Before beginning the review, let’s play a game. Try to find the word ‘Soldier’ used in this review.
Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little soldier boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there was eight.
Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Crime fiction is a peculiar thing, you always want to know who did it but not every criminal story can be a peculiar one, most are expected for which they follow a pattern of a murder and finding the killer and then the story ends and it you either feel good about it (because you knew who it was) or feel bad about it(because you couldn’t find the murderer). You have been trying to find the killer restlessly ever since the murder took place but sometimes you can’t because sometimes nothing makes sense. Until it does. You don’t feel either bad or good because you couldn’t find the killer because it was literally impossible for you to guess because there were no clues about the killing in the story, these kind of crime leaves you with a feeling of abyss, because you were suppose to be the one who caught the killer or at least had a reasonable explanation of the killing but sometimes it leaves you somewhere in between, And Then There Were None is that kind of a story.
She created a whole book out of a poem, ingenious.
Ten Little Soldiers are called upon an island. Each of them is a different person than the other, but they have one thing in common: they all have some deep and dark secrets. Each of them is a criminal in his or her own rites, they have done something for which they were never punished, something that went under the radar and now all of them are on an island together, some of them have been called for a job or some of them have been called just for the sake of an old friend but shit hits the fan when all of them starts to die, Nine Little Soldiers, Eight Little Soldiers and one of them is a killer who is committing further murders (than he already committed in the past).
The murders that takes place are then associated with a poem that is written in all of those guests rooms. And as the murder progresses it gets more gruesome and more weird and weirder until it delivers the final blow and…..ENDS!!! You knew what was coming but you didn’t knew how it came and what was the reason behind it and it leaves it at that but as you turn some pages desperately trying to find what actually happened and why it ended like that, you come across a explanation about what you just read and that somehow seems unreasonable because it is difficult to catch someone in the act and it is easy to make up something after the story is finished, you can add some loose ends to make it work and it won’t affect the story all that much because what transpired can be manipulated in different ways and for that reason, this book could have also had multiple endings and multiple explanations depending on how good your imagination is and if you were like me and you have the imagination of Thomas the Tank Engine then the ending will leave you craving for something more.
Five little soldier boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little soldier boys going to the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little soldier boys playing with a gun; One shot the other and then there was one.
What was the answer for the question I asked in beginning of this review? How many times the soldier has been used (did you count them yourself or used a shortcut CTRL+F?), if you said the answer was 13-14, then you’re wrong because I used the word soldier more than that and you might notice I again used the word soldier so it makes a total of 18 soldiers. All of this might seem stupid and childish but I am doing this to prove a point, something might be foolish but it makes sense and that is the way I felt about the ending of this book.
Somethings are not extraordinary but they leave you with a sense of craving, it can be a guilty pleasure, you can’t help but try to pick out the faults or predictability in it but you can’t help yourself to stop reading it either. I am feeling that right now.
And Then There Were None
I heard a lot about Agatha Christie and one of my friend recommended this book to me and I was very excited about the premise itself and the way it was executed and let us not forget that this was published in 1939 (I wasn’t even born for another 58 years) and I have no doubt that at that time, it would have been a criminalizing story because it is a great crime fiction book now. What this may not carry for modern readers is a sense of unexpectedness of what will happen in the story because it is all there in the beginning of them poem and the title itself is a spoiler but for me, what made this book such a riveting tale was the quick writing. Agatha Christie didn’t took time to establish the characters and their development was believable, you can write 600 pages and still not establish the characters properly into the story and it is easy to do that because you have a lot of time to do it but with a small book such as this (it’s as small as that hand of yours) it is hard to put characters into the story and come with a logical outcome that isn’t rushed and which transcends normal storytelling.
The ending looks like an easy way out because in the end, she could have made anyone the killer and it would have still worked because in the story there isn’t anything with which you can find the killer because there are no clues for you to find the killer, there are just, ‘happenings’ but that does not stop this from becoming a interesting story to read through, you will finish it before you could make sense out of the story and in the end it will all make sense and it will be justified. This was like a roller-coaster ride, it had it’s ups and downs but it was a great journey and when it was done, I just wanted to ride it again.