Endless Night

Once again, just a horrible, horrible cover that seems to be completely disconnected from the story it contains. Ridiculous. They should hire me to choose the covers, because whoever’s been doing so far stinks.

Oh people, this book is delicious. Creepy and wonderful and deft and mysterious and just utterly and completely well done. The name comes from an unsettling poem of William Blake’s:

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Unfortunately there’s just really not much I can say about it without giving up the spectacular ending. The big action happens in the latter parts of the novel, and so the first 3/4 reads as a suspense novel with undertones of the otherworldly. What happened at Gypsy’s Acre? Why is it cursed, and has the curse really been called forth onto the young couple?

There’s that age old story of a poor young man and a pretty little rich girl, but something very sinister is at play. The one thing I will say is that I don’t really think there are many clues for the reader to find. This is not the type of book where you are meant to have a chance at puzzling out the solution before the end. It is supposed to take you completely by surprise, so that you feel a little shiver down your spine at how well it was all pulled off.

Read this one. Wikipedia says it was one of Christie’s favorites. If that’s true, I must say I completely understand why. It’s a total gem.

for next week:

MISS MARPLE
THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES

by Agatha Christie

not exactly sure how this is going to work out since it’s actually a collection of all of the Marple short stories, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

Destination Unknown

Danger! Disguises! Spys! The Iron Curtain!

This book would fit much better under the class of thriller than mystery. It features a great female protagonist who has been dealt a really harsh hand (cheating husband, death of a child), and is stopped from committing suicide with an offer to dip her toes in the pool of espionage.

It was written during a time when everyone was giving Russia/communism an extremely intense side eye, so the general fear of those and other related things aren’t necessarily as applicable to today. Don’t let that dissuade you though, because that’s not really what the book is about anyway.

Like I said, although there’s the bare premise of a mystery (what on earth is happening to all of these smart people?) it’s just not that kind of book. That’s not to say it isn’t a fun and worthwhile read, I just don’t want anyone to come into it with the wrong expectations. I’m not the biggest fan of the ending, it’s a little anti-climactic.

If you enjoy Christie and want to experience something a little different from her norm, I suggest picking up this book or one of the other suspense thrillers she wrote.

for next week:

ENDLESS NIGHT

Death on the Nile

This is what my cover looks like, only mine’s a little more of a pale orange and it also has an informative little box that lets you know there’s an A&E original movie. So my cover be boring and ugly, but at least there’s that.

Yum. This book is yum. It’s got an incredible cast and a mystery you’ll be able to chew on for days. Also I love the setting and can just imagine the beauty of the backdrop.

Although I do feel that Christie is the queen of twists and surprise endings, I also think she gives the reader just enough morsels of information that one could puzzle out the culprit.

The premise of this story leads you to dislike many of the characters (in my opinion), which makes it even easier to believe that they may be capable of murder. And when murder happens, it happens suddenly and quickly and the bodies just keep dropping. This is a top tier mystery with plenty of suspense that will keep the reader engaged until the very end.

for next week:

DESTINATION UNKNOWN

by Agatha Christie

 

Death in the Air

When I was looking up the basic info on this book I discovered that it’s actually called Death in the Clouds and I’m not entirely sure why mine is titled differently. I bought it at a really awesome used book store in North Hollywood and the copyright page says 1986 so it’s nothing cool like an original mistake or anything. It was first published in the US as Death in the Air in the 30s, so maybe they just decided to keep that title here? I kind of hate it though, now that I know the real title.

Unfortunately my book is also a hardcover missing it’s jacket, so I’m not sure which cover it would have had. That does mean I get to pick my favorite though!

 

Murder by a poisoned dart via blowpipe in an airplane – and no one notices! This is the case Poirot is presented with, and I think it’s fun to watch everyone struggle over such an unlikely happenstance. The fact that it is so incredible and hard to believe might clue the reader in a bit early, but I think the reveal is still well done and surprising. There’s a very interesting cast of characters and there’s no shortage of clues as to who it could be.

I also like that we get to know the victim a little bit more, because in my opinion she’s a very interesting woman. It almost makes me wish we had a book about her life, because I bet it would be a really good one.

One thing I’ve found about reading older books is that sometimes there will be something so odd or offensive or just plan random that it absolutely takes you out of the story for a moment. For instance when two characters in this book find themselves falling in love, Christie goes over the different things they have in common, including their mutual dislike for Negroes (her word choice). Now, it’s not often I come across that word and it always makes me feel weird. Also, the heck? How is that in any way pertinent to the story? I guess it would be a good thing to get out of the  way, “Ah, we’re both racists and altogether horrible people. This should go along swimmingly! Toodle-dee! Pip pip!”

The thing for me is to remember that I can criticize Christie for her random race issues that she for some reason shares with her readers while still recognizing that she is a wonderful author whose work I admire. And will be continuing to review for a nice long while. Good Lord, I have a lot of her books.

for next week:

DEATH ON THE NILE

by Agatha Christie