Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book #52 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None

Length Of Time In Possession : 2 weeks or so

This month I participated in something called 'A Blogging Good Read' run by Alex in which 3 bloggers each choose a book and then each read all 3 and share their thoughts.

The choice of 'And Then There Were None' was not made by me, and via this choice I learned yet another lesson in the evils of book snobbery. My immediate reaction was : "An Agatha Christie? Really? Seriously? Why?" and I entered in to this novel with fundamentally low expectations and low desire. Inevitably I was forced to eat humble pie when at the end of this experiment, And Then There Were None proved to be the one of the three I most enjoyed.

In this novel,  in classic Agatha Christie style, ten people are invited to one of those old fashioned Downton Abbey type country getaways. Nobody seems to have been perturbed to have been invited to a soiree held by someone they've never heard of, but I guess those were the times amidst a certain social class. Also nobody seems to have twigged that the name of the host U N Owen might be a problem, but in order to legitimise the parameters of the mystery you kind of have to accept that this is a logical decision for these people to accept these invites and in some cases more than others, it is.

Once they arrive on the isolated island, they are all accused of the same thing, namely, that they once got away with murder, and then, as revenge for their crime, they all begin to die......

 I liked the style of this novel and I enjoyed trying to work out who was responsible for bringing them all to the island.The poem which we are introduced to before the story begins, was a nice structure to weave the story around, though I do hear it was a decidedly more offensive poem upon original publication! 

At times the deaths are too rapid in a way that starts to seem farcical, but this hyperbolic aspect by no means ruined it for me. I congratulated myself afterwards on identifying the culprit early on, but Christie's repeated use of bait and switch meant that you constantly questioned the conclusions you drew and changed your mind. I thought I  knew who it was, but not how it was, and kept looking for possible solutions

 It's very cleverly done, as a story it's quite a hard thing to pull off, but pull it off she does, the epilogue explaining how it was done is really necessary.

I can't say that I'll be rushing out and buying the entire chronicles of Hercule Poirot or anything, I think I'll be sticking to my usual genres, but I'm not sorry I read it and have already passed it on to a friend.

Verdict : 8/10
Destination : Passed to a friend.

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