Narrator: Dan Stevens
Published by Harper Audio on 09-10-13
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
Buy on Amazon/Audible
First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little 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. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:
"Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he'd stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none."
When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.
I confess that I haven’t read much by Agatha Christie, which I wanted to change, as I’m a fan of cozy mysteries and she has written many classics. I was curious about this particular novel but I put it off for some time because I know there were many characters to keep track of and I was having some stressful months. I wrote their names down when they were first introduced at the beginning of chapter one, but I soon discarded my list as all characters were very well depicted and it was easy to recognize them from their actions. The mystery is well written, and Christie definitely created a psychological intrigue to the point of being almost claustrophobic.
There are a couple of things that I didn’t enjoy that much though. First, the ending is kind of arbitrate. We get an explanation about the perfect murder but, honestly, anyone could have done it by making up similar excuses. I believe in a mystery one could have a valid shot at trying to guess who is the murderer, but with this one, it’s impossible to know and I felt kind of tricked during the big reveal.
Another aspect is the clear racist connotations that are still present in the book even after being rebranded twice. I’ve since read about Christie’s racist ideas and I’m torn between reading more from or and just dedicating my attention to other authors.
Dan Stevens narration was good. I think it was a difficult narration due to the great number of characters, but Stevens kept it consistent throughout the book so it was easy to identify the characters. I found it a bit monotone though, but this is a style that I find more in older narrations, especially the ones in British English. I could definitely feel the British phlegm.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.