Study Guide

Murder on the Orient Express Appearances

By Agatha Christie


That whole "things are not always what they seem" thing goes double for <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>. Since we know the murder was committed by someone on the train car, we know that someone must be lying. But, as we eventually find out, almost <em>everyone</em> on the train was lying. It's as though everything that happens on the train is a play being acted out by the conspirators. Of course, it's not really a play, as it involves a real-life murder. Fortunately, our detective, Hercule Poirot, judges appearances remarkably well. His keen eye for observation reveals the cracks in the surface of the conspirators' facade.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Which clues at the crime scene were red herrings?
  2. In which ways do the passengers involved in the plot modify their appearances to try to fool Poirot?
  3. Do you think it's possible to deceive Hercule Poirot? If you were on of the conspirators on the train, is there anything you would have done differently in order to fool him?

Chew on This

The passengers underestimate Hercule Poirot because of his appearance.

The novel suggests that people should never judge based on appearances.

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