November 7, 2011

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Soldier Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they start to die...

Possibly her most famous book, and certainly the most adapted, Christie used different endings for the novel and her stage adaptation, giving the stage version a happier ending. The Boston Transcript

I love a good mystery. Strike this case a 'great' mystery.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie has actually been called the greatest mystery novel of all time and the author spent months researching before she started writing the story.

So I thought it was finally time to read this novel. As I was reading the first few pages, I started to ask myself questions about how 10 characters could die. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write all these questions down first...get my thoughts in order and make some assumptions before I read any further and then after I read the novel I could go back and reflect. Create for myself a sort of logic puzzle research project. This book is also known as, "Ten Little Indians," so with no insult intended to indigenous cultures, I am going to call a participant an Indian. Stopping at page 27, the end of chapter two, I have the following:
  1. There are 10 strangers and they all die. But the book summary does not state they are all murdered, just "they die". A death could be faked.
  2. Crimes of passion are committed because of jealousy, greed or revenge. It could be revenge. The deaths likely are not crimes of passion but of justice.
  3. There must have been at least one person who investigated each "Indian" on the island. If each Indian committed a crime then the common thread is the law - justice.
  4. The external characters are the boatman (Fred Narracott), the old seafaring gentleman, the jew (Mr. Isaac Morris), the porters and taxi drivers.
  5. Only Justice Wargrave was NOT invited by Owen, but supposedly by Lady Constance Culmington. Rather Wargrave is the only one who thinks he was invited by her and not Owen.
  6. A doctor, someone who can save lives, is one of the Indians. 
  7. Someone could be hiding out on the island.
  8. Could one of the individuals have a twin?
  9. Use of the word prisoner = military.
  10. Mr. Isaac Morris arranged and paid for transportation of the Indians to the Island as stated by Norracott. Mr. Blore may have been contracted by Morris.
Wow, ok so after reading the novel I have determined that all my logical assumptions above hold true. But I really can't discuss the plot of the book any further without giving away spoilers. This has been an interesting exercise though!  And Then There Were None is an unforgettable mystery. Its not very long but it has great impact. I highly recommend to fiction and mystery lovers.

My Rating 5.0


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