Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…
This was the very first Agatha Christie book I’ve read. I’ll be up front and say that after reading And Then There Were None I’m not entirely sure if I will read another one. I’m definitely on the fence because I really didn’t like this book, but I also wonder if I just didn’t like this one and I might like a different one instead. It’s no secret that Agatha Christie is a popular author, so maybe this one just didn’t click with me. Heaven knows there are plenty of other options to try from her work.
As far as a mystery story goes, And Then There Were None really isn’t that bad. It has the typical suspense of “who did it,” the many small inferences that make you think you might have it figured out, the standard misdirection and plot twists, and all the other small things I’ve come to expect from thriller/mystery stories in books and movies, or on television. All of the pieces that most people take to be the important parts of creating a good mystery or thriller were there.
Here’s what bugged me about this book: All of the intriguing details about how everyone was going to die get revealed in the first part of the book. And, not even in a subtle, “you might possibly miss it if you aren’t paying close enough attention” way. Rather, in a “here, let me smack you in the face with how this is going to happen,” sort of way. That irritated me to no end and I’ll admit it even sort of ruined the rest of the book for me as I kept going. After that point I had a hard time feeling like there was any kind of major suspense left in the book for me. The little details still had a few surprises in the end, but I could see all of the important stuff coming from a mile away.
The other thing that really brought this book down for me was the writing style. The dialogue was written in a choppy style that made it difficult for me to follow who was doing what without getting torn out of the story.
On the other hand, there was one part of And Then There Were None that I did like a little bit more than the rest—the final part where the killer reveals all the details about how they pulled off the killings. I thought that synopsis at the end was by and large the most interesting part of the book. But, it really wasn’t enough to save my opinion of the book in the end. But, I’m pretty sure this is a case of different ideas of what constitutes good writing because there are plenty of people who think this book is amazing.
Length: 320 pages