Endless Night by Agatha Christie
Published by Harper, 1967
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Though this doesn’t seem to be one of Christie’s best-known or most talked about books, it quickly became one of my favourites. Hugely compelling, it has many of the hallmarks you’d expect from a classic Christie novel, including a central element of mystery, well-drawn characters, fantastic dialogue, and an intricate tapestry of clues that leads to a startling truth. Where this stands out among the rest of Christie’s work, however, is how heavily she leans into the conventions of gothic literature – complete with a grand, imposing house, and whispers of the supernatural.
We follow Mike and Ellie, a young couple from opposite ends of the social spectrum who set out to build their dream home in the country. Unfortunately for them, not all the locals are welcoming; the plot of land they’ve chosen rumoured to be subject to a historic curse. It soon becomes clear that someone or something wants them to leave.
As readable as ever, Christie builds a sense of brooding tension incredibly well, the subtly sinister undertones bringing to mind the work of Daphne du Maurier. There’s also some fantastic social commentary concerning class divides – both the freedoms and the trappings that come with money.
I won’t say much else as I don’t want to risk spoiling the experience of this little gem. Perfectly paced, the story plays out in some truly surprising ways, with Christie keeping me on my toes as much as ever. As I continue to gradually make my way through her back catalogue, I’d be thrilled to uncover some more that blend crime with elements of psychological horror as seamlessly as this.