And Then There Were None

 

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled And Then There Were None, the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”).

The book was adapted in 2015 to a television serial that was first broadcast on BBC One from 26 to 28 December 2015. It was adapted by Sarah Phelps and directed by Craig Viveiros.

Cast

  • Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston: Accused of killing two children, John and Lucy Coombes, by reckless driving, which he acknowledges.
  • Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave: Accused of murdering an innocent man by sentencing him to hang.
  • Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne: Accused of murdering Cyril Hamilton, a boy in her care, having encouraged the child to swim out further in the hope that he would drown so her lover, the boy’s uncle, would become heir to the family estate.
  • Burn Gorman as Detective Sergeant William Blore: Accused of murdering a homosexual in a police cell. The actor was also in the Dr Who Torchwood Series.
  • Noah Taylor and Anna Maxwell Martin as Thomas and Ethel Rogers: Accused of murdering a previous employer.
  • Sam Neill as General John MacArthur: Accused of murdering a fellow officer having an affair with his wife.
  • Miranda Richardson as Emily Brent: Accused of being responsible for the suicide of her maid by abandoning her when she became pregnant.
  • Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard: Accused for killing 21 men in Eastern Africa for diamonds.
  • Toby Stephens as Doctor Edward Armstrong: Accused of killing a patient during surgery while drunk.

Review
This starts very slowly, intense shots of scenery and faces, every word seeming to have meaning. Then the killing starts, and the viewer it invited to work out who did it. It’s not until part two that the intensity increases and the body count mounts. A lot of the story is told in flashback, sometimes unnecessarily repeating. Then, at the end just when we think it’s all worked out and we know who did it – a final twist of the knife before all is revealed. Then it becomes apparent why this is considered Agatha’s best story.