And There Were None ★★★★★
Genre(s) | Mystery, Classic
Goodreads Rating | 4.23
Humpo Show Rating | 5.00
Published | 1939
Publisher | Harper
First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
And Then There Were None is the story of ten individuals who receive a mysterious invitation to an isolated house on Soldier Island off the coast of Devon. During their first dinner together, with their mysterious host conspicuous by absence, they hear a recorded message that accuses each of them of a terrible crime. One by one, they begin to die. One of guests must be the killer, but who is it?
Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
The ensemble cast includes; the young and reckless Anthony Marston, the mercenary Philip Lombard, former governess Vera Claythorne, Dr Armstrong, Justice Wargrave, former police inspector William Blore, elderly and strict spinster Emily Brent, World War I hero General MacArthur, and Mr and Mrs Rogers, who were the hired staff on the island.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Soldier Island is the perfect setting for this murder mystery. Decked in the modern wonders of the time, the location acquired by the inexplicable U. N. Owen, leaves them with the sense of imprisonment as they are unable to leave the island, and no one will be coming out over the water to save them from the lunatic that is running amok.
Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Each of the victims suffer an end that befits this poem, a chilling inclusion. It becomes evident to those that remain that the deaths are linked to the poem, which only heightens their fear of what is to come. The suspense builds with each passing chapter as we get closer to finding out who the murderer is.
Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Christie kept me guessing all the time, with everyone acting suspiciously at some time or another. My guess as to the who the perpetrator was changed several times over the course of the book…and I was wrong!
Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were four.
The writing is straight forward and to the point. This has the benefit of giving the reader the facts about everything, but there is ambiguity that accompanies these facts as we interpret them in different ways.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
This was the first Agatha Christie book that I have read, and I am enormously glad that I have picked up her work of hers, as I will undoubtedly be reading more of her mysteries, including the famous Murder on the Orient Express, which I have watched recently.
Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
I will now be watching the BBC adaptation of the book, and compare and contrast the various aspects that they have, including how faithful they stick to the book.
Two little Soldier boys playing in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was One.
And There Were None is simply a literary masterpiece. A mystery that is deliciously thrilling and quite possibly the quickest read I have ever had. It was addictive, suspenseful and perfectly orchestrated.
One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
The Humpo Show | Richard