‘A Remarkable Read’
I am so glad that I finally picked up ‘And Then There Were None’ by my favourite mystery queen- the one and only ‘Agatha Christie’. While this book was in my reading list for a long time, I somehow didn’t get the chance to read this brilliantly written mystery. This novel was published in 1939 and soon became one of the best-selling mysteries of all time. Even today, this novel is as fresh and attention-grabbing as any of the modern mysteries. You don’t believe me! Ok, go and read it. Let me know through comments if you think I am wrong.
The initial title of this book was ‘Ten Little Niggers’ (in UK version), which was later on changed into ‘Ten Little Indians’ in USA version as ‘Ten Little Niggers’ was seen as a racist one. However, later on someone realised that even ‘Ten Little Indians’ is not a wise choice of words. And, finally the title has been changed into ‘And There Were None’. Quite extraordinary! Isn’t it? However, there is nothing in this book that we can relate to racism.
Returning to the novel, as mentioned in the beginning of this post, this book was a remarkable read. There is neither Hercule Poirot nor Miss Marple in this book. However, you do not miss the absence of these characters. On the other hand, you keep plunging deeper and deeper in the plot once you start reading it. And, most importantly, you keep turning the pages till the end. While the storyline goes over three hundred pages, I am sure you will finish it in one go. Believe me, this is really an intense mystery. For me, as I have mentioned in many of my posts, the climax of any mystery plays a very important role in its success. And, what a climax this book has! This book certainly left me stunned and amazed at having the rug spectacularly pulled out under my feet.
This is the story of 10 individuals lured to an island known as ‘Soldier Island’ by an unknown host. Each one of these has a dark secret. Gradually, these individuals started getting killed one by one by an unknown and mysterious murderer. Who is killing these individuals? I will not disclose any of the details as I want you to read it. Read it. It is simply brilliant.
The book also raises a debatable question – Who has the right to decide what justice is? Or, what is justice after all? While these questions lead us to think hard, Christie does not provide any answer and leave us wondering.
I simply loved this book and I am sure you will also fall in love with this book once you finish reading it. It is my confidence that this book will have a similar impact on me even if I read it in future ‘a second time’. At the end, I will leave you all with the following nursery rhyme, which is a lifeline of this book.
“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 stocks;
One chopped himself in hales 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 and hanged himself and then there were none.”