Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

There's something you should know about me: When it comes to books, well... I cheat. I often look at the last pages of a novel before I finish it. I knew Tess died. I knew Dumbledore died and what happened to Snape. Same with tv - Buffy died three times? I knew it before I saw it. Sometimes the anticipation is just too much. It becomes a distraction from my enjoyment. Sometimes I just have to know!

This branches like a big, old withered Department 54 Halloween tree into all aspects of my life. I'm generally an impatient person.(Well, duh?) I'll never do cross-stitch, make jewelry or do anything that involves intense small movements for increased periods of time. I've come to accept this fact about myself, that I'll never be able to tie a knot with a pair of tweezers, let alone use them to pluck the hairs from my chin, but with my reading I must inject one strange, bizarre anomaly.

Agatha Christie.

That master of suspense. That seller of a half a billion books, and no I didn't make that up. The "champion deceiver of our time." I've only read two of her novels, this one and Murder on the Orient Express, and I must say, both times I was peeing my pants with suspense, dying to know what happens, canvasing for clues, hidden red herrings, but...did I look ahead as a result of my heart palpitations?


I couldn't do it. I couldn't look ahead. I didn't want to know. Christie is different. Whether it's true or not, my mind is under the delusion that she's leaving me clues along the way. That somehow I can figure out who the killer is. Maybe it's because I secretly think I'm Nancy Drew right down to the Aquanet hairdo and I can solve the mystery of the skeleton key, or, ah..I mean who was the mastermind behind these evil plots.

Just like in Murder on the Orient Express, I was sure who the murderer was (I was wrong, of course). I wondered aloud and often about the fates of the ten people invited to Indian Island under suspicious circumstances by a mysterious stranger whom no one could identify. One by one, they are grimly advanced upon, following the pattern of a grisly nursery rhyme, Ten little Indian boys went out to dine...

Needless to say, it's a nail biter from beginning to end. Her cast of characters was so ingenious, honestly I don't know why she lists them in the front of the book. They're so well described, so distinguished from the rest, that it's impossible not to know which was which with perfect clarity.

It reminded me of one of my all time favorite movie's, Clue, which now I know is loosely based on this book.

An excerpt -
Mrs. Peacock: What are you all staring at?
Mr. Green: Nothing.
Mrs. Peacock: Well who's there?
Colonel Mustard: Nobody.
Mrs. Peacock: What do you mean?
Wadsworth: Nobody. No body, that's what we mean. Mr. Boddy's body, it's gone.
Mrs. White: Maybe he wasn't dead.
Professor Plum: He was!
Mrs. White: We should've made sure.
Mrs. Peacock: How? [muttering]
Mrs. Peacock: By cutting his head off, I suppose.

Ah, music. Sweet music.
I highly recommend this book.
4.5 stars

Helluva Halloween Challenge and The Classics Reading Challenge


Amanda said...

Clue is loosely based on this book?? I love Clue! I practically have it memorized! I've never read anything by Christie, but I'm definitely going to read this book now.

L said...

Yes, it's definitely where they got the idea for the movie, aside from the board game that is. The book is much more serious of course, but the concept is similar. Yes, read it! It's a great book and I'm curious if you'll figure out who did it with that spidey sense of yours.

Amanda said...

Yeah right! You have to talk to Christina about the spidey sense thing. She's the mystery girl. I don't have a clue when it comes to these things!

Unknown said...

The most interesting thing to me about this book, just from a social history perspective, is that the title has changed, three times I believe. The song that's interwoven into the book was originally titled 'Ten Little N****ers" (insert derogatory epithet for black people), and that was the title of the book. Later, when that became more uncouth, it was changed to Ten Little Indians, and the lyrics in the book were changed accordingly. I think it says Ten Little Soldiers in the song now, right?

L said...

My reprint is from 1986 and it's still Indians in the nursery rhyme, but about that n-word, it seems like I saw that word once or twice in the book. I remember making a mental note, but I can't remember where it was now. Darn it I need a Kindle! Now it makes perfect sense. It was probably a carry over from its original publication?
How many times are they going to change it to make it politically correct I wonder.

Julie said...

Wow, this is all very insightful & interesting thoughts.
Seems like a great book as it was a great review! One more TBR!

hamilcar barca said...

Kewlness! My local library has a TON of Agatha Christie books! i'm reading mysteries more frequently this year. i think i'll give Dame Christie a try.

Misty said...

Oh my lord, CLUE!!! I went through a phase where I watched that like once a week. Man, I love that movie. I need to get my hands on a copy!
ps. my Captcha is "flart"... Really?

L said...

Julie - You're so nice! Read it first, then watch the movie. Have you seen the movie? If you haven't go out and rent it - like right now!

Hamilcar - Murder on the Orient Express is also excellent. I was waaay off base with my guess on that little gem. And one great thing about Christie books - they're short!

Misty -
I'm going to go sleep with my wife - one of my favorite lines from that movie. And the multiple endings, just like the game. That actress that plays Mrs. White, what's her name, ack she was soooo good.

Rebecca Reid said...

I LOVED Murder on the Orient Express when I read it as a teen, but I honestly haven't been drawn to a mystery since then. I think I'm adding this to my list though! Sounds like a fun read!

PS I always read the end first too....even when it came to snape and dumbledore!

Amanda said...

Rebecca, I'm covering my ears! The travesty!! :D

I wouldn't read a word ahead of time on the HP books. My sister just wanted to know what the last word was when the seventh book came out, and I refused to look. She just wanted to know whether Harry lived or not. So Jason snuck that info to her when I was down at the mailbox...grr.