And Then There Were None is a detective fiction novel by Agatha Christie. I’m more of a Holmes person than a Christie person because I find the pattern of crime discovered, police called, detective interrogations and voila! Criminal trapped, boring. But this book is a brilliant piece of writing. In the novel, ten people, who have previously been complicit in the deaths of others but have escaped notice or punishment, are tricked into coming onto an island. Even though the guests are the only people on the island, they are all mysteriously murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely, the old nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Niggers”. Now the catch is, that all these people are murdered one by one and clearly, there is no one else on the island. So who is the murderer? This is revealed in the epilogue and until then, there is no way of guessing it. The plot is set up in a very meticulous way, there are no loopholes and even though the concept is fantastical, there is no way to disbelieve its occurrence.
As the people are murdered one by one, the psychoanalysis of the rest of the characters becomes very important. We are dealing with people who have committed crimes in their past and are either haunted by the memory or are nonchalant about it. So every person’s reactions and thought process traces completely different paths. It is this masterful treatment that sets apart this book from all others.
Quote: There was a silence—a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating . . . “Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! . . . You are charged with the following indictments.”
PS: It is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever.