An early-middle career (late 1930s) Hercule Poirot mystery that takes place on a boat, a train, some hotels and Petra and does some amazing self-reference to earlier works in the Poirot oeuvre in some satisfying ways.
We meet the Boynton’s, an American family presided over by a kind of domineering matriarch dowager, with a handful of wilting daughters, an effete and useless son, and a daughter-in-law who seems caught in but not cowed by the older lady.
We also meet two psychologists who come to their very clear 1930s understanding of the family and whose findings and opinions are presented in the novel in the way a magician might reveal the inner-workings of an illusion.
And of course, in this ragtag group of orientalist tourists, we have Poirot tagging along, and of course finding a murder wherever he goes. It even gets brought up to him!
The novel is very good and begins to take on some of the same beats and ideas as Murder on the Orient Express what with a tyrant needing killing, a possible group conspiracy, the sense of a justified murder, trains!, and lots of other little bits of details that are similar in their same kinds of ways. But presented with this idea Poirot rankles.
Just never forget that as mustachioed and fastidious as Poirot is in any of his novels, he’s always gonna be a cop.
Also I love how much Agatha Christie seems to dislike Americans, but I’m with Poirot here and coffee is better than tea.