Friday, January 25, 2013

Classic Double Challenge: And Then There Were None and Ten

So this time I decided to read the retelling before the classic. I chose for my first pair And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie and Ten by Gretchen McNeil. My standalone review for Ten is here.

I tend to read Agatha Christie novels when in a reading slump and I usually chose her Hercule Poirot stories. This was the first time I read And Then There Were None and I really enjoyed the suspense of who was going to die next and how it would fit in with the nursery rhyme.

Ten strangers are invited to an island by U. N. Owen. In some letters Owen is a man and others a woman and sometimes the name is badly written, so that the person is not for sure who the letter is from. The guests include a pious woman, a judge, a fast driver, a nanny, a man with a shady past, an ex-cop, a judge, and a doctor. There is also an elderly couple who are supposed to serve as butler and cook. Their host is detained, but each guest is shown to his or her room, which has a copy of the nursery rhyme Ten Little Soldiers. After dinner, a booming voice is heard announcing that each person is guilty of a murder and the victim's or victims' names or nationality in one case is listed and all ten people on the island are considered guilty. They learn they will be asked to answer for their crimes and while in an uproar the first guest dies. The group realizes quickly that one of them is the avenging murderer and they struggle to find the culprit, before it is too late.

Christie does a great job weaving together all the various stories behind the guests' "murders," the ones they supposedly committed. I did not have a clue who would be the avenger and I was surprised in the end. Watching the descent into guilt and madness was fascinating and frightening. I wanted to read Ten first, because I thought the Christie book would give away too much of the story of Ten, but that was not the case at all. I really enjoyed both books and like I said in Ten, I thought the writing style was very similar. Both are great at suspense.

Christie's story is a little more literary. She does focus more on the psychological aspect of her characters. Ten for me was just like the Scream movies and Lois Duncan books and movies and it did have a bit of a cheesy quality to it, but I liked that. I know other people did not like that, but for me it really did remind me of high school. I also think Ten shows the effects of bullying, but I don't want to give away any of the story, so I won't go any further with that. I loved that both books wove together a separate plot with the reasons behind the ten "murders/victims."

I think Christie's characters were better developed and you both loathed their actions and felt sorry for them. With Ten, I did not get as attached to the characters and I feel that the reasons behind their actions toward a particular person were not told in enough detail.

I enjoyed both books and definitely will read more books by these authors, if Gretchen McNeil writes more, which I hope she does.

Favorite Character: I chose Meg for Ten and for me Vera Claythorne and Judge Wargrave were the most interesting. The Judge is so stubborn and a bit self-righteous, and he was the best developed character. Vera was someone I felt sorry for and repulsed by. I tried to decided just how guilty she was and I still wonder, which makes her fascinating to me.

Favorite Quote: I already chose one for Ten, so I am putting a Christie quote on this post. "Many homicidal lunatics are very quiet unassuming people. Delightful fellows." "I don't feel this one is going to be of that kind." It is always the quiet ones you have to watch out for. ;)

Both books were 5 cups of cocoa books for me! If you want psychological suspense go for the Christie, if you want a teen horror/suspense go for Ten.


  1. You are so on top of things! I'll get a post for linking up to reviews probably this Friday, so you can add yours. I'm trying not to read it too closely, as this is a pair of books I'm going to read for the challenge!

    1. I enjoy this challenge, because I like the comparing of two similar yet different stories. Thanks for hosting it again!