Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, And Then There Were None is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets–until they begin to die. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
~ 5 out of 5 ~
My first introduction to Agatha Christie was actually not “And Then There Were None”. It was “Murder on the Orient Express”. When I was a kid I loved mystery novels. I loved the unknown and the suspense of it all. Knowing this, my awesome Grammy bought me “Murder on the Orient Express”. After all, I was in the fourth grade and had already read Stephen King’s “Cujo” and had long ago finished up all the Apple books mysteries that existed. I had already demolished each and every Encyclopedia Brown book and been through my large collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books multiple times. This seemed like a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, I could never get into “Murder on the Orient Express”. I’m pretty sure I still have it in a box in my basement. I could never bring myself to part with it. I figured that I’d get to it…someday. Fast forward to my adult years…I married a man who loves books just as much as I do. (which is why we have boxes and boxes of books in our basement…ew, alliteration!) So after many conversations with him about how I just can’t seem to relate to the Agatha Christie style of books and I really dislike Hercule Poirot, he suggested giving “And Then There Were None” a try. It apparently used to be called “Ten Little Indians” and before that had a racist title I won’t repeat here. (Google it if you must…) It was a sign of the times, I suppose. That held me back for a while.
Finally, knowing that March was going to be my ‘focus on women authors’ month, I figured I should start with Agatha Christie. She and Margaret Atwood are two authors I have huge amounts of respect for. They have done so much in the literary world and are truly loved and respected for what they do.
I expected another dry, unexciting story with a lot of interviewing from one investigator. Instead, I was delighted to find the novel was much like the books I already enjoy. It was a bit formulaic, but I could get around that…it’s a style and I’m fine with it. It moved quickly and easily captured my imagination. The beginning of the book introduced the characters without going into dull detail and had a great hook of getting them all to this mysterious island where they were to meet a ‘stranger’ they all supposedly already knew. What struck me right away was how similar this book was to the movie Clue! Now obviously the book came first, so we know where the inspiration came from and where it began. Totally beside the point for me, since I LOVE the movie and game of Clue, so it was another point to further draw me in.
As the book went on and more of the guests met their demise, according to the childhood rhyme, I was delighted to find I was getting sucked in. It was hard not to, when I had an idea of what would happen as things progressed. Just look at the rhyme:
- Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
- One choked his little self and then there were nine.
- Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
- One overslept himself and then there were eight.
- Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon;
- One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
- Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
- One chopped himself in half and then there were six.
- Five little Indian boys going in for law;
- One got in Chancery and then there were four.
- Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
- A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
- Three little Indian boys walking in the zoo;
- A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
- Two Little Indian boys sitting in the sun;
- One got frizzled up and then there was one.
- One little Indian boy left all alone;
- He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
I admit, I peeked at the end, as I tend to when there’s a question of ‘who dunnit’. That in no manner took away from my love and enjoyment of this book.
It’s a quick read and a delight to read something sinister, yet seemingly light at the same time.
Thus begins my tribute to female authors this month. A little later than I’d intended, but I have a lot coming up. I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what else I’m reading this month!
Meanwhile, I hope you’ll consider supporting female authors if you don’t already do so. Sometimes it feels as if they are under-represented in reviews and literary publications. I think that needs to change.
Maybe you can start with “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie.
I give it a 5 out of 5!