Sept. 12, 2017

"The Scarlet Kimono" | A Photo Story of Union Station

At the turn of the 19th century, St. Louis Union Station was the world’s largest and busiest train station, running service from 22 railroads.

The air is thick with discovery as one wanders through the Grand Hall and the historical wing with its many levels adorned in Romanesque architecture. Dripping with the flair of the late 1800s and dotted with extra detailing from the 1920s and 30s, one can’t help but feel that this train station could easily have been the one from which detective Monsieur Poirot boarded the Orient Express with 13 other passengers in Agatha Christie’s 1934 famed mystery novel, “Murder on the Orient Express.”

The plot goes as follows: the luxurious passenger train was scheduled to depart from Istanbul and arrive in London three days later but is stopped by a snowstorm on the second night in Vinkovci, Croatia, resulting in a delay. In the morning, it is discovered that a passenger has been murdered in the compartment beside Monsieur Poirot. As a practicing detective, Poirot is the logical person to assign the task of solving the murder. With the train stuck in the snow, and the murderer believed to still be among them, Poirot begins examining the scene. Multiple pieces of evidence are discovered, but one is missing. An unknown woman is seen by Poirot himself on the night of the murder. She is retreating down the corridor wearing a scarlet kimono--one that is not found in any of the passengers’ luggage.

All around us are people, of all classes, of all nationalities, of all ages. For three days these people, these strangers to one another are brought together. They sleep and eat under one roof, they cannot get away from each other. At the end of three days they part, they go their several ways, never, perhaps, to see each other again. —Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
He sipped his wine. Then, leaning back, he ran his eye thoughtfully round the dining car. There were thirteen people seated there and, as M. Bouc had said, of all classes and nationalities. He began to study them. —Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
It is the psychology I seek, not the fingerprint or the cigarette ash. But in this case I would welcome a little scientific assistance. This compartment is full of clues, but can I be sure that those clues are really what they seem to be? —Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances. —Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Read our story on St. Louis Union Station Hotel, and then plan your own visit to discover this richly historic space.

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