Books to Film: ‘And Then There Were None’ book review

The cast of the 2015 BBC miniseries adaptation of And Then There Were None
The cast of the 2015 BBC miniseries adaptation of And Then There Were None

I recently finished And Then There Were None, a thriller by Agatha Christie. I haven’t read an Agatha Christie book in ages, but I picked it up on the recommendation of Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy in one of her “What Should I Read Next” podcast episodes. Her son also read the book and said it was the best book he ever read, which intrigued me to see what about this book could cause a teenager to love it. I ended up agreeing it is great too. What a baffling mystery and chilling thriller!

Ten strangers are invited to a mansion on a rock island off the Devon coast by a mysterious U. N. Owen. While there, they are each accused of a terrible crime, and start dying one by one, according to a nursery rhyme that is hung in all their rooms. Stranded by a storm with no means to call for help, suspicion and paranoia start to rise as they realise that one of them must be the killer, but have no idea who.

This murder mystery has an ending almost impossible to see. The writing is typical of Agatha’s short and clipped style, set in the ’30s, with characters behaving very much like the English do, except they also showcase the darker side of human nature. It’s been adapted into several movies and TV series and inspired many TV episodes over the years. There’s one more movie in development that has Morten Tyldum (director of The Imitation Game and Passengers) set to direct; but the most recent adaptation is the 2015 BBC miniseries starring Aidan Turner (The Hobbit trilogy), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) and more.

Knowing how the story goes, I don’t think I’ll watch it. As more people die and the tension escalates, it became nervewrecking and gave me goosebumps at the climax, and I expect any adaptations to be the same. I may change my mind of course, but the trailer for the miniseries already has ominous music, so I think I’ll skip scaring myself.

I really want to read Murder on the Orient Express too, also written by Agatha Christie, since the film is coming out in November. The book already has a famous 1974 film adaptation with a star-studded cast of screen greats like Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave etc., and was nominated for several Oscars. I’ll review that when I get to it.