This archived article was written by: Ashley Stilson
Mystery, murder and mayhem are thrown into a suspenseful jumble in Agatha Christie’s best selling detective novel “And Then There Were None.”
Ten guests are invited to relax on a desolate island owned by a millionaire. When the guests arrive, their host is gone, but the guests are welcome to make themselves at home.
Following the first dinner on the island, a gramophone is accidently turned on and the record announces that each guest is a murderer. Each guest has murdered in the past, and each murder was accomplished in such a way that the law couldn’t have a hold on any of the guests. Paranoid that someone knows their secrets, the tension accelerates when one of the guests is poisoned.
At first, the guests assume that the deaths are accidental, but after the third death, it is apparent that there is a murderer on the island. However, a search of the island reveals that there is no one else on the island, but the eight guests left. No one can leave or arrive at the island because of an enormous storm has rolled in.
The murderer must be one of the remaining guests. But which one?
The story was originally published as “Ten Little Indians”, and the way each guest is murdered follows that nursery rhyme. The first murder is accomplished with poison, and the first line of the nursery rhyme is “one choked his little self.” The second victim dies in her sleep, and the second part of the nursery rhyme is “one overslept himself.”
Slowly the guests lose their humanity and grip on reality. A copy of the “Ten Little Indians” poem hangs in each room, and 10 tiny Indian figurines decorate the dinner table in the beginning. But as each guest is carefully murdered, the figurines disappear one at a time after each murder.
In a twisted plot of revenge, each guest is brought to face his or her guilt for the murders they committed. In desperation they try to signal the mainland for help, but no help arrives in time
The New York Times book review said about the book, “When you read what happens…you will not believe it, but you will keep reading. The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery that Agatha Christie has ever written.”
The book, although first published in 1939, continues to astonish readers and keep them hanging on to the very end of the book where there are none.