Title: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Page count: 250 pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.
The 10 strangers include a reckless playboy, a troubled Harley Street doctor, a formidable judge, an uncouth detective, an unscrupulous mercenary, a God-fearing spinster, two restless servants, a highly decorated general and an anxious secretary. One by one they are picked off. Who will survive? And who is the killer? Copies of an ominous nursery rhyme hang in each room, the murders mimicking the awful fates of its ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’.
Prior to this book, I’d read three other Christie novels (all of them last year.) They’re the first ones I’d ever read, but I know right from the first one (Murder at the Vicarage) that I was definitely going to like these books. Apparently (and I truly should have seen this coming), I have a thing for high-tension murder mysteries.
But this one? It might be my favourite yet.
And Then There Were None begins as 10 people make their way over to an island for a getaway on invitation. Here, quickly they find out not everything is what it seems, and the mystery starts unfolding in one of the most gripping and strange stories I’ve read in a long time.
This, truly, is a masterpiece in suspense. I can tell why it’s voted the world’s most favourite Christie, it’s quickly made its way to the #1 ranking in my personal list as well. (I only have 4 books on the list so far, but the point still stands).
At the beginning, it can be a bit confusing to keep track of who’s who, but no worries, you’ll catch up quickly enough. And once you do? You’re in for an amazing ride. If you’re anything at all like me, you won’t be able to put this book down. I kept wondering who was doing it all, what was happening. I kept trying to figure it out, and while I’ve definitely solved similar stories halfway through the story before, I could not figure this one out at all. Which is a pretty amazing feat, considering how obsessive I can become.
I don’t have much else to say than just: read this book. Read it. Now.
And in the meantime, I’m off wondering if I’m ruined for not just all other Agatha Christie books, but perhaps all murder mysteries. Only time will tell, I suppose.