And Then There Were None
By: Agatha Christie
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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.
This is actually the second Agatha Christie novel I’ve read to date. I’ve long heard of her books–being such a titan in the mystery genre–and been wanting to read her books but yeah, I just never got around to it. I read one of her other novels earlier this year, The Secret Adversary, which was a fun if not okay read. I did however watch the BBC miniseries that this book was based off recently starring quite the cast (Charles Dance, Gorman Burn, Sam O’Neill, Aidan Turner) which I enjoyed and wanted to read the book to see how the plot unfolded in the novel format.
Even though I had watched the miniseries, it was pretty exciting to read the book and follow these ten strangers as they figure out exactly why they were at Soldier Island and who was killing them off. I think the added bonus was the fact that we got a glimpse of what was going on in their heads; again, the miniseries does a wonderful job in portraying their back stories and the crimes they committed and the actors were fantastic in bringing the characters to life, but the book adds an additional dimension of really getting into their heads and feeling what they felt, exactly what their thoughts were as they found themselves in this perplexing little hell, the thought process of figuring out what’s going on to suspecting one another, the descending degrees of guilt, doubt, and paranoia that the characters felt. It’s quite the psychological drama, not to mention a study of guilt, crime, and punishment.
Those who watched the miniseries will notice a number of differences when reading the book, namely the order of some of the deaths (one was switched around), a few details of their deaths and backstories, and the absence of the Vera/Philip Lombard attraction. They talked quite a bit, certainly, but that addition of that storyline to the miniseries was definitely not in the book (as scorching as Maeve Dermody and Aidan Turner’s chemistry were!).
There’s nothing much I could really add about this novel except that it was quite a gripping and sombre read; the characters clearly had no way out as they were being cut off one by one with those eerie statues marking whoever was left. And that poem was so darn creepy! Readers of mystery novels and classics will want to check it out (and in the meantime I have to make it a point to read more Agatha Christie in the future!) 🙂