While visiting Indiana, I found a fantastic used book store — White Rabbit Books — and stumbled upon a hardbound copy of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which is also known as Ten Little Indians. For $8, I had to buy it, especially since I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read this classic.
Book Review #2:
In a methodical style, the Queen of Mystery introduces all the players and their questionable pasts. No one is innocent!
Dame Christie introducers her characters, and suspects, by getting us right into their heads. The point-of-view shifts throughout in an easy manner, allowing the reader to know more about the characters than the characters get to know about each other.
I must admit, it took me a moment to feel comfortable with the writing style, but I knew I was in the hands of a master. The book outlines every character — there are 13 total (lucky 13?) — before a murder happens. Yes, I knew a little more than I wanted to about the characters’ issues and inner struggles, but the background sets the reader up as the ultimate sleuth. It certainly felt like the only one I could trust was me!
Once a character dies at the very end of Chapter 4, it’s really up to the reader to play detective. And what a delicious game! That’s when all the backstory we’ve learned really kicks in. My suspicion kept shifting. Christie’s skills are many but I particularly liked how everyone, at different times, seems guilty and innocent.
Unfortunately, I saw the movie and easily remembered the twist. (It is a classic, after all.) I’m not sure that I would have figured it out, as the clues about the killer’s identity are limited. I won’t spoil it for you, if by some miracle you’ve never heard about the ingenious way Ms. Christie hid her killer from the reader. If you don’t know, the reading will be an extra treat for you! If, however, you’re like me and a student of brilliant twists and turns, I’d still encourage you to read the writing of a master. Movie and television versions of great mystery literature can never offer the same thrills as the written word.
The Pros & Cons and My Final Verdict:
Pros: Stick a bunch of questionable characters on an island with a mysterious host and kill them off one by one. Combine the storytelling with no fuss, but just the facts (physical & psychological) and you clear the path for a read focused on what matters — the mystery.
Cons: If you also enjoy your mystery on television, you might expect a story with a faster start. I’m a Law & Order fan, which has trained me to expect a dead body before the opening credits end. If you also suffer from this condition, you’ll need to check that urgency at the door. Having been published in 1939, And Then There Were None lives by a different storytelling pace.
Final Verdict: On a scale of Hmmm to Fun to Read to Must Read…
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is a MUST READ! (No surprise there.)