Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 2003 (Reprint)
Format: Paperback, 317 pgs
"Be sure thy sin will find thee out." - Pg 121
Agatha Christie. A name I'm sure all readers must have heard of or read her books. The first time I read her book was when I was thirteen; I can't remember the title but I knew I was awed by the number of books she'd had written. Sadly, I didn't explore more of her books at that time but still, it is always better late than never, right?
And Then There Were None was a well-crafted mystery and no doubt considered one of Agatha Christie's masterpieces. The mystery was so thick with intensity that I found myself holding my breath, racking my brains and anticipating the mystery to unfold.
The story is about ten people being enticed into coming to Soldier Island under different pretexts. They are people from all walks of life (a judge, a doctor, an ex-Army Officer, an ex-Inspector, a governess, a soldier-of-fortune, etc etc) and even though they have the vaguest idea of the invitation, they proceeded to attend since they have heard so much fascinating things about the island. And indeed the place looks beautiful and luxurious.
Amongst the ten people, there are a Mr and Mrs Rogers who are employed to serve these guests but like them, they have no idea how their employer is like considering they are hired through an agency and that they just arrived two days before them. The mystery begun when a gramophone recording claimed each of them had committed a crime and they have to pay for their actions, since all of them having complicity caused the deaths of other human beings but have either escaped from justice or committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction. Since they are either employed or being invited and there is no sight of their host, they have finally came to a realisation that the murderer could be among them. And as the story progresses, these ten people will be executed one by one in parallel with the nursery rhymes "Ten Little Soldiers".
Since this story is a little dated (after all it was first published in 1939) it is understandable to note why there aren't modern technologies such as mobile phones and CCTVs to get them out of the island and record any movements respectively, thus in my opinion made this mystery a more intense read. There are also times that made me wonder if this was all a horror story; or if there is a supernatural force at work, considering those little china figures discreetly disappeared one by one whenever a character passed.
As much as this is a mystery, I felt it was also an interesting study/observation of human behaviours under stressful and/or critical circumstances. The postscript by the killer at the end of the story wrapped up the story nicely, detailing how he'd executed his plans flawlessly and perfectly. Most of all, I think the author had outdone herself, for she herself had claimed how difficult this book is to write. Indeed it is. And I was so, so glad to read it and wished I'd read it earlier.