Sunday, October 11, 2020

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Here we have another book club failure.  All in all, I've been more dedicated to my book group than usual this year, having attended more than once and actually participated in the conversation both times.  In case anybody was wondering, I seem to have no problem reading books or writing about them, but sometimes in conversation I find myself having little to say.  I read And Then There Were None with the intention of attending book group for a record breaking third time time this year.  Alas, it was not to be.  After a wretched week of stressing about work and the world, instead of going to book group, I went full introvert and stayed home to recharge.  Nonetheless, I can still lay claim to having enjoyed the book.

And Then There Were None is among the types of Christies I find most enjoyable.  Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are all well and good, but I've always had a soft spot for the detective-less Christie mystery, and this is one.  The beginning of the book finds ten strangers en route to a mansion on the much talked about Soldier Island.  The island has, of late, been purchased by.....well, nobody knows exactly who it's been purchased by, despite it being a popular piece of gossip in all the papers.  The unhappy ten have been summoned by a Mr. and Mrs. Owen either for work or leisure to the mysterious island.  Naturally, the Owens fail to turn up, but a murderer certainly does.

As the body count rises, Christie maintains the atmosphere of suffocating, terrifying paranoia among the remaining all without tipping her hand as to who the murderer may be.  Indeed, the mystery appears to come to an end without any proper revealing of the killer who has eluded the police's most diligent efforts to unpack the grisly scene at the island.  Then an epilogue ensues that is essentially the magician unveiling just how the trick was done.

Reading an Agatha Christie mystery is about the most fun one can have where murder is involved.  Full of fast paced dialog and the human foibles of its characters all wrapped up in a fast paced thriller, And Then There Were None kept me up late reading.  The story gave me just the faintest hunch of who the murderer could be but otherwise I was as in the dark as each of the hapless Soldier Island visitors.  As murder mysteries go, Christie always delivers.