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Arts & Life

'Murder On The Orient Express' And Cozy Murder Mysteries

The mustache should get second billing: Kenneth Branagh is Hercule Poirot in <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>.
The mustache should get second billing: Kenneth Branagh is Hercule Poirot in <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>.

An all-star remake of 1974's all-star adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1934 novel of the same name (got all that?), Murder On The Orient Express stars Kenneth Branagh as the elaborately mustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who attempts to solve a baffling case involving a stabbing death on a snowbound passenger train. Branagh also directed the new film, which features the likes of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr., Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and many others.

With Linda Holmes still on vacation, we needed two guest panelists, so Glen Weldon and I invited a pair of experts on murder mysteries: Weekend Edition editor Barrie Hardymon and our librarian pal Margaret H. Willison, each of whom came armed with bonus recommendations, for everything from Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries to Death On The Nile to Foyle's War to Murder She Wrote. And, of course, we answer some burning questions: Did the world need a Murder On The Orient Express remake? How does this one compare? Does it qualify as what those in the business call a "cozy mystery"? What is a cozy mystery? Why is murder cozy? And so on.

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