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review 2017-09-10 20:32
Endless Night
Endless Night - Agatha Christie

Endless Night has to be the most unusual book I have read by Agatha Christie so far. I expected a murder mystery and what I got was a psychological thriller, a really great one at that.

 

It´s a slow burn of a novel. Christie takes an awful long time to set up her story and the plot thickens late in the book. Which has given her enough time to genuinly mess with my head. I didn´t expect this book to be that dark and twisted.

 

It is the best thing to know as little as possible about the book before reading it, so I will put the rest of my review behind spoiler tags:

 

Yeah, the main character is an unreliable narrator, I was right about that. And I do like unreliable narrators. Mike struck me from the very beginning as an odd and not very trustworthy character. And yet, towards the end of the book I got the impression that he genuinly loved Ellie and Christie through me off the loop. And then Mike tells us casually, in the same tone in which he would order a breakfast, that he is behind the killing and Greta is his accomplice (I didn´t see that coming).

 

But Mike isn´t the only suspicious character. Basically all of Ellie´s family is fishy to say the least. And the way the story is set up made me wonder if Ellie´s family had an agenda of their own. Uncle Andrew clearly knows that Mike and Greta know each other and yet he doesn´t actively try to find out what these two are up to (the staff might be spies of Andrews, butthey might just be ordinary people and Mike and Ellie were imaging things). I think that the whole family kind of knew what Mike and Greta were up to and they got along with it. Killing Ellie and the family knows about it is a good basis for blackmail, isn´t it? The perfect means to get their hands on Ellies fortune.

 

I have to reread this book at some point. Knowing how it ends I´m pretty sure I will be able to pick up on another things along the way.

(spoiler show)

 

I´ve read this for "In the Dark, Dark Woods" square of the halloween bingo. A lot of the story takes place in the woods, so it fits for that square.

 

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review 2017-09-08 10:40
Endless Night
Endless Night - Agatha Christie

Well, that was a mind f*ck.  

 

Sort of.  I don't know about anyone else, but the entire time I was reading this I was, in addition to waiting for something to happen, racing down possible scenarios in my head, so at one point or another I'd suspected everyone.  

 

I most consistently suspected Mike, that I was reading a confession after the fact; at one point I started to suspect Ellie because nobody could be that perfect could they?  And Mike's reaction to meeting Greta didn't feel authentic, although I was subsequently sold on his hostility towards her.  It wasn't until Ellie died and he kept Greta around that I went back to thinking he was just another cliche, falling for the secretary.  But boy howdy I did NOT see the very end at all.  That was very dark indeed and the break with reality at the end was also a complete shock.

(spoiler show)

 

I don't know what I'd call this, but murder mystery would not make the top three.  Psychological thriller, yes.  Horror even.  Suspense at the very least.  But even if you don't know who the killer is until the end, there isn't any emphasis on the mystery.

 

A lot of questions went unanswered for me, most of them probably inconsequential:  What was up with the impromptu visit by Ellie's uncle at the end - was there a point to that?  And was Lloyd really at the pub with his ex-wife?  Why?  And if the staff were who Mike says they were why didn't they stop the whole thing sooner?  Why let it go on for so long?

 

Objectively speaking, this is a very good book; it requires a commitment from the reader, to stick with it during that excruciatingly slow build up, but it repays it in spades with that ending.  It's tight, and well written and I sort of suspect Christie had a lot of fun writing it; I picture her at her desk doing a version of the muwahahaha as she constructed that ending.

 

But subjectively... I didn't like it.  I don't like unreliable narrators, I dislike being kept from the facts and I hate psychological manipulation and the very worst part:  I couldn't put the book down.  I had to know how it ended.  Does that make me more or less crazy than the book?   ;p

 

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text 2017-09-08 08:48
Reading progress update: I've read 134 out of 191 pages.
Endless Night - Agatha Christie

Random thoughts:  

 

My cover isn't metaphorical after all:  One of the early threats they got was a dead bird with a note stabbed through it.  It was only a sentence, and it was related after the fact, so there weren't any graphic descriptions; it was over before it registered.

 

Slow burn; I am not suited to this story pace.  Christie has hinted and foreshadowed the reader to a state of acute frustration by this point and I don't enjoy long drawn out edge-of-your-seat suspense.  Somebody just needs to die already!!!  Unfortunately, I suspect it will be the only person I like in the book - or almost like anyway.  I'm not sure I really like anyone at all except the lawyer at this point.

 

None of this is to be interpreted as this book being bad though; it's very well written and though I'd rather not keep reading it (see above) I can't put it down.

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text 2017-09-07 17:53
Reading progress update: I've read 303 out of 303 pages.
Endless Night - Agatha Christie

After page 150 I couldn´t stop myself, I had to finish this book.

 

And oh my god, this was such a dark and twisted read.

(spoiler show)

 

I won´t be writing my review before Murder by Death has finished it as well, because I don´t want to accidentally spoil her.

 

However, I don´t feel comfortable using this book for the "Murder Most Foul" square, since I don´t think that it qualifies as a classic murder mystery. So I will be using this book for the "In the dark, dark woods" square as well. Gipsy´s Acre is surrounded by a wood and a big part of the plot takes place in the woods, so it´s a fit for that square.

 

 

 

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text 2017-09-07 14:14
Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 303 pages.
Endless Night - Agatha Christie

I found them difficult to understand because of course they were all Americans.

 

[Source]

 

Yes Barack, you got that right. Mike doesn´t speak American.

 

This cracked me up.

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