And Then There Were None | Book Review

“Be sure thy sin will find thee out.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

About the Author:

Agatha Christie

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha’s senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha’s husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie’s death in 1976.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.

(source: Goodreads)

Synopsis & Genre:

First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:

"Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he'd stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none."

When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.

(source: Goodreads)

Mystery, Crime, Psychological thriller, Horror
(source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

“Success had its penalties.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie is known as the “Queen of Crime”, and for rightly so. Oh my heart, this book was absolutely brilliant, thrilling, engaging, and made for a stunning read.

For starters, I found basing the crime aspect of the book on a nursery rhyme to be a genius way to incorporate both mystery and art into a criminal element. The rhyme itself, which has been penned beautifully, is haunting and flows so well, radiating the right amount of eerieness and mystery.

“They were five enemies linked together by a mutual instinct of self-preservation.
And all of them, suddenly, looked less like human beings. They were reverting to more bestial types.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

credit: Pinterest

I think Christie’s ability to compose a story that revolves around every character while connecting them to their environment simultaneously is what gives the air of mystery to mere words. In And Then There Were None, a typical whodunnit novel, ten complete strangers are invited to Soldiers Island by the wealthy Mr. Owen, who himself fails to show up. Thus begins the story.

“From now on, it is our task to suspect each and everyone amongst us. Forewarned is forearmed. Take no risks and be alert to danger. That is all.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

While the characters have been fleshed out reasonably well, considering the large number of them, I personally didn’t find them too memorable or noteworthy. But I suppose that’s what made reading this so much more interesting – it’s just a mystery revolving around ten ordinary people who somehow happened to be invited to the same island by the same absent host.

“Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

Christie has done a lovely job illustrating the ordinary-ness of being cooped together with strangers, their panic as one by one they begin to drop dead and the gradual development of suspicious chemistry amongst the strangers.

I loved the story’s pace and its gradual rise to the climax, which was steady, thrilling, and so well-written. The emphasis on the nursery rhyme, the slow realisation that it was a foreboding to the murders, were all well captured and portrayed, and testimony to Christie’s mastery in writing a good old mystery.

“There are crimes that cannot be brought home to their perpetrators. Instance the Rogerses’. Another instance, old Wargrave, who committed his murder strictly within the law.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

There’s nothing like a good ending. And Then There Were None is the perfect example. Not that this one book can be compared to the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but as a fan of both the authors, I feel like Agatha Christie approaches a more gradual full-circle ending while Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has more of an oval ending, if that makes sense, haha!

And Then There Were None ends brilliantly and answers the puzzling questions that come up during the course of reading. While it is a wonderful mystery, this book is also a thoughtful take on what constitutes crime and its impact on the victims and their loved ones. It offers a refreshingly not-too-religious view on sin and is a modern twist on the notion of karma – so many ideas and details woven into one iconic novel and based on a marvellous nursery rhyme; this book has it all.

“The innocent must not suffer.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

Although it isn’t overly analytical, this timeless classic mystery thriller by The Queen of Crime is a genius work of art and a brilliant portrayal of a world riddled with crime, deceit, and betrayal at its worst times.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“And then there were none.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

Previously on Random Specific Thoughts (my creative writing blog):

5 thoughts on “And Then There Were None | Book Review

  1. Lovely review!! This is my favorite of hers so far! I adore Agatha Christie and I recently started reading her works from the beginning! If you have audible, the plus catalogue has Richard Armitage narrating the first three Poirot books and he is simply brilliant!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Yay – mine too! It’s absolutely brilliant. Ooh that sounds so good – I should try that sometime!
      Aw I don’t have Audible but it sounds very tempting haha!


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