“Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.”
-Ten Little Indians
It’s not uncommon to hear the name Agatha Christie when browsing the mystery section of your local book store. Many a time, the majority of the books you gloss over or pick up will be her works. Like all great authors, some of these works are infinitely better than others. And Then There Were None is one of them.
The story follows the lives of ten people and a few sub-unimportant side characters. The reader learns about their past, their present, and their hopes for the future. For most of them, that future is within reach, until they all wind up being drawn to a deserted island by a similar sounding letter from differing senders. From there, our stars are left to figure out where everyone is and how to escape after an intense storm strikes the island, preventing their immediate evacuation. While the mystery unfolds, a peculiar poem is found predicting modes of death for each of the captives. Then the killing begins. It becomes every man for himself. Can they escape the island? Will the killing cease? Or does it simply end when there are no survivors?
I found this book to be incredibly enthralling. It was impossibly hard to put down, but also built up an anxiety within the reader that made me wish I could put it down. The writing was incredibly well done. Even though there was a mess of characters I had to learn straight away, it didn’t feel like I couldn’t keep up. I also enjoyed the fact no matter how much I guessed about the ending, I couldn’t pin it down exactly. Nothing is given away unless the reader is truly a master sleuth.
The only complaint one may find about the novel are the cliches within it. Agatha Christie was a revolutionary in the mystery genre, making her work a first of its kind. Today, we see several of her tropes over and over to the point where it can be tiring. In the novel, they are new but there is a classic spin and feel on these now cliches.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I finished it in about a day and a half. The writing was phenomenal and the story will stay with me for a while. It’s a book you wish you could talk to others about. I give And Then There Were None a 9/10.