Well, here we go – our first murder! Agatha has a certain methodical bent of mind to the way she writes. So she works through all the logical possibilities. Was it suicide? No, seems unlikely. (And we, the reader, know better than that.)

Poison? If so, how?

What’s interesting about this chapter, however, is what it brings out about the other characters. Dan Liebke asked a few days ago if we would see murderous thoughts in people’s heads . . .

Well, we’re starting to get an insight into a twisted bunch of people. The hanging judge. The general who sent his wife’s lover to his death. And perhaps most insidious of all – the nanny who let a child drown. . . . But he wasn’t a strong swimmer, so there wasn’t much she could do, right?

Have a good weekend – and I’ll meet you back on the Island on Monday!

4 thoughts on “And Then There Were None – Chapter 5 (1 Dead; 9 Alive)

  1. Yes, we’re beginning to see they’re all nasty pieces of work and that the mysterious gramophone accusations are probably justified.

    But with respect to being inside their heads and seeing murderous thoughts, I’m okay with these kinds of thoughts about past misdeeds. But I’d feel cheated if we went into somebody’s head and didn’t see relevant thoughts about current murders.

    For example, if it’s eventually revealed that, say, the nanny (I can’t remember anybody’s name) was somehow responsible for the poisoning of our first victim, then I’d probably consider her current reminiscing about the swimming death something of a cheat, when it would be more natural to be thinking ‘aha! my poison worked – excellent’

    Does that make sense?

    Of course, I could be proven wrong. Maybe AC could do it in such a way that those kinds of (seemingly unjustified) hidden thoughts would work and not feel like a cheat. But I doubt it.

  2. That does make sense, Dan. Actually, you’ll notice that when Anthony Marston keels over, all of a sudden, we just hear general thoughts – “He was so young, etc” without being told who’s thinking what. So the thoughts of the murderer, whoever he or she is, are concealed from us. That’s why when I don’t think you’ll feel cheated.

    To be honest, though, only once have I ever felt cheated by one of Agatha Christie’s books.

    It was one whose name I won’t mention, in case you ever get a chance to read it, and it wasn’t a detective story, so much as a thriller. But anyway, our intrepid heroes were solving the crime and trying to catch a criminal, and along the way, they were joined by another person who was a supposed good guy.

    Well, he played the good guy all the way through the book, but I had these slight suspicions that he might be the bad guy. It was just instinct, but I started reading closely, and sure enough – there were a few subtle hints that this guy could mean trouble.

    So I felt really proud of myself for having guessed this early about halfway through the book. And so when, in the second last chapter, he was revealed as being a bad guy – I was patting myself on the back.

    …until in the last chapter, it turned out that we were all misled and that it was someone else. Agatha (the sly old dame) had planted the clues in such a way as to lead the more clever of us readers to think we’d worked it out ourselves, only to completely foil us all.

    But I’ll stop hyping her plot skills in case you all come up with the winning theory mid-next week and then we run out of steam in the next two weeks.

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