A woman in the shape of a monster

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie A comment in an article from The Guardian characterized Christie's books as "the literary equivalent of sudoku" and I can't help but agree. I don't read Golden Age stories expecting to find nuanced, fleshed-out characters. They are mere parts of the mystery's architecture, designed to mislead the reader and confound their expectations. In this way, Murder on the Orient Express is a definitive success. I admired the clever set pieces, and marveled at the detail Christie wielded in order to make the plot work. My copy even helpfully provided a diagram of the car and the different cabins to orient the reader.A happy exception to the flat characters of the Golden Age, at least in my opinion, is Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey. By sheer accrual of the little personality traits Sayers endowed him over the years, Wimsey emerges as a fully formed character in his own right. As much as he's likeable, I don't think Hercule Poirot is as rounded a character. I can see though why he and the novels about him are still fiercely loved by Christie fans.Read more.

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The Karamazov Brothers
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ignat Avsey