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"And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie - Book Review

A convoluted, locked-room mystery from the greatest mystery writer. Simply written to see if it could be done, Christie’s novel leaves readers confused and guessing until the epilogue’s reveal.

By Kristen BarenthalerPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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"Ten . . ."

Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen."

"Nine . . ."

At dinner, a recorded message accuses each of them, in turn, of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night, one of the guests is dead.

"Eight . . ."

Stranded by a violent storm and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . one by one, they begin to die.

"Seven . . ."

Who among them is the killer, and will any of them survive? (Goodreads)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is the best-selling mystery novel in the world. Personally, I didn’t quite enjoy this as much as some of her other mysteries. The mystery lies in who the killer is, but there are barely any clues for readers to be on the lookout for, making the novel a bit dry and unexciting. However, the intricate planning that must have gone into a book like this makes it easy to see how Christie has become such a famous mystery writer. If you are looking for a read where you can feel superior to the author and characters by deducing the clues and figuring out the resolution ahead of time, look elsewhere. Christie leaves barely any clues on her ultimate solution, confusing the story to those who like to follow along with the mystery.

A locked-room mystery where there is no one else except the victims in the area. How can it possibly be done?

Readers nowadays are used to the exciting, clue-filled, easy-to-follow mysteries and thrillers gracing the shelves. Christie's mystery is precise, calculating, and conniving. Readers are so confused by the end that Christie has to write an epilogue confession to wrap up the novel. Christie herself said, "I had written this book because it was so difficult to do that the idea had fascinated me. Ten people had to die without it becoming ridiculous or the murderer being obvious. I wrote the book after a tremendous amount of planning, and I was pleased with what I had made of it. It was clear, straightforward, baffling, and yet had a perfectly reasonable explanation; in fact it had to have an epilogue in order to explain it. It was well received and reviewed, but the person who was really pleased with it was myself, for I knew better than any critic how difficult it had been" (Author's Note). The amount of planning Christie put into each character, their backstory, and ultimately their murder makes for a suspense-filled novel of psychological fear and torture.

The nursery rhyme that hangs in each guest's room and inspires the novel is creepy enough on its own, but when used for hunting down criminals who escaped the law, it becomes a psychological instrument of torture. The characters know what is coming and can do nothing to stop it. As each soldier is taken from the table, another death occurs until none are left. As the poem counts down, the remaining characters become increasingly suspicious of each other, leading to their downfall.

https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/the-history-of-ten-little-indians

If it's so convoluted, why read it?

And Then There Were None is a great book club pick (which is why I read it this week). There are so many characters, side plots, and topics available for research that you'll never run out of things to discuss with your colleagues. You can discuss the characters, the nursery rhyme, the resolution, the settings, Christie's life, and so many other aspects of Christie's writings.

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About the Creator

Kristen Barenthaler

Curious adventurer. Crazed reader. Archery fanatic. Amateur author.

Instagram: @kristenbarenthaler

Facebook: @kbarenthaler

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15101108.Kristen_Barenthaler

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