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 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
This is the poem that dictates all of the action of Christie’s novel. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island under mysterious circumstances. When their unknown benefactor doesn’t show, things on the island get crazy. The guests start dying off, one by one, in eerie accordance with the Ten Little Soldier Boys poem that is posted in nearly every room of the estate.
And Then There Were None is only my second experience with Agatha Christie, and I wasn’t disappointed. Just as Murder on the Orient Express left me guessing until the final chapter, I had absolutely no idea who was responsible for the murder and mayhem in And Then There Were None. I was honestly afraid that I would never find out whodunnit when I reached the end of the epilogue and still wasn’t given any answers. Thankfully answers were provided right at the very end of the novel, and I was completely blindsided by those answers.
I might only have two of her books under my belt, but I already understand why Christie is considered the queen of the mystery genre. She plays things so close to the chest that it’s nearly impossible to guess anything until she feeds you the information you need. It’s amazing to me that books written this long ago can still be so surprising and mysterious and feel so fresh. I might’ve found a new favorite author!