Title: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
My mum always talked about a certain horror TV series that she watched as a child, about how 10 people (who all had committed murders/crimes in the past) are invited to an island then killed off one by one by an unknown person who commits suicide in the end. She always described to us how terrified her siblings and herself were while watching it and how they used to hide under the couch with a blanket on top of them waiting for the signature scene— a dark hand removing one of the china figures placed over the fireplace after a person is murdered. I always got excited when I heard her talk about it and wanted to watch the TV show for myself. I needled her into telling me its name. Then she told me it was based on a book. “Why mum, that’s even better!”, I told her. However, she didn’t know the name of the book and what made it even harder to find was that the series that my mom watched wasn’t in English. After a long search for the story that intrigued me, and it turning out to be an Agatha Christie book of all things, I found it and started reading it.
However, my lovely and awesome brother also got his hands on the TV series at around the same time and ruined the ending and the killer for me. THANK YOU BRO. YOU ARE, LIKE, THE BESTEST. (worry not though, for I have ruined many endings for him since then. Allegiant for example. Mwahahaha #sorrynotsorry)
The thing that made me really happy, though, was that, as usual, the show wasn’t exactly the same as the book. Yes, the killer was the same but a few of the murders were done differently as well as the reasons for committing them.
The concept of the story is very interesting.
Ten people are lured into an island by an unknown person. Upon their arrival, not only do they find themselves surrounded by strangers but also that their host hasn’t arrived yet. They are polite to each other and try to get along. Well, as much as you can get along with complete strangers. It isn’t long before the first person falls dead, apparently choking on his cognac. Then the butler’s wife dies in her sleep. The following day they find the body of the third person. The remaining people, scared that there is a killer present, scour the island looking for signs that someone is living in the wilderness surrounding the mansion. When they find no evidence, they start to suspect each other. They also notice that the ten china figures over the hearth are becoming less with each death. Half driven mad with fear, they eventually start fussing up their secrets and it turns out that they all have on thing in common: all of them have killed and gotten away with it. Things suddenly get very clear: they are being punished for committing those crimes; someone has decided to take the law into their own hands.
The killings continue and by the end of the book none of them are still alive.
My mind was working overtime by the time I finished reading. “God, the person who did all this is truly psychotic. How could he murder all these people with such cold blood? He didn’t even feel guilty!”, I thought. But here is the thing, people. The villain didn’t think of himself as a villain. He believed that he was God’s hand that is being used to obtain justice.
That got me thinking: do all villains think this way? Do they all believe they are heroes when, in fact, they are not? I think so. I think they believe that what they are doing is for the better of the world. They don’t suddenly stop twirling their mustache and go like “oh you know what, I’m truly evil”. They live by ‘the end justifies the means’ motto.
Here is something interesting for you to chew on,
When you kill someone for killing someone else, doesn’t that make you a murderer as well? Don’t you become just like them, even though you did it in the name of justice? And what the hell is justice anyway? Who sets the lines that must not be crossed if we all have a different definition for the word?
All of the ten characters have committed crimes and walked away free. Most of them didn’t even show remorse for what they have done.
During the short stay at the mansion, hallucinations played a very important role. Many of them started hearing the voices of their victims. If there was one thing I learned while reading this, it’s that our past never really leaves us.
This was my first Christie novel and I will definitely be reading more. The mystery is written in an ingenious way and if I hadn’t known the killer already, I would’ve been very surprised. The mysterious and creepy style of this book made me worry that I was going to get murdered any second. And no I haven’t killed anyone but I was still scared, okay? Especially the way the last person died. That was seriously one of creepiest scenes I’ve read. I had goosebumps all over. Agatha Christie is truly a legend.