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4.7 out of 5 stars
And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie Collection)
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on 9 February 2015
I chose to read this book because I love murder mysteries and because I had planned to see the play at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on 7th February. I was in a bit of a dilemma in whether to read the book before or after, and because I'm so impatient I read it before and I absolutely loved it.

The characters are all summonsed in one way or another to Soldier Island and at first I thought they must all have some connection to the island in the past but I got this bit wrong but they are all hiding some incident or indiscretion from their pasts which comes to light.

Each chapter is split into parts with each part being dedicated to one of the characters relating to that particular scene; I liked the way this is done. It gives an all round view of what's going on and supposedly gives you an opportunity to pick up on the clues (not that I ever do!).

One of the characters notices a childhood rhyme and what follows are murders that are made to fit the rhyme.

Ten Little Soldier Boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine Little Soldier Boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight Little Soldier Boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven Little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six Little Soldier Boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five Little Soldier Boys going in for law; One got into Chancery and then there were four.
Four Little Soldier Boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three Little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun; One got Frizzled up and then there was One.
One Little Soldier Boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself
And then there were none.

I love the way Christie manages to create sufficient drama and the tension without having to be overly descriptive and horrific - she's brilliant in giving you enough information and letting your imagination do the horrible work. As I was reading and the characters are being taken out one by one I found myself flicking back to the rhyme to see anticipate what type of murder/death might be next until you get to the ending and the murderer hasn't been revealed until you turn the page and read the epilogue - phew!

So I went to see the play on Saturday which I was ridiculously excited about and it was everything I had hoped it would be. It translated well to the stage with great acting by the likes of Paul Nicholas, Verity Rushworth, Mark Curry and Frazer Hines to name but a few, it was very atmospheric and I loved the art deco scenery. There were some name changes from the book which I never quite understand why they do that and the ending was different - I expect due to the constraints of staging, as much as I enjoyed seeing it brought to life, I preferred the book! (typical book lover response).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 April 2014
'And Then There Were None' is often thought to be Agatha Christie's masterpiece. Apparently, she said that it was the most difficult to write of all her books. It was published in 1939 under another name which Amazon will rightly not let me publish, since it is racially offensive. I notice it does appear in another review, though! It has sold over 100 million copies and is the best-selling mystery novel ever.
In this story, ten people are induced to come to an island. Some are offered jobs, others are offered a holiday. All have a guilty secret and each is accused by a gramophone recording on their first night on the island. They are told they will now pay for their crimes. Escape from the island is impossible. There is no-one else on the island. under different pretexts, i.e. offers of employment or to enjoy a late summer holiday, or to meet with old friends. They are accused via a gramophone recording, on their first night on the island, and told they will now pay for their crimes. The weather means they can't escape. Yet there is no-one else on the island...
The book exhibits all Agatha Christie's famous ingenuity at devising twists and turns of plot and the ending is truly surprising. As ever, her characterisation and shrewd observation of human nature are brilliantly displayed, too. Those who accuse her of creating cardboard characters are wrong, I think (though I might make an exception for the irritating Hercule Poirot, who does not appear in this book).
The overriding theme of this book is justice. The murderer thought he was administering justice - but what is justice and was he right? Agatha Christie shows is that things are not as simple as they seem.
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on 1 August 2011
I haven't read an Agatha Christie book in years. In my teens I read a lot of them, but never came across And Then There Was None. In a way, I'm kind of glad, because I think I have saved one of the very best to enjoy in my 30s. It's surprisingly different from the Hercule Poirot books that I used to love, both in the style of writing, the pace of the book, and the level of description. And indeed the resolution.

Christie was always good at creating memorable characters and complex, intriguing plots. As with most authors, when you have read a few of their books, you tend to know what to expect, and there is comfort and security in re-treading familiar ground: Setup > Murder > Investigation > Some moustaches or knitting, depending on which book you are reading > More murders > The reveal. It takes a very clever author to subvert your expectations, but Christie did it in Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and again in And Then There Were None.
I love endings that have a genuinely clever twist. A bit like the film The Sixth Sense, there's a real satisfaction in seeing how you've been fooled, but knowing that you haven't been cheated.

The plot has been aped countless times since. 12 people, all strangers to each other, are invited to a remote island by a mysterious absent host, Mr U.N. Owen. All are accused of committing a murder and having got away with it. Now, isolated from the mainland, and with apparently only the 12 of them on the island, the murders begin.

There is greater brevity in Christie's writing style in ATTWN, which only serves to add to the pace and atmosphere, as the multiple murders inexorably re-classify the marooned from being 'suspects' to 'innocent, but unfortunately dead'.

Now I'm left wanting more.
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Having read several of Agatha Christie's books I have to say that this is one of the best. The story is very simple and so typical of the Queen of Crime: One island, nine victims and one killer. 8 guests and two servants are invited to an island off the coast of Devon to spend the weekend with Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen (unowen or unknown!). The hosts seem to have been delayed and so the weekend begins but when the butler, suposedly under instructions from a letter from Mr. Owen plays a grammar-phone record things change. The record acuses the 8 guests and both servants of murder. The guests look around, within the hour, Mr. Owen claims the first victim. Soon it becomes horribly obvious that the killer is one of them and one by one they are acquitted by death. But which is it? The religious Mrs Brent who believes that justice will come to everyone? Maybe the reckless Mr. Lombard? Or the cold Vera Claythorne? The stiff and emotionless servant who had all the time in the world to prepare the island for the trap? Justice Wargrave who has a history of punishing people? Maybe the callous Anthony Marston or the old General who's finally gone mad. Perhaps the butler's wife is harder than she looks. Perhaps detective Blore the crooked policeman. Maybe Dr. Armstrong who would have easy access to poison and who has the knowledge of how best to kill the victims.
You won't get it, but you'll be checking under your bed for Mr. Owen just to see if you're next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This one says in the blurb that this is her masterpiece,but she has in my opinion written even better ones,however it is a very good read and well worth getting,Ten people have had an invitation to go to an island,a mixed bunch of people who have never met before but before long it appears they all have one thing in common,which is that they have all got away with murder,and thats when its gets veryinteresting,I cant say much more about it but once you start reading you wont want to stop.which is why I have given it five stars..........
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2010
As M. Dalton wrote in his review, And Then There Were None is an essential Agatha Christie. Excluding it from the facsimile edition re-prints would leave a terrible gap in her fans' collections. It would be better to use the original American version for the facsimile edition than to leave it out of the collection altogether. After all, the dust jacket on the original American version is very well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2012
This book is the best book I have read in a long time, I couldn't put it down and finished it very quickly. It is the first Agatha Christie book I have read and I loved it so much that I have decided to read her whole collection!! The story is well paced with plenty of suspense and keeps you guessing and changing your mind until the end when there is a huge twist.

My advice to you is make sure you read this book!!

5 stars.
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on 19 April 2008
Agatha Christie is one of, if not the worlds most popular mystery writer, many of today's mystery writers have credited her as their inspiration. And 'AND THEN THERE WERE NONE' (aka TEN LITTLE INDIANS) is hailed as one of her greatest works, so I decided if I wanted to read something by one of the masters of suspense this was as good a place to start as any!

'AND THEN THERE WERE NONE' is a mystery in its barest form. There are no high speed car chases, no violent shoot outs, no glitz, no glamour. Just the story of ten strangers lured to an island by a madman who is killing them off one by one. What is the twist you ask? The madman is most certainly one of the ten and it is up to them all to try to figure out who it is before they all fall victim to his whims.

I love to read old books and I am so glad to have chosen Agatha Christie's 'AND THEN THERE WERE NONE' as my first aquatience with this acclaimed author. While I had my theories as to who this madman was the book definitely kept me guessing until the very last passage, where I found out that who I thought was the killer was completely wrong! This is a must read for any lover of mysteries and good books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is perhaps one of the cleverest plots ever written in a murder mystery. By having each of the participants tell their own view of the story you are kept guessing to the end. The end is a bit far-fetched and I am not so sure the psychological game would work that well and if you have seen either film then you know what is coming but still this was a defining book for the genre.
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on 22 June 2015
Excellent, her bestselling novel of all time! I had absolutely no idea who the murderer was.

Christie said it was the most difficult of her plots to write. The set-up of the novel is like the modern Saw movies. Ten people are invited to the mysterious Soldier Island and are killed off one by one according to the old nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’. Chilling stuff! I love the fact that in one of the play adaptations Christie wrote herself, the final two survivors, Very Claythorne and Lombard fall in love and escape. The actual ending is far darker, and beyond prediction to boot!

And Then There Were None is also an interesting commentary on the failings of the justice system, posing the question of who should really administer justice and revenge, and if there is such a thing as right and wrong... I certainly don't think there is a quantifiable objective morality in the Platonic sense of the term. And so, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

I read it in a perpetual state of tension, fear and distrust of the dark...
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