A is for And Then There Were None

Eight people – strangers to each other – are invited to an island off the Devon coast. 

On arriving there, they are welcomed not by their hosts -who have unfortunately been delayed but would be joining them the next day – but by the serving couple. Strangely enough, all of them have only a hazy idea of who has invited them (or in a couple of cases, employed them). Uneasy in mind, they make their way to their rooms, only to find a curious poem pasted on the walls/ above the fireplace:

Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little nigger boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
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.
Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was One.

One little nigger boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were None.

The dinner- wonderfully cooked, revives their spirits.

However, just as they are relaxing over drinks and discovering mutual acquaintances, a disembodied voice accuses each one of them of having commit ed a murder. After the confusion and protestations of innocence, they decide to leave the island only to find that they are stranded on it.

And then the deaths start occurring, eerily like the way described in the poem. As the body count grows, they come to the chilling conclusion that the murderer is somebody amongst them. Who amongst them is the murderer? Would the others be able to unmask the killer before nemesis overtakes them all?

I don’t know how many times I have read this book. Every time it seems as thrilling as when I read it for the first time. 

25 thoughts on “A is for And Then There Were None

  1. Thanks Sergio for visiting. I remember reading this version of the rhyme the first time I read this book. I'll look at newer editions to see how they have amended it.


  2. Great choice for A. And Then There Were None is one of my favorite mystery novels. And I think the poem and many titles the book has had capture our constantly evolving understanding. A good story and a lesson in how societal conscience evolves. 🙂


  3. An Agatha Christie I have not read, but I know my mum has the original titled book on her shelf. Must dig it out to read


  4. I'm sure you probably know this, but Agatha Christie is said to have liked this the best of her books. It's easy to see why, too. A fine review, for which thanks! I love this book 🙂


  5. I really enjoyed reading this (as well as many of her other books) years ago. I learned that apparently the author was actually referring to the dark-skinned East Indians, and that's why the original terminology was eventually changed to Ten Little Indians.–Susan


  6. Thanks Marce for visiting. Barring a couple, I think I've read all of Christie's books. There was a phase when I simply devoured her.


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