And Then There Were None is arguably the very best story the Grande Dame of Mystery Fiction, Agatha Christie, has ever written.
Originally published under the title Ten Little Niggers (orTen Little Indians – back then these terms were not yet considered offensive), the story is about ten seemingly unrelated people who are lured to a remote island under false pretences. What starts for some as a holiday, and for others as a job offer, soon turns into a game of life and death.
Handpicked by someone only calling themselves U.N. Owen, these ten people are soon trapped on a barren island with no means back to the mainland and no choice but to wait for a boat.
Central to the story is a poem and the decoration of ten figurines in the house on the island. In some editions it’s called the racial terms that made up the original titles, although more recent editions call the poem “Ten Little Soldiers.” All of the soldiers die or disappear, and one after the other, the figurines disappear, just as another guest turns up dead.
Unlike Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot stories, there is no clever sleuth here to work it out for the reader. No clues are collected or analysed, it’s a race against time for the ten frightened guests who have to work out whether there is a murderer among them or someone else made it to the island. It’s a thrilling read, a page-turner to the very last word that leaves the reader baffled.
This story is THE whodunnit classic. Full of plot twists and red herrings, And Then There Were None stays gripping to the very last page, just as the protagonists stay classy and reserved in true British fashion. Even as the number of suspects decreases, readers are left wondering who the killer is and what their motives are.
Agatha Christie truly is a legend.
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Title: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Release Date: March 1, 2003 (First published November 6, 1939)