And Then There Were None

A while ago I signed up for the 2012 Back to the Classics challenge hosted by Sarah at her blog here.  When I first saw this I saw that one of the books for the challenge was to read a classic mystery.  Well, when I saw that, my first thought was to read what is arguably the most classic mystery of all time.  Agatha Christie was one of the most prolific authors of all time and has been oversold only by Shakespeare and The Bible (according to the covers of several copies of her books that I own).  For the purpose of the Back to the Classics challenge, this could also fall into the reread category as I have now read this book at least 3 times.  However, I’m using it for the mystery category.  Anyway, enough rambling for now, on with the review.

Book Stats

194 pages (I have a hardcover edition, the picture I’m posting for the book cover is just one that I liked)

Mystery

Standalone

Characters

The book follows 10 characters who are alone on an island.  Each of the ten characters has a questionable event in their past where they were responsible for killing another person but couldn’t be found guilty because of the situations where the murder took place.  You don’t see all of the characters in the book for a long time, but the book is well written and watching the characters slowly descend into paranoia is highly entertaining.

Setting

Indian Island, a small island that is cut off from the rest of the world for the duration of the book because of weather preventing boats from reaching the island.

Plot

10 people are brought to an island on suspicious circumstances.  Their first night on the island they play a record accusing each person of a murder that could not be proven by the law.  Shortly after the record plays, the first person falls dead.  As they are on the island longer more and more people start to die.  Even stranger is the fact that they are dying according to the nursery rhyme 10 Little Indians.

Enjoyment

Agatha Christie is arguably the greatest mystery writer of all time, and this is easily her best book.  This book is absolutely brilliant in every aspect.  The characters were well written, and the mystery is perfectly played out.  This is at least the third time I’ve read this book, and even going into the book knowing how everything ends up playing out I still loved it.

Overall Grade

If any book can be called perfect, this book is perfect.  If you enjoy mysteries and haven’t read this one, there is something wrong with you.  Go read this book.

10/10

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12 Comments

  1. hannahrose42

     /  January 17, 2012

    You make it sound really good. After The Human Stain, maybe I will see if I can find this in a library. I don’t read a lot of mystery, bit what I remember of her books is good and if this is her best, I feel obligated to read it.

    Reply
    • I love this book, it’s rare that you can read a mystery and still enjoy it when you already know what happens at the end, but this book is so good that it works even if you know the end.

      Reply
      • hannahrose42

         /  January 18, 2012

        Yes, I find that most mysteries lose their appeal once you find out what happens. It’s nice to find the rare one where the appeal is still there.
        Anyway, I looked in the library and they did not have it! I will have to keep hunting…

  2. I need to pick up some of her books. I still haven’t read any of her stories, but everyone keeps telling me I should.

    Reply
    • This is definitely her best, at least of the ones that I’ve read. I read through a bunch of the Poirot novels fairly quickly and they started to wear on me, but this one works perfectly as a standalone.

      Reply
      • I’m so glad I finally read this one. It really is superb. I can’t think of any part of it that I didn’t like. I only started reading some of her novels last month and now I’m hooked!

      • It really is a fantastic book. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I second this, Adam, it’s a great story. It has also spawned several movies, and a host of parallel tales, including at least one comedy (I can’t remember the name, but Peter Falk was in it). It’s been quite a while since I read it. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  4. How have I not read this?? Must remedy now.

    Reply
  5. This was the first Christie I read. I read it when I was about 12 and it completely spooked me out.

    Reply
    • I was a little older the first time I read it, so it didn’t really scare me as much, but it was still a very good book.

      Reply

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