This was my first time reading anything by Agatha Christie. My only previous exposure to her work was when I watched the movie adaption of Murder on the Orient Express. That seems to have been a good preparation; much of the style in the plot development seems similar between the two. The formula: introduce the characters, put them in a tightly-defined scenario. Provide a character to narrate and work the reader through the logical options in the whodunit. Get to the end of the story with no good answer. Then provide an epilogue that reveals the twist that makes it all clear. Formulaic or not, it works – it kept me up a ways past my bedtime to finish it last night.
And Then There Were None (originally titled Ten Little Indians) sets ten diverse characters on an isolated island. Their supposed “host” is nowhere to be found. One by one, the ten guests are killed… but who is killing them? This is the mystery, and it’s a good one.
A quick IMDB search shows that And Then There Were None has also been adapted into a movie at least three times; once in 1945, starring, most notably, Walter Huston. It was updated in 1965 and moved out of its original time period. Then it was remade once again in 1974, with a cast that included Sir Richard Attenborough. I haven’t seen any of these versions, but I will take a look next time I go to the video store. Might be interesting.
My next stop on the reading list: Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, as recommended by Geof Morris.