Ten Little Indians, by Agatha Christie

>> Wednesday, July 21, 2004

When I think back on the books I read as a young teen, Ten Little Indians, by Agatha Christie, is one of the first that come to mind. I actually remember reading it. I was at my uncle's wating room (he's a doctor), wating for my mom, and I can see in my mind everything about the waiting room itself, from the layout to the furniture :-)

Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, Ten Little Indians (also pubbed as And Then There Were None) is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets--until they begin to die.
This is a hell of a book. Tight, ingenious, elegantly constructed, thrilling and suspenseful. And scary, very scary.

Christie's not supposed to be very good at characterization, but I was awed by the way she managed to make all 10 people stranded in the island very distinct individuals. Usually, when there is a large cast fo characters, I have to go back to remember who is who, at least until I've got into the book and got to know the characters. Here, I never needed to do that. From the first time we met each of the characters, they became individuals in my mind, and I never got one confused with the other. Very well done, that.

I'm rating it a B+, but that's only because I'm rating for my enjoyment of the book, not as an "objective" rating of the book's quality (I'd rate it in the A's if I were). The problem was that this is a book to be read not knowing what happens. I remembered way too much about it, from who- and how- and why-dunnit and what the culmination of the book would be, to who died how and in which order. Still, this was fun!


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