And Then There Were None is widely regarded as the best mystery novel ever written. Ten people who don’t know each other are summoned to an island a And Then There Were None is widely regarded as the best mystery novel ever written. Ten people who don’t know each other are summoned to an island and they don’t know why. None of them are aware of what they all have in common- they’ve each committed murder and were not convicted of it. After three of them are found dead the surviving members scramble to figure out which of them is the killer while getting increasingly paranoid.
Much of the enjoyment from reading this comes from figuring out who the killer is and what kind of psychological affect an atmosphere of death has on its victims. There are about six solid suspects of the crimes and you always find yourself second-guessing who the killer is by each twist of the plot. Christie had a talent for putting you in each character’s shoes and using that to play with your suspicions about them. First I thought the killer was Justice Wargrave, then I thought it was Blore, then Miss Brent, and about halfway through I settled on Vera (no spoilers- read it for yourself to see who it really is). It’s also easy to read and not a long book by any stretch. In fact, most people could probably read it in the span of a day. Highly recommended for mystery fans and leisurely readers....more
Mr. Poe was one of the best writers of the 19th century and virtually all of his work is put into this 1,500 page monster (if the size of this book doMr. Poe was one of the best writers of the 19th century and virtually all of his work is put into this 1,500 page monster (if the size of this book doesn't scare you then I'd be surprised if any of the actual horror in it does).
Included are some of my favorites: The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Assignation, Ligeia, A Descent Into The Maelstrom, and Eleonora....more
Drunk detectives solving a mystery case sounds like a funny premise, but somehow I didn’t find it as funny as some of Pratchett’s other work. It seemeDrunk detectives solving a mystery case sounds like a funny premise, but somehow I didn’t find it as funny as some of Pratchett’s other work. It seemed like he was a bit timid, like he was testing the waters when he wrote this. I understand it was the first in a mystery series, which was a departure for him at the time, so the difference in style makes sense....more
The first 80 pages had me thinking that this would be one of the most exciting novels out there. Multiple clues and cliffhangers are thrown at you, epThe first 80 pages had me thinking that this would be one of the most exciting novels out there. Multiple clues and cliffhangers are thrown at you, epically hooking in their significance, and it seems like you're strapped in for a wild ride. Once Umberto went into "lecture about obscure hermetics like there's no tomorrow mode" I was slightly put off, but the chapters about Brazil made up for it. When I finally realized this was a satire about conspiracy buffs, around page 300, the wind left my sail and I slugged through the rest. He clearly put a lot of research into this, and it's unfortunate that he chose to make fun of his own work because I was really pulling for some mindblowing kabbalistic enlightenment in this one.
Comparisons to Dan Brown are tempting, but I don't even think it's close. Content may be similar, but Foucalt's Pendulum is much more cerebral, dense, and difficult to fathom without looking up things like secret societies, alchemical solvents, and mythical monuments. I enjoy Dan Brown a little more because his books actually go somewhere, his characters don't think like robots, and he's more explanatory when he provides mysterious information. I'll give Umberto another shot with The Name Of The Rose, but it will probably be some time before I read it....more
Possession is a heartfelt mystery containing a beautiful sync of double-plots. Two researchers are getting to the bottom of a secret love affair betwePossession is a heartfelt mystery containing a beautiful sync of double-plots. Two researchers are getting to the bottom of a secret love affair between two Victorian poets. One poet is a spiritual Darwinist (if that's not an oxymoron) and the other is a devout lesbian (if that's not another oxymoron!). Along the way the researchers decipher old letters that poise enigmas behind the secret relationship, while trying to maintain distance from the corrupt establishments that are hot on their trails in the wake of their discovery. As the novel progresses, they discover new feelings about their own relationship as well. The two plots mesh fantastically at the end, as all the mysteries come to a satisfying conclusion, with several ironies to wit. There is a twist, and it's kind of predictable, but that doesn't detract this from being a phenomenal book. It's one of those books that are absolutely perfect for cuddling up with near a fire on a cold, wet day. The intermittent snippets of poetry & letters fit in perfectly throughout the book (I can see how this might bother those who are only interested in researchers' plot). The poetry is fantastical, epic, and beautiful. The letters, while being highly revelatory, are incredibly diverse in prose, as Byatt writes from the perspective of numerous peoples of past and present. There are convincing themes of "biological feminism" that recalls the mythology of Gaia while the fringe science of the Darwinist era still attempted to reason from spiritualism. There is also a strong emotional undertone of familial congruence that blossoms delightfully, like all the vast species of flowers Byatt recalls throughout the book. I highly recommend this to intellectuals, lovers of mythological poetry, romantics, and people who don't mind a massive amount of detail in describing quaint, petite settings. This didn't win the 1990 Booker Prize for nothing, I promise you....more
Read 50 pages of part 1, abandoned. Part 2 a little interesting, yet abandoned near the end. Part 3 abandoned after 10 pages. Then I read reviews to sRead 50 pages of part 1, abandoned. Part 2 a little interesting, yet abandoned near the end. Part 3 abandoned after 10 pages. Then I read reviews to see if it got any better. Apparently the 300-page part 4 contains nothing but detailed descriptions of the murder-rapes of innocent women. No thanks!...more