First published: November 6, 1939
Category: Mystery, Classics
This was my first Agatha Christie read for book club this month. Not sure why I waited this long to read a Christie novel; she is quite the storyteller.
The mystery on Solider Island eerily follows the following poem:
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier Boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
I think the poem says it all: its all the info you need to know before venturing into this mystery. While reading you will play detective to see if you can solve the crime before it is revealed in the end.
It was a quick read at 264 pages. I didn’t know how Agatha was going to pull it off: I was surprised, but then mad that I didn’t figure it out because it was right in front of my face! Have you read this one and did you know who it was in the end?! (no details, as we don’t want to spoil it for the others)
Are you a fan of cozy mysteries?
UPDATE, February 22, 2019: I did not know there was controversy around an original racist title of this book that correlated with the original subject of this poem. I probably would not have read it if I had known. I know it was 1939, but this was not an author who was writing on such subjects calling out racism ahead of her time: it was more than likely just what she knew. Its not sitting well with me currently.