Our Endless Numbered Days: disturbing, dark fairy-tale

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Claire Fuller’s debut novel Our Endless Numbered Days has been compared to Emma Donoghue’s Room and it’s easy to see where that comparison comes in. However it’s a fascinating, shocking, disturbing novel in its own right.

Peggy is 8 years old when her father, obsessed with surviving the end of the world, takes her to Europe to stay in die Hutte, an abandoned shack in the middle of a forest, far away from any other human life. Whilst there the world ends, or so he tells her, and so they begin to carve out their own life, surviving on what they can hunt and forage. Their life is fraught with danger though, from the ever-present threat of starvation, to forest fires, to Peggy’s father’s mood-swings. Then, one day, Peggy discovers that they are not alone in the forest…

If I’m completely honest, for the first few chapters this book just did not grab my attention. It felt like slow-going and at one point I actually had to leave it aside to read something else. Deciding to give it a second chance, I was surprised to find that this time around I was rapidly drawn into the plot, desperate to learn what happened next. It is well worth pushing through the slow start to reach the drama towards the middle and end of the book.¬†

This story leads the reader on a twisting path to its shocking conclusion, which is not one to be easily forgotten. Dark, disturbing, and very unsettling – great reading!

Agatha Christie, ‘Lord Edgware Dies’

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I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I love Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories. They aren’t too challenging to read, the plots draw you in quickly, and you can normally finish them in a couple of sittings – just perfect when you need a little distraction from reality.

Lord Edgware doesn’t disappoint on any of the above points.

The story begins with Poirot meeting two unusual women: Carlotta Adams is a talented actress just beginning on a stage career, who is particularly adept at impressions; Jane Wilkinson (Lady Edgware) is also an actress, and is determined to get what she wants, a divorce from Lord Edgware. In fact, Jane goes so far as to express that she would willingly walk into her husband’s home and kill him if it would get her the desired end result of being able to remarry.

Not long after this Lord Edgware is murdered and all the clues point to Jane having done it; although how could she, when she has an alibi that has been confirmed by not one, but 12 other people?

What follows is exactly what you’d expect from Christie’s novels: intrigue, red herrings, plot twists, young women who inevitably capture the attention of Captain Hastings, and the always-brilliant exposition at the end where Poirot calmly reveals the killer to his astonished audience.

In short, a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery. Not my favourite Poirot (Although I’ve yet to decide which actually is my favourite. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? Murder on the Orient Express?) but still a well-plotted, fun-to-read mystery book.