By: Agatha Christie
A mysterious letter arrives in the post inviting eight complete strangers to an island getaway off the Devon coast. When they arrive, they are greeted by two house staff, but no sign of their mysterious benefactor. That night, when the unlikely party sit for dinner at a table decorated with ten toy soldiers, a record plays a list of indictments for various murders committed by each person in the room. Shortly thereafter, one party member dies of cyanide poisoning. When the guests look at the table setting, they notice that one of the ten toy soldiers is missing.
This was to be but the first of death of many during their stay. A pattern soon emerges as each murder begins to resemble the lyrics of a children’s nursery rhyme posted in each guest’s bedroom: ten little soldiers. As the guests are picked off one by one, the list of suspects shrinks. With no way on or off the island, it must be one of the members of the party, but who? Alliances are formed, accusations fly, and then there were none.
This book gives me chills! Having read it several times, including aloud with my family on several occasions, I still get a thrill uncovering the murderer and discovering new little clues and tidbits I had missed in previous readings. As a long-time lover of Agatha Christie, this book will forever remain my favourite murder mystery. It’s perfectly crafted, there are twists and turns at every stage, the characters are all well developed with full backstories, and all the pieces fit so intricately you can’t help but marvel at the story. It really sets a new standard from the genre and you can see the influences of this book in books written eighty years later.
If you enjoy murder mysteries of this ilk, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie are two great examples of books with a large cast of unique characters whose backstories are slowly revealed to give context to the story at hand.