Beyond The Orient Express: Why So Many Murders Are Set on Trains

Beyond The Orient Express: Why So Many Murders Are Set on Trains



(It's enough to make you think twice about that next trip!)

When I started researching for my seventh Murder Mystery Book Club adventure, I looked around for a well-known train mystery that my gang could be reading while embroiled in a train mystery of their own.

It didn't take long to find one. Then another. And another! Before I knew it, I was swamped with books to read!

Beyond the Orient Express

When you think of murder on a train, the first book that usually comes to mind is Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, at least it does for me. But, of course, it's not the only one. In fact, it's extraordinary just how many crime novels take place on or around trains. Christie, alone, featured locomotives in at least SEVEN mysteries, some of them short stories, others lesser-known full-length novels like The Mystery of the Blue Train (hands up who's read that one? You really should. It's terrific!).

Then there's Patricia Highsmith's 1950 thriller Strangers on a Train, French noir author Sebastien Japrisot's The Sleeping Car Murders, and the most famous modern train mystery I can think of—The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which was turned into a film starring Emily Blunt.

Train of thought

What is it about train travel that sparks the "leetle grey cells"? Is it the train's frantic pace? The screeching tracks? Or the eerie isolation of a private compartment, the perfect setting to bump someone off? Even a crowded carriage makes a good crime scene, what with all eyes staring outwards, distracted by the passing view.

Train travel usually involves a lengthy journey with plenty of time to do the deed, and strangers to pin it on, not to mention sneaky places to stash a corpse. And while murder does not take place on the train in Hawkins' book, for instance, it still provides a dramatic backdrop for the narration of the story, the protagonist's daily commute becoming a pivotal part of the plot.

Getting Carriage Away

With all that in mind—and far too many books from which to choose—I decided to up the ante in this next installment and have my book club each reading a different train mystery. Yep, that's SEVEN murder mysteries to dissect as they dissect their own "real-life" mystery.

For more on what that real-life mystery is, and which books the group choose, stay tuned. I'll be revealing more details over the next few months, and giving you, the reader, a chance to win FREE COPIES of this, the Murder Mystery Book Club 7, which is due out mid-August.

Until then, happy train travels, folks, but maybe keep one eye on your fellow passengers as you soak up that passing view!

xo Christina


The Murder Mystery Book Club (6 book series)

Bored to tears with her literary book club, Alicia Finlay and her sister Lynette start a club to die for—a Murder Mystery Book Club, that is!

No sooner have they gathered six crime buffs together, a real-life mystery lands in their lap. Then another, and another…

If you love closed-circle thrillers, unexpected twists and deliciously dark humor, you're going to love this eclectic group of friends who must draw on their knack for solving puzzles—and the wisdom of the world's most famous fictional sleuths—to work out whodunit and why.

Can you solve these mysteries before the Book Club do?


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