Tuesday, 20 November 2012

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is widely regarded as one of the most successful authors of all time and while some consider her books a little out dated and cliched, what you need to understand is that this woman was the first to do it, she made those cliches, writing such classics as 'Murder On The Orient Express' 'The Body In The library' and the best selling mystery novel of all time 'And Then There Were None'

I love  a good 'whodunnit' and there is no one better at writing them than the master of this sub-genre, Miss Agatha Christie. She has written over a hundred books and created two of the best known sleuths ever, the Belgium moustache himself Poirot and that nosey parker Miss Marple. But neither of those two busy bodies feature in her most famous book, and that's because there is no one at the end of this story to unravel the mystery, indeed there's no one left at all. As if the name doesn't give it away. The original title mind you gave nothing away, but was incredibly racist (I read a very old copy that I felt slightly concerned about being seen reading on the train) So what the hell is the book about anyway?

Mind your own business, Jane!

Ten people are  invited to a mysterious mansion on a secluded island for a weekend retreat by a person they can vaguely remember. And like any self respecting person with something to hide, they all turn up, the fools. Oh, did I forget to mention they all have something to hide because they totally do, and on the first night all the dirty laundry of the guests is aired for all to see or hear. Everything is laid on the table, there are no secrets here and everyone is guilty. It isn't long before they start to die, one by one, in the fashion of an old poem which hangs in each of the guests bedrooms. Not to mention the very literal metaphor of ten miniature figures which stand in the centre of the dinning room table that eerily disappear once another victim meets their maker.  

Who's next?

This is a wonderfully written book, the simple plot and set up allows you to get fully submersed into the story, the characters and their backgrounds straight away. It's very well paced and I was never bored at all. You're constantly thinking who's behind this and who's going to die next? There is a simplicity in Christies writing, which is very dialogue driven (some of her books read more like plays then novels), but that's one of the charms of her style, she has an ability to fully realise a character through their interaction and conversations with other characters. The ending of this book does not disappoint as you're left to wonder who the bloody hell was behind it and in the epilogue all is revealed.

I loved this book. If you're like me and you want to know what happened in detail, the reason behind it and how it was accomplished, then you'll love the ending. If not then stop reading after the last death and try to work it out yourself.

Psst, you never will.

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