It is perfectly clear. Mr. Owen is one of us…
Ten strangers are all invited to travel to Soldier Island. They have never met before and their hosts are unknown to them, but they all have one thing in common. Murder. One by one, the guests drop dead according to an eerie nursery rhyme found on the wall of every room. With a mysterious host nowhere to be found, suspicion turns to everyone left alive, until there are none.
This was the selection for my book club this month and I was excited to get my hands on it (I voted for this one). Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for my library to have it available for me.
I managed to read this book in a matter of 2 days! I couldn’t put it down. There is a reason Agatha Christie is celebrated as the Queen of Mystery or the Queen of Crime. I have not enjoyed a story for its complex simplicity (is that a word??) in quite some time. It was masterfully written and every part of the story contributed to the next. Just when I thought I had it all figured out and I knew who Mr. Owen was, BAM! I was wrong… but I was also right!
Despite the number of characters and side stories attached to them, these were easy to keep track of. All of the characters had a past that was revealed in pieces and added to their personalities. If you have ever read any of my reviews, I am BIG on characters. Characters make or break a story and these are beautifully constructed. They are believable and I both loved and hated them. Miss Brent! Ugh that woman! And there was something from the very beginning about Justice Wargrave that I just did not like!
This book was just the right length to make it a quick read (hence, 2 days), but long enough to tell the whole story and leave no holes. What I loved about it is the very end! There is a letter found at sea and sent to Scotland Yard that finally explains all of the deaths and who the killer is/was, and I was both right and wrong in my suspicions. There were no questions left unanswered and because it was short I was able to resist the urge to read the last chapter. If this would have been even 100 pages more, I don’t think I would have been able to resist skipping to the ending.
Even though I know the ending, I think I could read this story again, which is weird. Murder mystery books are a one-time reading sort of book, but I think I would read this one again just to see if I could pick up on any clues I might have missed the first time around.
There were so many twists and turns, but I liked it. I’ve read a few reviews where readers were turned off by the red herrings of this book, but I think I haven’t read a book like this in a while and that is why I liked it. I love trying to piece the clues together and figure out who the bad guy is and this one had me guessing and then re-guessing over and over again.
And the way Agatha Christie managed to stick to the nursery rhyme, brilliant writing. I kept reading the rhyme over and over again and was trying to figure out in advance how she was going to kill off the next character and stick to the sequence and sometimes it was easy, but others (like the 3 walking through the zoo) I couldn’t guess. Then, I read that part and all I could do was shake my head in surprise that she went that route.
I don’t think it can be said enough, Agatha Christie is a wonderful writer. Her books never cease to amaze me. I have not read any of her works in quite some time (I went through a murder mystery phase in high school) and forgot how beautifully crafted her stories are. I am never disappointed. There is just enough detail and suspense to keep me turning pages and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing.