Wednesday, November 23, 2016
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Another classic tale of mystery and macabre in one of Agatha Christie's finest works. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. Mysteries are becoming fewer and further in between in this day and age when everyone wants answers immediately. I'm one of those people who has a hard time figuring out the answer to the mystery as I go, but that's when they're the best, isn't it? It's no fun when you can guess the ending and, I'm going to tell you right now, I did not see this one coming.
The story is of ten strangers invited to an island get away for the weekend at the behest of one U. N. Owen. When they get there, however, their hosts are nowhere to be found. A mysterious message accuses each of them of a terrible crime for which they were never punished and, to their horror, they start dying off one by one in accordance to a morbid nursery rhyme they found in the house.
This kind of story is exactly why Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery. The whole story is filled with atmosphere and tension as the house guests try and save themselves and discover the culprit behind these killings. Every person gets his or her time to explain who they are and where they are coming from. You get to see into their heads and determine for yourself if they're guilty of the crimes of which they are accused. You quickly figure out that these people are all deeply complex and each one is a brilliant character. Anyone could be guilty of murder and it just adds to the tension and it's just a delight.
There's a lot of death to be found in this story as well. The nursery rhyme of which the murders are based off of is filled with all kinds of sticky ends, including poisoning, hanging, and getting cut in half! With each new day, a new verse is used and a new victim is found. The whole thing just builds up dramatically and you feel the dread with each new dawn. An ongoing storm prohibits both escape and the possibility of help and you're left wondering who, if anyone, is going to make it off the island alive.
The best thing about this story, however, is that the answer is not given in the climax of the book, as you find so often with modern mystery. It's only with the very last page to you fully understand the circumstances of the murders and who, ultimately, brought about this horrific event. I didn't see it coming and I'm just going to say right now that it's impressive. The details hidden throughout the book are so fine, so cleverly hidden, that you can hardly blame yourself for missing them. It's just an awesome bombshell of an ending and it's just written fantastically.
An excellent mystery that lives up to its potential. It's no wonder this thing is a classic and it's no surprise that this thing is going straight onto the Shelf of Recommendation! I hope for a chance to read more of Ms. Christie's work in the future, especially if it's as good as this one was.
Have you read the book? What did you think? What's your favorite Agatha Christie mystery out there? Comment below and share your thoughts.
Next Time: Battle of the Sexes just got a lot more intense....