Murder on the Orient Express
"I'll admit, when I heard Ken Ludwig had adapted Murder on the Orient Express I was dubious. Ludwig is a legendary mastery of the stage farce.... But the Agatha Christie estate specifically requested Ludwig to adapt Christie's most famous mystery, so I kept an open mind. To my great surprise and utter delight, the proposition was a right one: it turns out that all Agatha Christie had ever been missing was laughs."
- Broadway World Pittsburgh
One of Agatha Christie's best-known novels, Murder on the Orient Express was first published in the United Kingdom in January 1934, appearing later that year in the United States under the title Murder on the Calais Coach. In 1995 the novel was included in the Mystery Writers of America's The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time list, and in December 2014 Entertainment Weekly included it in its list of the Nine Great Christie Novels.
The novel has been adapted for radio, television, film and the stage, including movie versions in 1974 and 2017 and Ken Ludwig's stage adaptation, which premiered at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., in 2017.
Cover of the 1934 U.K. edition.
Ken Ludwig has had six shows on Broadway and six in the West End, and he has won two Laurence Olivier Awards, three Tony Award nominations, two Helen Hayes Awards and the Edgar Award.
His work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been performed in thirty countries in over twenty languages. Broadway and West End shows include Crazy For You, Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, Twentieth Century, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island.
Other major plays include Shakespeare in Hollywood, Leading Ladies, Be My Baby, The Beaux' Stratagem (an adaptation with Thornton Wilder at the request of the Wilder Estate), The Three Musketeers, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, Midsummer/Jersey, The Game's Afoot, and Baskerville.
Agatha Christie was born Agatha Miller in Torquay, U.K., in 1890. She trained as a singer and pianist, but was too shy to be a performer. She wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in response to a challenge from her sister Clara. It was published in 1920.
Altogether she published 66 detective novels, 15 collections of short stories, 19 plays (many of which are adapted from her novels), as well as an autobiography and Come, Tell Me How You Live about her time in Syria and Iraq with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan.
The Guinness Book of World Records calls Christie the best-selling novelist of all time, with total sales of around four billion copies. She is also the world's most translated author. More than 30 films have been based on her plays and novels. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1971.
Agatha Christie died in Torbay, U.K., in 1976.