They All Fall Down by Rachael Howzell Hall
fulfilled the category “A
Locked-Door Mystery” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. I had a tough
time with this prompt. Apparently, the definition of a locked-door mystery is confusing.
I read an entire book and the beginning of a second that claimed on Goodreads, Amazon,
or Facebook that they were locked-door mysteries.
A locked-door mystery is a story where a murder occurs
in a locked room or isolated location where it’s impossible for the event to occur. Basically, there’s a
dead body in a room with exits and windows sealed from within. Or an impossible
robbery with no evidence of anyone having entered the room. Not a story with
people behind a locked door. (I’m looking at you Nine Perfect Strangers).
Or a book where people are stranded, but we know immediately who the bad guy is.
(That’s No Exit which I opted not to finish.) It’s not Ruth Ware’s Turn
of the Key with a room no one can get into. It’s And Then There Were
I found a retelling.
They All Fall Down is a modern retelling of
the Agatha Christie classic. In this novel, Miriam May has been invited to
participate in a reality show on an isolated island off the coast of Mexico.
Miriam agrees to the contest because her life is a mess. She’s in desperate need of cash
to help with legal issues and personal difficulties. She ends up on the island
with a cast of six other characters, racially diverse with their own set of
problems. It doesn’t take long to find out they’ve been deceived. Their lawyer
has passed and requested all seven come to his private island for a memorial
service. Well, if you’ve read And Then There Were None, you know what
I loved this book for many reasons. I’m a huge Christie fan and
have read all her books published under the Agatha Christie name—about seventy
books. And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express
are my favorites. Christie stretched the idea of the whodunit with those two
titles. I was thrilled to find such a great retelling.
I chose the title after some research, but I didn’t
look at the reviews. I read somewhere (I can’t find it again, of course) that Ms. Howzell Hall was told
she could never meet the ability of the master (Christie) and should not try. I’m
so glad she did.
created the same terror and mystery of the original with her own twist of odd
characters, an unlikeable heroine, and removal from the modern world. She
mastered the retell, point for point with interesting characters, with deep
insights, and backstories that hinted they could be whole other books. Miriam,
the main, was a mess, and I loved her for it.
middle school, my English teacher told me I wasn’t sophisticated enough to read
Christie. In high school, another English teacher pooh-poohed all my writing
and told me it would never amount to anything. So I cheer Ms. Howzell Hall for
not listening to those critics (or the people trashing her novel on Goodreads)
and writing an amazing book I loved. I’ll add the audio version was well done,
and the reader made the characters come to life.
I borrowed the title from the library to listen.
After seeing all the terrible (wrong) reviews on Goodreads, I ran out and
bought a physical copy to support this author.
I give They
All Fall Down by Rachael Howzell Hall Five HUGE Carved Chess Pieces.