And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

(No Series)

First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

I have now read this brilliant book three times. Yes, it's worth it.

Let's set an ominous mood/opening with Agatha Christie's creative writing ability -

Her lips moved as she followed the words: 'The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net in which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth; the wicked is snared in the work of their own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell."...Rising, she pinned a brooch at her neck, and went down to dinner.  

Agatha Christie lists this amazing mystery as her favorite book that she wrote in terms of complexity and cleverness. I couldn't agree more, she should be proud of herself. It's the favorite for many of her fans.

I have to give this mystery an A+ for creative effort displaying a multitude of crimes and making it hard to know with certainty who the monster is behind the mask. The afterword from the culprit is clever, providing an intriguing, different sort of motive. The whole book is fascinating, but that ending just caps it off with a grand finale - she took a villain and gave them a motive that actually makes sense in a twisted, macabre way. Combining a homicidal sociopath who can't feel emotion but has other things in mind that steer their hand away from brainless violence to morals of right and wrong. I haven't read a villain written that way before or since.

The beginning with the record playing leads to exciting drama; being inside the minds of different characters is fascinating. She covered bizarre motives and so many different types of outlooks/motives/and personality types. All characters are intriguing and gripping; you get the treat of reading a mixture of people - those who shrug off their crimes and those haunted by it.

By the time the book is finished, characters are fresh in my mind and have come to life (and death) concretely - Vera, the girl who sucks men in with her vulnerability but hides a haunted heart; Emily Brent, an uptight religious fanatic who thinks she can do no wrong; Lombard, an easy-go-lucky guy who shrugs away his victims as long as he can make that great escape; Blore, a detective not adverse to breaking the law to suit his own means; Marston, a young man who speeds through life while paying no heed to consequence; MacArthur, a man obsessed with his wife while she was alive - and dead; the Rogers pair, devoted and loyal servants who thought of themselves in the end; Wargrave, an unsympathetic judge who'd rather hang them high than give them a second chance; and Armstrong, the doctor who stayed as devoted to drink as he did to medicine.

The island seems haunting and awesome surrounded by the sea spray, the big ominous house where everyone is constantly looking over their shoulder, and the finale all makes this a delight for mystery (and non-mystery) readers everywhere. Throw in the clever rhyme framed in the rooms, the Indian pieces that go missing one by one on the dining room table, and you get mystery bliss. If you haven't read this one yet, do so, because you're in for a real treat.

As a side note - I wonder if King paid tribute to this when writing Dolores Claiborne. Claiborne is not Claythorne, but they rhyme, and Vera is the name of the other MC/Partner in crime other than Dolores on the island. They lived on Little Tall Island, and Agatha Christie's story was on an island. Dolores Claiborne was about the murder and crime of someone who had gotten away with it...while And then There were none was also about people who got away with their crimes.

And another side note - this book has a complicated history with its name, which has now changed at least three times. First it used the original poem and title, "Ten Little N*", but changed for racism reasons to "Ten Little Indians", then was changed for racism reasons again to "And then there were none."

I need to close this out before I think of more side notes.

   Book Quotes:

“Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.”

   2015 BBC Movie:

And the BBC Version in Dec 2015 is simply, truly awesome. Watch it and love it. It's a top favorite movie of mine now that I've seen it. Definitely beats down the other movie versions, which I basically hated. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

I watched with my mother and we were riveted. The directing was spot on, flashbacks everywhere, stayed very faithful to the book. Acting sensational. A ten stars. I consider this my favorite mystery movie, it actually stunned me.

They kept the characters fascinating. There were a few small changes, but it worked well with the movie. Really, really good.

And if you're female and happen to need another incentive to watch it, behold Philip Lombard eyecandy.

   PC Game:

And finally, if you're ever in the mood to play an old, click and direct PC game, And Then There Were None is difficult but addicting, has glorious music score, and makes a nice escape on a rainy day. The graphics are surprisingly good for the time. Bigfish no longer sells it so it is difficult to find. I know they have a Wii release now, although I don't have that. I am in process of playing the game again, something I do from time to time when boredom strikes. I also put in the score for the main theme of the game, which I think they did a great job on.

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