And Then There Were None

Introduction

And Then There Were None, a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write.[2] It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939 as Ten Little Niggers,[3] after the British blackface song which serves as a major plot point.[4][5] For the first American edition, the title was changed to the last five words in the original American version of the song: And then there were none.[6]

In the novel, ten people are enticed into coming to an island under different pretexts, e.g. offers of employment or to enjoy a late summer holiday, or to meet with old friends. All have been complicit in the death(s) of other human beings but either escaped justice or committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction. The guests are charged with their respective "crimes" by a gramophone recording after dinner the first night and informed that they have been brought to the island to pay for their actions. They are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather, yet gradually all ten are killed in turn, in a manner that seems to parallel the ten deaths in the nursery rhyme. Nobody else seems to be left alive on the island by the apparently last death. A confession, in the form of a postscript to the novel, unveils how the killings took place and who was responsible.

It is Christie's best-selling novel with over 100 million copies sold, also making it the world's best-selling mystery, and one of the best-selling books of all time. Publications International lists the novel as the seventh best-selling title.[7]


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