EVERYONE Has Read This but Me - The Catch-Up Book Club discussion

And Then There Were None
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CLASSICS READS > And Then There Were None - *SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Kaseadillla (last edited Oct 01, 2017 09:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
Hello all - starting up discussions for the OCTOBER 2017 BOTMs. This discussion is for the group's poll selection for the CLASSICS category: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

This discussion will be FULL OF SPOILERS. If you have not read the book yet and don't want to ruin the ending, hop on over to the spoiler-free discussion HERE .

Happy reading!
Kasey


Sarah | 729 comments Kasey, you're always making me realize how quickly the year is flying by! I didn't even realize that today is October! And here I sit baking in the Texas sun sweating my butt off!

I have already read this one and I enjoyed it a lot! Curious to see who can guess who the culprit is and how early in the book y'all start guessing! I thought I had guessed correctly, but then there was a twist and it turned out I was wrong!


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 1013 comments I read it several years ago and don't remember the ending, except that I was wrong.... I think I'll hold off here until I've read it.... :)


Sarah | 729 comments I guess the last person standing at the house well before the ending, that's who I thought it was. NEWP!


Tonya (bookasaurustonya) | 50 comments I read this recently and loved it! I also guessed wrong and looking back it was so obvious. I was convinced for a while that it was the religious woman, she creeped me out. I immediately dismissed the judge because he seemed like the obvious pick. This book reminded me a lot of Clue with all the running around and constant guessing.


Kimberly Wendt | 201 comments I absolutely adore this book. The BBC tv adaptation is done very well too if anyone is interested in watching a screenplay version.


message 7: by D.L. (last edited Oct 01, 2017 01:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

D.L. I read this earlier this year as a buddy read. I really liked it and the only reason I knew 'whodunit' was because I saw the old movie first lol


Sarah | 729 comments I didn't know there was a movie! Would love to see it!


D.L. Sarah wrote: "I didn't know there was a movie! Would love to see it!"

There are several, I think. The one I saw was the 1945 version. I believe it's available on Amazon Prime if you have that :) I enjoyed it.


Sarah | 729 comments I do have that, thanks for the info!


Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
I added the trailer for the BBC one show to trailers too


message 12: by Bea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bea (beaisabel) I had to read this book for school. I really enjoyed reading it the first time around, but by the third time I read it (after answering several Socratic seminar questions and studying for a timed writing)... Needless to say, I kind of hate it now.

But the first time I read it! It was great then.


message 13: by Rash (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rash (rash0629) Wonderful read! The end was so unexpected and so was the person behind it. It totally kept me hooked up and I finished it in no time.


message 14: by D.L. (new) - rated it 4 stars

D.L. Sarah wrote: "I do have that, thanks for the info!"
You're welcome. And I just checked. It's still on there :)


message 15: by Line (new) - rated it 4 stars

Line | 25 comments I thought this book was really well written, and I did not see that ending coming! I guessed it all wrong! haha :-)


message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma (emma_folk) I really enjoyed the book! So well-written, and kept me guessing to the end. My edition has a note by Ms Christie, where she says how very difficult the book was to put together. And I have to admire that craftsmanship involved...

As this is the first book I've read by her, any suggestions on which one to read next?


Kristin  Huff | -12 comments This was a fun read! Quick-paced while still developing the different characters and giving adequate descriptions of setting and scenes that seemed as if I could be there.

Love the use of the figurines to symbolize the 10 "guests" and the nursery rhyme. It pretty much tells you what's going to happen but the fact that she makes the reader want to know how and why it's going to happen is rather artful.

Thought Question: Did you find yourself 'satisfied' by the ending - the way in which Wargrave enacted justice upon them? Was justice finally served on them for what they had done or were there more fitting ways of doing so?


-Kristin H


message 18: by Christine (last edited Oct 04, 2017 06:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christine (clarkepopunta) | 102 comments My experience (and I'm curious who else had similar thoughts)
(view spoiler)

5. I love reading these mysteries from the early 20th century.

(I include spoilers because you Never Know.)


Christine (clarkepopunta) | 102 comments Emma_folk wrote: "As this is the first book I've read by her, any suggestions on which one to read next? "

Emma, I've only read two Agatha Christie novels, this one and Murder on the Orient Express.

I gave Murder on the Orient Express 5 stars. It was very well written and fun.

And...it will be a major motion picture within the year with Johnny Depp. ;)


Marcos Kopschitz | 1765 comments The two mentioned above and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd are among the best.


Sarah | 343 comments I read this last year and really enjoyed it. It was my first Agatha Christie and I fully intend to read more of her work.

I kept changing my mind on who I thought I was. That's rare for me. Even if I'm wrong about who did it, I usually have a firm opinion well before the end.

Christine wrote: "My experience (and I'm curious who else had similar thoughts)

1. Around the middle of the book, I thought I'd figured it out. For sure. Mrs. Brent, that self-righteous ninny was the murdress. I ma..."


I agree that in retrospect it should have been obvious. But the way Christie wrote the story, it wasn't and I feel that like just makes it even better.


Sarah (sarath595) | -1 comments I've seen two movie versions of this, so the ending wasn't really a surprise for me. All the same, I really enjoyed reading the book! It was a quick, enjoyable read. My public library has three movie versions (I don't know if there are more than that) so I'm planning on watching them now to compare to the book. Of the two I've watched, I would say the BBC version is the most true to the book, in plot as well as tone.


Christine Brash | 2 comments I just finished reading this in one setting, first time around. I did notice in the pre-read the historical/cultural influence and the re-naming. However, looking back I didn't catch any of that in the novel besides a few parts, maybe I was too focused on the mystery part to dig any deeper into the cultural aspects? Any thoughts?


Jimena (jimenaviveros) | 1 comments I just finished reading this book and I really enjoyed it. I love Agatha Christie, specially the Hércule Poirot ones!


message 25: by Jess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jess This is my absolute favourite Agatha Christie! I love how it makes you guess who it is one minute and then completely change your mind the next...I was completely hooked from the start. It is definitely one of her most cleverly thought out plots that undoubtably earns her the name queen of crime!


message 26: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Christine wrote: "maybe I was too focused on the mystery part to dig any deeper into the cultural aspects? Any thoughts."

For me, a puzzling question is whether we're supposed to sympathize with any of the characters. For example, Vera, the governess, is usually presented as the kindest person on the island, but I'm not convinced. It seems to me like she could've saved that kid if she'd really wanted to.

Then there's the soldier. It seems like we're supposed to cheer for him, because he's kind to Vera and seems kind of like the hero who might solve the mystery. Yet he makes glaring anti-Semitic remarks and comments that he let a group of Africans get killed because that's basically their purpose. I really can't tell if Christie thought that we as readers would be okay with that, and it affects the way I read the story.


Sarah (sarath595) | -1 comments I don't think it's difficult to argue that Christie wants us to sympathize with wholly unsympathetic characters. She doesn't flinch away from telling us what each character has done, and makes it clear that each of them are in some way responsible for causing a death. Still, these characters are more than their past actions; we're meant to feel for them because they are, after all, people, and it really boils down to whether or not you believe they deserve to die for what they have done. Does one death equal another?

Some of the characters clearly feel more guilt for their actions than others: Miss Brent, for example, seems to feel justified, and while Vera offers her own excuses for her actions we see more of her guilt than Miss Brent's. Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard exhibit no remorse, so they don't believe they should die for what they've done. In Philip's case, his actions were self-preservation, and he used his own racism to justify it, while Anthony, I believe, was merely too self-absorbed to care about the lives he had taken.

We know what these people have done, we know how they feel about it. We also know that they are now facing death and enduring the terror of being picked off one by one, and in such a situation I think it's difficult not to sympathize with the characters. They've done bad things, true, but they're also afraid.

I'm not saying by any means that we should excuse the character's actions or their racism or anti-semitism or anything of the sort. But the problematic aspects of these characters do give us, as readers, more to think about. I'm particularly interested in Philip Lombard as a character for this reason. He says and does some horribly offensive things, but on the other hand he remains fairly level-headed throughout the entire ordeal, and acts as a kind of protector of Vera for much of the story. So how do we reconcile these two very different sides of him? And this is true of all the characters - they all have two sides, the side that drove them to murder, and the side that is capable of intense fear. Christie has made complex characters with complex motivations, and that, I think, is part of what makes this novel so compelling. Do we sympathize with these characters or not? Do we forgive their faults and mistakes, or do we condemn them to suffer as they have made others suffer? It's a difficult question, and every reader is going to feel differently, but just the fact that this novel can spur such a discussion is one of the things that makes it so great.


Sarah | 729 comments I just watched the 1945 movie, very enjoyable!


MissLemon  (misslemon) | 274 comments Sarah wrote: "I don't think it's difficult to argue that Christie wants us to sympathize with wholly unsympathetic characters. She doesn't flinch away from telling us what each character has done, and makes it c..."

Completely agree Sarah.

Agatha Christie is my joint favourite author (with Terry Pratchett ), and this is my favourite stand alone of hers. The first time I read it I did not work out who the killer was even after the last death. Christie has written a few books where the supernatural is suggested, I thought it was going the be one of those.

Those reading this for the first time not knowing the plot are in for a treat, I wish I could erase my memory and do the same! Unfortunately I haven't read it recently enough to discuss the finer details and am in the early stages of a re-read (in order )of all 84 books I have of Christies so can't read it again at this point.

For those who enjoyed it I recommend Murder on the Orient Express especially if you have somehow managed to not know 'who dunnit' ( are there such lucky people ?) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and my personal favourite ' Poirot -with- Hastings' The A.B.C. Murders.


Sarah | 343 comments Sarah wrote: "I don't think it's difficult to argue that Christie wants us to sympathize with wholly unsympathetic characters. She doesn't flinch away from telling us what each character has done, and makes it c..."

I agree.

I think it raises all sorts of interesting questions.
Yes, all of these people have done something terrible. But the justice system, in one way or another, didn't hold them accountable. That brings up the question of should they be held accountable in other ways? By other people?
The exact situation brings up other questions. As you point out, they are afraid. Do their past actions mean they deserve no sympathy for the current circumstances? Given they are in the current situation because of those past actions really makes you stop and think.
The Judge saw failures of the justice system and decided to take action himself. Was that just? What gave him the right? All of them were guilty of something, but what gave him the right to be judge, jury & executioner when the justice system didn't convict them? Do their past actions excuse his current ones?

I think Christie had a lot of points to make in this book.
People are not simple. The world is a complex place. I think Christie wanted to remind people of that.


Kristin  Huff | -12 comments As I read this, I felt a "cool detachment" from these characters. (This does not mean I approve of the way everything takes place.)

I think this is by design as well considering the original titles in both the UK ("Little N*****" and US ("Little Indians") for which it's hard for me to buy that there was not intended racism in it; not sure whether that came originally from the author or had more to do with the publishing company. (We've seen other examples in which they changed something to be in-line with their ideas of views of the time. Again, this is not approval or endorsement, but I think the various titles of this book need to be acknowledged) --
even referring to them in the rhyme as soldier boys - people who are meant to die?

We learn basics about each character as they are en route to the island (some we learn more about than others) such as what they do and how they came to be invited. We get some hints as to their "character" but very little. Then, the recording revealing that they have all gotten away with either the negligent death or murder is meant to further detach the reader from them - to cast the shadow of suspicion as they all then have toward each other - to make us want to see events through to the end (w/o getting too emotionally involved.)

We are also, I think, meant to judge the judge - These people should have answered for their crimes, but I don't think true justice was served in this way.


message 32: by lethe (new) - added it

lethe | 92 comments The titles were actually "Ten Little N*****" and "Ten Little Indians" and were based on the existing old dipping rhyme (? not sure if that is the correct term) that is also referenced in the book.


Sarah (sarath595) | -1 comments I don't think I agree that the author intends to distance us from the characters. Being that there are ten "main" characters, I think it would have been very difficult to give readers more information about each person. Also, too much information might have taken away the suspense. I think Christie wants us to care about the characters - perhaps not necessarily care if they live or die, but at least care about who is lying about who they are, and care about who the killer is. Whether or not she succeeds in making readers care is another matter entirely.

On another note, I'm wondering what people think about the judge taking control of interrogation/investigation once they realize they're being picked off. I would assume he did this to satisfy his flair for the dramatic, but does anyone think he was perhaps showing his cards by doing so?


Haley Hetrick | 2 comments I mean, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking Agatha Christie can do no wrong. She is the law against which all other mystery writers will be judged, and most will be found wanting.


message 35: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Haley wrote: "I mean, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking Agatha Christie can do no wrong. She is the law against which all other mystery writers will be judged, and most will be found wanting."

In that case, what do you think of my theory that the judge is Christie's alter ego? He creates a mystery to prove how clever he is, and they had it coming anyway...


Marcos Kopschitz | 1765 comments I'll try later to comment on some of your previous topics here. Just a first impression for now.

I think Christie is indeed a great author, and, as such, someone who masters the technique of deeply involving the readers. So, in one possible analysis, she's just doing her job, not necessarily aiming at this or that.

Here she follows a framework she used many times, with variations: a group of people gathers somewhere, someone is killed, they have to try and find who the murderer was. Sometimes they're in a confined space, it may be a train, a country house surrounded by a snow storm or, like here, an isolated island.

This whole story is a bit theatrical, but then that's what Agatha Christie was as well: a great playwright.


Kerri | 701 comments Sarah wrote: "I'm wondering what people think about the judge taking control of interrogation/investigation once they realize they're being picked off.,."

I felt like it was in his character at the time of reading - he was used to presiding over hearings and trials, used to being a figure in command and used to sorting through occurrences, statements, claims, Noise, to get to Fact. At least, that is how he was portrayed at the time.

I felt cheated by his intro until I went back and reread it - it gives the illusion of safety for the character but then BAM! Once you know you see just how sneaky a description it is! I'm floored. Christie is an amazing writer over and over again.

I got caught up on the Red Herring, trying to figure out where it was but...I didn't guess it. Ah well.

What a fantastic read though!


Megan (altmegan) Marcos wrote: "I'll try later to comment on some of your previous topics here. Just a first impression for now.

I think Christie is indeed a great author, and, as such, someone who masters the technique of deepl..."


I didn't know she was a playwright! I actually mentioned in my review of the book that it would have made a better play. I agree that "this whole story is a bit theatrical."


message 39: by Marcos (last edited Oct 12, 2017 01:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marcos Kopschitz | 1765 comments Christie's play "The Mousetrap"is famous for the longest time on stage. It opened in 1952 and is still running! Many tourists in London include the play in their schedule.

"Witness for the Prosecution" is very famous and was turned into a famous 1957 movie as well, with Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich. They're are both great!


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments I listened to this one and finished it a couple days ago. Dan Stevens did a great job narrating. Enjoyable, atmospheric read all around.

I actually saw this in theater last year at my local civic theater. It was good as a play, but I didn't remember the whodunnit so still exciting!


Sarah (sarath595) | -1 comments Has anyone watched any of the film versions after finishing the book? I know most of the film adaptations are based on the subsequent play rather than the book itself, but it might be interesting to discuss differences/similarities nonetheless.


Kerri | 701 comments Sarah wrote: "Has anyone watched any of the film versions after finishing the book? I know most of the film adaptations are based on the subsequent play rather than the book itself, but it might be interesting t..."

I have been wanting to, but haven't had time - this has been a busy week for me. But I plan on seeing what my libraries have available and go for there. It would be a fun discussion!


Megan (altmegan) Joanna wrote: "I listened to this one and finished it a couple days ago. Dan Stevens did a great job narrating. Enjoyable, atmospheric read all around.

I actually saw this in theater last year at my local civic ..."


I listened to the audio version, too! Dan Stevens was the perfect narrator. I saw he's also narrated Murder on the Orient Express, so I might try that, too.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this book as a nice complementary book to a class who talks more specifically about Detective Fiction. And its amazing that in the more theorical part they say: "[Rule nº] 6. The detective novel must have a detective in it (...) [Rule nº] 9. There must be but one detective - that is, but one protagonist - one deus ex machina" S.S. Van Dine in Twenty Rules For Writing Detective Stories and Agatha Christie broke again and again in several books those so called "rules" and she is the most sucessful of her time.

I loved the book not so much the revelation I liked explanation not so much being (SPOILER ALERT) the judge, but really enjoyed the psychological drama the characters were going through


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 1013 comments I loved this even though I'd read it before, several years ago. Now, I didn't remember the solution (!), but even if I had, I think it's complex and smart enough for a reread. Maybe not for a full-on analysis for school, like Bea had to, but to see all the little bits, all the jigsaw pieces of the puzzle.

I don't like modern mysteries, thrillers, but I do plan to read Mot Orient Express someday.

I loved the extra bits of business, as when Blore complains to others about Lombard: "It's only in books people carry revolvers around as a matter of course."

I could never get a picture in my mind of the house or the island. It's supposed to be a modern house (as of 1939) and easy to search, no hidden passages or dusty corners. Do any of you know of any images or movie stills or whatever?


message 46: by Phil (last edited Oct 23, 2017 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Cheryl wrote: "I loved this even though I'd read it before, several years ago. Now, I didn't remember the solution (!), but even if I had, I think it's complex and smart enough for a reread. Maybe not for a full-..."

Well, in my mind it looked like the picture on the book jacket, which is to say:
description


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 1013 comments Cool. I'd have loved to read that edition, instead of the library's bookshelf 'set' with just plain black covers.


Marcos Kopschitz | 1765 comments Haha, good one, a bit on the imaginative side.
There are other covers with house images here in GR, only they're over 400!


Martina Bučková | 145 comments I so loved this book. It had everything a good detective story should have with the characters which you like or dislike from the first page. Now that I read here, that people thought Vera was the kindest I have to laugh :D because since half of book I expected it will be her, the murderer, someone who looks to be good but is real evil. I guess I am not a good detective at the end.


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Martina wrote: "I so loved this book. It had everything a good detective story should have with the characters which you like or dislike from the first page. Now that I read here, that people thought Vera was the ..."

I think you are right but not in a totally obvious way because Vera was very elaborated not because she was the murderer but because she was the one who burried all the guilt that led to the all poem becoming true


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