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And Then There Were None Mass Market Paperback – March 29, 2011
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“One of the most ingenious thrillers in many a day.” (Time magazine)
“One of the very best, most genuinely bewildering Christies.” (The Observer (UK))
“There is no cheating; the reader is just bamboozled in a straightforward way from first to last….The most colossal achievement of a colossal career. The book must rank with Mrs. Christie’s previous best―on the top notch of detection.” (New Statesman (UK))
“The most astonishingly impudent, ingenious and altogether successful mystery story since The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” (Daily Herald (UK))
“What Agatha Christie taught me was all about the delicate placement of the red herring. She was the ultimate genius behind ‘by indirections shall we find directions out.’ ” (Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Lynley novels)
From the Back Cover
One of the most famous and beloved mysteries from The Queen of Suspense—Agatha Christie—now a Lifetime TV movie.
"Ten . . ."
Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U. N. Owen."
"Nine . . ."
At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.
"Eight . . ."
Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die.
"Seven . . ."
Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
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This is a review of an AWFUL version sold for $0.99 by "Real ePublishers" - but they are not "real" by any means - clearly no one ever proof read the draft produced. Don't know what sort of scanner or other software they used but it is AWFUL - words like "soon" come out like "oson" - crazy stuff - almost every occurrence of "an" comes out as "on". A proper name - Blore - came out as Eblor or something stoopid like that. One or two errors were inscrutable. Most could be read through without trouble if you are not a little OCD (guess I must be - I submitted corrections to AMAZON for hundreds of errors - no exaggeration - as I read). So rather than pay $9.99 you can get this edition for 1/10 the price ... but like my dear departed daddy used to say - "you get what you pay for."
Great story - lousy edition.
Top international reviews
Being very familiar with the many film versions - the original 1945 version being my favourite - reading the original story has been a long time coming, but it didn't disappoint. Although the ending in the book took me by surprise (it is very different from the film ending), I was familiar with the story generally.
It is as well written as any Christie novel and as engaging, perhaps more engaging than most as towards the end, sat alone in my darkened apartment, I actually experienced more than one shiver of fear, something I have never experienced in a book since reading The Shining many years ago.
An excellent read even if the story may be a tad familiar.
Just as a postscript I have to add that on reading through other reviews, several mention this being a Poirot story. So many in fact I wondered if I'd reviewed the wrong title!
I hadn't. This is not a Poirot story and there is no mention of him in it whatsoever, in fact there is no mention of any Christie leading "character", the story is a one off. I think the confusion may have come about because the producers of the Poirot TV series may have wound the story into an episode. Ill advisedly in my opinion as the story stands well entirely on its own merit.
"Ten people dead on an island and not a living soul on it. It doesn't make sense. We don't know who did it, or why, or how."
Regarded as Christie's masterpiece, the most difficult of her books to write and more than 100 million copies sold worldwide to cement the reputation of Christie as the Queen of Crime. Sarah Phelp's recent adaptation of the book was atmospheric and gripping with a stellar cast lead by Charles Dance, Aidan Turner and Sam Neill.
The book needed an epilogue to explain who the culprit was and why he had chosen his particular victims for this fantastical crime, "something stupendous-out of the common. Something theatrical, impossible." Sir Thomas Legge, the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard and Inspector Maine try to piece it together after the discovery of the bodies and can't quite get it right.
"Some fanatic with a bee in his bonnet about justice. He was out to get people who were beyond the reach of the law. He picked ten people-whether they were really guilty or not doesn't matter." The manner of their deaths resembled the children's nursery rhyme hung in each of the bedrooms. (Frank Green 1869)
Christie decided to include a simple device of a message in a bottle. More formally it was referred to as a manuscript document sent to Scotland Yard by the master of the Emma Jane fishing trawler. This amounted to a confession by the murderer before killing himself. It was enclosed in a bottle, sealed and cast into the sea. It neatly sums up what the police were unable to do and reveals the instability and dangerous nature of the murderer: "I have a definite sadistic delight in seeing or causing death." He wanted it to be on a grand scale and it was!
The story is set in August 1939 and centres around an island off the coast of Devon called Soldier Island. The island was engulfed in mystery and was isolated, prone to storms so it proved the perfect venue to carry out mass murder. When there is a south-easterly wind you can’t land on the island. Sometimes it can be cut off for a week or more. An American millionaire, Elmer Robson, had bought the island and he had built a luxurious and modern house where his guests stayed. There were more recent rumours that Gabrielle Turl, the Hollywood film star had bought it. This couldn't be verified. We do know that a Mr and Mrs U.N.Owen had bought the island recently and they had employed a Mr Isaac Morris to invite a number of people to the island. He was able to concoct a suitable bait for each of his victims to entice them to spend a week on the island before killing them, one at a time.
The characters are introduced as they are travelling from various destinations to Soldier Island. Justice Wargrave has just retired from the bench after a long and successful career. It seemed that he had been invited by an old friend, Constance Culmington to catch up on the old days and commune with nature. He hadn't seen her for seven or eight years. He thinks that even Constance could have bought the island. He was known as the hanging judge. He had a great power with the juries: “it was said he could make their minds up for them any day of the week.”
Vera Claythorne was looking forward to being offered a summer job on the island. She had been teaching games in a third-rate school and had had a strenuous term. Working as Mrs Owen’s secretary sounded enticing. Philip Lombard was a ruthless mercenary. He had been offered a hundred guineas to keep a look-out. He was broke so he accepted the assignment. We are told continually that he moved like a panther and likened to a beast of prey. He is the only guest to carry a revolver which makes him one of the chief suspects once the killing spree begins.
Emily Brent is a religious fanatic. She had received a letter from an old acquaintance from Bellhaven Guest House inviting her for a free holiday on the island. Her income had been reduced so a free holiday was always welcoming. She reads from her Bible about the day of judgment: “the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” General Macarthur seemed to have received an invitation from his cronies. He had mixed feelings when he landed, delight as he climbed the stairs followed by unease. Dr Armstrong was sent a cheque asking him to keep an eye on Owen’s wife without alarming her. Owen’s wife didn’t appear!
Mr Blore was using a pseudonym, Davis and had invented a story that he was from South Africa. Lombard spots the deceit immediately. Blore was an ex-detective. Mr and Mrs Rodgers were the butler and his wife, the cook. Dr. Armstrong was in need of a long holiday. He found Soldier Island magical, a world of fantasy. “You lost touch with the world-an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.” Christie throws in plenty of clues to keep us on our guard. Something is very odd. Even the characters feel it. They eyed each erring on the side of caution. Then there was Anthony Marston who came for the drink and the prospect of women. Rich and spoilt. The first to be poisoned.
After dinner together, the guests relaxed and started to open up a little with more freedom and intimacy. Marston noticed ten little china figures sitting on the table, looking quite harmless but odd. And then it happened… There was a voice without warning, inhuman, penetrating accusing the guests of crimes committed- causing the deaths of other fellow men, with dates included. They are addressed as prisoners at the bar. There was a petrified silence followed by anger and shock. Then there’s a touch of Lord of the Flies with evidence that a madman (or woman) is out to kill each and every one of them. Suspicion, paranoia, trapped on the island with a madman intent on killing.
By the time three survivors remained Lombard suggested heliographing with a mirror, sending out an SOS in the hope of a rescue from the mainland. Some of them kept diaries and notes so it was possible for the police to piece together vital clues.
The man, Isaac Morris who had provisioned the island and made all the necessary arrangements died. Was he also killed? “He explained to the people down there (Sticklehaven) that there was some experiment on-some bet about living on a “desert island” for a week-and that no notice was to be taken of any appeal for help from out there.”
It’s a clever book and you’ll probably have to read it through right to the end before you discover the murderer. You won’t be disappointed.
Publisher: Harper Collins Publisher. ISBN: 978-0-00-713683-4
REVIEW it by Carol Naylor.
As engaging, escapist entertainment, this deserves four stars, but not this Real e-publishing edition.
The book itself has always been one of my favourites, with a cracking story involving ten strangers, invited by the mysterious U. N Owen to either holiday, visit or work at a mansion on the remote Soldier Island, off the Devon coast. Each of the visitors has a deadly secret... murder! Then their pasts finally catch up with them as a serial killer strikes and, one by one, ten become nine, then eight, then seven.... Just who is the killer in their midst and who will be the next victim???
The one main difference in this book is the renaming of the island and the classic children's rhyme; my paperback copy of the book was printed in 1990, and the island was called, even in those enlightened times, N****r Island. Someone has clearly gone through this edition with a fine toothed comb to ensure that no reader, however broadminded, is offended by politically incorrect language or sentiment.
If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, then you've either already read And Then There Were None or know what to expect; but, if you are new to Agatha Christie, then this would be a cracking way to start reading her classic murder mystery novels and short stories.
Either way, enjoy.
The classic murder mystery in all its glory. A group of people, seemingly strangers, are tricked into coming to stay in a large house on a remote island. Murders begin...one by one...it seems, in order of their own personal guilt, culminating, finally, with the murder of the most culpable. The mounting tension and total feeling of claustrophobia is palpable throughout the book. This is, by no means, my favourite Agatha Christie (although in 2015 it was rated as the worlds most popular Agatha Christie) but it rather stands alone on its own merit - whilst formulaic it's, nonetheless, a fantastic read. ( The audiobook read by Dan Stevens and the recent television adaptation are, also, both very worthwhile). Recommended.
We begin with a disparate group of people heading for Soldier Island in Devon. There is Justice Walgrave, a retired judge, Vera Claythorn, a young games mistress, the daring, and dashing, Captain Philip Lombard, Miss Emily Brent, an upright, religious spinster, the elderly General MacArthur, successful Harley Street doctor, Armitage, a previous police detective, William Blore and the reckless party lover, Anthony Marston. Once on the island, the ill assorted group are greeted by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, who are acting as butler and cook.
It soon transpires that all of the inhabitants of Soldier Island have been lured there for different reasons – a job, the promise of a free holiday, the chance to talk over old times. Their host, though, appears to be missing and there is no way off the island. When a mysterious voice accuses them all of past crimes, the guests begin to be picked off, one by one. It seems that a madman is on the island and, if anyone is to make it off alive, they need to find out who their accuser is…
Other people have taken this idea, but Christie did it best. This novel works because it is brilliantly conceived, with real atmosphere and a very creepy plot. If you want to try Agatha Christie, but are not sure you want to read Poirot, Miss Marple, or any of her other series, then this is an ideal starting place. A stand alone novel, which really stands out and which has stood up to the test of time.
Eight guests find themselves invited to a house party on Soldier Island, a small islet just off the Cornish Coast, where they are welcomed by Mr and Mrs Rogers, the butler and his wife. As they all start to chat to each other, however, it turns out that none of them are quite sure why they have been invited. They compare their stories and find that most of them seem to have been summoned my a Mr or Mrs U N Owen. Further questioning reveals that Mr and Mrs Rogers had been hired through an agency and had never met the owners, either. After dinner on the first evening, a strange announcement is made, making a series of allegations against everyone in the party. And then they start dying, one by one, in increasingly sinister circumstances.
It is probably about forty years since I first read this novel, and while I could remember quite clearly who the perpetrator was, I was just as spellbound by it. I am fairly sure that I wouldn't have been able to guess who the murderer was, though the clues are certainly all there. As a young boy I read my way through Agatha Christie's works, one after another, taking them all at face value, unaware of any social comment or her lambasting of conventions. The satire is certainly there, though Christie never lets it get in the way of her plots.
The plot is a thrilling mystery with a very satisfying and cunning ending. This is a very punchily written book, with lots of dialogue which one can speed through quickly. This is a fast and furious read and is highly recommended for Christie and general crime fans.
A hugely enjoyable book then; and one I can't wait to read again, now that I know the twist, to see if I can pick up on all the clues I so obviously missed the first time.
Once again I found her writing to be fluid, imaginative and, somewhat unexpectedly for me, witty.
You need to make allowances for when it was written - slapping hysterical women in the face is, thankfully, no longer acceptable medical practice! That said, the story stands the eats of time very well. It's fast paced, intriguing, full of interesting characters and manages to deliver a surprise at the end.
A good read.
I was prompted to read this having watched the excellent BBC adaptation over the Christmas period. The plot of this adaptation stayed very faithful to the original narrative, except for handling the ending somewhat differently, though this change seems justified in light of the difference between television and book as media. In any case, this ending is closer to Christie's original than that of almost any of the other film and TV adaptations.