Review: Death on the Nile, 1937 (Hercule Poirot #15) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Harper Agatha Christie Signature Edition, 2001. Format: Paperback Edition. First published in Great Britain by Collins in 1937. ISBN: 978-0-00-711932-1. 416 pages.

a26fc0dfa1cce54592b67335367444341587343Synopsis: The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything … until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seemed…

More about this story: Death on the Nile is among Agatha Christie’s best-loved and most famous works and is a sweeping mystery of love, jealously and betrayal. Agatha Christie drew inspiration for this novel from her travels in Egypt, picking up geographically and historical details throughout her time there. When Agatha Christie adapted the story into a play, she dropped Hercule Poirot from the script as she felt that he drew too much attention on stage. The title was changed to Hidden Horizons and the play opened at Dundee Repertory Theatre. When the play moved to London’s West End in 1946, the title was changed to Murder on the Nile. Later on in the same year the show opened on Broadway, and in 1950 a live television broadcast of the US play took place as part of the Kraft Television Theatre.

In 1978 Death on the Nile was adapted from the original story line into a successful feature film starring Peter Ustinov in his first role as Hercule Poirot. John Moffatt played Poirot in the first radio adaptation based on the book in 1997 which was broadcast as a five-part serial. In 2004, ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot saw David Suchet take on the role in an adaptation which included famous faces Emily Blunt and James Fox. In November 2017, it was announced that 20th Century Fox put into development Death on the Nile as a sequel to their version of Murder on the Orient Express. Michael Green was announced as penning the script and Kenneth Branagh was expected to return as Poirot and as director.

My take: Death on the Nile is in all likelihood one of the best and most famous Agatha Christie novels, owing in a great extent to an excellent film adaptation. Maybe for this reason it may not be necessary to include here a brief summary of the plot. Suffice it to say that the action takes place in the late thirties, during a cruise on the Nile, where a young couple newly married are enjoying their honeymoon. The tranquillity of their journey is frustrated by the unexpected presence of an old girlfriend of the groom, who had also been before a close friend to the bride. And now she is determined to harass them. One night, after heavy drinking, she shoots her former boyfriend in a leg. But the next morning, the bride is found murdered in her cabin. However the murderer, he or she, had not count with the presence of Hercule Poirot on board.

It is probably together with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), Murder On The Orient Express (1934), Evil Under The Sun (1941), Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952), Hallowe’en Party (1969), Elephants Can Remember (1972) and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975) one of the best Poirot novels, if not the best. In any case I’m quite sure that it’s one of her essential books even if it only finished second place in last year poll organised by In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, here. In my view the story is brilliant, it is perfectly constructed and the denouement is extremely satisfactory on all counts. Besides it offers an excellent example of what is meant by ‘fair play’ in detective fiction. I have particularly enjoyed the simplicity of the plot and its sense of time and place. Certainly a masterpiece and a highly satisfactory read.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

About the author: Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on 15 September, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, in the southwest part of England. The youngest of three siblings, she was educated at home by her mother, who encouraged her daughter to write. As a child, Christie enjoyed fantasy play and creating characters, and, when she was 16, moved to Paris for a time to study vocals and piano. In 1914, she wed Colonel Archibald Christie, a Royal Flying Corps pilot, and took up nursing during World War I. She published her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920; the story introduced readers to one of Christie’s most famous characters—Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. In 1926, Christie released The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a hit which was later marked as a genre classic and one of the author’s all-time favourites. She dealt with tumult that same year, however, as her mother died and her husband revealed that he was in a relationship with another woman. Traumatized by the revelation, Christie disappeared only to be discovered by authorities several days later at a Harrogate hotel, registered under the name of her husband’s mistress. Christie would recover, with her and Archibald divorcing in 1928. In 1930, she married archaeology professor Max Mallowan, with whom she travelled on several expeditions, later recounting her trips in the 1946 memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live. The year of her new nuptials also saw the release of Murder at the Vicarage, which became another classic and introduced readers to Miss Jane Marple. Poirot and Marple are Christie’s most well-known detectives, with the two featured in dozens of novels and short stories. Other notable Christie characters include Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, Colonel Race, Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver. Writing well into her later years, Christie wrote more than 70 detective novels as well as short fiction. Though she also wrote romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott, Christie’s success as an author of sleuth stories has earned her titles like the “Queen of Crime” and the “Queen of Mystery.” Christie can also be considered a queen of all publishing genres as she is one of the top-selling authors in history, with her combined works selling more than 2 billion copies worldwide. Christie was a renowned playwright as well, with works like The Hollow (1951) and Verdict (1958). Her play The Mousetrap opened in 1952 at the Ambassador Theatre and—at more than 8,800 showings during 21 years—holds the record for the longest unbroken run in a London theatre. Additionally, several of Christie’s works have become popular movies, including Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Death on the Nile (1978). Christie was made a dame in 1971. In 1974, she made her last public appearance for the opening night of the play version of Murder on the Orient Express. Christie died on 12 January, 1976.

Death on the Nile has been reviewed at Books Please, Joyfully Retired, Mysteries in Paradise, The Christie Mystery, ahsweetmysteryblog, Beneath the Stains of Time, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, The Invisible Event, Gaslight Crime, The Green Capsule and Classic Mysteries, among many others.

Harper Collins UK publicity page

Harper Collins US publicity page

Agatha Christie Official Website 

Notes On Death On The Nile


Muerte en el Nilo de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: Linnet Doyle lo tiene todo: belleza, riqueza, amor … y un viaje por el Nilo para disfrutar de su luna de miel. Pero, tras esta aparente plenitud, muchos peligros la acechan: los incontrolables celos de su amiga, los intereses económicos de sus tutores, la ambición de los ladrones de joyas… Poco a poco, el crimen se va perfilando como algo inevitable, y Linnet aparece asesinada en su camarote. Poirot, que pensaba pasar unos días de vacaciones por el Nilo, se verá envuelto en este peculiar caso en el que saldrá a la luz más de un asunto tenebroso, pero en el que también hay lugar para acontecimientos felices.

Más sobre esta historia: Muerte en el Nilo se encuentra entre las obras favoritas y más famosas de Agatha Christie y resulta un gran misterio de amor, celos y traición. Agatha Christie se inspiró en sus viajes a Egipto para esta novela, recogiendo detalles geográficos e históricos durante su tiempo allí. Cuando Agatha Christie adaptó la historia al teatro, eliminó a Hercules Poirot del guión al sentir que llamaba demasiado la atención en el escenario. El título fue cambiado a Hidden Horizon (Horizonte Escondido) y la obra se estrenó en el Dundee Repertory Theatre. Cuando la obra se trasladó al West End de Londres en 1946, el título se cambió a Muerte en el Nilo. Más tarde en el mismo año, el espectáculo se inauguró en Broadway, y en 1950 se realizó en los Estados Unidos una retransmisión televisiva en vivo de la obra teatral en el marco del Kraft Television Theatre.

En 1978, la historia original de Muerte en el Nilo fue llevada a la gran pantalla convirtiéndose en una película de éxito protagonizada por Peter Ustinov en su primer papel como Hercule Poirot. John Moffatt interpretó a Poirot en la primera adaptación de radio basada en el libro de 1997 que fue retransmitido como una serie de cinco capítulos. En el 2004, la serie de la ITV,  Agatha Christie’s Poirot, vio a David Suchet asumir el papel en una adaptación que incluía caras famosas como Emily Blunt y James Fox. En noviembre de 2017, se anunció que la 20th Century Fox tiene previsto rodar una nueva versión de Muerte en el Nilo como continuación de su versión de Asesinato en el Orient Express. Se comunicó que Michael Green iba a escribir el guión y se espera que Kenneth Branagh regrese para dirigirla y para interpretar el papel de Poirot.

Mi opinión: Muerte en el Nilo es con toda probabilidad una de las mejores y más famosas novelas de Agatha Christie, debido en gran medida a una excelente adaptación cinematográfica. Tal vez por esta razón, puede no ser necesario incluir aquí un breve resumen de la trama. Baste con decir que la acción tiene lugar a finales de los años treinta, durante un crucero por el Nilo, donde una joven pareja de recién casados disfruta de su luna de miel. La tranquilidad de su viaje se ve frustrada por la presencia inesperada de una antigua novia del novio, que también había sido antes amiga íntima de la novia. Y ahora está decidida a acosarlos. Una noche, después de beber en exceso, dispara a su antiguo novio en una pierna. Pero a la mañana siguiente, la novia es encontrada asesinada en su camarote. Sin embargo, el asesino, él o ella, no había contado con la presencia de Hercules Poirot a bordo.

Probablemente sea junto con El asesinato de Roger Ackroyd (1926), Asesinato en el Orient Express (1934), Maldad bajo el sol (1941), La señora McGinty ha muerto (1952), Las manzanas (1969), Los elefantes pueden recordar (1972) y Telón: el último caso de Hércules Poirot (1975) una de las mejores novelas de Poirot, si no la mejor. En cualquier caso, estoy bastante seguro de que es uno de sus libros esenciales, incluso si solo terminó en segundo lugar en la encuesta del año pasado organizada por In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, aquí. En mi opinión, la historia es brillante, está perfectamente construida y el desenlace es extremadamente satisfactorio en todos los aspectos. Además, ofrece un excelente ejemplo de lo que se entiende por “juego limpio” en la ficción detectivesca. He disfrutado particularmente la simplicidad de la trama y su sentido del tiempo y el lugar. Sin duda una obra maestra y una lectura tremendamente satisfactoria.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Sobre la autora: Nacida en Torquay en 1891, Agatha Christie recibió la típica educación victoriana impartida por institutrices en el hogar paterno. Tras la muerte de su padre, se trasladó a París, donde estudió piano y canto. Contrajo matrimonio en 1914 y tuvo una hija, pero su matrimonio terminó en divorcio en 1928. Dos años después, durante un viaje por Oriente Medio conoció al arqueólogo Max Mallowan, con quien se casó ese mismo año; a partir de entonces pasó varios meses al año en Siria e Irak, escenario de Ven y dime cómo vives (Andanzas 50, ahora también en la colección Fábula) y de alguna de sus novelas policiacas, como Asesinato en Mesopotamia o Intriga en Bagdad. Además del gran éxito de que disfrutaron sus célebres novelas, a partir de 1953 ganó celebridad con las adaptaciones teatrales de sus novelas en el West End londinense. En 1971 le fue concedida la distinción de Dame of the British Empire. Murió en 1976.

RBA Serie Negra página de publicidad

18 thoughts on “Review: Death on the Nile, 1937 (Hercule Poirot #15) by Agatha Christie”

  1. I have very fond feelings about this one, perhaps because of that movie adaptation (and the excellent radio play). It has been a while since I read it though so I will need to find the time to reread it before the next movie comes out!

  2. Jose Ignacio, could you go and add this review to the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival please? I can’t work out how to add hyperlinks on my iPad.

  3. For a long time I’ve meant to find a biography of Agatha Christie, and your post has reminded me to make it a priority. What a remarkable woman with an interesting life!

    I’ve not read “Death on the Nile”, but I am a big fan of the movie with Peter Ustinov. You’ve made me want to see it again!

  4. Happy Christmas to you and yours, Jose Ignacio, and best wishes for 2018.
    Death on the Nile has always been one of my favourite Christie books, so I enjoyed your review very much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: