This is a very different Agatha Christie from The Miss Marple and Poirot stories. This story has been dramatised by Joy Wilkinson into a one hour radio drama. This is not a review of the story book but of the BBC radio drama. I am a fan of radio drama and the skills taken to create a picture in the mind of the listener. Endless Night was written in 1967 and this dramatisation dates from 2008. All the characters are brought to life and a menacing atmosphere created by both the actors and the music. This recording is good value and has good overall sound. The story is one that will grip and if you like the more contemporary setting then this will be just what you are looking for from Agatha Christie. I will belaying this again very soon and shall continue with my collection of AudioGo releases.
Well, this is an interesting little oddity. If I'd picked this novel up blind, not knowing who the author was, then I think I could have got through the first few chapters without being able to guess. Here is a narrator who is just so un-Christie. For a start he's very much working class, your callow and unpolished drifter. A good looking and smooth-talking boy, who at points seemed to me like he'd strayed in from a Joe Orton play. The tone is very un-Christie too, and Michael Roberts - the narrator in question - reminded me of some of Jim Thompson's more gauche protagonists. (Dusty Rhodes in `A Swell Looking Babe' came to mind.) This is a not very bright lad who thinks he's smart at points, but doesn't have as keen a grip on the world as he believes he does.
Michael Roberts - a sometimes chauffer, waiter and bouncer - meets a young American heiress, one of the richest women in the world, and the two fall in love. After an elopement, they move into a house which has a gypsies' curse upon it and there tragedy strikes. It's a well set-up and delivered tale, although the ending - which I didn't guess until I was almost upon it - does feel a tad too rushed and unconvincing.
Part of me is quite fascinated by Dame Agatha's oeuvre, as I find her work hypnotically compulsive even as the flaws scream out at me. But here, those flaws aren't as much in evidence (although when the dialogue begins, my of my, you can really tell that Christie is the author). Without a doubt - of the ones I've read - this is the best and certainly the most intriguing of her books.
I just love Agatha Christie. You can never go wrong picking up one of her novels. Although you can't read too many at once because they tend to follow a formula. I read about two a year, and try not to spend too much of the time trying to second guess the killer twist, if you'll pardon the pun.
Endless Night is quite different from any of her other more famous titles. There is no Poirot or Marple - the story is narrated by Michael Rodgers, a somewhat feckless young man with ideas of grandeur but no obvious means of attaining it. A chance encounter and a whirlwind romance result in him marrying the very lovely and very wealthy Ellie, and the fulfilment of a dream when they build a house on Gipsy's Acre. But the land is cursed, and the spectre of tragedy hangs over the newlyweds like a very black cloud.
Most of Agatha Christie's books can best be described as cracking thrillers. But Endless Night almost has the feel of a ghost story or a horror tale. There is a real sense of invisible menace from the first page, and it makes for a somewhat uncomfortable, disquieting, read.
I had, from the start, developed a sneaking suspiscion as to the outcome (although murder does not occur until the last quarter or so). There are not that many characters to choose from. But the murder and the unmasking of the killer, means and motive seem to take a back seat to a very chilling tale of human desires and weaknesses. These are far more shocking and memorable when you turn the final page.
This is a stand -alone novel by Agatha Christie and is one that I had not read before. I have to admit that Christie is undoubtedly my favourite author of all time and, whether re-visiting favourite characters such as Poirot, or coming to one of her books for the first time, it always feels as though you are reading something familiar. In fact, immersing yourself in a Christie novel is rather like slipping into a warm pool and being taken effortlessly on a journey – she is the most capable plotter and absolutely joyous to read.
In this book we meet Michael Rogers; a rather shiftless young man, whose aimless lifestyle is about to change when he comes across the beautiful young Ellie outside a ruined house called ‘The Towers’, but known to local as Gipsy’s Acre. Michael had the area in mind for the house of his dreams, but does not have the means to build or buy it. However, Ellie turns out to a wealthy heiress and, before long they have married secretly with the help of Ellie’s companion Greta. Soon, Ellie has commissioned the building of their dream house on Gipsy’s Acre – even though both Michael and Ellie have been warned off by old Mrs Lee, who insists that the land has been cursed by gypsies, who were turned off the land.
From the beginning, you feel that something terrible will happen and this is a dark novel, with many plot twists and turns and a surprising ending. I am delighted that I finally got around to reading it and that, as always, Agatha Christie did not disappoint.