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Murder on the Orient Express. Christina Huynh and Sydney Kier . Van Dine and Agatha Christie .

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murder on the orient express

Murder on the Orient Express

Christina Huynh


Sydney Kier

van dine and agatha christie
Van Dine and Agatha Christie
  • Van Dine has twenty rules that signify what a mystery book is and what it should or shouldn’t include. In most of Agatha Christie’s writing, his rules are contradicted. Although she follows some, is her book still considered a mystery?

What are the rules?

edited version of van dine s rules


  • #2
  • #3
  • #4
  • #5
  • #6
  • #7
  • #8
  • #9
  • #10
  • #11 is saying that the culprit has to be a surprise. Therefore someone like the servant is to predictable and shouldn’t be the murderer.
  • #12 proclaims that it is acceptable for the murder to be a partnership; in the end it has to be mainly one character though.
  • #13 says that the killer cant be in a group/gang because it stereotypical or expected to do a bad thing.
  • #14 states when solving the crime it must be realistic and scientific. Not imaginary.
  • #15 says the reader shouldn’t be able to guess the culprit at first, but if they reread the book it would be obvious.
  • #16 says it should always be action packed and shouldn’t have a lot of dialogue.
  • #17explains that the murderer cant be regretful over doing such a complex crime
  • #18 says it cant be accidental or suicidal because that is unintelligent.
  • #19 states that the purpose of the crime should be personal and emotional.
  • #20 explains that the story cant be original. So think outside of the box and don’t use explanations like fingerprints.
Edited version of Van Dine’s rules
rule 3

Van Dine’s rule number three states that there must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar. In other words, Van Dine believes that a mystery book should be about solving the crime and finding evidence; therefore no love interest should be incorporated into the narrative. Agatha Christie's novel contradicts Van Dine’s opinion. Many characters like Count and Countess Andrenyi, for example, had an affectionate relationship throughout the book. Mary Debenham and Colonel Arbuthnot’s relationship benefitted the plot line the most. Agatha Christie described there connection secretive and vague. This correlation made the reader more interested and suspicious as the mystery went on. I too disagree with Van Dine’s statement. I think that having relationships build character and go into depth about there connections, also sometimes it makes the mood more mysterious and frightening.

Rule #3
rule 18

Van Dine states that a crime in a detective story must never turn out to be an accident or a suicide. To end an odyssey of sleuthing with such an anti-climax is to hoodwink to the trusting and kind- hearted reader. I agree with his opinion because if the resolution was suicidal or accidental the book would be pointless. A murder is defined as an unlawful premeditated killing by another human being. A mystery isn't as intriguing unless it is a murder. Murder gives the author more choices to attach personal conflict and detail into the story. In this book Ratchett, also known as Cassetti, was murdered by twelve other passengers. The author was able to create many killers because they all had emotional attachment to the victim. That is why the book is considered a murder. If it was self committed or unintentional the book wouldn’t be puzzling or worth reading. Therefore, I agree with Van Dine.

Rule #18
rule 19
The motives for all crimes in detective stories should be personal. International plottings and war politics belong in a different category of fiction — in secret-service tales, for instance. But a murder story must be kept gemütlich, so to speak. It must reflect the reader's everyday experiences, and give him a certain outlet for his own repressed desires and emotions. This is simply stating that there should be a lot of emotion and relation to personal happenings. If that is included in the novel, the reader is more likely to become attached and scared because it is realistic. The Murder on the Orient Express has a lot of connections with personal experience to the Armstrong family and internal emotions because of it. Agatha Christie’s narrative agrees with Van Dine’s nineteenth rule.

12 people in jury- 12 wounds- 12 people related to the Armstrong case

Rule #19