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And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christieher best selling novel and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It is Christie’s best-selling novel, with more than million copies sold; it is also the world’s best-selling mystery and one of the best-selling books of all time.
Publications International lists the novel as the sixth best-selling title. On a hot 8 August in the late s, eight people arrive on a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England.
Each has an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances, such as an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday.
They are met by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the butler and cook-housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs Una Nancy Owen, whom they have not yet met in person, have not arrived, but left instructions, which strikes all the guests as odd. A framed copy of a nursery rhyme, ” Ten Little Niggers ”  called “Ten Little Indians” or “Ten Little Soldiers” in later editionshangs in every guest’s room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table.
After supper, a gramophone or “phonograph” record is played; the recording describes each visitor in turn, accuses each of having committed murder but escaping justice, and then asks if any of “the accused” wishes to offer a defence. They discover that none of them actually knows the Owens, and Justice Wargrave concludes that the name “U. Owen” is shorthand for “Unknown”. After the recording, Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies from cyanide poisoning.
The remaining guests notice that one of the ten figurines is now broken, and the nursery rhyme appears to reflect the manner of death “One choked his little self and then there were nine”. The next morning, Mrs Rogers’ corpse is found in her bed; she had died in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Two more figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme.
Miss Brent relates the account of the gramophone charge against her to Vera Claythorne, who later tells the others.
A search for Mr Owen shows that nobody else is on the island except the remaining seven. The island is a “bare rock” with no hiding places, and no one could have arrived or left; thus, they conclude that any one of the seven remaining persons is the killer. Wargrave leads the megritos in determining that so far, none of them can definitively be ruled out as the murderer. The next morning, Rogers is found dead while chopping wood, and after breakfast, Miss Brent is found dead in the kitchen, where she had been left alone after complaining of feeling unwell; she had been injected with potassium cyanide via a hypodermic needle.
Wargrave then suggests searching all the rooms, and any potentially dangerous items they can think of are locked up. Lombard’s gun is missing from his room. When Vera goes upstairs to take a bath, she is shocked by the touch and smell of seaweed left hanging from the ceiling of her room and screams; the remaining guests rush upstairs to her room.
Wargrave, however, is still downstairs. The others find him seated, immobile and crudely dressed up in the attire of a judge. Wargrave siez examined briefly by Dr Armstrong and pronounced dead from a gunshot to the forehead. That night, Lombard appears surprised when he finds his gun returned to his room.
Blore catches a glimpse of someone leaving the house but loses the trail. He then discovers Armstrong is absent from his room, and the remaining three guests conclude that Armstrong must be the killer. Vera, Blore, and Chrlstie decide to stay together at all times. In the morning, they signal SOS to the mainland from outside by using a mirror and sunlightbut receive no reply. Blore then returns to the house for food by himself and is killed by a heavy bear-shaped christir statue that is pushed from Vera’s window sill, crushing his skull.
Vera and Lombard are now confident that Armstrong is the killer. However, shortly afterwards, the duo come upon Armstrong’s body washed up on the beach. They realize that Armstrong could not have killed Blore. Panicked, each concludes the other must be the killer. Quickly regaining her composure, Vera suggests moving the doctor’s body past the shore, but this is a pretext. She lifts Lombard’s gun. When Lombard lunges at her to get it back, she shoots him dead. She returns to the house in a shaken dreamlike state, relieved to be alive.
She finds a noose and chair arranged in her room, and a strong smell of the sea. With visions of her former lover Hugo urging her on, she adjusts the noose and kicks the chair out from under cyristie. Although they can partially reconstruct the deaths from Marston to Wargrave with the help of the victims’ diaries and a coroner ‘s careful report, they conclude that U N Owen was one of the victims, but are unable to determine which one; they also think that none of the last four victims Armstrong, Blore, Lombard, or Claythorne can be U N Owen at all; for example The chair on which Vera stood to hang herself had been set back upright, indicating that someone was still alive on the island after her suicide, presumably the killer.
In a postscript, a fishing ship picks up agatna bottle inside its trawling nets; the bottle contains a written confession of the killings, which is then sent to Scotland Yard. It is not clear how long after the killings the bottle was discovered. In the confession, Justice Wargrave writes that he has long wished to set an unsolvable puzzle of murder.
His victims would be of his choosing, as they were not found guilty in a trial. He explains how he tricked Dr Armstrong into helping him fake his cheistie death under the pretext that it begritos help the group identify the killer. He also explains that he replaced the chair in Vera’s room. Finally, he reveals how he used the gun and some elastic to ensure his own death matched the account in the guests’ diaries.
Although he wished to create an unsolvable mystery, he acknowledges in the missive a “pitiful human need” for recognition, hence the confession.
He describes how his first victim was Isaac Morris, the sleazy lawyer and drug trafficker who anonymously purchased the island and arranged wgatha invitations on his behalf, making nine murders and two suicides. Morris was poisoned before Wargrave departed for the island.
Wargrave’s intention is to stymie the police as to which person on the island was the murderer.
He states that, although there are three clues that could guide the police to the correct killer, he is confident they will be unable to find them and that the mystery will remain unsolved until the confession is read. Writing ahatha The Times Literary Supplement of 11 NovemberMaurice Percy Ashley stated, “If chriatie latest story has scarcely any detection in it there is no scarcity of murders There is a certain feeling of monotony inescapable in the regularity of the deaths which is better suited to a serialized newspaper story than a full-length novel.
Yet there is an ingenious problem to solve in naming the murderer”, he continued. For The New York Times Book Review 25 FebruaryIsaac Anderson has arrived to the point where “the voice” accuses the ten “guests” of their past crimes, which have all resulted in the deaths of humans, and then said, “When you read what happens after that you will not believe it, but you will keep on reading, and as one incredible event is followed by another even more incredible you will still keep on reading.
The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery that Agatha Christie has ever written, and if any other writer has ever surpassed it for sheer puzzlement the name escapes our negrktos.
We are referring, of course, to mysteries that have logical explanations, as this one has. It is a tall story, to be sure, but it could have happened.
And Then There Were None – Wikipedia
Many compared the book to her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd For instance, an unnamed reviewer in the Toronto Daily Star of 16 March said, “Others have written better mysteries than Agatha Christie, but no one can touch her for ingenious plot and surprise ending.
Other critics laud the use of plot twists and surprise endings. Maurice Richardson wrote a rhapsodic review in The Observer ‘s issue of 5 November which began, “No wonder Agatha Christie’s latest has sent her publishers into a vatic trance.
We will refrain, however, from any invidious comparisons with Roger Ackroyd and be content with saying that Ten Little Niggers is one of the very best, most genuinely bewildering Christies yet written. We will also have to refrain from reviewing it thoroughly, as it is so full of shocks that even the mildest revelation would spoil some surprise from somebody, and I am sure that you would rather have your entertainment kept fresh than criticism pure.
Her plot may be highly artificial, but it is neat, brilliantly cunning, soundly constructed, and free from any of those red-herring false trails which sometimes disfigure her work.
Robert Barnarda recent critic, concurred with the reviews, describing the book as “Suspenseful and menacing detective-story-cum-thriller. The closed setting with the succession of deaths is here taken to its logical conclusion, and the dangers of ludicrousness and sheer reader-disbelief are skillfully avoided. Probably the best-known Christie, and justifiably among the most popular.
The original title of the mystery Ten Little Niggers was changed because it was offensive in the United States and some other places.
Alison Light, a literary critic and feminist scholar, opined that Christie’s original title and the setting on “Nigger Island” later changed to “Indian Island” and “Soldier Island”, variously were integral to the work. These aspects of the novel, she argued, “could be relied upon automatically to conjure up a thrilling ‘otherness’, a place where revelations about the ‘dark side’ of the English would be appropriate. If her story suggests how easy it is to play upon such fears, it is also a reminder of negritow intimately tied they are to sources of pleasure and enjoyment.
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very negrjtos One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon; Negrjtos said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Six little Difz Boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little Soldier Boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. This children’s rhyme was originally written as songs in the 19th century, one in Britain in  and one in the US in Christle little nigger boys went out to dine One choked his little self, and then there were nine. Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon One said he’d stay there, and then there were seven. Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.
Six little nigger boys playing with a hive A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five. Four little nigger boys going out to sea A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.
Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo A big bear hugged one, and then there were two. One little nigger boy living all alone He went and hanged himself and then there were none. Eight little Injuns gayest under heav’n, One went to sleep and then there were seven. The novel was originally published in late and early almost simultaneously, in the United Kingdom and the United States.
All of the instalments carried an illustration by “Prescott” with the first having an illustration of Burgh Island in Devon which inspired the setting of the story. The serialized version did not contain any chapter divisions. Both of the original US publications changed the title from that originally used in the UK, due to the offensiveness of the word in American culturewhere it was more widely perceived as a racially loaded ethnic slur or insult compared to contemporary UK culture, rather than a fairly innocent rhyme for children to use when selecting one child for a game.
In the original UK novel all references to “Indians” or “Soldiers” were originally “Nigger”, including the island’s name, the pivotal rhyme found by the visitors, and the ten figurines.