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And Then There Were None: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Sarah Bennett

Sarah has a Bachelor's degree in English and has taught for several years. She also has her Technical Writing Certification.

In this lesson, you will read about the fictional crime novel ''And Then There Were None'' by Agatha Christie. Learn about the book's plot summary and theme analysis.

Plot Summary

And Then There Were None is a popular novel written by crime novelist Agatha Christie. This book is one of her most famous pieces of work as well as one of the bestselling crime novels of all time. It has been made into numerous plays as well as several movies.

The novel starts with eight strangers each being invited to an island. They all believe they are going for different reasons. When they arrive, they are introduced to the butler and the housekeeper. The servants tell the guests that the host, Mr. Owen, will not arrive until the following day. The guests don't think much of it at the time and after a nice dinner they all gather in another room of the beautiful mansion. A recorded voice suddenly starts to speak to the guests. It recounts and announces a murder that each of them have committed in the past and were never punished for.

After hearing this disturbing recording, all of the guests start talking to each other and realize that none of them (including the servants) know Mr. Owen, which causes them to believe someone has brought them to the island for a much more sinister plan. At about this same time, the first guest dies from choking on poisoned whiskey. Everyone retreats to their rooms shaken by the event as well as being reminded of their crimes. One guest notices the similarity of the death of the first guest and the first verse of a nursery rhyme, Ten Little Indians, which happens to hang in each bedroom. There are also ten Indian figurines sitting on the dining room table. As each guest dies, one of the figurines disappears. It is now clear to the remaining guests that the person who planned the murders is carrying them out according to the nursery rhyme.

Eventually all of the guests and the two servants are murdered. The events leave police confused until a manuscript bottle is discovered. It is written by one of the guests, Judge Wargrave, who explains how he planned all of the murders because he wanted to punish those whose crimes were not brought to justice. Ten Little Indians was his favorite rhyme growing up so that is how he chose to execute all of the murders, including his own.

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