Sunday, June 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Haven't been finding a lot of romance titles that catch my eye so took a little break with this famous mystery...

3.5 Stars

And the killer is…

Just kidding! This is a mystery novel so this review is spoiler free.

Ten strangers are enticed to a semi-remote British island home for what appears to be a social vacation only to find there is a far more nefarious purpose behind the vague and deceptive invitations.  

Set during the 1930’s, the book is a bit of a product of its time thus depicting in places various sexist, racist, and bigoted attitudes and conventions. (Even the story’s previous titles are offensive.) None of the characters are ultimately sympathetic. They are stereotypical and not overly developed, but that is no doubt purposely done.  That being established though, I won’t say it didn’t interfere with my ability to feel completely satisfied with the ending/final reveal. It also caused some difficulty holding my interest in the opening chapters and keeping the characters (or suspects) straight.

This is predominantly a plot driven novel. At a certain point, I couldn’t put it down if for nothing else than to find out who was the next victim and how it was all being played out.  Following the disturbing tone of the poem/ nursery rhythm, the suspense plot is exceedingly well crafted with apt use of foreshadowing. (I must have flipped back to that poem a dozen times!) Stylistically, the story also draws on gothic fiction elements to weave its suspenseful and macabre tale.  
“There was something magical about an island—the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world—an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you may never return.”
Contemporary readers could easily draw comparisons and similarities to popular culture production of the TV series Lost and the movie version of the board game Clue. Most notably, (aside from the obvious settings and premise) the tale poses certain philosophical questions like Lost but does not offer that superior level of character development, while creating an engaging who-done-it puzzle like Clue but minus the  quirky, comical qualities.

Typical and often necessary with mysteries, this book is written in the 3rd person to which I’ll admit I’m not a fan of that POV. This is also the first book I’ve ever read of Agatha Christie, and since not previously familiar with her writing style, I was rather surprised by the choppy nature for such a renowned author. Too many sentences with “She said:” and “He thought:” type of dialogue and narration kept the writing far from smooth. 

None the less, it is an intriguing little riddle to spend a few hours with. Despite its dark nature, this mystery thriller is unlikely to inspire too much anxiety.  Might even make a make a good lazy day or relaxing beach read.


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