Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Nook - Ten Little Indians

When I was in high school, I went through a real Agatha Christie phase.  I read a bunch of her Miss Marple stories, as well as some of her most popular Hercule Poirot novels like Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.  However, my absolute favorite Agatha Christie novel has always been Ten Little Indians.

Also published as And Then There Were None, Ten Little Indians was first published in 1939.  In the story, 10 people are invited to vacation at remote Indian Island, which was once the property of an extravagant millionaire.  No one knows who owns the island and mansion now, except that each recipient received a vague invitation that made plausible sense to them.  And the party has more in common than that: they have all played a part in murder at one time.

Shortly after their arrival to the island, guests start to get murdered, starting with Anthony Marston, a young, arrogant man who ran over and killed two kids in his past, and felt no remorse for the situation.  Next is the maid, Mrs. Rogers, who once held back on administering life saving drugs to her then-employer for the monetary gain she and her husband would receive from the death.  And the murders just pile up from there.

After a thorough search of the island, it is determined by the survivors that there is no person secretly hiding out.  There are only the ten of, make that eight.  The survivors come to the conclusion that the murderer must be one of them!  But who is it?  As the murders continue, tensions rise.  Who will be the last to survive?

This is a fantastic novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  Like the members of the doomed party, you can't help but scrutinize everyone's every move, speculate on their motivation and await with suspense when someone goes missing.  Agatha Christie is a brilliant writer - no wonder she has sold billions of copies of her books.

One nice thing about reading the novel is re-reading it, actually.  I enjoyed reading it again, knowing who the murderer was, so that I could try to pick up on some of the clues.  One word of caution, however: do not flip to the last page (or the last chapter)!!!  Resist the temptation!!!  Because it is only at that point that we learn whodunit.  And the story is much, much better if you're left in the dark, just like the ten unfortunate souls who are murdered, one by one.


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