I chose And Then There Were None as my fifth classic of the year because it’s ‘the world’s best-selling mystery’ with ‘over 100 million copies sold’. Who hasn’t heard of Agatha Christie? I love reading books that have puzzling plots yet I’ve read so few, and so I thought it was time to pick up a mystery classic (which had, shall we say, two not so politically correct previous titles).
I rarely come across a book that I am able to summarise in so few words, but here it is: And Then There Were None is the story of ten individuals who are invited to an isolated house on Soldier Island, Devon. During their first dinner together, a recorded message accuses each of them of a terrible crime. One by one, they begin to die. One of guests must be the killer, but who is it? The idea for And Then There Were None is so simple yet it must’ve been extremely difficult to execute. Agatha Christie does it brilliantly and the book deserves its praise and critical acclaim.
I read And Then There Were None in three hours without putting it down; a completely terrifying and thrilling experience. I loved reading about each of the characters at the beginning. I made a note of them – who they were and how they ended up on the island – and crossed them off as they died, which initially was done to aid my memory, but it made the reading experience much more exciting. The deaths are not at all gruesome so if you’re worried about that – don’t be! I made a guess as to who the murderer was – I was wrong. It has an absolutely brilliant, surprising ending that I can’t imagine anyone would figure out themselves.
I’ve only given one other book this year so far the 5/5 rating. And Then There Were None may not be a book I’ll treasure forever but after reading it I wanted to enthusiastically recommend it to everyone I knew. It has those moments that make you sit up and gasp, and wonder how you didn’t notice them before. I genuinely had chills running down my spine – as cliché as that may sound. It’s extremely well paced – not too fast, not too slow. The story has lots of detail and yet the chapters feel quite short. It all adds to the eerie atmosphere.
And Then There Were None is a compelling introduction to the mystery genre that constantly kept me on edge. It’s clever, gripping, and was a wonderful surprise. I’m now really looking forward to checking out some of Agatha Christie’s other books, in particular, Murder on the Orient Express and The Mysterious Affair at Styles.