And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Published by William Morrow ISBN 978-0-06-232554-9
Trade paperback, $16.99, 247 pages
I've never read any of Agatha Christie (I know, I'm so ashamed), so when BookClubGirl decided to host The Summer of Christie to introduce their new thriller in September, The Monogram Murders, featuring Christie's favorite protagonist Hercule Poirot, I jumped in.
We begin with perhaps her most famous novel, And Then There Were None, about ten people summoned to a secluded island where they are murdered one by one until there are none left. The reader has to puzzle out who the killer is and why and this is a doozy of novel.
The book starts with the Frank Green poem detailing how ten little soldiers each end of dead, foreshadowing for our story. Then we meet each of the island visitors and get a bit of their backstory. They each receive a letter inviting them to Soldier Island, which is the subject of much public interest.
No one knows exactly who owns the island; a wealthy American was the last known owner, but he reportedly sold it. Was it to a Hollywood film star or a wealthy newlywed for his bride? Did the government buy it to carry out secret experiments? If TMZ were around then, this would have been a mainstay topic for them.
The guests are greeted by two housekeepers, a married couple who hadn't met the owners. A young school teacher had been hired to be a secretary to the owner. A captain in the armed forces was hired to be there, as was a doctor and a police officer, all hired by a solicitor. A respected judge, a spinster, a retired general, and a wealthy playboy received strange invitations, all from supposed acquaintances.
One by one, the ten end up dead. There are ten figurines on the dining table, and following each death, a figurine disappears. The island is searched top to bottom, and there is no one else there. Whoever is murdering them is one of the ten.
But why? We discover that each of the ten have been responsible for another person's death, but not held accountable by law. They are each being punished for their deeds, but who is doing the killing?
How each of them handled their feeling, or lack of feeling, for the guilt in causing another person's death is an intriguing concept here.
The manner of murders follow the poem, and the tension ratchets after each murder. Trying to figure out who is doing it will test your deductive powers and then when you think maybe you have the right answer, the clever epilogue will either confirm your suspicion or give you the answer you seek.
I really enjoyed And Then There Were None, it may just be the perfect mystery. It made me think and parse every page carefully for clues. I also loved the slang, like saying "That's a rum go!", which means a strange turn of events. I will be using that one in the future.
I'm looking forward to the next book, Dead Man's Folly, where we meet Mr. Hercule Poirot. If you want to join us in the Summer of Agatha Christie, the link is here.
rating 5 of 5
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