The novel begins with introducing a group of people who are invited to Indian Island, off the coast of Devon. These people are strangers to each other and have been invited by a millionaire couple named Owens who claim to know them. Each of the guests receives an invitation letter inviting them to stay at the Island. However, the purpose of the invitation stated in the letter is different for each one of them. At the island the guests are received by a couple who have been asked to take charge as butlers by the same Owens who had invited the others too. Each of the guests finds in their respective rooms a framed copy of the nursery rhyme 'Ten little Indians'. In the poem all the Indians die one by one. Another mysterious thing is that there are also 10 little soldier boy figurines on the dining table. They do not heed all this much until further frightening instances occur. After dinner when they are all gathered in a drawing room they hear a voice recording accusing each one them of a murder they committed in the past. Startled and frightened they want to get out of the island but it is too late as they are isolated on the island and the only boat that brings them food has also stopped coming altogether. Panic and tension rises when the guests one by one begin to die in strange and mysterious ways. They soon sense that all this was ingeniously planned by someone because with each death one of the corresponding soldier boy figurines also disappears. The rhyme in their rooms was indeed about their own destiny. Each of the guests believes that the murderer is one among them as there is not a soul on the island other than themselves.
The book was written in 1939 on the eve of World war two. As with almost all her other books, “And there then were none’ also focuses on the middle and upper classes of Britain. Some have criticized the racial references in the novel and said that it demonstrates Agatha Christie’s racism towards minorities and Jews. This however has never affected her popularity or the sale of her novels.
Agatha Christie uses everyday day simple vocabulary in her book making it an easy read. This helps the reader to focus on the plot rather than the vocabulary. The story is told through an omniscient narrator.
This is one of the most widely read books of Agatha Christie and I must say that it is completely deserving of its popularity. The suspense and tension it invokes in a reader makes it un-putdownable until the murderer is known. The realization that one among the guests themselves is the murderer and the fact that there is no way to escape from the island is indeed creepy. Overall, I can say it is a nerve wracking thriller which is very cleverly written.
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