June 2022 Book Of the Month Club - And Then There Were None

rubysmama

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This also was my first Agatha Christie book, so I had no idea what to expect, other than the obvious, from the title, that there would be no one left at the end of the book.

I found it a very fast read, a page turner really, as I kept going back to read one more chapter. I was determined to figure out what was going on. And, that unfortunately, turned out to be impossible, since the perpetrator of the entire island murder spree did not die when we thought he did.

I suppose I should have guessed that one of them had to have faked their death, but I think I was stuck on there being someone else on the island. Maybe there were clues I missed, or maybe it was just the way the story was written.

At the very beginning, I found I had trouble keeping track of who was who, but it got easier, as we got to know the characters better.

Considering it was written in 1939, it really didn’t come across as being dated, except for things like the gramophone and Vera’s bathing dress.

I appreciated that despite 10 murders, there wasn’t any blood and gore. But what was with the canned tongue. As a vegetarian, that sounded utterly ghastly. :disturbed:

Four and a half stars out of 5. Took away half a star, only because of the twist ending that, I think, was impossible to figure out on your own.
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pearl99

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I had read this when I was in high school but did not remember whodunnit, even with rereading it. I can remember always trying to figure out the murderer but never getting it right with an Agatha Christie book.
I did figure it was someone who somehow researched all the cases involved and had a vendetta planned. But I thought it was someone not visible on the island. The judge did cross my mind (it made sense!) but when he died, "nope, not him." Never thought of him faking his death.
I loved the island descriptions and the atmosphere created.
In a preface she wrote it came to a "perfectly logical conclusion," and yes it was logical but not really guessable!
I liked the writing style too, not how many books are written. I liked the characterizations, the descriptions of the people. I could picture them.

I wonder why I have not been reading more of her since high school, but I sure will be now!

I was saying "bleccchhhhh" about the tongue also. Maybe it's a British thing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from me, because I know the perpetrator is rarely guessable with her! 😜
 

mani

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I've read so much Agatha Christie, many more than once, but this one I'd completely forgotten, which was a bit of a treat.
I found this one a little 'darker' than her usual style, but very clever.

There are so many characters and, in my aging years I find it difficult to keep track, so I always write them all down with a little blurb about who they are.
It's hard to find any issues, although I did think people were a little slow on the uptake when it came to the parallels between the poem and the nature of the deaths. The rest of the construct I thought was brilliantly done. I enjoyed the police going over what had happened before we found out what really happened. You could just imagine the 'what on earth happened here?!' that would be going on in their heads.

I'm not someone who reads a whodunnit trying to work out whodidit :) so that aspect doesn't lose any stars with me. To be honest, the guilty party needs to be really obscure or everyone would guess and complain that it was solveable (so many reviews that say 'I worked out who did it before the end' and that's considered to be not a good thing.)
There was one tiny giveaway I thought, and that was purely if you listened to it rather than read it (it was brilliantly narrated, but then no one would dare put out a bad Christie audiobook!) and that was that the Judge's voice had a slightly insidious tone to it.

For me it has to be ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 

rubysmama

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I got caught up in the atmosphere of the book, each person suspecting the other, small groups forming, all that conspiracy but I couldn't work out who it could be or why.
I found that part interesting too, as they paired up with someone they hoped they could trust.

I loved the island descriptions and the atmosphere created.
The descriptions were good, and I managed to get a picture in my mind of what it was like.

I wonder why I have not been reading more of her since high school, but I sure will be now!
I'm wondering why/how I've lived as long as I have and never read an Agatha Christie book before. But now I want to read more.

And I think since we've all enjoyed this one, we might have to have another Agatha Christie book club month, sooner than later.

I found this one a little 'darker' than her usual style, but very clever.
Oh, interesting.

There are so many characters and, in my aging years I find it difficult to keep track, so I always write them all down with a little blurb about who they are.
I had to keep going back in my e-book to reread their descriptions.

To be honest, the guilty party needs to be really obscure or everyone would guess and complain that it was solveable (so many reviews that say 'I worked out who did it before the end' and that's considered to be not a good thing.)
That's true. It is sometimes disappointing when you figure out the whodunnit long before the book ends. But I still like to try. LOL
 
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verna davies

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I want to read more of her books too but dont think I fancy any involving Poirot or Miss Marples, any suggestions?

Its good when you cant work out the ending or who is responsible. Agatha Christie was such a clever writer, so much imagination.
 

mani

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I want to read more of her books too but dont think I fancy any involving Poirot or Miss Marples, any suggestions?
It's a shame you don't want to read Poirot as, I think it was mentioned before, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered to be a classic. I certainly enjoyed it.
 

rubysmama

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It's a shame you don't want to read Poirot as, I think it was mentioned before, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered to be a classic. I certainly enjoyed it.
mani mani : I see it's book 4 of the series. Can it be read as a standalone, or is it best to read books 1-3 first?
 

rubysmama

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All of her books are stand alone. She didn't do the whole 'develop the life of the detective' stuff or carry on old themes.
Since I'm unlikely to ever read all her books, it's good to know they can be read individually. In addition to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I think I'd like also to read Murder on the Orient Express.
 

rubysmama

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I enjoyed the police going over what had happened before we found out what really happened. You could just imagine the 'what on earth happened here?!' that would be going on in their heads.
Thought of your above comments when I came across this. :)

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gilmargl

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I'm back! I'll certainly watch that old film when I've got more time but first to "And then there were none!"
A quick read, couldn't put it down once I'd sorted out all the characters. I wonder why I didn't read it in those far off days when I was reading any Agatha Christie book that came my way. I think the original title must have put me off, even then.
Her style irritated me at first - when she stated simply "he said"...... followed by "she said", followed by another "he said". She didn't use "answered", "replied", "retorted". Perhaps intentionally - they were all strangers, in an extraordinary situation, all having something to hide and they all just "said" whatever they felt was appropriate, not giving too much away.
In the end, it didn't bother me at all. I found it very clever and can well believe the author's note, printed at the beginning of the book:

"I had written this book because it was so difficult to do that the idea had fascinated me. Ten people had to die without it becoming ridiculous or the murderer being obvious. I wrote the book after a tremendous amount of planning, and I was pleased with what I had made of it. It was clear, straightforward, baffling, and yet had a perfectly reasonable explanation; in fact it had to have an epilogue in order to explain it. It was well received and reviewed, but the person who was really pleased with it was myself, for I knew better than any critic how difficult it had been."
Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

I lived my early life in the UK and regularly went shopping for our neighbours, a GP and his wife. "4 slices of tongue" from an expensive grocer's shop, was often on the shopping list. None of us children could understand how anybody could eat such a product which was obviously not intended for the dog or cat! A delicacy for the rich - even in tins!

I recently read "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" only to realise I'd read it before and knew very early on who the murderer was. So, the second time around was rather disappointing - on the other hand, one could say, the book was so good that you won't ever forget who dunnit!
 
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verna davies

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gilmargl gilmargl , I felt the same as you about the "he said, she said' it felt like firing out the sentences but it seemed to lessen as the book went on.

I didn't have the author's note on my copy of the book, interesting.

I can also remember slices of tongue being sold in my local shops but fortunately never tempted to try it although it was very popular.
 

rubysmama

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gilmargl gilmargl : Your absence was noticed. Glad you're back. :)

I didn't really notice the "he said", "she said", but probably because my focus was on trying to keep all the characters straight in my head.

I'll have to try to "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" to my and see if I can guess the whodunnit.
 

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The concept in this book was novel - ten people isolated on an island with their only guide being a recording that named their crimes.

The character development in this book was done quickly. The characters were described mostly as stereotypes. They were shallow characters because of this. I'm not complaining. With ten characters, I can see where it moved the story along quickly, allowing us to get to the mystery!

The complexity of the deception, involving the doctor and with Wargrave faking his own death made it difficult to see that Wargrave was the murderer. I think the murderer's plan might not have worked so well without the weather making boat docking impossible. An SOS got through to those on shore when some were still alive, but no boat could safely get to the island with the bad weather. Putting a confession in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean seemed a properly quirky ending to this book. Wargraves supposition that the "mark of Cain" on his forehead was a clue for those investigating was a little too esoteric for anyone to actually get.

Perhaps now that I am a little familiar with her style, the next book by Christie might be easier to figure. Maybe. :biggrin:

I enjoyed this book, though it did seem rather dry. We did not find out much about the characters except for the circumstances around the crimes of which they were accused. However, it moved quickly enough that it kept my interest. And maybe it was best I did not get too attached to the characters since they all ended up dead! 💂‍♂️💂‍♂️💂‍♂️1/2 stars.

And on the subject of tongue - In the movie Hobson's Choice placed in the 1800's, the character played by Charles Laughton complained bitterly when he was served jellied tongue. I suspect many did not like it - even back then!
 
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