Have you ever been in a dark, desolate room in complete seclusion from everyone else where you sense a presence nearby but when you turn around, nobody’s there? Have you ever been so afraid that you can’t sleep at night? I believe that anyone who is an actual human being can agree with me that, in some way, everyone has felt some kind of fear and excitement due to a scary movie, book, or even reality. After reading this novel by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None, I can honestly say that there is a book out there that can give me the shivers. Never have I been so afraid of a fictional – based story that I wasn’t able to go to sleep that very same night I finished the novel. Not only did the plot of the story keep me on the edge of my seat, but the personalities and the secretiveness of the characters kept me in suspense as well.
The novel takes place on Indian Island, a location known for publicity and curiosity, yet nobody knows for sure who owns this piece of land. In the beginning chapters of this book, you become familiar with the ten main characters who are out to spend an eight day vacation on this secluded island with only a vague invitation with some variety on each one. The descriptions of each character are specified clearly, yet each individual holds a secret that they wouldn’t dare to share with anyone else on the island. When the guests each arrive in their rooms, they find a riddle called “Ten Little Indians” which plays a significant role throughout the book, for this riddle tells the death of ten men on an island ironic, eh?
By night time, they are all acquainted with each other, until a noise projecting from the wall tells a story about the guests and how they are all charged for a murder they could never be tried for. Now this book might somehow seem like an episode out of a “Clue” mysteryâ€“but did “Clue” ever give you the chills you get on the back of your neck? No, I didn’t think so! Suddenly, in the few moments preceding this mysterious message, one of the less important characters drops dead in front of the entire crowdâ€“shocking, right? To make a long story short, all the individuals are petrified and persist to retreat up to their rooms and lock themselves up for the night to keep somewhat safe.
One of my favorite scenes of this novel pertains to one of the very last characters to stay alive on the islandâ€“ Miss Vera Elizabeth Claythorne. A stubborn, spiteful woman who has nightmares about the child she once used to take care of and drowned in her presence. At one point in this book, Very leaves the remaining five individuals and goes up to her room to take a bath. As she steps into the bathtub, she seems to feel someone around her, but when she looks around, nobody’s there. When she is finished with her bath, she steps out into the cold, crisp air and can sense the foul smell of seaweed.
Slowly, she feels something pull around her neckâ€“something firm and strong. She screams for help, but when the men come to save her, they don’t find anythingâ€“only a piece of seaweed hanging from the ceiling. The way Christie put suspense and excitement into this scene gave me the biggest scare in the book. She can describe items and characters so well because she uses her imagination and she knows what can “spook” the audience.
Another one of my favorite scenes in this novel concerns Emily Caroline Brent, who was another main character who was an elderly, frail woman. Throughout the book, you hear her complain about everything, and you begin to wonder if she might be the murderer and playing the role of a fragile lady. After the death of another male character, Brent goes to sit down at the dining room table to take a rest and to lust over the taste of sweet honey in her mouth, for Vera had brought up the subject earlier. Suddenly, she hears a buzzing noise coming from the window and sees a tiny bee swarming around. As she puts her hear on the table, she hears footsteps behind her but thinks nothing of them.
Then, all of a sudden, she begins to feel faint right before she is pricked by a bee. When the others find her at the table, they realize that she is dead, yet it really wasn’t a bee who killed herâ€“it was really a poison injected into her neck to kill her instantly. Instantly, Vera picks up on the clue concerning the supposed bee stings, which appertains to the poem, “10 Little Indians”, for the “Six little boys were playing with a hive” and Emily was the sixth victim to be killed.
This novel by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None must be one of the greatest mystery books ever written and is definitely high up there on my personal list of favorite books. Her descriptions kept me from putting the book down and kept me up till the early hours of the morning. An exceptional book this was, for I have never been scared of anything in my whole life; not even did Silence of the Lambs give me a tiny chill! For all you fellow Times readers: I encourage you to run to your nearest library or bookstore and pick up a copy of this fantastic book. I guarantee that you will love it and will not be able to put it down. Just be careful to look around your shoulder once or twice throughout the bookâ€“you never know who might be there…