August 13, 2013

Review | And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie
Published: May 3, 2004 (first published 1939)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 264
Genre: Classics, Mystery
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Reading Guide from LitLovers

(from Goodreads)
First there were ten--a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal--and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

I gave this book a try because I have a lot of friends who love Agatha Christie's books, especially this one. I've seen in many places where it has been heralded as one of the greatest mysteries ever written. I fail to see how this book lives up to such a designation.

The mystery was pretty good and well thought out. There was a lot of planning that went into it, and it was never obvious who the murderer was. But that was the only thing that really left me guessing. The thrill and suspense that engrosses me in many books just wasn't there. There weren't really any twists and turns and shocking realizations.

It also made it hard to get into the book because there were so many main characters. I ended up following more the tone of the book than the people because for such a short book, there were too many characters with detailed stories that you had to remember. (I'm running into this problem with Game of Thrones too.) I did like that she wrote from the point of view of each character though. It helped in keeping the reader guessing who the murderer was.

The ending was a great disappointment for me. You get to the end of the island story and still don't know who the murder is. I thought, "Really, she's just going to leave us hanging?" At first I had thought the last chapter was an Author's Afterward, but even after reading that, I was disappointed. The thrill was finally starting to build up and then she savagely cuts you off and leaves you with a dry ending floating in a bottle.

I didn't find this to be the great mystery that many people claim it to be. It wasn't very thrilling and was actually slightly boring to read. I can see where some people would enjoy it though, and even though I didn't really like it, I think it was worth the read. This is an important piece of classic literature that definitely should be tried. I can also see where I might have enjoyed this better if I had read it in middle or high school.

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