Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 1939
Genres: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
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Also by this author: Hallowe'en Party
“Ten . . .” —Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion on an island off the Devon coast by a mysterious host.
“Nine . . .” —At dinner, a recorded message accuses each of them of harboring a guilty secret. By the end of the meal, one is dead.
“Eight . . .” —Stranded by a violent storm, there is no hope of escape. Haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one, the guests begin to die.
“Seven . . .” —As suspicions are raised and accusations fly, secrets begin to surface. But who among them is the killer . . . and will any of them survive?
‘There was something magical about an island – the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world-an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.’
Ten people arrive at Soldier Island after receiving invitations from various acquaintances convincing them to make the trip. The island has been much talked about recently after some confusion over who owns it so everyone is intrigued to find out the answer to that question. Everyone seemingly has nothing in common with one another until an announcement booms through the house on the first night from a gramophone bringing each persons secret to light. By the end of that first night, one person has died. After a search has been conducted of the island, the rest of the guests come to the realization that they’re the only ones on that island and that the murderer must be among the nine remaining guests.
Agatha Christie is the prolific author known as the “Queen of Crime” and the “Master of Misdirection”. I have no idea what took me so long to pick up anything of hers, being such a long time fan of mysteries in general, but And Then There Were None was the perfect first choice.
Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
The guests find the above nursery rhyme that has been framed on the wall curious. As well as the ten little soldier figurines that stand on the dining room table. Each subsequent death results in the realization that the deaths are not only following the nursery rhyme (the first individual died after choking on what appeared to be cyanide) but with each death a soldier figurine is mysteriously removed from the table. While it seems unlikely that the murderer would have been able to plan accordingly in order to remain a mystery and still kill, following the nursery rhyme perfectly, the impossibility was expertly erased by the authors exhilarating storytelling ability. Each person begins to suspect one another until there isn’t anyone left to trust, even the reader is continually left in the dark as to the perpetrator. Just when you think you’ve caught on to what’s going on, Christie is bound to throw a wrench into your theories. I loved this book and loved the constant guessing game and will no doubt be picking up many more Agatha Christie novels in the future.