And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie, is a fantastically plotted murder mystery. It’s based on a nursery rhyme, like many of her works. It’s a rather gory rhyme, too, and I can’t imagine children reading it. But it makes for a great story, with the murderer following the rhyme as closely as he/she (can’t give it away, you know) can. That part is quite funny, actually. People are quickly getting killed, but in the confusion, there’s some hilarity. I was confused for the entire time. I had no idea who was going to get killed next – I just knew someone else was going to get killed. As always, I was hopeless at guessing the plot.
And Then There Were None starts slowly, like most Christies. The characters must be introduced, but the slowness also makes for a feeling of suspense, as in “When’s the first one going to get killed?” It starts soon enough, and after the first three, the tension seriously mounts. They decide someone must be murdering people on the island; and some people are better candidates than others. As more people get killed, the pace gets a lot faster and more rushed; but in a good way; a puzzling way, a frightening way. By the end, you are reading it as fast as you can while still understanding the words; you have to know the ending! At the very end you’ve slowed down. But the book is still the only thing you can focus on. You’re absolutely hooked.
The moral side of And Then There Were None is interesting. The murderer picks his/her (just being safe) “special guests” carefully. They’re all people who committed a murder and got away with it on a technicality. The murderer has a sense of justice along with the passion to kill, but a different kind of justice. Everyone who slips through the law gets a different kind of punishment, a more brutal one. It’s an confusing thing, and it all comes down to morals. Is it right to punish someone who broke the law like this? Or is killing someone so cruelly, even if they did something horrible, simply evil? I think the reason is right, that a murderer shouldn’t just get by the law. But the action is wrong. To kill with such zeal…truly evil.
And Then There Were None is a simply superb book. It’s cunning, and the murders are seemingly impossible. If you like murder mysteries at all, you must read this.