All right, there’s something we have to admit before starting: we will fangirl around this book and author.
Agatha Christie is one of our favorites writers of all time, and it isn’t only based on our preference for mystery novels and thriller ones, but also on the genius she was and the masterpieces she left behind.
Among them, And Then There Were None is definitely a must-read by anyone who loves the mystery genre like us or wants to get introduced to it (you’re doing great choosing this novel for it!).
However, we know that many people don’t know about the book but about Agatha either, and we want to change that with you in case you are among them.
So, if you came here to find clarity about this novel, learn a bit more since you just finished reading it, or you’re trying to figure out if it is worth your time, what we have to say about it won’t disappoint in any of the cases.
Let’s Focus on the Essential: Agatha’s Early Years
Although some of our reviews and articles tend to start with the plot of the novel or book, we can’t do that here. Never.
Why? Because Agatha Christie truly deserves to go over the plot and details of the book that although it is our main focus, it is crucial to know about the person who wrote it in the first place.
This decision isn’t actually based on our love for her but rather facts, and you will thank us since it will help you have a deeper understanding of her work later.
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, 1890. One thing you will find everywhere and that is mentioned even before her birth date is that she is still the best-selling novelist of all time.
Her 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, and the longest-running play “The Mousetrap” are her most prominent works.
Focusing on her life, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born into a middle-class, comfortably wealthy family.
Her upbringing was unusual for its time because her father, an American, home-schooled her. Clara, her mother, was an exceptional storyteller and did not want her learning to read before she was eight years old.
In her life, her creativity was influenced by the stories of children of the day, Edith Nesbit (“The Story of the Treasure Seekers and The Railway Children”), and Louisa M Alcott (“Little Women”). Still, she also absorbed poetry and startling American thrillers.
Agatha created imaginary friends, took dance classes, and began writing poetry when she was still young.
At five years old, her family spent some time in France. They rented the Ashfield family home to save money. It was during this time that Agatha learned her idiomatic but incorrectly spelled French.
She was only eleven years old when she experienced a shock: her father died after a series of heart attacks after an unfortunate financial situation.
Overall, Agatha’s childhood wasn’t easy after her father died, and although they were never that rich, they did live comfortably.
At the age of 18, she began writing stories, some of which were published in revised form in the 1930s.
Clara’s health and the need to have economies dictated their next move in their lives. As a result, they set out for Cairo in 1910 and spent three months at the Gezirah Palace Hotel.
Evening dresses and parties were popular, and Agatha was more interested in them than the local archaeology sites. She was invited to host house parties by her friends and a young couple she met in Cairo.
She was quite popular, and numerous marriage proposals were made.
Agatha first met Archie Christie in 1912. He was a qualified pilot who had applied for the Royal Flying Corps.
Their courtship was an intense affair. Both were desperate to get married but had no money. According to her autobiography, it was the “excitement for the stranger” that attracted them.
After both having been through war, they were married on Christmas Eve 1914.
Sometime later, Agatha was on the Home Front and now works with the Voluntary Aid Detachment at a Torquay Red Cross Hospital. Agatha and Archie met only infrequently in the War Years. It wasn’t until January 1918 that Archie was sent to London’s War Office.
Detective Stories – The Start of Her Mystery Career
Agatha began writing detective stories during the First World War.
Her debut novel “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” took some time to finish and even longer to find a publisher.
Partly, she started writing because she was challenged by Madge, her sister, to write a detective story.
Her plot was first developed, and she then “found” her characters while riding a Torquay tram. She completed the manuscript in a two-week holiday at Haytor, Dartmoor’s Moorland Hotel.
Over the years, she had acquired poison knowledge and used it effectively. After all, Agatha was so well-known for her description of the murderer’s poison use that she was awarded an unprecedented honor as a fiction writer: a review in The Pharmaceutical Journal.
When it comes to And Then There Were None, this novel has a distinguished history of publication.
The novel’s original publication took place in late 1939, early 1940, and almost simultaneously in the United Kingdom and the USA.
From Tuesday 6 June 1939 to Saturday 1 July 1939, the serialization took place in 23 parts in The Daily Express.
All of the installments carried an illustration by “Prescott.” The first is known for having an illustration of Burgh Island in Devon, which inspired the story’s setting.
The serialized edition, instead, did not include chapter divisions. The book was sold for seven shillings and sixpence.
Is It Worth Your Time? Just Read the Plot
If you reached this point, that means you are interested enough to know the book finally but also about the author and why And Then There Were None is actually the best-selling mystery novel worldwide. Though, we will get back to this later.
Without delaying the plot anymore, this can excite you to finally read the book.
Ten strangers are invited to a remote island off of the British Coast to enjoy a weekend getaway.
The guests arrive at the island and are met by Mr. Rogers, their butler, and housekeeper.
The butler informs them that Mr. Owen, the host, won’t arrive until the following day.
After a delicious dinner, all of the guests gather in the drawing-room to hear a recording accusing all of murder.
They begin to compare notes and discover that no one, not even the servants, has ever heard of this ‘Mr. Owen,’ which suggests they were brought here while someone had a strange plan prepared for them.
This is a tale of ten guests who, like the famous poem ‘Ten Little Indians,’ find themselves disappearing one by one in the middle of an island without an idea of where they truly are.
The mystery and tense in the book are definitely what many people like about it and, probably, the main reason why it was so popular back in its day and continues to be.
She is pretty descriptive, illustrative and makes you sympathize with the characters, even when you know the destiny of some of them.
For us, the primary reason behind the book’s popularity lies in how well-built the story and narrative are and how you are left expecting more or something unknown even after you finish reading the book.
Remember, Best-Selling Mystery Novel
We gave you a spoiler about the book’s success when it comes to sales when mentioning the previous statement earlier.
However, by this point, you kind of expected this. What we did not mention is that And Then There Were None is Agatha’s most famous novel of all, even when her other books are right in the category of masterpieces as well.
With over 100 million copies sold, the novel also ranks on the list of best-selling books of all time.
It is a bit hard to know how much the book has made to editorials and people who still hold the rights since the information hasn’t been disclosed.
Many would believe it is as simple as finding the price when it first was published and the actual one.
However, you have to consider sales based on first editions, special formats, and more factors involved.
It isn’t hard to know, whatsoever, that the book has made millions over the years, if not billions considering the total books sold so far.
What we are more interested in is her entire career and not only the book.
As additional info, each of her novels and short stories was incredibly popular until her last few books fell a bit in popularity and sales.
From Paper to the Screen
You should have expected the book to have several adaptations to some art formats and media with such popularity and fame.
The first film or movie of the hit book was released in 1945 with the same name.
Actors like Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, and Louis Hayward were part of the cast and actresses like Judith Anderson.
The movie is well-rated and had a great reception during its released.
So, although it is old, you should definitely give it a try but, please, after you read the book if possible.
Now, this film isn’t the only adaptation of the novel since a more recent mini-series was released in 2015, sharing the same name of the book as well.
It was also well-received by the audience and had a stellar cast involved: Aidan Turner, Charles Dance, Maeve Dermody, Sam Neill, and many others.
The beauty of this series is that it is pretty loyal to the original story, and you can expect a “copy” of the novel with only minimal changes or additions.
5 Fascinating Facts of And Then There Were None
- A poem by Frank Green shows or “spoils” how each of the characters who didn’t make it, were murdered.
- All the characters all connected because they have all murdered someone in the past.
- Agatha decided to write the novel because the plot was too difficult, and she was fascinated by this fact.
- The 1945 film has a different ending from the book influenced by the time it was released: during World War II.
- Christie considered at first having 12 characters instead of 10.
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