Do you like a cozy murder mystery? Do you like to guess who the murderer is before they strike again? The answers for me are yes and absolutely yes! And nobody does it better than Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie is the queen of the murder mystery genre. Her creation, Miss Marple, an observant old lady solving murder mysteries using her knowledge of human nature, is my favorite fictional character. That being said, And Then There Were None novel does not involve Miss Marple. 

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Book Cover And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Is And Then There Were None a Poirot book?

No, this novel does not involve Agatha Christie’s most popular character Hercule Poirot who is a famous Belgian Detective known for solving crime using his powers of deduction or what he refers to as using his “little grey cells”. This work of fiction stands alone with many unique characters and a unique storyline.

Things you didn’t know about And Then There Were None

The plot was crafted around a children’s nursery rhyme adapted from “Ten Little Injuns” to “Ten Little Ni**ers (which is also what the book was originally titled… yikes!). It is no secret that older works of literature are riddled with racist and/or misogynist undertones because that is really how people were in the early 1900’s. Even though we have these issues in modern times too, we have at least become more aware of it. Hence, the book was renamed using the last few words of the rhyme and the rhyme itself was renamed to Ten Little Soldiers.  

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Lonely Island

Ten Little Soldiers

Ten little soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little soldier boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was One.
One little soldier boy left all alone;
He went and hanged himself and then there were None.

Plot: What is the And Then There Were None book about?

We start off with 8 individuals being invited to a property on a remote island with only 2 other people, a cook and a butler but no host. The 8 guests and 2 staff members all realize that none of them, in fact, knew or had ever met the host. They all note that the Ten Little Soldiers rhyme is framed and kept in every room.

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Things are set into motion when a recording is played with everyone gathered together that lists crimes that each of the 10 individuals present have committed. One by one, people start turning up dead. Curiously, there were ten little figurines in one of the common areas and each time someone is killed, one of the figurines goes missing. At first the remaining people think that their host is hiding somewhere on the island and killing them off. But soon enough they realize that the killer has to be one of them.

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We’re not going to leave the island. None of us will ever leave. Its the end, you see – the end of everything…

What makes And Then There Were None different to other works of Agatha Christie?

With the rhyme being an indication of how the plot goes, this novel features ten deaths. This is possibly one of the highest numbers of murder and/or suicides compared to the author’s other works.

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Is And Then There Were None book hard to read?

I feel that initially it was a little hard to keep track of all the characters as there were so many. I wasn’t quite familiar with who’s who at first but they do start dying off rather quickly and this makes it slightly easier to keep track of characters as the story progresses.

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Is And Then There Were None book scary?

Not as much as it could have been. There is an ominous vibe with the setting being a lonely island, but I think this novel could have been scarier if it were described from one person’s point of view. Although, this would be difficult to achieve given the number of characters and back-stories that needed to be covered.

Authors Note by Agatha Christie for And Then There Were None

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9.0
Score

Pros

  • Multiple suspects - keeps you guessing
  • One of a kind plot
  • Knowing the rhyme adds to the sinister ominous atmosphere

Cons

  • Hard to keep track of all the characters
  • Knowing the rhyme takes away some of the mystery element
Creepiness of the setting
10
Characters
8
Plot
9

Final Verdict

I couldn’t have described it better than Agatha Christie herself in her “Author’s Note”. All ten people on the island die and we can’t pinpoint who instigated the whole thing until we read the epilogue at the end explaining who was behind it and why until a confession note from the killer is received by Scotland Yard. Then of course, as with all murder mysteries, it all becomes obvious and leaves you wondering, “how did I not guess that before?”.