Rating: 5 / 5
To wrap up the #AgathainAugust challenge being hosted by my friend Mary (@ahatforeveryread) this month, I decided to pick up AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. This is a book that I remember reading and enjoying long ago, but didn’t remember much about. I’ve also been wanting to do a reread of this one since I read THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Rachel Howzell Hall earlier this year which plays with the story line of Agatha Christie’s novel.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE begins with an assortment of ten strangers summoned to weekend on a private island. Their host is unknown to all of them and when they arrive at the island their host isn’t present and it is clear they are the only ten people on the island. As the guests begin to settle in, they are confronted with accusations. It seems that each of the ten guests has something evil in their past that their host wants to bring to light.
In each guest’s room is a copy of a not very child friendly nursery rhyme telling the story of ten little soldier boys dying one by one and soon the guests begin to die in like manner one by one. As the remaining guests get more and more nervous about their own fate, they reveal more about the evils in their past. Theories as to the murderer’s identity are made and revised as one by one these soldier stand ins meet their ends. In the end, ten bodies are found and the officials are left to wonder how they all came to die when the situation didn’t allow for anyone to have come to or left the island.
I actually wound up reading this primarily on audio while on the way to a girls weekend. It turns out the house required a drive up a pretty deserted looking street… to a house being shared that evening with a total of ten guests. Appropriate, right? I didn’t quite get to finish on audio, so was glad I had brought the book along to stay up a bit late reading one evening to finish it up!
This is one of Agatha Christie’s well known stories for a reason. The plotting that went into this and the creativity of the murders to match the rhyme and the seemingly impossible situation with ten dead and no killer present is incredible. From doing a bit of research on the book, it is reported that Agatha Christie called this her most difficult book to write and it is easy to see why! It has also inspired a lot of retellings/spinoffs, such as THEY ALL FALL DOWN as I mentioned before and TEN by Gretchen McNeil which I currently have on my bookshelves waiting to be read.
This one does have a lot of characters to keep straight right away in the beginning which probably would have made it a bit easier to have in print for the entire reading to be able to refer back. That said, Christie does a fantastic job of describing the characters well enough that they quickly develop well distinguished personalities and stories.
While I was very pleased that my weekend away was far less murder-filled, this was the perfect book to entertain me on my road trip and I’m glad to have made this my last #AgathaInAugust pick!