“In the midst of life, we are in death.”
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. (Goodreads)
This is my first ever Agatha Christie book. I wonder what took me so long to read her works. I do love Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series so maybe I felt I already had enough of the classic crime genre. I was so wrong 😅
I chose to read this book first because Agatha Christie herself considers this as the most difficult book she ever wrote. I admire her creative process—she had this really cool idea but she knew the execution would be difficult and that’s what motivated her even more. The result is this brilliant literary piece.
“I don’t know. I don’t know at all. And that’s what’s frightening the life out of me. To have no idea….”
Ten people stranded on an island gets murdered one by one: this may be one of the tropes we’re all used to by now but imagine how fascinating it was back in the 1930s!! I had so much fun guessing who the real killer is. I doubt anyone could have guessed it correctly. It was that good!! There is an epilogue to explain how it happened, but I personally think that even without it, the novel would not have lost its charm.
Aside from the intriguing whodunit mystery, it’s also an essay on the nuances and complexities of justice and guilt. What constitutes a crime? Who has the right to be the judge? How do we determine who/what is right or wrong? Although I questioned all these things, I must admit I also took pleasure in playing God—in judging each and every one of the characters and watching them disintegrate into emotionally broken little pieces, all fearful of their past that has come back to haunt them.
“Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.”
Definitely a must-read! I can’t wait to read more from her. Agatha Christie is indeed The Queen of Crime 🌸