Summary (from Goodreads):
First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
Agatha Christie has long been my all time favourite mystery writer, especially her novels featuring the ‘little’ Belgian detective Hercule Poirot with his impeccably groomed moustache, and his uncanny ability to solve the most complex of mysteries.
So, you’d think that I would have read this novel ages ago, being the great fan that I am. You’d think, but no. I read this now (in the past week or so between work and work), finished it two days ago, and it has taken me the two days to settle and come to turns with the revelation at the end of the novel – it’s that haunting. Even now as I think about it, a chill runs down my spine and I can’t help looking over my shoulder wondering if there may be someone behind me waiting to judge me for my crimes … creepy!
But so good! Christie introduces each character in their own voice, revealing in their words how it is they end up receiving an invitation to Indian Island for either a holiday or a job. Upon arriving on the island, the first indication that something may be amiss is that their hosts, Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen, are nowhere to be found. But this doesn’t bother the guests too much, not until on the first evening, after a wonderful dinner, a record plays revealing the crime(s) that each character has committed, which has secured their place on the island.
As one by one, the guests are ‘bumped’ off, the tension builds as the guests suspect each other, but also turn to each other for survival. But there is no way to survive. All of them die, and in the most odd ways possible.
I LOVED this novel, and cannot believe it has taken me this long to read it! From the first word, I was hooked, and the only reason I closed the book was to sleep or to work or to eat. Beginning to end, Christie builds the tension slowly, stranding us on the island with the guests, and does not let us go, until the very last word.
It’s been a while since a novel has held my attention like this, and why wouldn’t it? It was written by the Great Dame of Mysteries, after all.