And Then There Were None

Classic N°2 was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Offline commitments have taken priority this month, so I’m grateful for the extra day, without which I’d be posting this in March!

When I discovered this Classic

Agatha Christie is a household name even among people, like me, who haven’t read her works. The recent BBC adaptation, and a few personal recommendations put this particular novel on my radar.

Why I chose to read it

I chose this over other familiar titles (Murder on the Orient Express was also a contender) because I rearly liked the episode of Family Guy that spoofed it.

What makes it a Classic

I suspect that, to the uninitiated among us, all Agatha Christie novels are perceived as Classics. In this case the number of adaptations (and spoofs) of the story suggested that there was something about it that has kept people coming back to it over the years.

What I thought of this Classic (may contain spoilers)

I felt that the opening was slow, and a little heavy on exposition, but I’m not sure how else the different reasons the characters have for going to the island could be set up.

The story is compelling as the characters are picked off, one by one, and alliances are forged and broken among the increasingly paranoid captives.

While the set-up and resolution are interesting, I thought the ending was unsatisfactory. Each of the character introductions was in the form of an interior monologue, and it felt unrealistic that the murderer would be ruminating about the strange invitation when they know the entire plan. The epilogue explaining who the murderer was also felt unwieldy; I would have liked to be able to figure it out from the text.

Will it stay a Classic

I think it will, as the characters and setting have something timeless about them.

Who I’d recommend it to

I think anyone who reads crime novels/detective stories would find this an enjoyable short read (I finished it in an afternoon). It’s also a nice one for writers, of any genre, to analyse, because it has such a strong structure.

My first taste of Agatha Christie hasn’t turned me into a fan, but I did wind up reading other detective stories for the rest of February. I’ll be moving on to fantasy for March, starting with Mervyn Peake’s  Titus Groan for the Classics Challenge.
Happy Reading!

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