Endless Nightby Agatha Christie
The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and so many other unforgettable characters—brings her entire oeuvre of ingenious whodunits, locked room mysteries, and perplexing puzzles to Harper
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The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and so many other unforgettable characters—brings her entire oeuvre of ingenious whodunits, locked room mysteries, and perplexing puzzles to Harper Paperbacks…including one of her own ten favorite novels, the classic thriller Endless Night.
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- 5.14(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.62(d)
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In my end is my beginning . . . That's a quotation I've often heard people say. It sounds all right--but what does it really mean?
Is there ever any particular spot where one can put one's finger and say, "It all began that day, at such a time and such a place, with such an incident"?
Did my story begin, perhaps, when I noticed the sale bill hanging on the wall of the George and Dragon announcing sale by auction of that valuable property "The Towers," and giving particulars of the acreage, the miles and furlongs, and the highly idealized portrait of The Towers as it might have been perhaps in its prime, anything from eighty to a hundred years ago.
I was doing nothing particular, just strolling along the main street of Kingston Bishop, a place of no importance whatever, killing time. I noticed the sale bill. Why? Fate up to its dirty work? Or dealing out its golden handshake of good fortune? You can look at it either way.
Or you could say, perhaps, that it all had its beginnings when I met Santonix, during the talks I had with him; I can close my eyes and see his flushed cheeks, the over-brilliant eyes, and the movement of the strong yet delicate hand that sketched and drew plans and elevations of houses. One house in particular, a beautiful house, a house that would be wonderful to own!
My longing for a house, a fine and beautiful house, such a house as I could never hope to have, flowered into life then. It was a happy fantasy shared between us, the house that Santonix would build for me--if he lasted long enough.
A house that in my dream I would live in with the girl that I loved, a house in which just like a child's sillyfairy story we should live together "happy ever afterward.". All pure fantasy, all nonsense, but it started that tide of longing in me--longing for something I was never likely to have.
Or if this is a love story--and it is a love story, I swear--then why not begin where I first caught sight of Ellie standing in the dark fir trees of Gipsy's Acre?
Gipsy's Acre. Yes, perhaps I'd better begin there, at the moment when I turned away from the sale board with a little shiver because a black cloud had come over the sun, and asked a question carelessly enough of one of the locals, who was clipping a hedge in a desultory fashion nearby.
"What's this house, The Towers, like?"
I can still see the queer face of the old man as he looked at me sideways and said,
"That's not what us calls it here. What sort of a name is that?" He snorted disapproval. "It's many a year now since folks lived in it and called it The Towers." He snorted again.
I asked him then what he called it, and again his eyes shifted away from me in his old wrinkled face in that queer way country folk have of not speaking to you direct, looking over your shoulder or round the comer, as it were, as though they saw something you didn't; and he said,
"It's called hereabouts Gipsy's Acre."
"Why is it called that?" I asked.
"Some sort of a tale. I dunno rightly. One says one thing, one says another." And then he went on, "Anyway, it's where the accidents take place."
"All kinds of accidents. Car accidents mainly nowadays. It's a nasty comer there, you see."
"Well," I said, "if it's a nasty curve, I can well see there might be accidents."
"Rural council put up a danger sign, but it don't do no good, that don't. There are accidents just the same."
"Why Gipsy?" I asked him.
Again his eyes slipped past me and his answer was vague.
"Some tale or other. It was gipsies' land once, they say, and they were turned off, and they put a curse on it."
"Aye," he said, "you can laugh, but there's places as is cursed. You smart alecks in town don't know about them. But there's places as is cursed, all right, and there's a curse on this place. People got killed here in the quarry when they got the stone out to build. Old Geordie, he fell over the edge there one night and broke his neck."
"Drunk?" I suggested.
"He may have been. He liked his drop, he did. But there's many drunks as fall-nasty falls-but it don't do them no lasting harm. But Geordie, he got his neck broke. In there," he pointed up behind him to the pine-covered hill, "in Gipsy's Acre."
Yes, I suppose that's how it began. Not that I paid much attention to it at the time. I just happened to remember it. That's all. I think-that is, when I think properly-that I built it up a bit in my mind. I don't know if it was before or later that I asked if there were still any gipsies about there. He said there weren't many anywhere nowadays. The police were always moving them on, he said. I asked,
"Why doesn't anybody like gipsies?"
"They're a thieving lot,." he said disapprovingly. Then he peered more closely at me. "Happen you've got gipsy blood yourself?" he suggested, looking hard at me.
I said not that I knew of. It's true; I do look a bit like a gipsy. Perhaps that's what fascinated me about the name of Gipsy's Acre. I thought to myself as I was standing there smiling back at him, amused by our conversation, that perhaps I had a bit of gipsy blood.
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Meet the Author
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.
- Date of Birth:
- September 15, 1890
- Date of Death:
- January 12, 1976
- Place of Birth:
- Torquay, Devon, England
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