Chelsea: Welcome back to Not Now, I’m Reading, episode 9, volume 2 of Not Now, I’m Reading Something Awful. This is the installment where we read Kay’s pick for me, which is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. But before we get into all of that, we are first going to talk about what we are currently reading. And Kay, I’m gonna make you go first this time.
Kay: Okay, so still rereading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. It’s not a trilogy. I almost said trilogy. It’s definitely not a trilogy. There are way more than three books in this series. But I did just finish rereading the third one, The Last Colony, which is so good.
Chelsea: It’s so good.
Kay: There’s always really great political intrigue stuff in these, but this is the first book where he goes fucking hard with the political intrigue stuff, I think. Which is kind of the hallmark of the rest of the series, so far. There’s a lot of political maneuvering between various races and factions and it’s just really cool. I love the worldbuilding in this series. I love the characters in this series. I love the pacing. It’s really funny. There’s lots of feels. If you like scifi at all or if you like humorous books at all, I just really, really recommend this series. I try not to gush about things by straight white dudes to often, but these books are really good. Big Scalzi fans here at the podcast. And I also —
Chelsea: Big Scalzi fans.
Kay: Big. And I also read, I’m actually not sure if it’s a novel or a novella, because I read an e-galley of it. It’s 248 pages. But I could not tell you how many words it was. I have no idea. It’s called The Red.
Chelsea: That’s right on the short side.
Kay: It’s called The Red by Tiffany Reisz.
Chelsea: I love her.
Kay: So I’ve only read a handful of things by her, with mixed success. I think her prose is gorgeous as fuck.
Kay: I think her writing itself is beautiful.
Chelsea: And full caveat, the Siren series was the first erotica I ever read.
Kay: So I’m sure soft spot, there.
Chelsea: So yeah, for sure.
Kay: I just. Am a little leery sometimes of the way she writes consent things.
Kay: And a lot of it is just that she’s writing things as implicit consent and I like for there to be slightly more verbal confirmation of things. And in this novella/novel in particular, the heroine sells herself for a year to a man she does not know and has no information on and never gets full name of.
Chelsea: That doesn’t sound safe.
Kay: Doesn’t do any background checking, or anything. She sells herself to him for a year to save her mother’s art gallery. Her mother has died and left her in a bunch of debt. And the sex scenes, itself, are really hot, but there’s things going on where I’m just like uh, there’s too much of a power imbalance for me to get past some stuff, here.
Chelsea: I think that’s the thing. I think with Tiffany Reisz plays with a lot of power imbalance.
Kay: And consent play has been a big part of her work that I’ve read so far.
Chelsea: For sure.
Kay: And that’s just not my thing. And that’s fine. I think you would probably actually really like this, by the way.
Chelsea: I have the e-galley for it.
Kay: I think you’ll really enjoy it. As I’m reading it and like, if I could disconnect my brain enough from these things to just enjoy these sex scenes, I’d be like these are great sex scenes, but.
Chelsea: I’m like really good at doing that, for better or for worse.
Kay: It ends with her being kidnapped by someone else and him kidnapping her to another country to marry her and she’s like fine. I’m not even kidding. That’s how it ends. I’m just gonna put this aside, now. So it’s one that just didn’t work for me. The prose is gorgeous. The sex scenes were hot. It was a your kink is not my kink situation, I guess, you know? And that’s fine.
Chelsea: And that’s 100% valid.
Kay: 100% fine. I’ve been reading some really great fics. Really great fics. I don’t know why all of my fave writers have been posting fun, new stuff lately, but I’m enjoying it. One of them is Superstars In Their Own Private Movie by Chash. Chash, I actually don’t know how you say Chash’s name. It might not be Chash.
Chelsea: That’s how I’ve always said it.
Kay: It’s c-h-a-s-h. She’s one of my favorite writers, not just of fic, but just period. I basically love everything she ever writes. This is for The 100 fandom. It’s a Bellamy/Clarke fic. It’s a Harry Potter au where they’re all professional quidditch players and also one of their muggleborn friends has basically created wizard twitter. So there’s a hilarious social media aspect to this.
Chelsea: I’m so into that.
Kay: And one of the things you can do on wizard twitter is you can, you have to opt into it, so it has to go both ways, but you can either send people fairly harmless jinxes, or you can send them sweet things, like chocolate frogs and things like that. So it’s really cute and also very adorable and fun worldbuilding details. I blanket recommend everything she’s ever written in any fandom ever, just by the way. I’ve not read her Supernatural RPF because I don’t read that, but everything else I’ve ever read by her is great.
Chelsea: Agreed. She’s one of a handful of writers I’m subscribed to and am always reading, so.
Kay: Oh, see, I’m subscribed to everyone. Um. [laughs]
Chelsea: I know, we’ve already established you are way better at AO3 than I am.
Kay: We both use AO3 very differently.
Chelsea: Very differently.
Kay: At some point we’re just gonna have to dedicate an episode to AO3 use.
Chelsea: Oh, yeah.
Kay: And I would be down for that, I think.
Chelsea: That’s super nerdy, but I’m totally here for it.
Kay: Would you guys be interested in that?
Chelsea: Let us know if you’d be interested in that.
Kay: Let us know.
Chelsea: I’d be interested, so we might just fucking do it, anyway.
Kay: We might just do it cause we want to. And the next fic I want to recommend is I have kept my feelings to myself (I could find no language to describe them in) by theappleppielifestyle.
Chelsea: That’s a beautiful title.
Kay: Right? theappleppielifestyle writes very fun stuff in Avengers Marvel movie fandom a lot. This one is about Steve and Tony learning how to communicate better. And how Steve is very much not a verbal communication person. He does a lot of nonverbal communication, but in a very different way from Tony. Who, Tony talks a lot, but doesn’t say a lot if you know what I mean. And he also communicates a lot nonverbally, but not even close to the same way. They basically are learning how to speak to each other and also involves touch-starved Tony, which I know is a thing that Chelsea enjoys.
Chelsea: [sighs] I love all Tonys. But pining and touch-starved Tony is one of my favorites.
Kay: But this is just a really beautiful fic about Steve going out of his way to get to know Tony better and learn how to communicate properly. And it’s about open communication in both platonic and romantic relationships, which is just a thing that both of us really enjoy a lot.
Chelsea: It’s just so good, because it’s super hard to get right in real life, let alone fiction.
Kay: It’s not even smutty, I think the only thing they do in this fic is kiss, but it’s just a really sweet relationship fic.
Chelsea: Which sounds so good to me even though I am totally usually here for way more smut than that.
Kay: Normally I just send you porn.
Chelsea: Which is always fine as long as it’s not real porn. Okay. I am, are you done? I don’t wanna cut you off if you’re not done.
Kay: Yeah, that’s it, because we’ve got more to record today.
Chelsea: For those who listened to the last episode and heard me talk, I am still reading romance. I am still slowly building the fortress of happily ever afters around myself brick by brick and it’s fucking rad. I am still waiting for a hold to come in on the next Sarah MacLean book I wanna read, but I realized there were a couple holes, like books I’d missed in series I’d read everything else in. I went back and am reading, or I just finished the second Castles Ever After book by Tessa Dare, cause actually we had already read one and three for previous reading adventures. So I realized I should probably read number two.
Kay: What is the title of that one?
Chelsea: Say Yes to the Marquess.
Chelsea: It’s so good.
Kay: I just love that series.
Chelsea: Oh my god. I fucking love Tessa Dare more than I have words to put forward onto how much I —
Kay: This is our first official meeting of the Tessa Dare Appreciation Society. You are all welcome to join us.
Chelsea: You’re welcome to join us. There will be tshirts and possibly hats. It’s about Rafe Brandon, whose brother Piers Brandon is engaged to Clio Whitmore, but Piers Brandon is an ambassador and he’s in the military and he’s been off for years and Clio is tired of waiting. She wants to dissolve the engagement. She has a castle of her own, if you’re not aware that’s kind of the conceit of the Castles Ever After series. A bunch of women who, for various reasons, have been bequeathed castles and kind of their own sets of properties. Which opens up whole new doors for them in various ways. And Clio, for her —
Kay: I think they’re all goddaughters of some guy? The heroines are the various goddaughters of him and he left them castles?
Chelsea: I think in this one he’s her uncle or something. They have relatives or godparents or benefactors who leave them property. But Clio wants her proposal dissolved, she doesn’t want to be engaged anymore. She wants to open a brewery. And live in a castle with her sister and just kind of do her own thing. And it’s up to Rafe Brandon, who is a prize, a literal prizefighter and a notorious rake, to convince her to stay engaged until Piers comes home and they can talk and sort it out and get married. It’s so good. Rafe just doesn’t feel like he deserves Clio so they have so many conversations about what a good person he is and he needs to realize he’s not broken and those are my favorite conversations people ever have in fiction and I just love it so much. And what was cool about this one is that Clio, while it’s not specifically described how big she is, it’s clearly described that her family sees her as being chubby, and society sees her as being chubby, so she’s kind of interpreted that about herself. So there’s so many good conversation where Rafe Brandon is like no look, I’m gonna pick you up with one arm and tell you all the things about you that are beautiful and my heart melted out of my body and I’m just a puddle of happiness and it’s so good. It was so good.
Chelsea: So then I wanted to keep that soul train running, so I flipped over to my other new recent obsession, hockey rpf fanfiction. Because it so good. It is so good. I’m debating between, you know, I’m just gonna tell you about both of them because I think they’re both great. The first one is A Gradual Act of Arson by ladyblahblah.
[Kay gasps loudly and shrieks]
Chelsea: Yeah, girl.
Kay: You guys can’t see me, but I literally flailed my hands just now.
Chelsea: They can hear you flailing. That was an audible waving of hands.
Kay: There was wailing. There was wailing, just now. It’s so good.
Chelsea: It’s so good. It is a fake marriage, marriage contract rpf between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It’s almost 100,000 words long. And it’s, basically, to get Geno out of the KHL and to avoid a bunch of legal stuff, him and Sidney get married so he can become a Canadian citizen, but they build a divorce clause into their contract and into kind of that whole marriage thing so that they have the out when the time comes. And after things settle down, politically. But that’s not entirely how it happens. And there’s so much pining and so much slow burning. And it’s just so good.
Chelsea: And Taylor Crosby is in it and I love Sid and Taylor in fiction. I mean, I’m sure they’re great in real life.
Kay: I love sibling dynamics. he takes her to the NHL awards usually, and stuff. They’re super cute. And she’s a goalie. She’s a very talented goalie.
Chelsea: And she’s a talented player in her own right. But their dynamic in this fic is particularly awesome. Not super dark, but definitely darker than some of the stuff I’ve been reading but still that I loved is Dezinformatsiya by —
Kay: Yesss, I recced that to you. [laughs]
Chelsea: You recced all of these to me, spoiler.
Kay: It’s one of my favorite things in hockey fandom. it’s so good.
Chelsea: It is so good. it is an alternative universe where Evgeni Malkin is a spy for Russia, basically. And yeah. It’s, it goes from there.
Kay: He’s not the only spy either.
Chelsea: He’s not the only spy. The thing about talking about this fic is because it’s spy-based and intriguey I don’t wanna say too much.
Kay: It’s plotty and amazing and there’s also feelings.
Chelsea: Yes, and that I think can be a harder balance to find in fic, or at least across the board reliably.
Kay: In hockey, weirdly, hockey rpf fandom has a lot of really great long plotty fics and it’s a small fandom and I don’t understand how there are all these really great writers writing these super great complicated plots with feelings, but thank you fandom. You’re so great.
Chelsea: So many of the hockey fics I’ve been reading are 30-70k words.
Kay: There are so many novel length works. I think the first thing I recced to you in this fandom was 160k and you looked at me like I had kicked a puppy or something, because what was I doing making you read a hockey fic that was 160,000 words long. [laughs]
Chelsea: Yeah, and then when I was done I was like it needs more! Spoiler alert, that 160,000 word fanfiction is still my favorite piece of fanfiction I’ve ever read in my life, so.
Kay: I mean, if they file the serial numbers off and published it I would buy 5,000 copies and give them to everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life.
Chelsea: I would buy the shit out of that. I’d make everybody read it. Shoutout to thehoyden and twentysomething, get to filing.
Kay: Y’all. Do it. We want it.
Chelsea: But okay.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin Macleod plays]
Chelsea: So that’s everything we’re currently reading, so we’re gonna go ahead and transition to the book we’re reading at this time, which we said at the top of the show is Kay’s pick for me for We’re Reading Something Awful, And Then There Were None. It’s a golden age mystery. Kay has tried to sell me some cockamamie thing about it being the bestselling novel in the world.
Kay: Okay. This is one of the top ten selling novels of all time. I believe it’s number seven, currently. It has sold over 100,000,000 copies worldwide. It’s one of the most adapted works of mystery fiction ever published. It’s just very widely read!
Chelsea: I’m just shaking my head right now. I refuse to accept this.
Kay: It’s a lot of people consider it to be her best work. I’m more a fan of her Poirot and Miss Marple stuff, but I really do, I like this one. Because I think it’s maybe the most intricate mystery plot she ever wrote.
Chelsea: I could see that.
Kay: It’s very complicated without stretching credulity. Is the thing.
Chelsea: It is very complicated.
Kay: Very complicated. [laughs] I honestly really suggest you watch an adaptation of this in some form or another.
Chelsea: I listened to this on audio at Kay’s recommendation.
Kay: Which, I love the audio for this.
Chelsea: And it’s read by Dan Stevens. Which, I gotta say, was the only thing that kept me reading this book. Was that he was reading it.
Kay: He did a great job. For those who don’t know, Dan Stevens, well he’s the Beast in the new Beauty and the Beast and he was on Downton Abbey and some other things like the show where he’s Charles Xavier’s kid. I don’t even know the name of that show.
Chelsea: That doesn’t even sound like a thing. I mean, I’m sure it is, but it does not sound like a thing that I would’ve watched.
Kay: Aubrey Plaza is in it. I dunno, it’s weird and set in the 70s, I think.
Chelsea: Oh. I like her.
Kay: I was kinda surprised you looked at me like you hadn’t heard of this, because it sounds like a thing that you’d watch.
Chelsea: It does! Still haven’t heard of it. Probably won’t watch it.
Kay: I think it’s called Legion. It’s on FX.
Chelsea: That sounds like a thing I have heard of, but I didn’t know it was an X-Men thing.
Kay: Yeah. It’s an X-Men thing.
Chelsea: Well, okay, that was a fun tangent. Back to And Then There Were None.
Kay: We like Dan Stevens.
Chelsea: We love Dan Stevens and I hated this book. Okay, to be fair, I didn’t hate this book. This book just didn’t do it for me in the way that most golden age mysteries don’t do it for me. Like, I didn’t particularly —
Kay: I think mystery period doesn’t do it for you.
Chelsea: That’s probably fair.
Kay: The one time we’ve read a mystery together before this I loved it and our friend Claire loved and you were like this is fine and I was like okay.
Chelsea: Sorry, yeah, I’m gonna be the grumpfish on this one a little bit.
Kay: That’s fine.
Chelsea: It was fine. I mean. I didn’t. It’s very well plotted. It’s very intricate. Part of my thing with mysteries is that usually I don’t find them very mysterious and that was not the case for this one, so this one did an incredibly good job at that.
Kay: Literally every time I have read this I’ve forgotten the ending. [laughing] Which doesn’t usually happen.
Chelsea: Oh, really? I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
Kay: I’m always surprised every time I read it.
Chelsea: Okay, I had some side eye issues with the ending, but we can’t get with the ending of —
Kay: I love the ending! [laughs]
Chelsea: — for the one other person who hasn’t read this yet. Basically there’s an island. Ten people are gathered there. They’ve all received various invitations from people they think they know or kind of remember knowing to come to this island for reasons.
Kay: This takes place in post-war England, by the way. So that explains a lot of things.
Chelsea: Yeah, lots of things are happening. So they get there. And they’re kind of all waiting for their host to show up and then dun dun dun, no host shows up, but an ominous recording plays and explains that every person gathered there is a murderer of some kind.
Kay: Y’all are fucking murderers. All of you.
Chelsea: All murderers. And so one by one people start dropping dead. Suspicion increases. Until they are all dead. All ten people who’ve come to the island end up dead.
Kay: All of them.
Chelsea: Then, in one giant infodump, we find out why.
Kay: It’s great.
Chelsea: And that’s the book.
Kay: It’s great. [laughs]
Chelsea: It’s a book. That I read.
Kay: Literally every character in this is a terrible person.
Chelsea: They’re so awful.
Kay: Which is normally thing that I hate, but in this it’s great cause they all get their comeuppance and die. [laughs] Which never happens to terrible people in books! Usually they live! They all die
Chelsea: Who is your favorite of the terrible people?
Kay: I like all of them.
Chelsea: Boo, that is such a copout answer.
Kay: I love the judge. I love the judge. I feel varying levels of bad for various other characters, but mostly they’re all terrible.
Chelsea: I loved to hate that pious old woman who kicked her pregnant maid out of her house.
Chelsea: And then her maid died, and that was the murder she did.
Kay: Her maid killed herself!
Chelsea: Killed herself. Hated her, but loved to hate her.
Chelsea: She was probably my favorite of all the awful people in this book. But! One of the cool things, or, cool, one of the interesting things to note about this book is the framing device. And it’s all framed around the poem Ten Little Soldier Boys. Which I guess was not, it’s original title.
Kay: We’re gonna go ahead and do a quick little background on that when you’re done with this framing device.
Chelsea: There are ten soldier boys and obviously ten people on the island. So each one, then, kind of passes away in the method of one of the soldier boys in the poem. So the poem goes:
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
Obviously, the title And Then There Were None comes from that last little bit of the poem, but like Kay said there’s some stuff with that poem going on in a bigger context.
Kay: And also, that was not the original title of the book.
Kay: This book was originally published in, well, the UK, I think just the UK, as Ten Little n-words, after the British blackface song. Which was originally there instead of the ten little soldier boys. It’s very similar, but yeah, uh, US editions were released later as And Then There Were None and the five words in the nursery rhyme it was ten little indians, not little soldier boys. This has been updated in various ways to be slightly less offensive, but I say slightly because it’s still wildly racist and antisemitic, like. [laughs]
Chelsea: Yeah. And I think that gets into my bigger problem with this particular book. As opposed to awful people there’s some awful stuff being said. I don’t want to attribute authorial stuff to Christie, because —
Kay: Oh, she was racist. Go for it.
Chelsea: No, I know, and I know, but in general I try not to make it a habit to do the, like, authorial intent equals narrator voice argument.
Kay: But here.
Chelsea: But here. Knowing the history of Christie and her work.
Kay: And the time period and blah blah blah.
Chelsea: When she talks about ‘the little Jew man’ and natives being left in Afghanistan being left to die and it’s fine cause they don’t feel things the way white people do?
Kay: Very racist.
Chelsea: All of that is really gross and very clearly is coming from Christie.
Kay: And there’s lots of really bizarre class stuff that if you don’t know much about the class structure in their culture it’s very strange.
Chelsea: It’s very weird.
Kay: Even after the butler’s wife has been murdered, he’s still expected to to be the butler? And he keeps making meals and stuff. [laughs]
Chelsea: They do him a favor on the day his wife is found dead and are like we’ll cook lunch, you can go nap until dinner. You still have to do dinner, but we’ll cook lunch.
Kay: Or we’ll just have sandwiches, go lay down. [laughs]
Chelsea: We’ll eat leftovers. You have to make dinner, but for now take a nape. And I’m just like what the fuck is happening? And again, that goes beyond just these people are horrible to there’s some icky contextual stuff going on behind the scenes.
Kay: Yeah. And there’s also the predictably awful gender stuff happening, as well.
Chelsea: I mean, it’s one of those things where it felt weird because there’s a moment where one of the male characters is like you know, to be fair, one of those girls is kind of strong, maybe could’ve been the murderer. And you wanna be like yeah, equality and empowerment, we coulda been the murderer! But oh, do we want that? Is that the equality hill we want to be on?
Kay: Is that what we want?
Chelsea: Christie is kind of sort of exerting this female empowerment in a weird kind of context. Didn’t like.
Kay: Oh! Oh. I don’t know if you know this. So Christie was also a playwright. And she actually, she herself wrote the stage version of this. And she changed the ending. So not everyone dies. And she made it so, if I’m remembering correctly, cause I haven’t ever seen it, I’ve only seen recordings of it, I think how it ends is that two of them were actually not guilty and they’re the ones that team up at the end.
Chelsea: Oh. Hm.
Kay: And it’s a man and a woman, sort of a romance.
Chelsea: I don’t think I like that as much.
Kay: I like that they’re all terrible people who got their comeuppance. I’m down with that.
Chelsea: Yeah, I will say I thought that was one really cool it’s a murder mystery, but it’s got an added thing where it’s a vigilante thing because everyone there, that’s the added thing, these are all people who murdered outside the scope of the law.
Kay: They were getting away with that shit.
Chelsea: It’s not like they shot someone in the face. It’s like they were criminally negligent. Or like one of them is an army captain and deliberately sends people to the front lines knowing an enemy of his will be killed doing that. Or like, so it’s those kinds of things that aren’t technically criminal or aren’t necessarily punishable by the law, but are still very definitely murder.
Chelsea: And so I like that. I’m all for a little bit of fictional vigilante justice being meted out for people who are awful so that was kind of cool.
Kay: It’s even better so, the BBC did a fairly recent adaptation of this that has a stellar fucking cast.
Chelsea: Everyone? Everyone is in it.
Kay: So Sam Neill plays the general. And hold on, I’m just gonna pull up that cast, here
Chelsea: I love Sam Neill.
Kay: And everyone is perfectly cast. So Charles Dance plays Justice Wargrave. if you don’t know who Charles Dance is, have you watched Game of Thrones? Because who Charles Dance is on Game of Thrones, everyone? He’s Tywin Lannister. You just already know he’s gonna be evil and conniving when he walks onto the screen! [laughs] Because he’s Tywin Lannister!
Chelsea: It’s just so good.
Kay: And Burn Gorman plays Blore. I don’t know if that name means anything to you, Chelsea.
Chelsea: I don’t think so, no.
Kay: Did you watch Pacific Rim?
Kay: He’s one of the scientist guys. He’s the one who’s not Charlie Day. [laughs]
Chelsea: Oh, okay. I do, yeah. That face is familiar in my brain, that’s cool.
Kay: And then Miranda Richardson, who I love, is Emily Brent.
Chelsea: I love her.
Kay: Sam Neill is the general. I don’t think you’d recognize any of these other people, except Aidan Turner is Philip Lombard and in this adaptation they definitely created a romance between Lombard and Vera Claythorne out of whole cloth so we could get Aidan Turner in a towel and with a sex scene. And thanks BBC, we’ll take it. [laughs]
Chelsea: I mean, they threw Darcy in a pool to give us a wet shirt scene, so it’s not like they’re above the pandering.
Kay: Thanks, guys! [laughs]
Chelsea: Thanks, BBC. Always coming through for the fans.
Kay: We’ll go ahead and add that gif of him in a towel to our show notes for this episode. [laughs]
Chelsea: Always and forever. So, okay. I wanna talk a little bit about my thing with mysteries and my thing with this mystery in particular is the way that the reveals are handled.
Kay: This one is spectacularly bad.
Chelsea: It’s so bad, Kay.
Kay: That’s why I say screen adaptations of this work much better.
Chelsea: Yes. And, you know, audiobook was great. Dan Stevens was great, doing a very good job of differentiating all of these characters. It was great, but still. So the end comes. Everybody’s dead. There’s a tiny scene with some inspectors on the island where the whole purpose is for them to be like well it mighta been this thing, but now we’ve got proof that explains why it can’t be that thing! And then maybe it’s this other thing, but no, we talked to this person so it can’t be that.
Kay: Apparently everyone was secretly writing things in diaries throughout this whole affair, that was never mentioned throughout the book.
Chelsea: They all had time to accuse each other of being horrible people and write in diaries in-between getting murdered. Okay. But then, so at first I was like, there’s no fucking way that this is gonna be an Agatha Christie book and a whodunnit and we’re not gonna actually know whodunnit. So I was pissed for a hot second.
Kay: And then!
Chelsea: And then the actual ending comes and I was even more mad!
Kay: [laughs] I knew you would hate it. You can’t see my face,but I’m so pleased at how much.
Chelsea: A letter in a bottle!
Chelsea: An actual physical letter in a bottle! Thrown off a cliff into the ocean!
[Kay’s still laughing]
Chelsea: What the actual fuck is this? What is happening!
Chelsea: Now I just wanna say that every unsolved case is solved, we just haven’t found the bottle, yet!
Kay: Just haven’t found it, yet. Haven’t found the bottle with the confession. [laughs]
Chelsea: So the end comes and, if you haven’t read it yet, spoilers for the next five seconds, the judge did it. The judge did ti. And we know the judge did it, because in between all the murdering he did, he found time to write a very detailed and elaborate letter outlining the motivations, justifications, executions of how he got everyone to the island, and then how he killed them on the island, and then a future forecast of how he was probably gonna kill himself on the island. So he just wrapped it up in a nice, tiny, pretty bows.
Kay: He was dying of some unspecified disease where he had tumors or something. So he was always gonna die. So he decided before he goes he’s gonna mete out some vigilante justice and take down some shitheads when he goes. Which like, I like that.
Chelsea: I do to. But he was like, I spent so much time being a judge I think I wanna try murder. It’s not just enough to put people away for murdering others, I wanna try murder. But then he was like, but I don’t wanna get in trouble, so how do I do that? And then I guess he just randomly happened to be in some restaurant or on some boat some day with some guy who happened to know this woman who let some kid drown. Spoiler alert, that’s one of the people that comes to the island. That’s coincidental. it’s a good thing that guy definitely knew a girl in need of the meting out of some vigilante justice. I just fucking. This is why i don’t read mystery books like this. Or just mystery books in general. For some reason, unicorns? Dragons? No problem with my suspension of disbelief. That this dude just happens to be looking for a way to mete out murder and runs into someone in need of vigilante justice? Too much. It’s just a step too far.
Kay: That’s so weird to me. You’re my friend who loves procedurals, right? You love procedural tv, right?
Chelsea: Yeah, I love it. I love it so much. I don’t know, dude! Don’t look at me like that, I have no idea!
Kay: No, it’s totally fine. I already knew you were probably gonna hate this just on the fact that it’s a mystery. And then I was like and this mystery has the biggest infodump I can think of so this’ll definitely be something that makes her angry.
Chelsea: Yeah, and that’s a big thing for my dislike of mysteries just in general. And that’s why when I find one that I like it’s so great. Because so many of the ones I read I’m like you didn’t wrap that up in a way I found satisfactory.
Kay: Which, most of her books don’t end like that. They’re not infodumpy at the end. But I was picking a book that you would not like, so I know where you live.
Chelsea: Mission accomplished.
Chelsea: Cause not only is it an infodump, but come the fuck on, a letter in a goddamn bottle?
Kay: I fucking love that. I love that. In most of the adaptations they don’t bother with that at all.
Chelsea: Because it’s stupid. You know how they shoulda done it? They shoulda had him write a letter and let the cops find it, like every murderer ever. Like, cause in the story he kills himself last. He kills everybody else first, then goes upstairs and basically stages his suicide so that it looks like the murder wounds he’s supposed to have. Basically. So the whole thing is he didn’t have to throw it out there.
Kay: It’s beautiful.
Chelsea: That’s one word for it.
Kay: You really need to watch the BBC miniseries because Charles Dance is just.
Chelsea: I do, I really do.
Kay: The whole cast is great, but Charles Dance as the vigilante justice judge guy is just amazing.
Chelsea: Which is just a perfect life starring role of all time.
Kay: It’s great. They have him faking, like, that he’s very weak of body and he’s using a cane and stuff so that they don’t know he’s gonna be able to run around and kill everybody really easily. [laughs] It’s good. It’s just good.
Chelsea: Very much so. So those are my primary issues with And Then There Were None. But yeah. I gave it two stars. I did not hate this book like I hated reading The Iron King.
Kay: So clearly you won this challenge. [laughs]
Chelsea: Yeah! And I think my thing is, overall however you feel about mysteries, this book is well written. I can, even though I didn’t like the way it ended, it’s well plotted. it’s well paced. The characters are really well constructed in that they are fleshed out characters. They are believable in their own motivations. There’s an internal consistency in the book. There’s a lot going on here that just wasn’t going on in The Iron King.
Kay: If you are a mystery reader and have not read this book, yet, I would say go for it.
Chelsea: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Kay: Although there are plenty of Christie books I’d recommend over this one, but go for it.
Chelsea: And as I was reading it, I didn’t have to force myself to read it at any point. When I was reading The Iron King where I had to revert to some old rewards systems I have of, like, candy after a certain number of pages or like.
Kay: I mean, I think you win purely by virtue of I couldn’t even finish your book. Although I DNF books a lot more easily than you do, so that’s not that telling, really. [laughs]
Chelsea: Yeah, I’m weird. I have a weird tolerance for pain reading my way through some stuff.
Kay: I DNF at least ten books a month.
Chelsea: Oh, no, man, I think I’ve DNFed like ten books this year. There are some books that I know will be bad that I pick up for the purpose of hate reading.
Kay: Oh. Oh no. No thank you.
Chelsea: When I read The Revenge that was hate from page one, but also it was fun to read that book and share my vitriol about it on the internet. So I would say that, in general, while this book is not my cup of tea it’s still a good mystery book and still a good book to read. I don’t think reading this book would in any way be a waste of your time.
Kay: And if your library has the audiobook, I say definitely go for it.
Chelsea: Definitely go for the audio.
Kay: Because then you’re not paying for it and you get to listen to Dan Stevens. Who did a really great job on this. Really good.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin Macleod plays]
Chelsea: Alright, but yep. I think that about wraps up this episode, but join us next week for another book episode. We’re gonna be talking about Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds, which is the new Spiderman novel that’s coming out. It comes out August 21, 2017. Kay and I have our druthers with marvel, love Miles Morales as Spiderman. Or I should say I do.
Kay: And I am a sucker for YA superhero novels. If y’all have not read Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane trilogy yet?
Chelsea: They’re so good.
Kay: They’re so good, go read them immediately.
Chelsea: They’re so good. THe third one’s out, you can read the whole trilogy.
Kay: There better be a box set so I can recommend that to some people.
Chelsea: Oh yeah. There better be some coolass cover art if they get a box set. Anyway. That’s a different talk for a different day. But come back and join us next week so we can talk about our favorite new Spidey. Until next time, we’ll see you guys on the internet and take care of yourselves. Bye.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin Macleod plays]
Chelsea: Wouldn’t there be more trolls on wizard twitter? [laughs] We’re killing it with the puns today.
Kay: I’m not actually a sociopath, guys, it’s just really satisfying in this. [laughs]