And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
Published by Fontana, 1st January 1963 (first published 6th November 1939)
Genres: Thriller, mystery
Source: Purchased (second-hand)
First, there were ten. An odd assortment of characters, all invited as guests to a small private island off the coast of Devon. Their mysterious host is nowhere to be found and everything seems a little strange. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they are unwilling to reveal. By the morning of the second day on the island, two of the party are dead. Signs point to foul play, but with the island cut off from the mainland by a storm, the murderer must be one of them.
Only the dead are above suspicion. And when the guests realize that the murders are happening in sequence, following a famous nursery rhyme which is hung in every bedroom, tensions run high. By the end of the weekend, there will be none.
“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 travelling 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.”
I love this kind of mystery, similar to The Guest List, and it was really interesting to read a classic variation on the theme. I was a bit confused at first, as lots of characters are introduced in a very short space of time. But once they all got to the island and settled in, I was able to put everyone straight in my mind and from then on, I really enjoyed it.
The mystery was very intriguing and I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on and who was behind it all. And I definitely did not guess the ending!
The ending itself was really interestingly done. I really enjoyed seeing the police trying to understand what on earth had taken place on that island and the timeline of the deaths. And the message in a bottle ending was something very unique that finished it off really nicely for me.
This was actually my first ever Agatha Christie novel, but I am looking forward to reading more soon.
My rating: 4/5