And Then There Were None – by Agatha Christie

23 02 2021

I recently read the following quote from Val McDermid: “Agatha Christie is the gateway drug to crime fiction”, and am finding this more and more so to be true! Having read Murder on the Orient Express last summer, I asked for another for Christmas – my brother got me this and it was excellent!

I don’t know if this true of all of her books, but in the two I’ve read, they’ve started by introducing a whole load of unrelated characters, and then starting to tell the story, this means they can take a while to get to grips with, but in this one I kept a couple of post-its in pages with info that was helpful to flick back to frequently, eg the character intros, why each of them had journeyed to this tiny island, and the rhyme that gives the structure of the story, “Ten little soldier boys” (although it’s had other names in the past, which have also been the title of the book, but have since been deemed less than PC).

But fairly soon, all of them were familiar, and I was hooked! I kept grabbing it to see who was going to be killed off next (it brings out a very dark side!) and if the people I thought might be responsible really were – completely addictive.

I will certainly be asking for another for my birthday!





Murder on the Orient Express – by Agatha Christie

25 05 2020

I had always assumed that Agatha Christie books would be a bit stuffy and high brow, and hard work to read. My goodness I was wrong – not that it’s trashy, not at all, but I just read a book in a week, I was completely gripped!

We cover the sleeper carriage of a train which departs from Istanbul and gets stuck in a snowdrift on the same night that someone is killed (this is hardly a spoiler, it’s a murder mystery!), and given that the detective Poirot is already on the train, we work through his investigation, with all it’s twists and turns.

In all honesty, I was completely won over just by the contents page – as a maths and data brain, the structure to this is just beautiful. To some, the idea of this could be off-putting, but don’t worry – even with all it’s organisation, it still flows as one continuous story.

The other thing I really and truly loved about this book was how it helped you keep track of everything going on. There are a lot of characters, a lot of things happening, and so at points in the book we are provided with a labelled map of the train carriage, a timeline of the events we know so far (because Poirot wrote it down to be ‘neat and orderly’, a recap of what we know of all the suspects so far, and a list of questions we still need to answer. I found I had the corner of each of these pages folded down so I could refer back to them easily. It’s just entirely useful!

I hadn’t seen the film, so had no idea what was going to happen, but what was interesting was that while my copy of the book has the film poster as it’s cover (see below), all the characters looked totally different in my head (my Poirot was, of course, David Suchet). I had imDbed to work out who was meant to be who – but that didn’t help at all!

I really want to see the film now!