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Agatha Christie's Audiobook - And Then There Were None
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And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

Like several other Agatha Christie novels, And Then There Were None opens with a nursery rhyme - in this case Ten Little Soldier Boys, but after that, the story that follows is unique in character.

For comparision, the best match would be the ABC Murders with it's mocking assassin and murders occuring with the regularity and predictability of a metronome.

The difference here is in the scale of the killing and the setting. In the ABC Murders the murderer could strike anywhere, at anytime. In And Then There Were None, the killer herds the prey onto an island - Soldier Island. Ten Little Soldier Boys. And makes his or her intentions known to the intended victims without too much delay.

U N Owen

And what a killer! First, acquiring the playboy mansion on Soldier Island and the island itself, then carefully ensaring each of the intended victims with diligently worked forms of invitation. Unrefusable offers. Cunning bait. U N Owen. Mr Unknown. The unknown killer.

Then there is the morality - a repulsive, sadistic urge to punish each of the victims for miscellaneous alleged crimes. Crimes that went unpunished. 'Justice' arriving late, and in the form of a cold, harsh, unforgiving assassin. A devil. A mad person who must play with each victim before finally...

Needless to say this is a story that could descend into the banal axe-man-in-the-middle-of-the-night type of trash novel. Christie deftly avoids that. The nursery rhyme after all requires that the killings are done to pattern - the killer chooses the method of killing with as much care as he or she has chosen the victims.

What raises the novel to the level of brilliance is the motivation of the various parties involved. As usual Christie knows her characters well. They behave (or misbehave) in a manner consistent with their natures. However frequently the story flits from one point-of-view to another, the reality of each character's viewpoint is easy to grasp. From the blunt and callous retired police officer, Blore, to the enigmatic school mistress, Vera Claythorne who seems already on the verge of a nervous breakdown when she first arrives on the island.

The Killer With a Face

From the point that it becomes evident that the murderer must be one of the Ten Little Soldier Boys, And Then There Were None is hard to beat for suspense.

The final revelation of the murderer and the unmasking of motivation shows Christie at her best in bringing together character and plot.

Litrev Rating

Overall 5______

Suspense 4______
Characters 4______
Plot 4______
Audio 5______
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