And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
Reissued April 2011
Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
"One little solider boy left all alone; he went and hanged himself and then there were none."
This poem about solider boys sets the stage for Agatha Christie's classic mystery And Then There Were None. In eighth grade, our English teacher assigned this book to our class and then let us watch the movie. I've never forgotten this story, also known as Ten Little Indians, because the twist ending is something I didn't see coming. This is where I learned the term "Red Herring" and developed a life-long fascination with mysteries.
And Then There Were None tells the story about ten strangers. Each person receives a letter from an old friend, or in some cases the letter is a job offer, inviting them to come to Soldier Island off the coast of Devon. When they arrive, they're told their host, U. N. Owen, has yet to arrive, but they're to make themselves at home. Each guest finds a poem in their room about ten soldier boys and the way they meet their fate. That night, a booming voice details how they are each responsible for a murder. By morning, two are dead, and the others start to panic because there must be a killer among them. The only way to prevent more deaths is by figuring out the murderer's identity.
I was excited to read And Then There Were None all these years later. As an adult, I definitely have more insight into the world of adults, and I've been to England now a number of times and know the area better. This definitely heightened the experience. One thing that amazed me is how the book still has a modern feel. It was written in the 1930s, before computers, cell phones, and modern electronic gadgetry. The personalities are the same as many people I know. You have Tony, the man who loves fast cars and racing around. There's Emily, the older woman who believes the youth lack morals. Put a cell phone in their hand today and they'd fit in perfectly.
If you've never read an Agatha Christie mystery, I highly recommend And Then There Were None. It's a great story filled with unexpected twists.