According to the memoirs of her second husband Sir Max Mallowan, Endless Night was one of Christie’s favourite works, because of its depiction of a character, Michael Rogers, at a moral crossroads between good and evil, having to choose which path to follow. Like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), arguably the novel which first made Christie’s name, Endless Night has a first-person narrator who turns out to be the murderer. At the beginning of the narrative, Michael Rogers, a twenty-two-year old chauffeur, wonders how he should start telling his story, for he muses that very often the end is also the beginning and the beginning already contains the ending. But he chooses to start his tale on the day when he comes to Kingston Bishop and attends the auction of a Victorian house, called The Towers, built on a piece of land called Gypsy’s Acre. It is said that the land is cursed and no good will come to anyone who tries to build a house there. Michael is fascinated by the land and dreams of having his own house built there, although he has no money to his name. He has met a famous but unconventional architect, Rudolf Santonix, and thinks of asking Santonix to build a house at Gypsy’s Acre for him. As he walks around the land, he meets a beautiful girl called Ellie Goodman, who is also admiring the land and the house. But a local gypsy, Mrs. Esther Lee, urges them to leave the place because she sees misfortune and death in their futures. They ignore her and start a conversation. Ellie seems reticent about her family and background, but they are attracted to each other and make arrangements to meet again, as Ellie lives in Market Chadwell, not far away. In the following months, Ellie gradually reveals that she will inherit one of the biggest fortunes in America when she turns twenty-one. Because of her background, her family is very protective about her and like to control her friends and acquaintances. Luckily she has a companion and friend, Greta Anderson, who arranges things for her and tells lies for her when necessary. Greta is very efficient and is able to manipulate situations in such a way that Ellie can do what she wants. Michael senses that this Greta has great influence on Ellie and feels a certain reservation about their close relationship. After going away for a while, Ellie returns to announce that she has bought the land on Gypsy’s Acre and asked Santonix to build a house for them. Seeing their dream coming true, Michael and Ellie get married in the local registry, keeping it secret from her family. But finally on their honeymoon Ellie comes across some family friends and has to come clean about her marriage. Soon the whole family, relatives, lawyers, and business partners all come over to see who Michael is, and to make arrangements for Ellie’s new status. Ellie’s stepmother, Cora, hates Michael but she knows that she has to be friendly to him because Ellie controls her own income. Greta is very friendly, but Michael feels jealous of her. Ellie’s lawyer, Mr. Lippincott, has a talk with Michael, seems to approve of him, and asks him to beware of Greta because she has too much influence over Ellie. After settlements are made, the whole family again disperse to different parts of the world and leave Ellie and Michael in peace. They move into the new house and keep the same name, Gypsy’s Acre, as they cannot think of a more suitable one. But the night they move in a stone is thrown through the window into the dining room and cuts Ellie on the face. The next morning Michael finds a dead crow with a note telling them that they should leave. Mrs. Lee gives them another warning and this shakes Ellie considerably, although she tries to pretend that she does not care. One day a big row breaks out between Michael and Greta and Ellie finally realises that Michael hates Greta. She is sent away for a while, but when Ellie sprains her ankle she needs Greta and asks her to come back. Santonix visits and he too expresses doubts about Greta living in the house, but Ellie seems to be firm about her staying. Finally Michael’s mother comes for a visit. Mrs. Rogers likes Ellie very much but her attitude towards Greta is hostile. Life goes on in Gypsy’s Acre. Ellie has made friends with a local resident, Claudia Hardcastle, who was once married to a cousin of hers, Stanford Lloyd; and they often go riding together. Ellie finds that Claudia also suffers from allergies like she does, and offers to give her some of the capsules she is taking. On the 17th of September, Michael agrees to go to an auction with his friend Phillpot, and Greta and Claudia are going to London for a sale, while Ellie goes riding. It is agreed that Ellie will meet him for lunch at the restaurant. Lunch time comes and Ellie does not turn up. Michael calls home to find that she has not come back from her riding. They search for her and finally find her body in the woods, fallen from the horse. The doctor cannot determine the cause of death and guesses it must be shock. The next day, another stone is found in the house, with a piece of paper saying that Ellie was killed by a woman. After the inquest, many strange facts come to the surface. It is found that many of Ellie’s family circle were near Market Chadwell on the fatal day. Michael remembers seeing Stanford and Claudia near the restaurant, and Cora was house-hunting nearby. An expensive cigarette lighter is found in the folly in the woods, bearing the initial “C. Mrs. Lee the local gypsy is also missing, and her body is later found in a disused quarry. Michael has to fly to New York to deal with Ellie’s estate and funeral. Not much later, news comes that Claudia has been thrown from her horse and is also dead. Not long before her death she had asked Michael if he would sell the house to her. Michael comes back to Gypsy’s Acre, and writes a letter to his friend telling him that he wants to continue living in the house, and has decided that he will marry Greta, as a way of remembering Ellie – it will be as if the three of them are together again. It is at this point in the narrative that Michael reveals his true feelings and intentions. Michael and Greta are partners in crime. They share the same temperament, both prepared to do anything to get the things they want. It was Greta’s idea to make use of Ellie, to have Michael meet her and marry her, and then get rid of her for the money. Now they have succeeded, but Michael wants to stay in his dream house and Greta wants to travel. In a row, Michael strangles and kills Greta. Michael remains sitting in the house with the dead Greta, thinking about the things he has done. He sees Ellie’s ghost on the same spot where he first met her. Then, he receives a letter from the lawyer Mr Lippincott, which contains a newspaper photo showing Michael and Greta together in Hamburg. Lippincott has known all the time that Greta and Michael were plotting together. Michael realises that his situation is hopeless, and that he has become a thoroughly evil man. He has killed a boy his own age just for his watch, put cyanide into Ellie’s allergy capsules, pushed Mrs. Lee into the quarry, and he killed Greta with his bare hands. Eventually some people arrive at the house and he confesses the whole story. Dr. Shaw has worked out what happened because Claudia died from using the allergy capsule that Ellie gave her. Michael is arrested and he simply asks for is pen and paper: he thinks that he has an interesting story to tell.
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