A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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.
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