Friday, October 25, 2019

Fiction Review: And Then There Were None

I recently read an Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None, for the first time in decades! When I was in high school, I plowed my way through every Christie novel my public library had on its shelves (so I probably read this one, too), but I hadn't read any of her books in many, many years. I was looking for a Christie novel for both my RIP XIV Challenge and my Back to the Classics Challenge, and I'd heard this was one of the best. I absolutely loved every minute of this very unique mystery.

And Then There Were None does not follow the usual formula for most Christie novels. There is no Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot here, no detective at all in fact. A group of ten separate people are each invited to a private island off the coast of England, all with a different excuse for requesting their presence. Each has been invited by a Mr. Owen, though none of them can quite place who that is. They arrive on the island and find no sign of their host. None of them know each other, and all are a bit confused about why they are there. At dinner that first night, a phonograph record is played that accuses each of them of murder, each in a different way and at a different time (some of the accusations mentioning events from many decades before). The ten guests begin dying under mysterious circumstances, one at a time. Clearly, there is a killer at work, but it's a small island with no place to hide. The guests begin to realize it must be one of the people among them, and tensions rise as they die, one by one, and suspect each other. Through it all, a super-creepy nursery rhyme about "10 little soldier boys," in which each boy dies in a different way (apparently a common childhood poem in England!), provides even more suspense and anxiety to the guests.

I know this is a weird thing to say about a book in which every character is murdered, one by one, but ... this story is so much fun! You can just tell that Christie was having a blast writing this super-twisty mystery. I'm not worried about spoilers because you will not figure out who the killer is. In fact, Christie included an epilogue to explain what actually happened, via a written confession found later. This is no ordinary murder mystery, taking the closed-room mystery concept to a whole new level. Despite the fact that characters kept dying in horrible ways, I found myself smiling while reading this fast-paced novel--it is just so clever! You've still got a week before Halloween, and this is a quick read. I highly recommend you pick up this entertaining and enigmatic mystery today! It's easy to see why it's a much-loved classic.

247 pages, William Morrow (75th Anniversary edition)


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Listen to a sample of the audio book, which sounds wonderful, or download it from Audible at the link.

Lifetime made a TV show out of the book a few years ago, now available on Amazon for $3.98 for the 2-part show. It looks great!




You can purchase And Then There Were None from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Or you can order And Then There Were None from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

6 comments:

  1. I read this book YEARS ago. The original title was "Ten Little Niggers" and that was changed to "Ten Little Indians" and then it became "And Then There Were None."! We also watched the new TV series, where they changed Niggers/Indians to Soldiers! How PC can we get? Still, it is an amazing book!

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    1. Oh, wow, interesting bit of history there! So, was the childhood poem originally different, too? Pretty creepy kid's rhyme no matter what term is used!

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  2. I haven't read an Agatha Christie in decades! This one sounds like fun.

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    1. Same, Helen! Now I remember why I enjoyed them so much in high school!

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  3. I recently read this book, too. Though I doubt I read it in high school since I hardly read anything in high school.

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    1. Really, Anne? That's very surprising from someone who is such an avid reader and book lover now!

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