Book Review: And Then There Were None

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE | Agatha Christie
05.06.2014 (first published 11.06.1939) | William Morrow
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Ten strangers have been asked to arrive at a secluded island in Devon on August 8th. They have each received a letter from someone they know inviting them to come to the island for various reasons at the request of an unknown eccentric millionaire. While they may seem like strangers, each person had a murderous secret to hide. The millionaire who invited them to this island is intimately aware of their secrets and his goal is to bring them to light.

The island guests soon lose face with each other has they are forced to drop their masks when their secrets are revealed through a mysterious gramophone recording on the first night. Each person is called out on their darkest secret. They’re each a murderer. That same night also marks the first death of a guest. As the death count increases, the guests begin to ponder if they’re simply pawns in a game. Who amongst them is the murderer? Is there someone hiding on the island hunting them?

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Oh, yes. I’ve no doubt in my own mind that we have been invited here by a madman – probably a dangerous homicidal lunatic.

I feel like I can never say enough about how much I love Agatha Christie and how reading her books in my youth truly shaped my love for the whole crime fiction/mystery/thriller/suspense genre of books. This year I have dedicated myself to revisiting Agatha’s books at least once a month. Clearly I failed in January, since if you keep up with my posts you’ll note that this is my second Agatha in February…what matters is hitting 12 by December, right?! Somehow over the years I never picked up AND THEN THERE WERE NONE despite this book being one of Agatha’s most popular and talked about works. I have to say, bad job self.

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If this had been an old house, with creaking wood, and dark shadows, and heavily panelled walls, there might have been an eerie feeling. But this house was the essence of modernity. There were no dark corners – no possible sliding panels – it was flooded with electric light – everything was new and bright and shining. There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it.

Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all…

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is the epitome of everything I want in a novel: unlikeable characters, interesting backstory, a devious undertone, and a mystery that has me stumped beyond belief. Not for one second did I know who was behind the invitations to the island or the murders or what was the truth about these ten strangers. I didn’t know these things until Agatha told me. Why? Well I like to believe it’s not because I’ve read hundreds of books in this genre and still am the world’s worst detective, but that it’s because that’s how the book was written. Agatha isn’t known as the Queen of Mystery for nothing. Her writing is meticulous and thoughtful. You, the reader, are at her every whim. AND THEN THERE WERE NONE will stay with me for years to come and will certainly always live in the list of top books I’ve ever read. If you’ve never read a book by Agatha Christie give this one a try!

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