‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie (1939)

If this is not the best mystery novel ever written, then I don’t know what is. Agatha Christie’s meticulously plotted thriller has been imitated many times over the last hundred years or so, but none of its imitators have come close to matching its power: The characters are clearly defined, the setting is isolated, and the atmosphere is oppressive from the first few pages, with a sense of inescapable doom hanging over every chapter. It’s impossible not to notice the rampant racism that runs through the novel, although it’s hard to gauge whether or not Christie casually revealed her own prejudices or if she ascribed them to her characters. Nevertheless, the novel is one of the easiest reads imaginable for classic literature, with its straightforward prose and increasingly tight pacing, and it’s a pleasure to read from beginning to end.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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