About the Book

Title: And Then There Were None
Published: 1939

Cover Story: Simple is the New Deadly
BFF Charm: Nope!
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Too Legit to Quit
Bonus Factors: Cocktails!
Anti-Bonus Factor: Antiquated Racial Slurs
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Cover Story: Simple is the New Deadly

I own an old copy of this book (which was fun to re-read, with it’s dog-eared corners and all). The cover is simple, just the title, the author, and a noose. This is one of the most famous mystery novels ever published, so I think keeping the cover basic is the way to go.

The Deal:

Ten people who do not know each other are all persuaded to travel to Indian Island, a remote island off the British coast, for a lovely weekend of dining and general hanging out. Little do they know, they have all walked into a very curious, and diabolical, trap. Shortly after dinner the first night, a voice booms out from nowhere, accusing each and every one of them present of committing a murder that has, until now, gone unpunished. When we find the voice coming from the gramophone on a pre-made record, everyone relaxes a little bit. That is, until the murders start.

The best, and creepiest, part of this book is that each murder mimics a part of a nursery rhyme that is hanging in each bedroom in the house. The poem begins with ten little Indians, and decreases in number each verse, until the final verse ends with, “…and then there were none.” So everyone knows what’s going to happen, but each is powerless to stop it. Is there someone else on the island, picking them off one by one? Or is it one of the guests, cleverly playing a part– seemingly scared by day and committing these horrific murderous acts methodically one by one?

Creepy, right? Such a good read!

BFF Charm: Nope!

Hell No BFF Charm in Flames

You do not, let me repeat, DO NOT want to be friends with anyone in this book. They have all done something pretty unspeakable, and hearing them speak about it makes you like them even less. You are not rooting for anyone in this story, actually.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Everyone is pretty preoccupied with not getting murdered, so there’s no time for swoon in this story. Christie does write in a lost love for one of the characters, Vera, but we only experience Vera’s thinking about it– she doesn’t really talk about it with anyone else on the island. She knows she did wrong (what with that murder and all) and she lost her soul mate because of it.

Talky Talk: Too Legit to Quit

Christie has gone on record saying this was the hardest book she had ever written. It is pretty ingenious, but I don’t know that any armchair detectives out there could figure it out on their own.

Bonus Factor: Cocktails!

This week, imbibe at your favorite participating bar and also help out a good cause! This week is Negroni week, and hundreds of bars across the country are making this classic cocktail and donating a portion of the proceeds to the charity of their choice.

If you want to make a Negroni at home, almost nothing could be easier, since it is only three ingredients and they are all in equal parts. To stir up your own classic Negroni, you will need:


  • 1 oz. Dry gin (like Tanqueray)
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Orange peel


Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir quickly for about 20 seconds, to chill the liquids without adding much water to the drink.

Strain over new ice in your glass.

Use a lighter to pull the essential oils out of your orange peel by running a flame over the peel, over your drink.

Add your peel to the cocktail, and you’ve got your very own tasty Negroni to enjoy. This one is bitter, and can take some getting used to (just like the characters in this book!).

Anti-bonus Factor: Antiquated Racial Slurs

Ok, this is a weird one, and I did some research on it. The nursery rhyme on which the murders are based was a traditional British rhyme that used the n-word. (Yes, you read that correctly). This word was in the original title for the book, and was replaced with the word “Indians” when published in the US. Needless to say, that term also caused a stir, so now when you read this book, it will always be under the title And Then There Were None.

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

There’s no getting around it: this book has a total bummer ending. One island, ten bodies. No one makes it out alive. What’s funny is I recently saw the play version of this book performed here in Houston, and I remembered some of the characters making it to the end. It turns out, Christie rewrote the ending for the stage, since producers thought it would be too sad for play-goers to watch a play where every single character gets the axe. So re-reading was fun, because the ending still surprised me (what? No one makes it out alive?!). That being said, once you know who the culprit is, you could go back and enjoy reading this one again, just to see how they get away with it. But beyond one re-read, I don’t know. I can’t say I won’t go back and revisit this one again, and it definitely is one that sticks with you (I’ve been thinking about it all week). And that’s why our relationship status is the way it is.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). And Then There Were None is available now.

About the Contributor:

Jill Brumer has been reading murder mysteries since she was old enough to wrap her hands around a Nancy Drew book. She can be found most days in Houston sewing or teaching others to sew.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.