09 March, 2007

And Then There Were None....

So, I've just finished listening to Agatha Christie's mystery And Then There Were None on cd. Quite an experience.

For one thing, it's fascinating to discover what an incredibly different "feel" AC's books have when you listen to them. The narrator was great (he's the guy who plays Captain Hastings on the Masterpiece Theater Christie adaptions). Although he gave a wonderful rendition, the story didn't seem nearly as chilling as I knew it would have if I'd been reading it myself. I don't know whether it was his matter-of-fact English voice which made the entire thing seem more grounded, or if it was simply the fact that my imagination wasn't as free to "go wild" - as, I admit, it usually does with AC.

The story itself is masterfully written. The atmosphere is well laid, and the characters, especially Judge Wargrave, are entirely convincing. The mystery itself was baffling. I suspected Judge Wargrave, and I'm usually good at guessing the real criminal in AC's books, simply because of the way she writes them. I'm dreadful at figuring out how
that person was able to commit the crime. But something happens in this book that for a while clears the Judge of all suspicion.

The solution - when it finally comes - almost seems unfair at first, the red herring is so unlikely. But looking back at the story, I should have noticed one thing in particular.......

Spoiler ahead, be warned!!!!


I should have known something was wrong when Dr. Armstrong examined Judge Wargrave's body, but wouldn't let anyone else do so.

AC gives these clues to justify the ending:

1. Edward Seton's death was justified because the police knew that he was guilty. Therefore, Wargrave was the only guest who did not murder anyone (that is, before coming to the island).
2. The "red herring" line in the poem suggests the fact that Armstrong was tricked into his death.
3. The bullet would leave a red mark in Wargrave's forehead similar to the mark of Cain, the first murderer in the Old Testament.


So, I really should have been more on top of such fine details in the mystery. It wasn't quite an unfair solution after all.

Hats off to Agatha Christie, Queen of Mystery!

(Yes, of course I had to put that corny rhyme in there... who could resist?)

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