I have read.

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  7. Tracy, I'm updating my Christmas (holiday) card list. Yes, I still send them, physical cards. I'd like to add you to the list, if you'll email me your snail mail addy. My email address is on my blog in the "about" section. Thanks.

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    1. I just sent an email with my address, Rick. Looking forward to getting a Christmas card.

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  8. I was hoping to read something from Agatha Christie this month, but I'm running out of time. Maybe next year!

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    1. That is my constant refrain, Col. Maybe next year. At least next year is getting closer.

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    1. You have many informative links on books by Christie, Jose Ignacio, and I know you are a big fan of here books.

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  10. One of my favourite Christies, I love it. And have enjoyed adaptations too. I think it has depth and complexity, and characters who linger in the mind. Thanks for the shoutout too.

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    1. I was surprised that I liked it so much, Moira. And I got to finally meet Linnet after reading about her in your posts.

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