My grandma is a big Agatha Christie fan, so I’ve grown up hearing of her “cyanide dipped pen” spoken of in hushed and reverent tones. Up until three nights ago, I thought that phrase simply meant that she could write diabolically clever mysteries – I didn’t realize that her talent goes far deeper than that.

Given that Grandma enjoys Agatha Christie’s work so much, one of my childhood memories is of watching the 1965, black and white VHS of Ten Little Indians – not everyone’s favorite version, from what I understand, but I like it. Having seen it before reading And Then There Were None, I figured that it would be safe to start the book right before bed – after all, I knew who the killer was, I knew how the murders work, so the worst of the tension would be gone, right?

Wrong.

If anything, knowing which character was the killer made it worse since I knew something that the characters didn’t and found myself whispering, “Fly, you fools!” at the pages as I read.

Beyond writing really clever stories and crafting mysteries that are hard to solve, Agatha Christie writes atmosphere amazingly well.  The house on Soldier Island is incredibly creepy, and Christie knows how to string out the tension by matching the pace of her sentences to the emotions in the scene. As the characters become more nervous, so does the reader. By the time that the almost-heroine has her nervous breakdown, I was right there with her.

After I had finished, my husband laughed at me for insisting on turning on the light every time one of us got out of bed that night and we finally resorted to watching The Rescuers Down Under in an attempt to soothe my jitters with nostalgic childhood fluff. The ploy worked enough that I was able to get to sleep, albeit with all limbs tucked safely into bed and the covers pulled up to my chin.

So anyways, for all whodunit fans who enjoy spectacularly creepy atmosphere, this one is for you!

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