◐ Book Name: Death Comes as the End
◐ Author: Agatha Christie
Set in ancient Egypt, newly widowed Renisenb returns to her father’s household to find him newly married to Nofret, whose presence disrupts the equilibrium of the existing members of the house. Death comes quickly, followed by more death. Renisenb races to find the killer before she herself becomes the next victim.
◐ Review: 4/5 ⭐
One of the greatest mystery writers of all time, I’d have to say this is one of Agatha Christie’s books I have enjoyed more. Others include And Then There Were None and Crooked House. I think you can guess who the killer is fairly early on (and if not, then through the sheer process of elimination). However, what Christie does well is characterisation, and here she does it masterfully.
Each character has depths to them. Each one has a secret face. When we meet Renisenb, she is a naive young woman who believes she sees those in her family clearly. She thinks she understands their natures, saying to herself frequently, that though she has been gone many years, nothing has changed.
Nofret’s arrival changes everything. Renisenb finds herself thrown off-guard by the characters of those she thought she knew so well, as she soon learns: no one is as they seem. Uncertainty and fear prevail as a result. People turn on each other in suspicion. This trope isn’t new, but Christie does it so very well.
This story is ultimately one about people’s true natures being revealed through circumstance. It raises the question: do we ever truly know someone? And how terrifying is it to entertain the notion that such knowledge is, in fact, impossible?
“There is an evil that comes from outside, that attacks so that all the world can see, but there is another kind of rottenness that breeds from within—that shows no outward sign. It grows slowly, day by day, till at last the whole fruit is rotten—eaten away by disease.”Hori
Who can tell what goes on in the human heart?Renisenb
“No one, Renisenb, knows anyone else. Let me tell you that yet once more.”Hori
“All life is a jest, Imhotep—and it is death who laughs last. Do you not hear it at every feast? Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die? Well, that is very true for us here—it is a question only of whose death will come tomorrow.”Esa
Hate in one face. Love in the other. Which, she wondered, was the more terrible?Renisenb
It may be that there must always be growth—and that if one does not grow kinder and wiser and greater, then the growth must be the other way, fostering the evil things.Renisenb