Saturday, 25 August 2018

Audiobook Review - And Then There Were None

  • Title And Author: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 224 Pages or 6 hours 1 minute
It looks like I am galloping through Agatha Christie now. And all because I was enjoying reading The Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah (which I will be talking about on the Pewter Wolf soon. Ish. Though am still playing caught up on the blog with my July/early August reading) and am listening to a podcast called All About Agatha, which is going through all Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories one at a time. So, because of this, I wanted to go read/listen to some of the Queen of Crime’s work. Now, I just listened to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and, due to the twist at the end, I knew I wanted to listen to this, which I bought at the same, plus this has been called Agatha’s greatest work… 

Ten strangers, with nothing in common apparently, get summoned to a small island off the coast of Devon, through letters from old friends, employment and other means. But once on the island, after their first meal together, a chilling recording is played and the voice of their unseen host accuse each of them of committing murder and getting away with it… 

Not long after the message was played, one of them chokes to death, been given a fatal overdose of cyanide in his brandy. Soon, the tension and mistrust grows as their number grows smaller and smaller and they realise that the killer is among them and is prepare to kill the all. All in the style at the now terrifying nursery rhyme of Ten Little Soldier Boys… 
Where the heck do I begin with this write-up? I can totally see why everyone classes this as the Agatha Christie novel you most read. It always wins the polls and votes and I totally get it. I listened to this audiobook over two days (under 5 hours on the Saturday while at work and an hour and 15 minutes on the Sunday) and I couldn’t stop. It became one of those stories that, even though I knew the ending (everyone knows how this ends vaguely, right?), I was still gripped by the twists and trying to get what was going to happen next/who was going to die next. If I had the book, I would be jumping back to the nursery rhyme and going “Ok, so how is the next person going to die?”. 

Hearing Dan Stevens reading this was a surprising bonus. I know Hugh Fraser reads one version of the story on audiobook and he does read most of Agatha Christie’s audiobooks, but I picked Dan Stevens’s version as I had Hugh Fraser reading Murder of Roger Ackroyd audiobook and, for some reason, I was worried I would get the two stories muddled in my head if I had the same narrator. But Dan’s reading was lovely. There were one or two characters’s voices I wish were a little different in some scenes, but I flew through the audiobook and he somehow added an extra layer to it. 

It’s not 100% perfect, but I do think this is because it does show the it’s a product of the time it was written. For example, there was a scene within the first chapter where a character met a minor character and he thinks to himself something along the lines of “Of course he’s careful with money. He’s a Jew, they’re always careful with money”. And the same character, later in the book, when he’s crime is announced, says something similar to “The Natives don’t feel the same way that we do”, basically saying that because the “natives” are black, they don’t feel the same way we white people do. Basically, this character is a racist and anti-semistic. Plus, I was shocked that barring one character questioning him after this statement (with one question which is never really answered), no one really calls him out on this. 

So… what does this mean for me and Agatha Christie? Well, this is one of her best works so anything I read/listen to now might not be up to par compared to this, but this was a gripping listen. Plus, I do have one more Agatha Christie novel on my kindle - Appointment with Death - and am (at the time of writing this) reading Sophie Hannah’s adaption of Poirot with Mystery of the Three Quarters so I don’t think I’m done with Christie at the current moment in time. And am kinda excited to see where I go with Christie after these… 

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