Saturday, June 4, 2016

And Then There Were None

My mom discovered Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None on the Wikipedia List of Best Selling Books some time ago.  The book has an estimated $100 million in sales since it was published in 1939.  She found it at a local used book store (the 50th printing), read it, and loved it.  So then she passed the book on to me.  Lately I've been reading magazines and failing to finish some nonfiction; I was in need of a good story.  She assured me it was a good story, so I started it a few days ago.  And wow, she was right!

And Then There Were None tells the story of ten strangers who are invited to an island under rather mysterious circumstances.  There's Mr. Justice Wargrave, the judge who thinks he's visiting an old friend; Vera Claythorne, an ex-governess who believes she's been hired as a secretary for the summer; Captain Philip Lombard, who was hired to help a wealthy client get out of a sticky situation; Emily Brent, who was invited for a vacation; General Macarthur, who believed he was visiting some old friends; Dr. Armstrong, who believed he was coming to see to the wealthy wife's health; Anthony Marston, who thought he was coming to a party; Mr. Blore, a private investigator who believes he is here as security; and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the hired help.  After everyone arrives on the island, they are informed that their host and hostess are delayed; that's when everyone discovers things are a bit off (some people were invited by someone under the name of Owens, but others were not; are they in the right place then?)  And then they start dying.  The first death can be mistaken for a suicide.  By the third one, this is no longer a plausible explanation.  After a thorough search of the island, the guests come to realize two things: there is no one else on the island with them, which means that one of them is the murderer!  And the murderer is killing everyone according to the "Ten Little Indians" poem which is framed in each of their rooms.  No one can trust anyone else.  How will the innocent guests figure out who the culprit is before they're all gone?

This masterfully put-together story is actually the first book of Christie's that I've ever read.  I can easily see why this book is the world's best selling mystery novel.  And if her other mysteries are of a similar caliber, it's no wonder her work is still beloved today.  I highly recommend And Then There Were None; while a little bit dated, it will keep you guessing right to the end as to how the whole plot was pulled off!

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