137 of 148 people found the following review helpful
Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE should be very close to the top of any mystery fan's "must read list." The novel concerns a group of ten previously unacquainted people who are lured via various pretexts to Indian Island, a resort home off the coast of Devon--and are promptly accused by their unseen host of having escaped punishment for past crimes. Cut off from the world and fighting rising panic, they scramble to unmask the killer even as their number is reduced in macabre accordance with the "Ten Little Indians" nursey rhyme displayed in rooms throughout the house.
Agatha Christie was already famous when AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (also known under the title TEN LITTLE INDIANS) was published--but this book put her career well over the top: nothing like it had seen before, it proved a sensation, and writers and film-makers continue to use Christie's basic idea to this very day. Some critics argue the novel is mechanical rather than organic, but I say if this is mechanical, let's have more of it! It is truly a can't-put-it-down, non-stop read, a spectacular turn by the genre's single most celebrated author.
The success of the novel inspired Christie to adapt it for the stage, where it was a tremendous success, and there have been several film versions (most notably the 1940s Rene Clair-directed AND THEN THERE WERE NONE) over the years. If you know the story only from stage and film versions, however, you are in for a surprise. Christie felt the novel's conclusion did not translate well to the stage, so she re-wrote it--and most film versions follow the stage script, not the novel. But whether you've seen the play and films or not, get ready for a shock!
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2000
As I sat down to read this book the afternoon I received it in the mail, many questions passed through my mind. I had never read any of Agatha Christie's mystery novels, and I wondered, would I like this one? Looking down at the first page somehow I knew that I would.
The first chapter sets the stage for the wonderful story to come, and every puzzle piece is set there for the finale.
The book is brilliantly written, and masterly crafted by Agatha Christie. Now, do not sit down exspecting to solve this one, because that feat seems entirely impossible. I don't believe she gives enough clues for that to be done, however I guess there might be someone who figured it out.
This novel was so good I could literally not put it down. I finished it in about 4 hours, and was very pleased at the end of the day.
I highly recommend this book, even if you are not a fan of the mystery genre, because the book itself is a literary classic.
I am pleased I decided to read this book because now I know I like Agatha Christie and will read more of her books, and I hope you do too.
77 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2002
Dame Agatha makes a jarring departure in this grim and intricate tale. There is no sleuth, the pace is fast, frenzied and breathless, and rather than "types," she takes pains with characterizations. The body count is high, and the mode of death frequently untidy. "And Then There Were None" is among the most favored of Christie's books. It has gone through a few title changes; I knew it as "Ten Little Indians," and before that it had even a more politically incorrect title. Be forewarned, Ms. Christie is neither enlightened nor tolerant. Some of the passages and references are bigoted and might offend some readers.
A group of ten strangers is invited or hired for a long weekend on Indian Island, a mile off the Devon coast. It is somewhat improbable that these ten would all accept such a vague invitation from a host they do not know to a place they have never seen before, but each for his or her own reasons accepts. They include a doctor, a games mistress, a soldier of fortune, a rich playboy, a retired policeman, a judge, a spinster, a retired general and a married couple who are to be the servants. They arrive on a bleak rocky island to a completely modern house with all the amenities. The fires are welcoming, there is an ample supply of food, the servants are impeccable, but their host is absent. In each of the bedrooms, the Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme is posted on a prominent wall. It begins:
"Ten Little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.---
Drinks are served, and one guest chokes, turns blue and falls over dead. The tension builds, the fright of the stranded people is palpable as one by one, they are picked off, each in accordance with the nursery rhyme. As the number of victims increase, the survivors' suspicions of each other reach a frantic pitch. In an epilogue, the police arrive and find them all dead. Who is the murderer who has to be among the victims?
"And Then There Were None" is told in short choppy chapters that build suspense and tension. I would call this Christie's one and only thriller. None of the characters are even likable and once again (see "ABC Murders"), Christie toys with the idea of the serial killer long before such an animal was even heard of. She is a good profiler too! This is an excellent story, and the author is miles ahead of you at all times, If you can figure out "who" and "how" before she lays it out for you, you deserve the Sleuth of the Year Award!
61 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 1999
Set on an isolated island without contact of the outside civilization, Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None is the story of tem strangers invited to an island by a mysterious host.
The book starts out with an introduction to the Ten characters. Although this is effective in telling the characters, it is also boring and does not catch your attention right away. But as soon as the guests arrive on Indian Island, this boredom disperses and an exciting thriller breaks through. What is also exciting about this novel is you have no idea who is committing these strange murders.
The first night these people are at the house they are greeted with an eerie voice that accuses them of murders that were committed but were never convicted of in the past. When the guests arrive there is no trace of U.N. Owen, but as the guests start to die this mysterious figure reveals his ugly face.
This book shows fear in peoples conciences, the guilt that lies within, and the hate among strangers. Anyone who wants to read a suspenseful murder mystery, and wamts to stay on the end of their seats, should read this wicked novel of horror and fear...
81 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
Don't buy this $12.95 edition with black cover and red images. It has been weirdly edited to remove all references to Indians! There's no explanation anywhere in the book. Agatha Christie's classic has gone through many editions through more than half a century using the classic "Ten Little Indians" nursery rhyme and the setting of Indian Island. Then, for some unknown reason, all the Indians were removed in this "bogus" edition and replaced by soldiers. Readers at least should be given an explanation for such a change. If the references were deemed by some unknown censor to be insulting to Indians, would they be any less insulting to soldiers?? I don't get it. Anyone interested in reading a better version should order the little black paperback with blue images for about half the price. As I have urged my local book store, I will urge Amazon, don't stock this book. I am an English teacher who has taught this book for years, and I am mystified by such an unwarranted and unexplained change.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Surely everyone in the world has read this book by now! Surely it tops the best-selling list of a best-selling author! Older readers may not recognize it by its current title, its original and a later replacement having been deemed too racist. Nothing racist, I hope, was picked up in my school English classes, where I used it to help develop pupils' appetite for reading.
Agatha Christie's achievement is remarkable. She creates ten characters, all suspected of murder, who are lured to an island. She has them meet their deaths one by one as nominated in the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians" which is displayed in their rooms. She has each murder occur in a situation where almost all the other island guests might have had opportunity to commit it. As if devising all this were not enough, she also frequently takes us into the minds of the various characters - something that the whole nature of detective fiction usually prohibits. This construction is not only intricate but also compact; it is one of her shorter novels. Built on this scheme, the book must exclude Mrs Christie's regular sleuths, Poirot and Miss Marple. Instead, the dwindling number of island guests generate their own investigation.
So here is a book that offers double the pleasure that murder mysteries provide. As well as challenging you to solve the mystery, it also amazes you that so ingenious a mystery could be contrived.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is Agatha Christie at her plot twisting best. In terms of public awareness of her work, it is right up there with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Over the years I've read this story a number of times & I'm still satisfied at the ending.
A group of people, unknown to one another, have been gathered together by a mysterious host to his isolated island mansion. There is a man servant & his wife--and even they're not sure who hired them. Just as the motley assortment of guests get a few drinks in them, a weird, disembodied voice speaks. The voice tells the group (including the servant couple) he has proof positive that each one has gotton away with murder in the past. From there the mystery (and murders) begin.
A plot device involves a collection of indian stauettes, each one representing a line in a nursey story. The guests begin to get knocked off in ways described in the rhyme--and after each murder is discovered, one of the figurines strangely disappears. All the guests start suspecting each other, and that's when the fun really begins.
Can you guess who's the murderer?
Let me tell you, it's...just kidding!
NOTE: The comedy CLUE was obviously based on this story. It even includes a Miss Marple character who's slightly incontinent. The disembodied voice? TRUMAN CAPOTE! Who else?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 1999
An action packed murder mystery thriller, Ten Little Indians is a one of a kind story. Written by the legendary Agatha Christie, Ten Little Indians excites, perplexes, and unnerves the readers to make them feel like being one of the persons being stalked by an unknown psycho. The story starts when 10 people are asked to come to a resort island named Indian Island off the shores of Devin. All of the people oblige, and make to the island. From there on, certain unexplained events start manifesting themselves. Slowly at first, but increasing as the time flies, one by one people start dying, all by quite obvious and different methods of murder. But the most baffling thing about these deaths is that the death count and the type of murder correspond with the lines of the child's poem Ten Little Indians. I personally enjoyed this book because it had all of the elements of an action adventure, but with all of the shrouding mystery of a murder mystery novel. Examples of these things can be found all over the book. An interesting part with both action and mystery is near the end, when only three people are living. A statue us dropped on one of the three. People suspect the doctor, who had disappeared the night before. The two living were shocked to find the doctor's body at the shoreline, where he had drowned. In these types of books convincing characters are hard to come by. Most are full of dull personalities. In this book each person has their own personality. The people have their own Ideas, they each have their own backgrounds, and their own styles of putting up with things. Making a even more convincing novel. An interesting thing that Christie did in this book is that she had semi chapters inside of main chapters, just on a single person. This was a plus in a sense, because it gave you each characters perspective on events that happened throughout the book. A perfect example of this is in chapter 10, another person had been killed, and everybody suspected everybody else. It was sort of enjoyable, seeing what the peoples' thoughts were. If you haven't read a mystery in a while, or ever, this is the perfect choice to start, or continue reading murder mysteries. Graham Dougherty
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2011
Wow. This was a masterpiece. I knew it when I laid the book down after finishing it, and what a refreshing experience it is to be conscious of something like that; it is years since I had a similar feeling after reading something. I have read "Five Little Pigs" by the same author a couple of years ago and considered that as her most successful novel among the about 15 ones I have read so far. But this is really something else and no wonder it is widely considered to be her best work. I had of course heard about the reputation of this book previously but was still struck by awe after finishing it. Right now, still shaken after the experience, I am inclined to regard this as the Top 3 best books I've ever read. It's also quite an exceptional work in Christie's repertoire - this is a thriller with no detective around; the people just keep dying one after another until... so who the heck can be the murderer? Everything is explained in an epilogue and makes immediate sense. It is almost impossible to figure out the murderer before that. Bravo.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
" There are ten of us in this room. One of us must be the murderer." So says Judge Wargrave, one of the ten main characters in And Then There Were None, a thrilling story by Agatha Christie. I chose this book because my father used to read her books and he mentioned a book about ten people who were all mysteriously killed on an isolated island. The ten strangers are gathered together on an isolated island by a mysterious host. One by one the guests share the dark secrets of their pasts. And one by one they die... How each character is murdered is known from the beginning, by a seemingly innocent poem, but yet the story is chilling and suspenseful; knowing one's fate is more disturbing than uncertainty. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a great book filled with mystery and suspense.