If you switched the train to a boat and took out the murder, my slow boat cruise down the Mekong River from Thailand to Luang Prabang in Northern Laos, would be a plot-free Agatha Christie.
We were a group of 21 people, including five children and two solo travellers, one of which was me. I knew no murder was afoot, but somehow being in an enclosed moving space with others, made me watch them, wonder about them, attribute stories to them. We sat on the polished wooden benches and watched the river.
The journey takes two days and you glide through green jungle which tumbles down to brown waters which lap onto sandy shores. If you look closely at the sand you will see glinting flakes of silver. The water is flowing as a river should, but it is so busy eddying and swirling in self-contained pockets of intricate activity that it almost forgets where it is going. Small worlds of hidden twigs and rocks and river bed angles cause the surface to jump and fold over itself like a dance. There is an epic story heaving under the surface; the chocolatey water shows hints of shoulders as we navigate through it.