And Then There Were None is Agatha Christie’s best-selling novel, as well as the best-selling mystery in the world. This stand alone story follows 10 strangers who are all invited to an isolated island off the coast of Devon, by the mysterious (and absent) Mr and Mrs U. N. Owen. During dinner, a recording accuses each of them of a terrible crime. Then they begin to be killed off, one-by-one.
“Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little soldier boys stayed up late; One overslept himself and then there was 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 walking along the sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little soldier boys going to 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.”
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery, Classic
I did watch the adaptation first in this case, but as soon as it finished I needed to read the novel!
The mystery in this is fantastic. All the way through you’ll be changing your mind about who did it. And even at the end of the story you still won’t be sure! Christie added an Epilogue to talk the reader through what happened.
Although at the beginning of the novel there are a lot of characters to keep up with, this problem soon sorts itself out when they start dying off. The murders are done in a fantastic way. Despite knowing all along that they are coming, each one is a surprise.
Christie has done a brilliant job at making this a complex mystery, which is still enjoyable and you’ll have trouble putting it down. I’ve read a few Poirot novels, but this is by far the best I’ve read (no wonder it’s her best selling). If you’re now to Agatha Christie’s writing, this is a great place to start. And if you’ve read some of her other work just know that this it likely her best.
Adaptation: BBC Mini-series (3 episodes)
As mentioned above, I watched this adaptation before reading the book. It’s a great drama on its own, but I would of course recommend reading the original first!
There were a few changes to the plot, a couple of the deaths are carried out slightly differently as well as the way we find out the truth. I do think these are fair changes and mostly the books versions would not have worked successfully on screen. Overall I would say this is a great adaptation.
As well as being a line up of fantastic British actors, the casting of each character was really well done. Particular favourites of mine being Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard and Charles Dance as Judge Lawrence Wargrave).
The story is told over 3 hour long episodes allowing the tension and mystery to build to a peak at the end.
Overall, I’d highly recommend reading the book and watching the series. You definitely don’t have to be a fan of Christie’s other work, and this novel is a great way to try her out for the first time.