|And Then There Were None |
by Agatha Christie #BookReview
“When the sea goes down, there will come from the mainland boats and men. And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Soldier Island.”
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
Somewhere around last year, DH expressed his desire to read some good books. He specifically said he would like to read something thrilling and interesting. So, I suggested him to try Agatha Christie books and since then he orders a new book every other month.
To give you some background, he has had his fair share of reading books during his school days, but he never graduated to become a serious book reader. He religiously goes through the newspaper every day and reads financial stuff online, but reading books has not been his cup of tea. But, now whenever the reading bug bites him, he picks up one of Christie’s work. So, courtesy him, I have a good number of Agatha Christie titles at home.
I have read a few of Christie’s work in the past and had thoroughly enjoyed them. So, I again started off with her best-acclaimed work - ‘And Then There Were None’. And truly, it turned out to be as exciting and riveting it promised to be. This is among the first books I read this year, but I am getting around to write the review only now.
Eight people, with nothing much in common, are invited to a mansion in the isolated Soldier Island, off the Devon coast by a mysterious U.N.Owen.
The invited party includes –
Vera Claythorne – a former governess
Philip Lombard – an adventurer
William Lombard – a detective
Dr Armstrong – a physician
Emily Brent – a spinster
Justice Wargrave – a retired judge
General Macarthur – a former army person
Tony Marston – a police officer
When they arrive on the island, they are received by Mr and Mrs Rogers, the butler and housekeeper, who had come to the place a day earlier. They also report to the party that their host - Mr Owen, is stuck somewhere and is not expected until the next day.
After a sumptuous dinner that evening, a recorded voice on the gramophone accuses each of them of the heinous crime of committing a murder in their lives. All of them are shell-shocked and come together to discuss what they should do next. They soon realize that they all have been tricked into coming to this goddamned island by a mad psychopath. Just about when they were about to chalk out a plan, one of the guests - Anthony Marston chokes on poisoned drink and dies instantly.
The party calls it a night and retreats to bed when one of the guests – Vera Claythorne notices the eerie similarity between how Marston died and the first verse of a nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Indians,” that hangs in each bedroom.
‘Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.’
And the drama on the island has just begun.
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It is very cleverly written. Yes, clever is the word I want to use to describe the way this book is written. When reading a mystery novel, I think, we readers assume the role of a detective and work our way to guess the culprit – at many instances throughout the novel, I thought I had figured it out only to be proved wrong. That’s the beauty of Christie work. The novel had me on the edge for the entire time I was reading it and it was well worth every bit of time I spent on it.
The story progresses quickly and the suspense quotient keeps heightening keeping the reader on the hook. This is the kind of book which will keep you mentally stimulated as your mind will keep working to find the culprit before the author reveals it to you. I think the star ingredient of this novel is the plot itself. From characterization point of view, I think the author has just worked on a particular trait of the characters – there is a certain lack of depth –which actually works for the story.
If you are a mystery fan, I will highly recommend this book to you. This book will surely pique your intellect and will make your adrenaline surge. If you have not read any of Christie’s work, you should definitely start with this.
You can buy the book here:
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Some lines quoted from the book -
“There was something magical about an island—the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world—an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.”
“If this had been an old house, with creaking wood, and dark shadows, and heavily panelled walls, there might have been an eerie feeling. But this house was the essence of modernity. There were no dark corners—no possible sliding panels—it was flooded with electric light—everything was new and bright and shining. There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it. Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all….”
“Fear, what a strange thing fear was...”
“That's peace - real peace. To come to the end - not to have to go on... Yes, peace.”
Some additional information:
As I was reading about the book online, I came across some additional information on the book that I would like to share here.
This book was originally titled as ‘Ten Little Niggers’ in the U.K. When it was published in the U.S. it was changed to ‘Ten Little Indians’ as the word ‘nigger’ was deemed offensive and racist.
It was only years later the book was renamed ‘And Then There Were None’.
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