Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30w3d: Bed Rest Book Review

On Saturday night two of our friends came over for dinner and to hang out. It was wonderful to see them! We had burgers and fries (only a few fries for me) and my sugar was very cooperative which made me happy. They brought me some books that they thought I'd enjoy while on bedrest. One of them was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It's been published under a variety of names depending on the time period and country--the original title is extremely non-PC. The version they brought me, while having a different title, still had the original language in it, and it was definitely shocking to see that word over and over and over again. I know that times change--the original rhyme was not "eeny meany miney moe catch a tiger by the toe" after all--but it still took me out each time the name of the island came up--and that was frequent. I appreciate my friend's wish to have the original text, but I think if I were buying the book I would buy a newer version.

(image credit: This is not the version I have--I'm not entirely sure the version I was loaned is even still in print.)

However, I would highly recommend this book in a revised version. There's a reason Agatha Christie is known as the master of the mystery. The book has great pacing, excellent mood, and the characters are all distinct and memorable (tough when you have ten main characters and your reader has to meet all of them quickly and then keep track of them as they're killed).

It was also fun picking up on the social mores of 1930s England--the characters come from a variety of social classes, and the little distinctions in the way they treat each other is interesting. For example, the male servant is only ever called by his last name--no honorific of "Mr." for him. And the elderly spinster calls the younger female secretary by her first name, but the secretary always addresses her elder as "Miss" LastName.

I am a terrible peek-ahead-reader. As in, I almost always have to flip to the last few pages to find out what happens at the end because I lack the patience to wait until I'm finished. I forced myself to wait this time, and it was worth it. I totally did not guess how the mystery would play out, and I loved it. I don't know how one would guess ahead of time--I don't think there are clues. There's a similarity with Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier but that doesn't detract.

To summarize, this book reads very quickly and kept me entertained and guessing until the end. A great bedrest read!

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