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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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 late;
 One overslept himself and then there were Eight.

Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon;
 One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.

Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks; 
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.

Six little soldier boys playing with a hive;
 A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.

Five little soldier boys going in for law; 
One got into 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.

One little soldier boy left all alone; 
He went and hanged himself

And then there were None.
— Frank Green, 1869

Any fan of mystery, crime, or simply a good read will have some knowledge of this tale. It is the masterpiece of Agatha Christie. As the storylines begin to entangle, you unwittingly believe every red herring Christie offers you. Before long you attempt to anticipate the twists and tricks, only to realize she is still three steps ahead of you. It feels like a game of cat and mouse, where Christie and the murderous mastermind are the cats, and the victims – the reader included – are the exasperated mice. The disastrous revelation of the ten characters’ crimes brings into focus the theme of the book; justice, in the most twisted sense of the word.

As we delve deeper into the novel, personalities begin to develop and traits are highlighted. The arrogance of Anthony Marston, the calm of Justice Wargrave, the vindictive nature of Miss Brent – all essential to their stories and their role on the island. Vera was my instant favorite, possibly as her character was the most transparent. Her sincere fear, her love of Cyril – the boy whose death she was being punished for – and her polite and unassuming demeanor. The characters were so well developed that it was hard not to develop bias. The weak willed Doctor Armstrong and the cunning Philip Lombard will give you goosebumps.

Focusing on the more minute details, Christie gives the reader a chance to play catch up during the progression of the story. The letters to each guest are addressed by variations of a single name (I will not snip the joy of discovering this for yourself). The way in which the fifth little soldier boy dies (Five little soldier boys going in for law; 
One got into chancery and then there were Four…) offers a major clue as to the organizer, drawing on biblical references to stress the guilt of the perpetrator.


SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you intend to read the book, which I highly recommend you do.


Justice Wargrave was my guess as the administer, but not for the reasons expressed in his Hail Mary letter vindicating his actions. To put it simply, whomever did it had to have enough money to buy the island. There were only two characters who had this sort of funding; Justice Wargrave and Doctor Armstrong. Out of the two only one was in the business of seeking justice. But then he was killed, which completely threw me. As I said before, this novel is a masterpiece. 

The Forgotten Friends

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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