Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And Then There Were None.

Title/Author:  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Narrated by: Hugh Fraser.

Genre: Mystery.

Publisher: BBC Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Vera.

All in all: Had a problem with the "telling" and "asides," but the action and mystery kept it going.

Synopsis: 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, and one by one they begin to fall prey to an unseen hand. As the only people on the island, unable to leave and unable to call for help, they know that the only possible suspects are among their number. And only the dead are above suspicion. ~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:  What if someone outed a shameful secret that you held?  What would you do?  What if you were isolated with several other people and they started getting murdered?  Then what would you do?  This is what happens in And Then There Were None, basically a blueprint for many mysteries to come. 

Agatha Christie is an icon.  The name alone conjures up intrigue. Her many works gave birth to television shows, movies and contributed to the murder mystery genre.  Christie also wrote a play of the same title which was adapted into a movie that I saw when I was little.  This movie never left me.  So, I was pretty thrilled when I saw the audio book in the library. 

The problem for me in this book is the telling.  At the start it seems necessary to describe each character and how they are lured to Indian Island, but it is not engaging.  Also, the over explanation into certain people's thoughts did not grab me and the epilogue and finally the confession, while beneficial to the story was not appealing.

The narration by Hugh Fraser was pretty good.  He has a very pronounced British accent and it was kind of amusing to me that such proper sounding speech is used to describe horrific crimes.  In other words, a very civilized voice talking about very uncivilized acts.  For the most part, the voices are distinguishable and while I didn't feel it the most inspired narration of a book, it did lend itself to the setting, the time period and the characters.
Ten people are invited to an island under questionable circumstances and soon they are all accussed of being responsible for the death of someone (or more than one person).  Then one by one people begin to die.  Because I had seen the movie, I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was unless of course the movie was different than the book which often happens.  It is different in a few respects, but the killer ended up being...well, I won't give it away. 

I love the way each death occured to reflect the nursery rhyme about 10 little Indians and the plot device of having one of the 10 figurines disappear each time someone got killed.  All the while there is confusion, suspicion and helplessness at being trapped on an island at the mercy of a deranged murderer.

Each character is so different that it wasn't difficult to keep track of all the players.  The only ones that I kept interspersing were the Judge and the Admiral.  Perhaps because they were both older and the voices seemed similar to me.  I really enjoyed Vera's story...that backstory would have made an amazing novel.  To me, she is the most interesting character.  The way that Christie gave her history pieces at a time had me intriged with her. 

This audiobook is only 5 cds, so it was a quick "listen."  Although I may not count this in a list of "must reads" I would put it in a list of "should reads" if for nothing else than because it was written by Agatha Christie, one of the most famous mystery writers of our time. 

Other editions:



Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I really do want to read this! I fear that I haven't read enough Agatha Christie, and since I recently read Ten by Gretchen McNeil, which is base on And Then There Was None, this would be the perfect book to get my feet wet in Christie's book pool.

I did do some research into this book after I read Ten, which led me to the book's original name... one which I'm glad they changed to And Then There Was None!

fakesteph said...

I'm so sad you didn't love it. This was one of my favorite books as a kid, but I haven't read it in probably 15 years! I think I'll have to read it again, but I'm scared it will disappoint me.

Staci said...

Aw, it's one of my 5 favorite books of all time. I had this copy of my mom's that she had I think from high school. I had already read it several times over in middle school and several more times since. I have it on my shelf now. Every now I take it out again and read it even though I know who the killer is. Now the movie on the other hand, I wasn't all that impressed with, but I rarely am on movies made from books, so that's not surprising.

Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

I was planning on reading this before I read Ten but then I was just too excited so I didn't. We did this play in high school and it was really good I never read the book but we did the play in high school (which was so good) and I think I remember that the play had a different ending but that was a long time ago so I could be wrong. I'm sure you're won't tell me if I'm right though...

Midnyte Reader said...

@fakesteph & Staci - maybe if I had read it instead of listened to it I would have liked it better. I can see it being a great discussion book.

@Kate & Kim - If you do read it I'm anxious to see what you think.

Unknown said...

Oh so cool! I've been meaning to try Agatha Christie for forever. Older books almost always overdo the telling aspect, but I'm glad that this one still had enough intrigue to keep your attention.

Roberta R. said...

Maybe I'm biased, because I've been reading AC since I was...ten? I'm not sure, but it was sometime along those lines. Also, I read all AC books in Italian (though I have an original copy of Hercule Poirot's Christmas, a.k.a. Murder for Christmas, a.k.a. A Holiday for Murder), and the untranslated version may possibly sound different. Not talking about the audio version you have. Anyway, I do think this is a highly original novel, though a bit unplausible (like every great mystery book is LOL). The atmosphere is deliciously oppressive and haunting, and like you said, the characters have distinct voices without being stereotypes - at least for the most part. As for the telling, you may be right - maybe I didn't mind it because I get used to the style :). said...
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