Warning: This review contains spoilers
Ten strangers, with seemingly little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. A coincidence? Not at all. Ten people, who have never met before until this accident, are under a perilous set of conditions. On the first night, the ten strangers are invited to dinner. They are Lawrence Wargrave, the judge; Vera Claythorne, the schoolmistress; Philip Lombard, the expeditioner; Emily Brent, the housewife; Anthony Marston, a wealthy man with a fabulous car; Edward George Armstrong, the doctor; William Henry Blore, a retired detective; Thomas Rogers, the butler; Ethel Rogers, wife of Rogers; and John Gordon MacArthur, an old general in World War I.
After enjoying their delicious dinner, they are shocked when a loud voice booms throughout the dining room, accusing each of them in turn of hiding a guilty secret. By the end of the night, Anthony Marston is dead, due to choking on his drink, a deadly touch of cyanide in his glass. Badly shaken, the nine remaining people turn in for the night. In each of their bedrooms, there is a nursery rhyme going by “The Ten Little Indian Boys.” Again, is this a coincidence?
However…one by one they begin to fall dead.
The next death was Mrs. Roger’s. She’d fainted when the voice had announced their crimes over the gramophone, and the next morning she was found dead. Closely next was General MacArthur, who had wanted to stay on the island, but instead was found dead on the beach, knocked out from behind. Slowly, the remaining seven people start to get wary of each other. Soon, they realize that killer has to be one of them…
But pretty soon, suspects are eliminated, as Mr. Rogers, Emily Brent, and Justice Wargrave were found dead next. Only Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, Edward George Armstrong, and William Henry Blore are left on the island. Which among them is the murderer?
Dr. Armstrong is quickly out of the picture, as he is found choked and bloated next to the crashing waves. Now there are only three survivors, but is cut down to two the next day: Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard. Blore was crushed by a large marble bear, which had fallen on his head. Soon after, Philip and Vera get into a fight on the beach, in which Vera grabs Philip’s gun and shoots him. Overcome with guilt, Vera is all alone on the island. Finally, the guilt washes over her, and she hangs herself in the large mansion. Everyone was dead.
But not quite.
Consider the nursery rhyme “Ten Little Indian Boys”:
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 travelling 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 in 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 out and hanged himself;
And then there were none.
I thought this books was really interesting because each death was related to one in the poem. For instance, the first line has to do with the dinner and Anthony Marston’s death. Also, Soldier Island and Soldier Boys? That was fascinating. But I thought Agatha did superbly in writing this murder mystery because she didn’t leak any clues about who the murderer was and it is truly baffling when the story ends when all the people are dead. You are left with the feeling of, “Wait, what? Who is the murderer exactly?”
But that’s not all, actually! Agatha Christie gave me the pleasure to actually read the epilogue, which fully explained the murder and who the murderer was, who was actually (highlight to reveal spoiler)the judge, Wargrave! It told me that Wargrave was psychotic, and had a imaginative imagination and had always wanted to plan a murder. He faked his own death in the beginning, but then after Vera hanged herself, he shot himself. The whole point of this was to make this a murder case that no one could ever solve.
And so he did. And then there were none.
And Then There Were None is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive.