Friday, 8 January 2016

Bonus review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I've had quite a few Agatha Christies on my bookshelf patiently waiting their turn to be read, but when I noticed the new BBC adaptation of And Then There Were None over the Christmas period I wanted to read the book before watching it.

The premise is pretty well-known: 10 people go to a house on an isolated island, and are killed one by one until they are all dead. In a foreword Christie herself comments on how challenging it was to think up a way to do this, and it really is a very clever and surprising solution.

This is one of the least cosy Christie novels I've read – usually the investigating figure, whoever they may be, is not personally involved in the murder and feels pretty safe in themselves. In And Then There Were None, however, the narrative viewpoint shifts between each of the characters as they become increasingly more aware of their own inevitable demise, which lends the story an unusually serious edge, more like a psychological horror than a comfortable murder-mystery.

The tone remains very grounded and British however, and Christie does a great job creating a variety of distinct but convincing narrative voices. In spite of the fact that they all have quite serious flaws, many of them are likable enough for me to have wished they didn't have to die.

One of Agatha Christie's best-known novels, and well worth a read.

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