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Check It Out: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I’m recommending a mystery classic And Then There Were None by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. First published in 1939, this is the story that made Agatha Christie the bestselling novelist of all time, it sold over 100 million copies, and is read the world over in more than 50 languages. Christie once said, “It was so difficult to do that the idea had fascinated me.” It was an idea which has now become the basis for many Hollywood horror films and is a cliché to modern audiences, but it was Agatha Christie who was the first to do it and so successfully that the story has become her most adapted piece of writing. 

Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock of a place near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen mysteriously absent. The strangers include a reckless playboy, a troubled doctor, a formidable judge, an uncouth detective, an unscrupulous mercenary, a God-fearing spinster, two restless servants, a highly decorated general and an anxious secretary. After supper on the first night, a phonograph record is played, accusing each visitor of a terrible crime.  

One by one the guests are picked off. Who will survive? And who is the killer? Copies of an ominous nursery rhyme hang in each room, the murders mimicking the awful fates of its ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’. 

And Then There Were None is Agatha Christie at her finest. Like her other works, this book has an incredibly intricate plot, plenty of distracting twists and turns that kept me guessing, and a haunting, menacing tone that gave me the heebee jeebies while reading.

Check out And Then There Were None and other Agatha Christie classics like it at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.