The 1939 book “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie is one of this author’s most famous books, and it is considered a timeless classic. The novel follows the story of ten strangers who are invited to a remote island under false pretenses, only to find themselves trapped and hunted down one by one by an unknown murderer that is among them.
As one would expect from Agatha Christie, the book has a gripping plot that keeps the reader on edge throughout the story. The storyline moves rapidly, and the short chapters help because they keep readers interested throughout the novel, always eager to discover what will happen next. All ten characters are well-developed, and the fact that some chapters are narrated from different viewpoints allows the reader to connect and empathize with the character’s situations. However, all of them are created with certain aspects of their personalities and secrets that make them all suspects in one way or another. This leads the reader to think about each character, trying to find fitting motivations that could make them create this whole mystery. The tension and suspense are built with each chapter as the reader tries to decipher the clues and figure out who the killer is.
The setting of the isolated island adds to the sense of claustrophobia and danger, especially since the guests are cut off from the outside world and must rely on each other to survive. The descriptions of the mansion is described as modern and beautiful, and at first, it doesn’t seem like a dangerous place, however, as the story progresses this environment becomes of suspicion and fear. The descriptions of the beginning of the story contrast with the end where by that point the whole island is shown to be a dangerous and murderous place. This novel inspired several other murder mysteries that would come afterward; to take place on an isolated island for example, “Whisper Island” by Carissa Ann Lynch (2021), “The Glass Onion,” a movie written by Rian Johnson, “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley (2020), and many more.
In addition to having a well-crafted plot and extremely intriguing setting, this book is notable for exploring themes of guilt and justice. That is because each of the guests on the island has a dark secret in their past related to a crime they all had some responsibility for. Throughout the novel, the characters take questionable actions to keep their secrets safe, creating an environment of distrust and suspicion. As the guests start to die, the remaining characters are forced to confront their guilt and complicity in past crimes, along with the horrible fear that they might be next. This exploration of morality, justice, and guilt adds depth and complexity to the story.