Tag Archives: mystery

Review: And Then There Were None

And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

And Then There Were None is an old-school murder mystery novel in the truest sense: it was originally published in 1939, and, of course, is written by mystery great Agatha Christie.

It’s interesting to see how some writing tropes have changed in 75 years: things like dialogue placement and word tense are pretty different. In fact, I doubt a modern publisher would give “And Then There Were None” a close look because of those differences, despite the interesting story.

The set-up is this: 10 strangers are called to a mansion in an isolated island, whereupon a gramophone announces that each is accused of murder in some way. And then, one by one, the visitors are killed off, while the survivors scramble to figure out who could have done it, why, and who is next.

In that, it feels a lot like Clue: The Movie; there’s a lot of scrambling about from room to room, trying to guess at straws. Much like Clue, it also features all manners of death, so you never know what will come next. I actually looked to see if Clue was inspired by this book–it looks like no, but there are strong similarities.

However, when you reach the end, we lose the similarities.

(Spoilers to follow)

Because this book does not conform to the mystery structure we’ve all come to know: no one figures it out and saves the day. In fact, the police arrive a full 24 hours after the last victim has died, and leave without having figured it out. It isn’t until the epilogue that anything is explained, and–well, honestly, I think Christie may have cheated the reader some. I don’t think the result is truly “guessable”; it’s a rigged game.

That unsatisfactory ending was a disappointment to me, but it is a good lesson that sometimes the old standby structure is there for a reason. And, of course, it’s not wrong to mess with it. Just not something that appealed to me in this case.

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Review: The Bride Wore Size 12

The Bride Wore Size 12  (Heather Wells #5)The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit I’m a little disappointed…but that could be my own fault: it turns out I started a series on #5 (oops) and mistook the author for Jennifer Weiner (my bad). But congrats to Cabot’s marketing team! I picked up the book because of the title and because I had seen posters around, so not a total loss.

So, like I said, I came into this series at exactly the wrong point. But it is charming and fun and a nice little mystery to nibble on.

Basically, for those who are as lost as I was, this book is about Heather Wells, a nice enough girl who is about to get married at the end of the month to her tasty PI boyfriend. She works as a residence hall administrator at a college, and she really just wants to get through to the wedding… but the dead girl messes that all up. So Heather takes time out of her busy schedule to solve a murder, too.

I admit it: I only picked up this book because it had the word “bride” in it and, as a very recently married person, I was hoping to enjoy some fictionalized wedding stress. I wanted to see if all the crazy chaos that went into wedding-planning made it into a book.

…it didn’t. In drips, maybe, but really everything in the title is completely disregarded. Rubbish title, in terms of relating to the story at all. I mean, sure, it is periodically mentioned that “OMG Heather is a BRIDE!” but, let me tell you, I had a lot more panic going on in the month before my wedding, and I was, as my groom put it, not a bride-zilla but bride-chilla.

And I have no idea where the size 12 nonsense came from, aside from once or twice mentioning that Heather enjoys a morning bagel (unnecessary fat-shaming, excellent).

So I hated the title and the book wasn’t at all what I expected, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It was fun.

I found it particularly interesting to see Cabot’s perspective on working in college administration, something I know about first-hand a bit. It’s not exactly a common career path, so I found that refreshing and interesting.

The murder and related sub-plot was a little transparent for my taste, but this is meant to be light reading, so I can’t fault it too much. Overall I thought it was charming, though I don’t think I care to step back into Heather’s world much more.

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