1983 copyright; "Also published as Ten Little Indians"; "The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection"; Bantam Books publishers, Toronto; hardbound leather; very good condition with unmarked pages.
And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the minstrel song, which serves as a major plot point.
The US edition was released in January 1940 with the title And Then There Were None, which is taken from the last five words of the song. All successive American reprints and adaptations use that title, except for the Pocket Books paperbacks published between 1964 and 1986, which appeared under the title Ten Little Indians.
The book is the world's best-selling mystery, and with over 100 million copies sold is one of the best-selling books of all time. Publications International lists the novel as the sixth best-selling title.
On 8 August in the late 1930s, eight people arrive on a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England. Each has an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances, such as an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday. They are met by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the butler and cook-housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr. Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs. Una Nancy Owen, whom they have not yet met in person, have not arrived, but left instructions, which strikes all the guests as odd.
A framed copy of a nursery rhyme, "Ten Little Niggers" (called "Ten Little Indians" or "Ten Little Soldiers" in later editions), hangs in every guest's room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table. After supper, a gramophone (or "phonograph") record is played; the recording accuses each visitor of having committed murder, and then asks if any of "the accused" wishes to offer a defence. Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard admit to the charges leveled against them, both instances of irresponsible endangerment resulting in death rather than murder as normally defined.
They discover that none of them actually knows the Owens, and Justice Wargrave concludes that the name "U N Owen" is a play on "Unknown". Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies from cyanide poisoning. Dr. Armstrong confirms that there is no cyanide in the drinks Marston was served from, indicating he committed suicide.
The next morning, Mrs. Rogers' corpse is found in her bed; she died in her sleep. The cause is unknown, but some of the guests suspect her husband of poisoning her for fear that she would confess to the crime they are charged with in the recording. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Three of the figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme.
The guests begin to suspect that U N Owen is systematically murdering them...