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All of which makes me feel fiercely defensive of this shiny new incarnation of the bestselling mystery novel of all time, which is destined to be not Christie-ish enough for the six of one on the rock, while being far too Christie-ish for the half a dozen of the other in the hard place. More important: what does being faithful to the original, or faithful to Christie, mean in the context of And Then There Were None? What should it mean?

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/25/agatha-christie-bbc1-adaptation-and-then-there-were-none

Can you explain to me what the pasage in bold means. I vaguely guess that given the context and the used pattern it says that the thing (And Then There Were None by A. Christie) has the quality of A and at the same time of non-A but I am not able to understand exactly the used figure.

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Ugh. Here's a stab at explaining this terribly written sentence:

All of which makes me feel fiercely defensive of this shiny new incarnation of the bestselling mystery novel of all time, which is destined to be not Christie-ish enough for the six of one on the rock, while being far too Christie-ish for the half a dozen of the other in the hard place.

First of all, let's condense this:

All of which makes me feel fiercely defensive of this shiny new incarnation of the bestselling mystery novel of all time,....

down to this:

I like this book,.....

Now we have:

I like this book, which is destined to be not Christie-ish enough for the six of one on the rock, while being far too Christie-ish for the half a dozen of the other in the hard place.


To understand this muddle, we have to be familiar with two expressions that related only in that they are both used to express some sort of duality.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

This is used to convey the sentiment that two options, while they may look different, are really not.

I used to take city streets to avoid slowdowns on the freeway, but when you do that, you end up having to stop at stoplights. It's six of one, half a dozen of the other - takes just as long either way.

Note that things can be six of one, half a dozen of the other because they offer equal benefits, too.


Caught between a rock and a hard place.

This expression is used to signify that two options are both bad.

If I don't pay don't pay down my credit card debt, I will be at risk of the bill going to collections. If I do pay it down, I won't be able to pay my rent, and I might be evicted. I am caught between a rock and a hard place.


Back to the original (simplified) statement. I will further simply it by substituting "clever" for the invented adjectvive Christie-ish That probably isn't what the author meant, but they're both adjectives.:

I like this book, which is not clever enough for the six of one on the rock, while being too clever for the half a dozen of the other in the hard place.

...and here it all breaks down. The author is distinguishing two possible camps of reaction, but there is no evidence that either group is really going to suffer bad consequences as a result of their choice. (caught between a rock and a hard place. ) Nor is there evidence that the two camps are really identical to each other (six of one, half a dozen of the other.)

So my final sentence is this:

I like this book, but some other people won't. Some will think it is too derivative of Agatha Christie, others will think it strays too far from her approach to writing mystery novels.

  • I am very aware that this is a rambling answer, and welcome any constructive suggestions. – Adam May 2 '16 at 20:23
  • I really appreciate your thorough answer. It could have come to my mind that the author mixed two idioms. Do think that this sentence is the example of the bad style or is it the attempt how to be original and creative? – bart-leby May 2 '16 at 21:50
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    It is original, creative, and too clever by half. (english.stackexchange.com/questions/49107/…) – Adam May 2 '16 at 22:20

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