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
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.
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!
on December 4, 2015
Amazon should list that this is an EDITED version of "And Then There Were None." Had they done that, I would have passed downloading the Kindle version. Bottom line: Don't buy this $12.95 edition with black cover and red images. "Indians" are nowhere to be found. It is filled with "Soldiers." 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 (now Soldier Island). Readers need to be aware of this change before purchase! Complicating matters is my child is reading this in school right now, which is why we downloaded it. About 20 of the kids have the original and speak of Indians. Imagine the initial humiliation when she (and one other girl actually) tried to join the discussion and reference soldiers. (She is over it now though.) Anyway, do not purchase this.
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...
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.
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
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.
on March 5, 2015
I don't have anything to add to the other reviews that's new but I agree with anyone who said this novel starts out with edge of your seat suspense and ends up so contrived and ridiculous that it almost takes away from the slow and delicious build of the mystery for two thirds of the novel. I won't say to avoid reading it but you will have to really suspend your disbelief for the reveal.
on July 18, 2016
"And Then There Were None" is a brilliant mystery, and I have purchased copies in the double digits and have given them to friends. The one star is for the "William Morrow" published version, one with a photo of people in a boat and trumpeting "Now On Lifetime".
It disgusts me that the pinheads who demand 'political correctness' have tampered with this classic. Yes, I know that the original was even more politically incorrect and was changed by the author. This was not sanctioned by the author, but by clowns. I bought this book expecting Ten Little Indians. To have altered the content of the book without authorization from the author is like defacing Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" because you don't want to see a naked woman. And don't put a diaper on Michelangelo's "David" and tell me it's for my own good.
The product information for this book is misleading. The book was altered to satisfy those who try to force political correctness on others, past, present, and future. I don't want their PC crap. I want the original book. The product information should label the book as being altered, and explain how. Then the purchaser can decide which version they want. That would be the honest way to present this version and others.
The original version, with Ten Little Indians, is a five star book. Clever, well-written, and with a very satisfying ending. My copy is dog-eared from re-reading it every year or two. Even knowing the ending, I marvel at the workmanship of Dame Agatha. I recommend seeking out the version you want, and reading it. I recommend to Amazon that they make it easier for the purchaser to determine which version they are considering. And, yes, it matters.