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Customer Review

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!
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