Review: And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

– Dedicated to Bex, Celine and Nat

Title: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication date: 2007
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-00-713683-4
Pages: 317
Genre: Mystery

Eight strangers are invited to an isolated mansion on Soldier Island off the Devon coast by the mysterious Mr and Mrs Owen. As it turns out, everyone is talking about Soldier Island and its owners but no one knows who it actually belongs to. Despite the fact that they don’t know the hosts, they all accept the invitation. They don’t know each other and all they have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. Upon arriving, the guests get to know the butler, Mr Rogers, and his wife. They are told that the hosts are currently away but will be back in a few days and until that it’s only the ten of them on Soldier Island. Over dinner, a gramophone record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night, one of the guests is dead. Having carried out a thorough search of the island, the 9 remaining people come to a conclusion: there is no one else on the island except for the 9 of them, one of whom is a murderer, who is ready to strike again. And again. Which of them is the killer and will any of them survive? 

This book left me in a complete awe. It’s the best book I’ve read so far, and I’m not exaggerating here. Even if you’re not keen on mysteries, it’s a definite must.  

It was one of the first Agatha Christie books I’ve read and I picked it up several times ever since. What made me want to read it in the first place – apart from the fact that my mum is a huge Agatha Christie fan and she told me how brilliant it was – is the fact that the characters are stuck on an island. I like mysteries (and films) where you know that the characters have absolutely no chance to escape. Where they are locked up – or in this case, stuck – in the same house and you know that there’s no way out or in, that is, the murderer must be amongst them. And one by one, they begin to die.  


I wouldn’t like to give too much away but apart from this, I really liked how the whole story was built upon an old nursery rhyme. Each guest has a nursery rhyme on their bedroom walls, which runs like this:

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 murderer tries to stick to this rhyme as closely as possible – but to make it even more interesting, there are 10 little soldier figures on the dining table. As soon as the first victim dies, however, there are only 9 soliders left on the table. And as one by one they start to die, the china figures start to disappear too. I loved the fact that even though the rhyme gives us readers (and the characters) a clue about how the next person is going to die, they are still completely helpless and can’t fight their fate.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read any of her books before, Agatha Christie’s masterpiece will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way. Perfectly constructed and built completely on suspense, And Then There Were None is an outstanding work by the Queen of Crime – the best in this genre, without a doubt.

Rating:

Comments

  1. Monaliz says

    I read this when I was 'bout 10 years old and I loved it! Should read it again, and get a copy to my bookshelf, since it's still one of my all time favorites!

  2. Natframpton says

    Aww bless you *big hugs* that book soy do great too! I love this idea I'm going to see if i can find this one !

  3. Celine says

    Great review Vicky! <3 You're making me even more curious. It sounds like an awesome story. I like the idea of the murderer being amongst them.

    Must. Read. This. Book

  4. Vicky says

    Thanks for the comments! :) ♥ I've loved it ever since I first read it about 3 years ago. I had to re-read it twice already but I still enjoy it :)

    Yes. You. Must.
    Haha 😀 *hugs back*

  5. Sonia says

    I LOVE Dame Agatha. Right now I'm reading The Murder in the Vicarage even though I already saw it on Masterpiece Theatre. The fantastic thing about her is that you can hardly ever figure it out and I can never remember who did it, so reading it again is like reading it anew. Although, I do remember who did it in And Then There Were None, haha. Did you see the old movie? It's wonderful though they change the ending completely.

  6. Vicky says

    Thanks Megan!

    Sonia, I haven't read The Murder in the Vicarage yet, but my mum is reading it at the moment. :) I love how you can re-read them without knowing who the murderer was – I'm the same. There are a few books I remember quite well (e.g And Then There Were None, A Murder is Announced, Cat Among The Pigeons) but there are some that I can't remember at all. :) I haven't seen the movie yet!

  7. Rebecca says

    I'm glad I didn't read this until having the book, lol! Now I don't feel too horrible, since I know I can read it. 😀 Ahh, it sounds soooo good. Great, great review! Thanks for the evil tease. 😉

  8. Jenny Lundquist says

    I just put it on my TBR list, I've always meant to read it, but just never got around to it yet. Thanks for reminding me!

  9. kimba88 says

    love Agatha..great review. I have been trying to read and re-read classic books. This month I am reading Grapes of Wrath again. I had a blast in October re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Agatha is perfect for a fall afternoon with a cup of coffee and a fire!

  10. Shelver506 says

    Siiiiiiigh. I agree completely. This was the first Agatha Christie book I ever read, and it hooked me completely. To this day, it’s one of the few mysteries I try to push on just about anyone who walks into my store. No lie, when I saw what you were reviewing, my brain started singing, “You… are… so… Byoo. Tee. Full… to meeeeeeeee.”

    – Shelver (with the musical brain) from Shelvers Anonymous

  11. says

    Great book, one of my favorites from her. Tied between that and Death on the Nile. The ending was a surprise and I loved being in the minds of everyone. Great review and love how you quoted the poem!

  12. says

    Lovely review! I really liked it! Thank you for reminding me about this lovely book! Glad you also wrote the song 😀 I really missed reading it!

  13. says

    oooh how splendid ! Love the blog, and I also adore drinking tea and reading agatha – what do you think about a couple of my tea and book thoughts? I would love to hear your thoughts
    http://teawithmarykate.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/agatha-christi…noon-tea-party/

    http://teawithmarykate.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/agathas-christ…r-a-picnic-tea/
    tea with Mary Kate recently posted..The Extraordinary Healthful Power of Neal’s Yard Organic TeasMy Profile

  14. Agatha says

    I’ve never read anything Agatha Christie wrote, but I think I have to change it :) Everyone know at least one of her books and I don’t… plus we have the same names 😀

  15. says

    I love a good mystery and unfortunately I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel. This one sounds fantastic. I think the nursery rhyme playing a part in the story just ups the creep factor. Can’t wait to read it.

  16. says

    One of the great moments IMO in this book is when there are six people left, they are all sitting around the dinner table, Christie lets the reader know what each is thinking but not WHO is thinking it. It not only ratchets up the suspense level but also is a great use of the novel medium; something you couldn’t do nearly as well in a play, movie or TV program because the voices would it give it away the identities.

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