Murder on the Orient Express/Espresso

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In 2017, I read my first Agatha Christie novel, after her books were referenced several of the books I had read throughout the year, like in the High Mountains of Portugal, The Rules of Civility, and Behind Closed Doors.

I did a little research on which of her books to read first and found several lists and lots of opinions on the interwebs!

Ultimately, when I found out Murder on the Orient Express was coming to the big screen, I decided to read it first and then see the movie.

While reading, I had a bit of time keeping track of the characters at first. Then everything started to jumble together and felt slow in the middle; but the ending had a great pay-off. Then I went to see the movie in the theater. While Rotten Tomatoes didn’t love it {it was getting ratings in the 30% range at the time}, I did! I may have even liked it more than the book. I really enjoyed the recreation of the time period. It just made me happy.

However, after seeing the movie in the theater, I noticed that the 1974 movie version gets much better ratings on Rotten Tomatoes {90+%!}, so I put my name on the long waiting list and ended up checking out the DVD out from my local library a month or so later.

While the film’s budget was nothing like that of the current version, you can hardly argue with a cast like Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery. And after about an hour in, I realized that Detective Poirot was played by the actor (Albert Finney) who played my beloved Daddy Warbucks in the 1982 film version of Annie, one of the first movies I saw in the theater as a kid!

I did like the 1974 version, too.

However, while searching online to see if my library even had a copy of the 1974 movie adaptation, I came across a book called Murder on the Orient Espresso

Although it was a possible that this was a retelling of Christie’s classic, I knew the characters much better now and thought it might be fun. Besides, it was something else that drew me to this book… It’s book #8 in a series about a coffeehouse owner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m originally from Wisconsin and it’s not often you read many books set in my home state. Also, the name of her coffeeshop is Uncommon Grounds. Back when I was in the wine biz, I always talked about our uncommon wine. I felt a connection!

Now, this particular book of Balzo’s was not set in Wisconsin, but on a Murder Mystery train in the Everglades because the protagonist is vacationing there with her boyfriend. And I didn’t expect this book to be out-of-this-world; but rather, just a bit of fun… I mean, just look at the other titles of books in this series by Balzo:

  •  Uncommon Grounds
  • Grounds for the Murder
  • Bean There, Done That
  • Brewed, Crude and Tattooed
  • From the Grounds Up
  • A Cup of Jo
  • Triple Shot

Got a guess what some of those other mysteries might be about?! The book was a fun, easy read. But I didn’t know it was going to be about snakes. Ewwww!!!

Truth be told, I’m not really a mystery girl. I sometimes get bored in the middle of them. It was mostly the setting and a few of the characters that drew me in to the Louise Penny novels!

I guess I should accept the fact that I do enjoy them; they just aren’t the genre I immediately flock to… but the same is true of other genres. Just when I realize that the book I just loved was a thrillerI find that most of them are not my style… There are some romance novels I truly adore, but some are just way-over-the-top. And when it comes to movies, my husband is always surprised when there is a sci-fi movie I can get into… (Well, truthfully, I am too!)

But I think it just takes a really good story, with lots of different humanizing and relatable elements to make any genre enjoyable.

Do you stick to one genre of book or movie?
If so, what is it and what do you love about it?

Cheers~
Carrie

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