And Then There Were None

Common Sense Media says

Masterful murder mystery takes dark view of justice.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

And Then There Were None takes place on an island off the coast of England during the 1930s. Readers will get a feel for modes of transportation and communication in that place and time. They'll also learn a little about medicines/anaesthetics that were used (from a character who's a doctor) and about the British legal system at that time (from a character who's a judge).

Positive messages

This mystery novel takes a jaded view of justice and human nature, but some might say that the book teaches that the harshest judgment comes from your own conscience.

Positive role models

All of the main characters in And Then There Were None are guilty of bringing about another's death, whether by neglect or by murder.

Violence

Not all of the murders in And then There Were None result from violence. A couple of characters are poisoned and go somewhat peacefully. However, most are dispensed with by violent means. The book includes murder committed by drowning, bludgeoning, shooting, and dropping a heavy object on a man's head from a second-story window. The reader doesn't "witness" the murders; they're discovered after the fact, but the results are described in some detail.

Sex

One character recalls a past affair with a married man, and she remembers his arms around her.

Language

The racially bigoted title and language that appaeared in the original edition of the novel have been changed, but any investigation into the history of this 1930s mystery will uncover that the original title was Ten Little Niggers. In addition, the rhyme that forms a framework for the murder mystery, which appears in modern editions as "Ten Little Soldiers" originally contained the plural of the N-word rather than "Soldiers" and used the N-word throughout the rhyme. That archaic and offensive language was changed early on in editions published in the United States (to Ten Little Indians) and later in the UK, as well. In the 1980s, both the UK and U.S. editions became known by the current title. But the book still contains characters who refer to African "natives" as inferior beings and who refer to the character Isaac Morris as a "little Jew."

 

 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Poisonous drugs are used to commit murder (cyanide, chloral hydrate). Dr. Armstrong prescribes sedatives to inhabitants of the island to calm them down. The guests also drink whiskey and brandy. Isaac Morris is described as a "dope" dealer who sells illegal drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in prolific British mystery novelist Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None , 10 guests visit Soldier Island and a murderer uses a nursery rhyme as a framework to plan and execute the visitors' deaths, one by one, in various ways, including by shooting, drowning, bludgeoning, poisoning, and hanging. The text contains derogatory references to African "natives" and a couple of anti-Semitic remarks. The book was written for adults, but teens can learn a lot about the mystery genre from this master.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In Agatha Christie's murder mystery AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, 10 guests are invited for a stay on Soldier Island, off the coast of England, by someone named U.N. Owen. Each of the guest bedrooms, and the dining room, contains a framed copy of a nursery rhyme, "Ten Little Soldiers," in which each of 10 soldiers dies, one by one; this rhyme turns out to be the framework for U.N. Owen's murderous plans. It soon becomes clear that all of the island "guests" were duped in different ways into coming to the island, and that whoever tricked them wants justice for past crimes that the guests committed.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

And Then There Were None is a grim but riveting mystery. Characters are first introduced just so that readers can distinguish them, but as the book progresses and readers get further inside their minds and their fears, the suspense builds. One of the darkest aspects of the novel is the fact there's no "good guy" here -- all of the characters appear equally guilty in more ways than one. This is an exciting book -- however grisly -- that is to be enjoyed for its page-turning plot and Christie's masterful construction around the spooky nursery rhyme.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Agatha Christie's influence as a popular mystery writer. How this 1939 murder mystery compare with more modern mysteries you've read?

  • Once you've finished reading this novel, do you think there were any clues that should have told you earlier who the murderer is?

  • Explore more of Agatha Christie's plots by reading some of her Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple mysteries, or by watching the TV adaptations on PBS or Netflix.

Book details

Author:Agatha Christie
Genre:Mystery
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:November 6, 1939
Number of pages:320
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of And Then There Were None was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bydivapopstar88 April 25, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

So not all old books are boring!

Really good with a surprise ending! I actually WANTED to do my english homework when it was about this

What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written bycashmerefeet October 25, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Not for kids or tweens. Maybe High School.

Definitely and adult read with premeditated murders and violence. Very descriptive. Should we be encouraging our children to read books that encourage killings?

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byEpicNerd January 28, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

The most brilliantly plotted mystery of all time

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. My gosh was this book incredible! Agatha Christie herself stated after finishing it that, . Not only is the plot expertly and delicately crafted, but the characters are intensely unique and curious. Not once did I find myself bored whilst reading- not once! The setting was mysterious, the characters quirky, and the mystery itself fascinating! Previously published as Ten Little Indians, And Then There Were None is a captivating read following ten very different characters who are all invited to a frequently rumored about island, a mile off the coast of Devon by a Mr. U.N. Owen. Strangely, when they show up, their host isn't there to greet them. While making each others' company, they discover a poem in each of their rooms called "Ten Little Soldier Boys" (some editions may say "Ten Little Indians" or "Ten Little Sailors") that tells a tell of ten soldiers (Indians, sailors,etc.) who dissapear one by one...until there are none. It's when the poem starts to come to life that sets the story off and makes it nearly impossible to put down. Any eager reader looking for a good mystery will most certainly not be dissapointed when they pick up this one-of-a-kind tale. *Content Summary- May Contain Spoilers* Violence: You can't really have a good mystery without murder, and that is indeed a central part to And Then There Were None. Death(s)/Injuries that occur in the novel include brief description of a poisoned victim's face, we see a man whose head has been sliced by an ax, a man's skull is crushed by a marble piece of furniture (not described more that that), shootings, *BIG SPOILER* a hanging, a man is hit over the head, and a man falls to his death and is found purple faced on a rock. There are also flashbacks on deaths of other people such as two people being run over by a car, someone dying during an operation, drowning, etc. Please keep in mind that none of this is ever described graphically- it's all factual. Language: the d-word is used often and the h-word is used a few times. Also, some very, very old versions of the book use the n-word in the poem instead of soldier (Indian, sailor, etc.) and even have it in the title as Ten Little N------. Drinking/Drugs: The guests have brandy. Overdose of a sleeping drug is a cause for one of the deaths as well as injection of other medical drugs. A man reveals *BIG SPOILER* that he was drunk while operating on a woman and killed her (nothing graphic).

What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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