I decided to pick one up because of Tales from the Reading Room's review of the non-fiction book Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days, by Jared Cade. I was so caught up in her review of this true story of Agatha Christie actually disappearing without a trace for that period of time -- her car found the next morning after an argument with her husband, abandoned with the lights still on. Once found after eleven days, Christie's family claimed she had memory loss. I found this story so interesting and am curious to read what the author uncovered during those eleven days, but I felt it just wouldn't be right to read the non-fiction insight into Christie's life without first reading her stories.
So I picked And Then There Were None. Ten unsuspecting individuals are lured to a beautiful home on Soldier Island, a place only accessible by boat. They come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, genders, and social class. There's nothing consistent at all about the group that is invited to the island, it seems.
One young woman is hired as a temporary secretary, an older couple is hired to prepare the beds, cook and serve the food, another is a former military man expecting to see old buddies from the war, there is a judge, a doctor, and more...such an indistinct cast rounds out the party. But they soon find there actually is one common trait between them all. Murder. No one's ever been charged or served time, but somewhere along the way, their very dirty secrets have been found out. And then one by one, they are killed. One need only read the children's rhyme framed and posted in their rooms facing the sea in order to know what will next happen to one of their group.
It's such a quick read, one sitting only. One unsettling page of murder after another -- but who could the murderer be? Could it be someone hiding on the island or in the house? Or could it be one of them?
"Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine..."
This is what I find unsettling. Being in the company of strangers and knowing that murder is upon you, but knowing from whom and how it will come is a mystery. You are only guided by a sing-songy children's rhyme posted in your room. Who you think you can trust, you can't. Creepy, right? It's really a very interesting exposé into how a breakdown happens. Breakdowns in trust with each other and in yourself. The confidence one has in being logical is then lost and watching it splinter away can be a bit frightening.
Agatha Christie writes easily and effortlessly, and while it's a fairly simply told story, I had no idea who the killer could be. And the ending was beyond disturbing, I felt. And I can't wait to read more Agatha Christie soon -- is there one you recommend I should pick next?
Coffee and a Book Chick