Ten strangers with guilty consciences are invited for different reasons out to Indian Island. They don’t expect to be suddenly called out on their crimes, or to begin dying off one by one. Now they’re in a race against time, and no one knows who the madman is that they’re up against.
This is my very first ever Agatha Christie novel. I’ve never been much interested in Christie because I’m not a huge mystery novel fan. However, I read Lula’s review of And Then There Was None, which said that the movie Clue is loosely based on this book. Clue is one of my all-time favorite movies. I first saw it when I was 10 years old, and I’ve watched it hundreds of times since then. I have the movie nearly memorized down to the various noises the characters make, the musical cues, the vocal inflections, etc. Give me a line, or even a few words, from Clue, and I will reel off the next 20 lines, in voice, from the movie. Needless to say, when I heard that this book was the loose basis for Clue, I knew I had to read it. When the Golden Age of Detective Fiction Classics Circuit Tour came up, I knew this was the perfect opportunity.
So, what was my first experience with Christie like? Well, at the very beginning, I was a little disappointed. The writing seemed dry as she introduced each of the characters one by one, and I had a really hard time keeping them all straight. Of course, character confusion is fairly normal at the beginning of a book, especially when so many characters are introduced. Ten seemed a little excessive to me, though. Too much for my brain to take in.
Once everyone was introduced and out on Indian Island, however, the book just took off. I had all sorts of plans the morning that I sat down to read, but instead found myself unable to put the book down for several hours. Christie knows exactly how to hook a reader and keep them reading nonstop! I was very impressed with the amount of tension she built up. I kept trying to figure out who the killer was, using not only my own sleuthing skills (which are none too great) but also my knowledge of Clue. Neither helped me. I had all sorts of wild ideas and none of them panned out. In fact, the only thing I figured out was how the murderer was doing all this, even though I had no idea who he/she was.
I loved the psychological aspect of this book. The mind trip it takes you on. A couple people on Twitter told me this book had scared them, and I’m not sure so much that it scared me as gave me chills and made me slightly paranoid. It’s the sort of book that made me want to look over my shoulder, even though 1) I haven’t committed a crime and 2) I was alone in my house. I just got so into the plot, that I got jumpy. I loved that.
In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the end. One of the things I find very important about mystery novels is that a reader can catch the clues and figure things out along the way. What I don’t like is when the “how and why” is laid out in a single chapter monologue. That’s a technique I’ve never approved of in any book, mystery or not (for example: the “King’s Cross” chapter in Deathly Hallows). I don’t like info-dumps, and that’s what the end of this book felt like to me. I don’t mind the solution given away at the end. In Clue, for example, the whole thing is wrapped up in the last 20 mins of the film. But it’s unwrapped bit by bit, by multiple characters, using clues from along the way. It’s not a big info-dump. The last chapter of And Then There Were None felt like Christie was saying, “Now that I’ve gotten you all thoroughly confused with this book, let me just tell you the solution.” It was disappointing. The solution itself was awesome. The presentation of the solution – not so hot.
I’m not sure I’m going to read more Christie, simply because, as I said before, I’m not really a mystery sort of person. However, I will keep her in mind for those rare moods when I feel like reading a mystery. She seems to be a master at what she does! I’m glad for the chance to have read this (though I admit, I still like Clue better).