The writing machine known as Jeffrey Round has published yet another novel, his second in the last year. This one is called Endgame. It’s a mystery, basically a rewrite of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel And Then There Were None. In that novel and in this one, a group of guests are invited to a mysterious remote location and offed one by one, atonement for an act of murder in their distant past.
In Endgame, the guests are a famous punk rock band and the many people who worked around them. The band, The Ladykillers, are a recombinant of The Clash and The Sex Pistols with even a bit of Guns ’n’ Roses thrown in. The past transgression involved the overdose of a young female fan at one of their parties. Now, someone is setting out to punish them and several other people, all of whom have gathered on an island to await their fates. As each one dies, a chess piece is mysteriously knocked over in the drawing room.
There’s lots of atmosphere here, but the revelation of the killer in this oft-told story has always been a bit of a cheat. I don’t blame Jeffrey Round for choosing this source, though. People love this story. There are several film versions. In 1945 French director Rene Clair made it with an all-star cast of hammy character actors, and it was modernized in 1965, with the location changed to a remote ski lodge (and cheekily retitled Ten Little Indians, even though most of the characters are British or American white people). Most recently, BBC made a three-part miniseries which features, among other things, the ripped torso of British actor Aidan Turner.
No matter which version you prefer, there is no denying that it is fun to watch people pay for their sins, and Endgame is no different. Any punk band whose biggest hit is a punk version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” deserves nothing less than a horrible death.