And Then There Were None

Backstory

And Then There Were None is an intriguing and mind-boggling fictional story of ten people who are lured into Soldier Island off the coast of Devon in England. What then happens is a mystery: Each dies one after the other, until, well, there are none.

At the very beginning, each of the ten receive a letter by an enigmatic mastermind named “U.N. Owen”. With this, Christie gives us the first riddle: What can such a strange name like U.N. Owen mean? This is actually a tongue-in-cheek wordplay on “unknown”.

In the letter, Owen invites them to a grand vacation It turns out that this is not just an ordinary island: It is gossiped that it is owned by an enigmatic celebrity of sorts.

With the backdrop set, the strangers reach the island by boat. Everything seems to be going well, but then — woosh!— a voilent, violent storm approaches. Through this, it can be inferred that Christie is trying to build the tension up. My heart is beating fast: What will happen next? Well, as with every other mystery book, a dead body is reported in less than a few hours of their stay. The remaining nine all seem to be rather inconspicuous, thanks to Christie’s realistic attempt to strip any suspicious signs from the nine other surviving characters.

This goes on and on, in a pretty redundant fashion, until all ten of them are dead. This means that the last survivor commited suicide. Following this logic, it then means that the last survivor was the murderor of the other nine victims. Who is this character? You will only find out who this is if you read the book from cover to cover.

Interesting Notes

  • All of the charac­ters trapped on the island seem to have commited a sort of murder. For example, the emotion­ally-unstable Vera Clay­thorne drowned a young boy in the sea in order to ensure that her lover got his inheritance. So when she and her lover married, they will both be rich. Clever!
  • The essence of the online game Among Us is actually very similar to And Then There Were None. So if you play the game, reading this wouldn’t be too different.
  • Some editions of the book have the title “Ten Little Niggers”. Since then, the title has changed due to it’s racist nature. I suppose that was the zeitgeist of the time! Google Search

Language

I feel the plot is a little confus­ing and unnec­essary due to the convo­luted speech dia­logues. This makes the book’s nar­rative difficult to follow and exhaustive to read. I also think the setting of the book is rather clichéd — people trapped in an island where an unforgiving, tumultuous storm is brewing… Isn’t that just an eye-roller? I think I have seen enough of such books.

In spite of all these pitfalls, I still think Christie has still written quite a fresh story, thanks to the unique and clever plot. Notable too is Christie’s masterful use of suspense that tugs on to the readers.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published by Thomas Rettig

Hi!

2 thoughts on “And Then There Were None

  1. You will not believe the ending and the ingenuity of Agatha Christie. She is truly the master of suspense.

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