Cool Down with
Agatha Christie, Endless Night
My review of this book will have a different format, as I read it for a Readalong.
I was so excited when my favorite book blogger Jen @ Devourer of Books posted this Readalong, as I had never really done a Readlong, and the last book by Agatha Christie I read was… decades ago.
WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?
Michael Rogers dreams of a rich, beautiful wife and a perfectly designed house. He finds the woman, and they build the house. Then sudden death strikes. [Goodreads]
So here are the questions posted by Jen, and my answers:
- Agatha Christie tends to use third person narration, the only exceptions I am aware of being The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and, of course, Endless Night. What did you think of her use of first person here?
First, I did not know the use of the first person was unusual for AC, so at first I didn’t think much about it. As early at chapter 2 and 3, the theme of memory comes up, so it only made sense, and fit perfectly with a first person narrator. When I reached the last 2 chapters and discovered what had happened, I think it made it even more creepy and sick to have it in the 1st person; I think a 3rd person narrator would have been more prone to induce some sense of guilt in the narration. I don’t feel any of that. It makes the character of Michael even more sick and evil.
- The way that this story advances is also very different from the way most of Agatha’s stories advance, with no dead body for quite some time. What were your thoughts while reading, did you find it suspenseful?
I honestly did not need any dead body to find it suspenseful. From the first chapter on, you have words constantly recurring, such as shiver (a lot of shivering in this book, I can even count them for you if you wish!), black cloud, shadow. moribund, semi-gloomy, scary, cold little wind.
And actually the word dead comes up twice on chapter 4 (a dead and alive voice; it’s a death trap).
Of course I felt a lot of suspense related to Gipsy’s Acre. I felt like a sword of Damocles was hanging over it (what better of suspense can you have than a hanging sword, ah ah!!). But I did not know when the sword would fall, and who was holding it, so plenty of suspense, yes! And when I thought I knew who held it (Mrs Lee in chap 5, and then Great in chap 11, because of her description as a Valkyrie – yes yes I fell twice in the trap myself! – I am really not too used to mysteries, apart from Ellis Peters’ s series on Brother Cadfael!), I was absolutely wrong, and found even more suspense. Well Greta was in, but I had forgotten that Valkyries had partners.
- With whom did you most identify while reading, Michael or Ellie?
Until chapter 23 I identified with Michael, just because of his social position. I don’t like too much very rich people. And the way the book is presented from the start is its memories of some very tough event that happened to him. So I really fell into the “oh poor guy…”. Though at the same time I was wondering why he absolutely insisted in getting this house – ok he did not seem to believe at all in curses, and then why he wanted to stay there, after all the real threats and signs. Again, never a minute did I suspect HE had planted them.
- When the dead body finally did show up, what did you think was the ultimate cause of death? Did you suspect anyone?
First I suspected Mrs Lee of course in chap 5, though it was so plainly presented that I should have known it could not have been her directly. All along the book, with similar threats and her disappearance the day of the 1st crime, I still thought maybe she was the culprit.
And as I just said, I actually suspected Greta since chap 11, with the mention of the Valkyrie and the beginning of the them of the influence she has on Ellie. I did not like her personality at all, I thought she wanted to be nice to Ellie just to eventually kill her and get all her money. I never thought she was authentically helpful. And I sided with Mike and his fake hate of her, well he did hate her eventually, but in a more subtle way than I understood it earlier in the book.
- Endless Night ends with a big twist, did you see it coming? What did you think of the way Christie chose to end the story?
I did not see anything coming… I could not understand why Greta in chap 21 said: I wish they would all go back where they belong. Those were the same words Mrs Lee had used earlier in the book, so I was totally confused: was Greta also a Gipsy, partnering with Mrs Lee to keep the house for themselves?
The first shock came with the mention of the fake quarrel between Mike and Great in chap 23, and then it was non stop shock for 20 pages to the end!
I think the way AC ends the story fits really well with the madness of Mike. It ends with this crazy monologue, all self-centered. It fits with the memory theme of the beginning of the book.
If you want to read what others answered, go here.
I really enjoyed very much this event, I had not taken notes for a fiction book for decades, so it was nice to be back to the study mood for fiction, as I did not know what the questions would be, I wrote down a lot as I was reading.
The book was ultimately very dark and spooky for me, but very well written.
HAVE YOU READ THIS UNUSUAL BOOK BY AGATHA CHRISTIE YET?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE AGATHA CHRISTIE’S BOOK?
I received this book for free from HarperCollins