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zondag 12 juni 1988

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

A detective masterpiece

Off the coast of Devon lies an island clouded in mystery. It carries the name of Indian Island because its form resembles an Indian. The silence surrounding the mansion is suddenly disturbed when eight guests arrive. Both Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the butler and the cook, are awaiting the guests. But they already have a problem. Their host hasn't arrived yet. And even stranger: there's a framed copy of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians" hanging on the wall. They decide to go ahead with dinner in absence of their host. But when suddenly a gramophone record starts to play, it becomes clear that it is dangerous to trust anyone on this forsaken island.

And Then There Were None is arguably one of the best works by Agatha Christie. Originally published in 1939 under the title Ten Little Niggers, it still hasn't lost a single bit of its attractive power. The basic idea is as simple as it gets, but the denouement is simply a showcase of the inventiveness that is so characteristic of the English author. I have read this novel now for the third time and still I discover new aspects that show the ingenuity of the plot. Never will the reader feel unfairly treated, although it requires a very astute sleuth to predict the outcome at a first reading. The characters are quite stereotypical, but that cannot be avoided if you require that the reader keeps track of ten possible suspects and as such is easily forgiven.

And Then There Were None is simply a must read for anyone with a liking for a good detective novel.

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