Paperback, 317 pages.
Read from June 4, 2017 to June 5, 2017
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 bumblebee 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 out and hanged himself and then there were none.
Originally published in 1939, And Then There Were None, is Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. The original title of the book was actually called Ten Little Niggers as the plot point revolves around the British blackface song by the same name. The book title was changed for the American audience and renamed after the last line of the rhyme. Any reference to ‘Indians” or “Niggers” in the book rhyme was changed to “Soldier Boys,” however the original title still remains in some foreign translations. This novel is one of the best-selling novels of all time and has sold 100 million copies.
It is the 1930s and eight strangers find themselves invited to a small and remote island off the Devon coast in England, each of them is invited under different pretences and circumstances, but all by an allusive Mr or Mrs Owen. As each of the strangers arrives on the island they are greeted by the two servants, and not by their host, which they find peculiar. They all shortly realize that it is only the ten of them on the island and that their hosts are now where to be found. After a short conversation between them, they come to realize that no one really knows who this Mr/Mrs Owns is as no one can recall directly meeting them.
As the guests explore their surroundings they find a copy of the nursery rhyme “Ten Little Soliders” in every room along with ten curious figurines in the main room. The guests are greeted with an audio recording claiming that each of them has done something despicable in their lives and that they are going to pay for it. This message, along with the peculiar surroundings and circumstances, makes the guest feel very nervous. As they settle for dinner, one of the guests appears to choke and die, yet looks suspiciously like a poisoning. When they return to the main room they notice that one of the ten figurines is now missing. The guests frantically realize that have been set up and are in some sort of sick vengeance or punishment game with no way of getting off the island. Who is the murdering vigilante? Will any of them survive? Are their pasts truly crimes worthy of death?
No wonder this novel is considered Agatha’s masterpiece! It is insanely suspenseful. Agatha’s misses nothing in building up the mystery of this book. From the emotional depth of the character’s back stories to their dynamic personalities and logical wherewithal to try and survive their curious and dire situation. It is not an easy mystery to solve either. Just when I thought I had it figured out the ending left me with my jaw hanging. I could not put this book down.
If you are a mystery lover and have not read this book then I suggest that you dash to your nearest book store, library or e-reader and get yourself a copy now. Even for those who do not like mystery or are first time Agatha Christie readers, read this book. It is short and awesome and you won’t regret it.