And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie.

The Mistress of Crime. One of the best selling authors of all time, second only to William Shakespeare. We know her from characters like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Her detective stories are chilling, intense, and morbidly interesting.

And Then There Were None was more so.


Considering it’s one of the top ten best selling books of all time, you’d think I would have read this book before now. It slipped beneath my radar, you might say, and I never got around to it. Until one of my friends insisted I give it a try.

Since most of my library is second-hand (because only a millionaire could afford to expand their library as quickly as I do on Barnes and Noble pricing), I had to wait around until I found a copy at one of the thrift stores I frequent.

Then I had to finish the book I was reading, because I am not one of those brilliant people who can read more than one book at a time. (Please tell me how you do this.)

I picked it up one morning before work, thinking I would read the first chapter and get around to the rest later.

Two hours later, I finished it.

Then I proceeded to panic and question the motives of everyone in my immediate family and friend group.

This book was terrifying. The characters were terrifying. Agatha Christie painted an intimate, vivid portrayal of what people are reduced to when they are afraid. Each character, men and women, seemed harmless enough—even likable—in the beginning of the book. I picked my favorites immediately and rooted for them through the whole book—only to be stunned by how twisted their minds and morality became when faced with the unknown.

The basic premise of the book (as most of you will probably know, since the book was published in 1939), is that ten people are invited to an island. Soldier Island. Some are there on vacation, others as servants or assistants to the host (who never appears), still others asked to come and ‘investigate’ some strange happenings on the island itself. The boat comes, drops them all off, and leaves again.

Within a few hours, the first two people are dead.

The rest follow.

The book is summed up quite cleverly by a poem left in each of the guests’ rooms, a morbid little ditty called Ten Little Soldier Boys. They laugh when the poem is first discovered, but within three deaths, no one is laughing anymore, and it becomes the map through the rest of the book. Clues, almost, to how the next murder will be committed.

As I said. Terrifying.


And Then There Were None was an incredibly well written, fast-paced thriller. I enjoyed every page of it and found it impossible to put down once I’d opened it. If you’re looking for a book to scare the daylights out of you, pick this one up! (Take my advice, read it during the day. Or don’t. Whatever bakes your cake.)

“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 traveling 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 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.

One little soldier boy left all alone;

He went and hanged himself.

And then there were none.

Death on the Nile

I love rainy nights.

Nights when the wind is up, when I can listen to the thunder and smell the rain and watch the sky light up on the horizon. Colorado is, unfortunately, not known for its thunderstorms, but we do have them.

Once or twice a year.

Or every other year.

I’m thinking about moving. Any suggestions for a house in the woods, smack in the middle of the country, where thunderstorms come through regularly?

Let me know.

When we do have a rainy night, my favorite thing to do is to wrap up in a cozy blanket on my couch, brew a cup of tea, and cuddle with my kitty while I read. And what better book to have on hand for that sort of night than an Agatha Christie novel?


I will admit right now, I have avoided anything written by Agatha Christie for years. I bought a few of her books some years back, and they gathered dust on my shelves. I’d seen one or two shows based on her Hercule Poirot novels, hadn’t found them particularly interesting and decided that whatever kind of books she’d written, they weren’t for me.

Then, last year, I read And Then There Were None.

Instantly, I was hooked.

The simple style, the almost breathtaking suspense, and, of course, the mystery in her books captured my attention immediately, and I began to devour as many of them as I could find. Including Death on the Nile.

Right off the bat, I loved reading this book. The exotic surroundings and vibrant characters made it a fascinating—and quick—read. I very quickly fell in love with Hercule Poirot and his eccentric style. As a detective, he is brilliant, subtle, and wonderfully full of himself. As a person, he is quirky and compassionate, an interesting combination for the type of work he is in.


And yet, it really is the characters that revolve around him that made the story. The lovely heiress, Linnet Doyle, her simple and handsome husband, Simon, his former lover, and a myriad of others created a whirl of suspicion and intrigue for what was supposed to be a relaxing cruise down the Nile.

My favorite thing about Agatha Christie is the wealth of fascinating characters she has at her fingertips. Not one of her books is comprised of cardboard cutouts stuffed into the pages, but I think that the men and women in Death on the Nile may be her most brilliant set. They are charming, conniving, each with their own stories, their own issues, their own secrets. Reading this book was a pleasure, as once again I found myself almost unable to set it down. If you are a fan of mysteries—and some romance, for what is Hercule Poirot but a romantic—than I would definitely suggest you pick this book up the next time you are at a library or bookshop.

“My dear Monsieur Poirot—how can I put it? It’s like the moon when the sun comes out. You don’t know it’s there anymore. When once I’d met Linnet—Jackie didn’t exist.”