Agatha Christie Wiki

And Then There Were None is a detective fiction novel by Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939 under the title Ten Little Ni**ers, later edited to Ten Little Indians, and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company in January 1940 under the title And Then There Were None. In the novel, ten people, who have previously been complicit in the deaths of others but have escaped notice and/or punishment, are tricked into coming onto an island. Even though the guests are the only people on the island, they are all mysteriously murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely, the old nursery rhyme, "Ten Little Indians". The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the US edition at $2.00. The novel has also been published and filmed under the title Ten Little Indians.

It is Christie's best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery and the seventh most popular book of all time. It has been adapted into several plays, films, and a video game.

Plot summary

Eight people of different social classes: Mr. Marston, General MacArthur, Miss Emily Brent, Justice Wargrave, Dr. Armstrong, Ex-inspector Blore, Mr. Lombard and Miss Vera Claythorne have been invited to a mansion on the fictional Soldier Island ("Ni**er Island" in the original 1939 UK publication, "Indian Island" in the 1940 US publication), which is based upon Burgh Island off the coast of Devon.

Upon arriving, they are told that their hosts, a Mr. and Mrs. U.N.Owen (Ulick Norman Owen and Una Nancy Owen), are currently away, but that the guests will be attended to by Thomas and Ethel Rogers. Each guest finds in his or her room an odd bit of bric-a-brac and a framed copy of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers" ("Ni**ers" or "Indians" in respective earlier editions) hanging on the wall.

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 traveling 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 bumble bee 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 and hanged himself and then there were none.

Before dinner that evening, the guests notice ten soldier (etc.) figurines on the dining room table. During the meal, a gramophone record plays, informing the ten that each is guilty of murder. Each guest acknowledges awareness of (and, in some cases, involvement with) the deaths of the persons mentioned, but denies either malice and/or legal culpability.

The guests realize they have been tricked into coming to the island, but find that they cannot leave: the boat which regularly delivers supplies has stopped arriving. They are murdered one by one, each murder paralleling a verse of the nursery rhyme, and one of the ten figurines being removed after each murder.

First to die is Anthony Marston, whose drink is poisoned with cyanide ("one choked his little self"). That night, Thomas Rogers notices that a figurine is missing from the dining table. Mrs. Rogers dies in her sleep that night, which Dr. Armstrong attributes to a fatal overdose of sleeping draught ("one overslept himself"). General MacArthur fatalistically predicts that no one will leave the island alive, and at lunch, is indeed found dead from a blow to the back of the skull ("one said he'd stay there"). Meanwhile, two more figurines have disappeared from the dining room. In growing panic, the survivors search the island in vain for the murderer. Justice Wargrave establishes himself as a decisive leader of the group and asserts that one of them must be the murderer playing a sadistic game with the rest. The killer's twisted humor is evidenced by the names of their "hosts": "U.N. Owen" is a pun on "unknown". The next morning, Rogers is missing, as is another figurine. He is found dead in the woodshed, struck in the head with an axe ("one chopped himself in halves"). Later that day, Emily Brent is killed in the kitchen by an injection of potassium cyanide that leaves a mark on her neck ("a bumblebee stung one"). The hypodermic needle is found outside her window next to a smashed china figurine. The five survivors — Dr. Armstrong, Justice Wargrave, Philip Lombard, Vera Claythorne, and ex-Inspector Blore — become increasingly frightened.

Wargrave suggests they lock up any potential weapons, including Armstrong's medical equipment and the judge's own sleeping pills. Lombard admits to bringing a revolver to the island but says it has gone missing. Resolved to keep the killer from catching anyone alone, they gather in the drawing room and only leave one at a time. Vera goes up to her room and discovers a strand of seaweed: an allusion to the boy the gramophone alleged she had drowned. Her screams attract the attention of Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong, who rush to her aid. When they return to the drawing room, they find Wargrave in a mockery of a judicial wig and gown with a gunshot wound in his forehead ("one got into Chancery"). Armstrong confirms the death, and they lay Wargrave's body in his room. Shortly afterward, Lombard discovers his revolver has been returned.

That night, Blore hears someone sneaking out of the house. He and Lombard investigate and, discovering Armstrong missing, assume the doctor is the killer. They wake Vera and the three spend the night outdoors. In the morning, Blore leaves for food and does not return. Vera and Lombard soon discover his body on the front lawn, skull crushed by a bear-shaped clock ("a big bear hugged one")—and on the shore, Armstrong, drowned ("a red herring swallowed one").

Paranoia overriding logic [neither could have killed Blore], each assumes the other is the murderer. In the tense standoff that follows, Vera feigns compassion and has Lombard help her move Armstrong's body out of the water, using the opportunity to relieve him of his revolver. She kills Lombard on the beach ("sitting in the sun") and returns to the house. Dazed and disoriented, Vera is unsurprised to find a noose prepared in her room. In a trance of exhaustion, guilt, and relief, she hangs herself, fulfilling the final verse of the rhyme.


The detective in charge of the Soldier Island case, Inspector Maine, discusses the mystery with his Assistant Commissioner, Sir Thomas Legge, at Scotland Yard. There are no clues on the mainland — the man who arranged "U.N. Owen's" purchase of the island covered his tracks well, and was killed the day the party set sail—and while guests' diaries and coroner's report help establish a partial timeline for the first six victiums from Marstan to Wargrave, the police cannot determine the order in which Blore, Armstrong, Lombard, and Vera were killed: Inclement weather would have prevented the murderer from leaving or arriving separately from the guests: he or she must have been among them; yet the paradox evidence is that someone was alive after the last four victiums were killed -which is impossible: Blore could not have dropped the clock on himself; Armstrong's body was dragged above the high-tide mark; Lombard was shot on the beach, but his revolver was found outside Wargrave's room. Lombard's gun having Vera's fingerprints and the clock that killed Blore came from her room point to Vera as "U.N.Owen"-yet evidence that someone was still alive after Vera's suicide is that the chair Vera used to hang herself had been righted and replaced against the wall. Yet all the murders appear to be accounted for, and the inspectors are baffled.


A fishing trawler finds a letter in a bottle just off the Devon coast: the confession of the late Justice Wargrave. He reveals a lifelong sadistic temperament juxtaposed uneasily with a fierce sense of justice: he wanted to torture, terrify, and kill, but could never justify harming an innocent. As a judge, he directed merciless summations and guilty verdicts but limited to those cases in which he has satisfied himself of the guilt of the defendant(s), thrilling at the sight of the convicted person crippled with fear, facing their impending death. But the proxy of the bench was unsatisfying: Wargrave longed to commit murder by his own hand. Prompted to action by the discovery that he was terminally ill, he sought killers who had escaped justice and lured them to the island. As he killed them one by one, he revealed in the mounting terror of those who remained, their reactions to the murders confirming their guilt to his extensive judicial experience. He also kills the guests by order of their level of guilt, first killing those whose crimes were less direct or out of carelessness, or who felt some level of remorse and saving the most cold-blooded killers for last.

Having disposed of the first five guests, the judge then persuaded the trusting Armstrong to fake Wargrave's own death, "the red herring", under the pretext that it would rattle the "real murderer". That night, he met Armstrong on the cliffs and pushed him into the sea, knowing the doctor's disappearance would provoke the suspicions of the others. From Vera's room, Wargrave pushed the stone bear-shaped clock onto Blore, crushing his skull. He then watched Vera shoot Lombard. He also watched as Vera hanged herself. Wargrave pushed the chair she stood on against the wall, wrote out his confession, put the letter in a bottle and tossed it out the sea. Wargrave admits to craving posthumous recognition of his scheme. Even if his letter is not found, he argues that three clues exist implicating him, although he surmises (correctly) that the mystery will not have been solved:

  1. Wargrave was the only one invited to the island who had not wrongfully caused someone's death. Edward Seton, whom the gramophone accused Wargrave of wrongfully sentencing to death, was, in fact, guilty of the murder for which he was convicted, and overwhelming proof emerged, albeit posthumously, of this. Thus, ironically,by paradox reasoning, the only "innocent" guest must be the murderer!
  2. The "red herring" line in the poem suggests that Armstrong was tricked into his death by someone he trusted. Of the remaining guests, only the respectable Justice Wargrave would have inspired the doctor's confidence.
  3. The red mark on Wargrave's forehead that Armstrong confirmed as a bullet wound is similar to the one God bestowed upon Cain as punishment for killing his brother Abel [i.e. Cain being the first "murderer" in history-thus Wargrave "wound" points to him as "U.N. Owen"!]

Wargrave describes how he plans to kill himself: he will loop an elastic cord through the gun, tying one end of the cord to his eyeglasses, and looping the other around the doorknob of an open door. He will then wrap a handkerchief around the handle of the gun and shoot himself in the head. His body will fall back as though laid there by Armstrong. The gun's recoil will send it to the doorknob and out into the hallway, detaching the cord and pulling the door closed. The cord will dangle innocuously from his glasses; the stray handkerchief should not arouse suspicion. Thus the police will find ten dead bodies and an unsolvable mystery on Soldier Island.

Order of the Deaths

Wargrave rated his victims' degree of guilt leaving the worst for last so they would suffer most. Marston, a mindless as well as conscienceless killer by carelessness is put down first like a dangerous animal. Mrs. Rogers, the tool of her husband, is given a relatively merciful death as is General MacArthur whose crime was one of passion. Mr. Rogers, a killer for gain, suffers a bloody death and Miss Brent, the self-righteous killer, is on the verge of breakdown before she dies. The final five are all guilty of betraying a trust; Dr. Armstrong killed a patient by his drunken negligence; Blore, a police officer, gave false testimony against an innocent man; Lombard betrayed men under his command, colored or not; but Wargrave judged Vera Claythorne the worst of the lot for killing a child in her care.


The following details of the characters are based on the original novel. Stage and film adaptations have often varied with names and backgrounds, such as Judge Wargrave being renamed Quinncannon and Lombard accused of causing the death of his pregnant girlfriend.

The ten

  • Anthony James Marston, a good-looking man with a well-proportioned body, crisp hair, tanned face and blue eyes known for his reckless driving, drunkeness and amoral behavivor. He was born to a wealthy family. Mr. Owen accused Anthony of running over and killing two children. Marston not only felt no remorse he couldn't even remember the incident. Instead, he was more interested in how he had been suspended from driving. He was the first of Owen's victims, poisoned by potassium cyanide slipped into his drink.
  • Mrs. Ethel Rogers, the cook, and Mr. Rogers's wife. She is described as a pale-faced, ghostlike woman with shifty light eyes, who is scared easily. Despite her respectability and efficiency, she was obliged to help her domineering husband, Thomas, to kill their former elderly employer, Miss Jennifer Brady, by withholding her medicine, in order to inherit her money. The terrified and remorseful Mrs. Rogers is the second victim dying a merciful death in her sleep.
  • General John Gordon MacArthur, a retired World War I hero, who sent his wife's lover, Arthur Richmond (also a soldier), to his death by assigning him to a "suicide" mission. Despite getting away with it, MacArthur's actions were suspected by a fellow soldier, and Wargraves later heard of the story from two old soldiers at his club. Of all the victims he comes the closest to experiencing genuine remorse for what he had done. He fatalistically accepts that no one will leave the island alive and is frankly relieved that his sufferings of conscience and social ostracism will finally end. He is Owen's third victim, his head crushed by a stone in as he sat alone on the shore.
  • Mr. Thomas Rogers, the butler and Mrs. Rogers's husband. He and his weak-willed wife, whom he dominated, killed their former elderly employer by withholding her medicine, causing the elderly woman to die from heart failure, to inherit the money she had left them in her will. The fourth victim, he was killed with an axe while chopping wood.
  • Emily Caroline Brent, a rigid, repressed elderly woman of harsh moralistic principles who uses the Bible to justify her cruelty. She dismissed her maid, Beatrice Taylor, as punishment for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Beatrice then throws herself into a river and drowns. Miss Brent feels no guilt but as the tension mounts, she is haunted by the memory of the dead girl. She was Owen's fifth victim, killed by an injection of potassium cyanide into her neck as she sat alone at the dining table.
  • Justice Lawrence Wargrave, a retired judge, well known for liberally handing out the death penalty. He is accused of murder due to his summation and jury directions of one accused murderer Edward Seton, although there were some doubts about his guilt at the time of the trial. He was thought to be the sixth victim of Owen in order to fulfill the Chancery verse but was later revealed to have been Mr. Owen. He did, however, shoot himself in the head after watching Vera Claythorne hang herself.
  • Dr. Edward George Armstrong, a Harley Street surgeon, blamed for the death of Ms. Louisa Clees, a patient, while operating under the influence of alcohol. Like the other victims, Armstrong feels no true remorse, his only concern being the effect the death may have had on his career. Armstrong became Owen's seventh victim after being pushed into the sea to his death. His body goes missing for a while, leading others to think he is the killer, but his corpse washes up at the end of the novel, leading to the climax.
  • William Henry Blore, a retired police inspector and now a private investigator, is accused of having testified in court against an innocent man, James Landor, sentenced to lifetime imprisonment for a bank robbery/murder as a scapegoat after Blore had been compromised by a dangerous criminal gang. The man later died in prison. He first denies his guilt but later privately admits that it was true only to Lombard. Blore became Owen's eighth victim, having his skull crushed in with a bear-shaped clock when he returned to the house unattended.
  • Philip Lombard, a soldier of fortune. Literally down to his last square meal, he comes to the island with a loaded revolver. Though he is reputed to be a good man in a tight spot, Lombard is accused of causing the deaths of a native African tribe. It is said that he stole food from the tribe, thus causing their starvation and subsequent death. Smiliar to MArtson he admits that the accusation against him is true but shows no remorse. Of all the "Guests" he suspects Wargrave is U.N. Owen but it doesn't help him at all.Though not an actual victim of Owen's, Lombard was shot to death by Vera, who at the time believed him to be the murderer.
  • Vera Elizabeth Claythorne, an ex-governess, she came to Soldier Island with a offer of a secretarial job which she considers better than her present occupation which is a game mistress at a 3d class girls school; her last job as a governess ended in the death of her charge. Presented as a calm, rational and cool woman, Vera lost control only once in the novel, and she became hysterical and was slapped. Afterwards, she was angry with herself for losing control. She let young Cyril Hamilton swim out to sea and drown so that his uncle, Hugo Hamilton, could inherit his money and marry her; however, the plan backfired, as Hamilton abandoned her when he suspected what she had done. Vera seems to be tormented by guilt but in fact, it is only grief for being found out and losing the man she loved. She is made to suffer the most, being the last survivor. She eventually meets her demise when she walks back to her room after shooting Lombard. There she finds a readied noose, complete with a chair beneath it, suspended from her ceiling. Guilt-ridden and delusional, believing her love, Hugo, is upstairs waiting for her to pass judgment, Vera climbs the chair, adjusts the noose around her neck, and kicks the chair away, fulfilling the rhyme's final verse.

Minor characters

  • Sir Thomas Legge and Inspector Maine, two policemen who discuss the case in the epilogue.
  • Isaac Morris, the man who is hired by Mr. Owen and arranges for Phillip Lombard to come to the island and meet Mr. Owen for a later payment of 100 Guineas {105 GBP} to Lombard. Isaac Morris, as mentioned in the postscript of the book, dies when he takes what is thought to be a pill to help him with his "gastrial juices" given to him by Mr. Owen. His crime was to have supplied a young woman with the illegal drugs that caused her death.
  • Fred Narracott, the boatman who delivered the guests to the island. After doing so he doesn't appear again.

Publication history

The novel was originally published in Britain under the title Ten Little Ni**ers in 1939. All references to "Indian" in the story were originally "Ni**er": thus the island was called "Ni**er Island"  rather than "Indian Island" and the rhyme found by each murder victim was also called Ten Little Ni**ers rather than Ten Little Indians. Modern printings use the rhyme Ten Little Soldiers and "Soldier Island" for reasons of political and ethnic sensitivity. 

The UK serialization was in twenty-three parts in the Daily Express from Tuesday, June 6 to Saturday, July 1, 1939. All of the installments carried an illustration by "Prescott" with the first installment having an illustration of Burgh Island in Devon which inspired the setting of the story. This version did not contain any chapter divisions.

For the United States market, the novel was first serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in seven parts from 20 May (Volume 211, Number 47) to 1 July 1939 (Volume 212, Number 1) with illustrations by Henry Raleigh and then published separately in book form in January 1940. Both publications used the less inflammatory title And Then There Were None. The 1945 motion picture also used this title. In 1946, the play was published under the new title Ten Little Indians (the same title under which it had been performed on Broadway), and in 1964 an American paperback edition also used this title.

British editions continued to use the work's original title until the 1980s and the first British edition to use the alternative title And Then There Were None appeared in 1985 with a reprint of the 1963 Fontana Paperback. Today And Then There Were None is the title most commonly used. However, the original title survives in many foreign-language versions of the novel: for example, the Greek title is Δέκα Μικροί Νέγροι, the Bulgarian title is Десет малки негърчета, the Spanish title is Diez negritos, the French title is Dix petits nègres and the Hungarian title is Tíz kicsi néger, while the Italian title, Dieci piccoli indiani, mirrors the "Indians" title. A Dutch translation of 1981 used the work's original English title Ten Little Ni**ers The 19/ Russian film adaptation has the title Десять негритят (Desyat Negrityat). The computer adventure game based on the novel uses "Ten Little Sailor Boys".

  • Christie, Agatha (November 1939). Ten Little Ni**ers. London: Collins Crime Club. OCLC 152375426. Hardback, 256 pp. (First edition)
  • Christie, Agatha (January 1940). And Then There Were None. New York: Dodd, Mead. OCLC 1824276. Hardback, 264 pp. (First US edition)
  • 1944, Pocket Books, 1944, Paperback, 173 pp (Pocket number 261)
  • 1947, Pan Books, 1947, Paperback, 190 pp (Pan number 4)
  • 1958, Penguin Books, 1958, Paperback, 201 pp (Penguin number 1256)
  • Christie, Agatha (1963). And Then There Were None. London: Fontana. OCLC 12503435. Paperback, 190 pp. (The 1985 reprint was the first UK publication of novel under the title And Then There Were None).[14]
  • Christie, Agatha (1964). Ten Little Indians. New York: Pocket Books. OCLC 29462459. (first publication of novel as Ten Little Indians)
  • 1964, Washington Square Press (paperback – teacher's edition)
  • Christie, Agatha (1977). Ten Little Ni**ers (Greenway edition ed.). London: Collins Crime Club. ISBN 0-00-231835-0. Collected works, Hardback, 252 pp (Except for reprints of the 1963 Fontana paperback, this was one of the last English-language publications of the novel under the title "Ten Little Ni**ers")<sup**lass="reference" id="cite_ref-15" style="line-height:1em;unicode-bidi:-webkit-isolate;">[15]
  • Christie, Agatha (1980). The Mysterious Affair at Styles; Ten Little Ni**ers; Dumb Witness. Sydney: Lansdowne Press. ISBN 0-7018-1453-5. Late use of the original title in an Australian edition.
  • Christie, Agatha; N J Robat (trans.) (1981). Ten Little Ni**ers (in Dutch) (Third edition ed.). Culemborg: Educaboek. ISBN 90-11-85153-6. (Late printing of Dutch translation preserving original English title)
  • Christie, Agatha (1986). Ten Little Indians. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-55222-8. (Last publication of novel under the title "Ten Little Indians")

Literary significance and reception

And Then There Were None is one of Agatha Christie's best-known mysteries. Writing for The Times Literary Supplement of 11 November 1939, Maurice Percy Ashley stated, "If her latest story has scarcely any detection in it there is no scarcity of murders." He continued, "There is a certain feeling of monotony inescapable in the regularity of the deaths which is better suited to a serialized newspaper story than a full-length novel. Yet there is an ingenious problem to solve in naming the murderer. It will be an extremely astute reader who guesses correctly." Many other reviews were as complimentary; in The New York Times Book Review of 25 February 1940, Isaac Anderson detailed the set-up of the plot up to the point where 'the voice' accuses the ten people of their past misdemeanors and then said, "When you read what happens after that you will not believe it, but you will keep on reading, and as one incredible event is followed by another even more incredible you will still keep on reading. The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery that Agatha Christie has ever written, and if any other writer has ever surpassed it for sheer puzzlement the name escapes our memory. We are referring, of course, to mysteries that have logical explanations, as this one has. It is a tall story, to be sure, but it could have happened."

Such was the quality of Christie's work on this book that many compared it to her 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. For instance, an unnamed reviewer in the Toronto Daily Star of 16 March 1940 said, "Others have written better mysteries than Agatha Christie, but no one can touch her for ingenious plot and surprise ending. With And Then There Were None... she is at her most ingenious and most surprising... is, indeed, considerably above the standard of her last few works and close to the Roger Ackroyd level."

Other critics laud the use of twists, turns, and surprise endings. Maurice Richardson wrote a rhapsodic review in The Observer's issue of 5 November 1939 which began, "No wonder Agatha Christie's latest has sent her publishers into a vatic trance. We will refrain, however, from any invidious comparisons with Roger Ackroyd and be content with saying that Ten Little Ni**ers is one of the very best, most genuinely bewildering Christies yet written. We will also have to refrain from reviewing it thoroughly, as it is so full of shocks that even the mildest revelation would spoil some surprise from somebody, and I am sure that you would rather have your entertainment kept fresh than criticism pure." After stating the set-up of the plot, Richardson concluded, "Story telling and characterisation are right at the top of Mrs. Christie's baleful form. Her plot may be highly artificial, but it is neat, brilliantly cunning, soundly constructed, and free from any of those red-herring false trails which sometimes disfigure her work."

Robert Barnard, a recent critic, concurred with the reviews, describing the book as "Suspenseful and menacing detective-story-cum-thriller. The closed setting with the succession of deaths is here taken to its logical conclusion, and the dangers of ludicrousness and sheer reader-disbelief are skillfully avoided. Probably the best-known Christie, and justifiably among the most popular."

Other recent commentators, however, have been more critical of the work, finding that Christie's original title and the setting on "Ni**er Island" are integral to the work. These aspects of the novel, argues Alison Light, "could be relied upon automatically to conjure up a thrilling 'otherness', a place where revelations about the 'dark side' of the English would be appropriate." Unlike novels such as Heart of Darkness, however, "Christie's location is both more domesticated and privatised, taking for granted the construction of racial fears woven into psychic life as early as the nursery. If her story suggests how easy it is to play upon such fears, it is also a reminder of how intimately tied they are to sources of pleasure and enjoyment."

Film, TV and theatrical adaptations

And Then There Were None has had more adaptations than any other single work of Agatha Christie. However, they often used Christie's alternative ending from her 1943 stage play, with the setting often being changed to locations other than an island.


In 1943, Agatha Christie adapted the story for the stage. In the process of doing so, she and the producers agreed that audiences might not flock to such a grim tale and it would not work well dramatically as there would be no one left to tell the tale. Thus, she reworked the ending for Lombard and Vera to be innocent of the crimes of which they were accused, survive, and fall in love. Some of the names were also changed with General Macarthur becoming General McKenzie, perhaps due to the real-life General Douglas MacArthur playing a prominent role in the ongoing World War II.

On 14 October 2005, a new version of the play, written by Kevin Elyot and directed by Steven Pimlott opened at the Gielgud Theatre in London. For this version, Elyot returned to the book version of the story and restored the original ending where both Blore and Lombard die and Vera commits suicide.


There have been several film adaptions of the novel. The first was adapted for the cinema screen in René Clair's successful 1945 US production. The second cinema adaptation of the book was directed by George Pollock in 1965; Pollock had previously handled the four Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford. This film transferred the setting from a remote island to a mountain retreat in Austria.

Another variant of And Then There Were None made in 1974 was the first colour English-language film version of the novel, directed by Peter Collinson from a screenplay by Peter Welbeck. This version was set in the Iranian desert. A version from the USSR, Desyat' negrityat ("Ten Little Negroes") (1987) was written and directed by Stanislav Govorukhin and is the only cinema adaptation to use the novel's original ending. The most recent film, Ten Little Indians, directed by Alan Birkinshaw, was made in 1989 and is set on the African safari.

Gumnaam is a 1965 uncredited Indian film adaptation set in a remote Indian location by the sea. Many elements, including musical dance numbers and a comic relief butler, were added to Christie's story in a film directed by Raja Nawathe from a screenplay by Dhruva Chatterjee and hit music of the film was done by Shankar-Jaikishan. In addition, 5 Bambole per la Luna D'Agosto (1970) is an uncredited giallo adaptation by Mario Bava.


Several variations of the original novel were adapted for television. For instance, there were two different British adaptions, the BBC adaption in 1949 and ITV adaptation in 1959. In addition, there was an American version, Ten Little Indians, directed by Paul Bogart, Philip F. Falcone, Leo Farrenkopf and Dan Zampino with the screenplay by Philip H. Reisman Jr., that was a truncated TV adaptation of the play. A West German adaptation Zehn kleine Negerlein was directed by Hans Quest for ZDF in 1969. A year later in 1970, Pierre Sabbagh directed Dix petits nègres for the French television adaption. The American television miniseries Harper's Island bore a strong resemblance to Christie's novel.

Other variations

The K.B.S. Productions Inc. film, A Study in Scarlet (1933), predates the publication of Ten Little Indians and follows a strikingly similar plot. Though it is a Sherlock Holmes movie, the movie bears no resemblance to Arthur Conan Doyle's original story of the same name. In this case, the rhyme refers to "Ten Little fat Boys". The author of the movie's screenplay, Robert Florey, "doubted that [Christie] had seen A Study in Scarlet but he regarded it as a compliment if it had helped inspire her". In addition, several parodies have been made. One, the 1976 Broadway musical Something's Afoot, stars Tessie O'Shea as a female sleuth resembling Christie's fictional Miss Marple. Something's Afoot takes place in a remote English estate, where six guests have been invited for the weekend. The guests, as well as three servants and a young man who claims to have wandered innocently onto the estate, are then murdered one by one, several in full view of the audience, with the murderer's surprise identity revealed at the end. For an encore, the murdered cast members perform a song, "I Owe It All to Agatha Christie". An episode of Remington Steele called "Steele Trap" follows the plot very closely, with whimsical murders on a remote island. The Rene Clair film adaptation from 1945 is referenced several times. An episode of "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", entitled "7 Little Superheroes", focuses on a group of superheroes on a mysterious island being captured one by one in accordance with a rhyme.

The Japanese anime series Urusei Yatsura based episode 75 (also titled "And Then There Were None") on the book. In the episode, 10 of the 11 involved characters seem to die, leaving the main character alone to discover the murderer. He discovers the event to be an elaborate farce constructed by his supposedly murdered companions, whose purpose was to scare him. The song Cock Robin is used instead of "Ten Little Soldiers".

In addition, the Japanese visual novel Umineko no Naku Koro ni was heavily influenced by the book. Similarities can be seen in such features as the characters being trapped on an island during a storm as they are murdered one-by-one in accordance with a riddle, the seeming "unsolvable" nature of the crimes and the many situations described as "closed room" scenarios, akin to the orchestration by Wargrave of his own murder as revealed in the book's postscript. The first novel even ends with a message bottle sent by one of the characters washing ashore and being discovered by a fisherman several years after the incident. In 2005, The Adventure Company released the video game Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, the first in a series of PC games based on Christie novels. In February 2008 it was ported to the Wii console.

The Japanese manga series "Detective Conan" (albeit first and foremost inspired by Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels) also contains two cases in which a group of people is lured out to a secluded mansion and killed off one by one. In both stories, the killer has seemingly killed himself and later reappears. However, the main character of the series manages to solve both cases and leaves the scene unharmed.

And Then There Were None was released by HarperCollins as a graphic novel adaptation on 30 April 2009, adapted by François Rivière and illustrated by Frank Leclercq.

See also

Film,television & game adaptations
  • And Then There Were None – 1945 American film produced & directed by René Clair
  • Ten Little Ni**ers – 1949 BBC television production (IMDb)
  • Ten Little Ni**ers – 1959 ITV television production (IMDb)
  • Ten Little Indians – 1959 NBC television production (IMDb)
  • Ten Little Indians – 1965 British film produced by Harry Alan Towers
  • Gumnaam – 1965 Bollywood movie
  • Zehn kleine Negerlein – 1969 West German television production (IMDb)
  • 5 bambole per la luna d'agosto – 1970 Italian movie directed by Mario Bava
  • And Then There Were None – 1974 English language film produced by Harry Alan Towers
  • Desyat Negrityat – 1987 Russian film produced & directed by Stanislav Govorukhin
  • Ten Little Indians – 1989 British film produced by Harry Alan Towers.
  • And Then There Were None directed by Hubert Wentland
  • And Then There Was Shawn, the seventeenth episode of the fifth season of Boy Meets World, is a parody of And Then There Were None
  • Harper's Island - a 13 episode mini-series with the same premise
  • Identity - a 2003 horror film inspired by the story
  • Umineko no Naku Koro Ni and its sequel Umineko Chiru, two Japanese visual novels largely borrowing the setting for deconstructing of the mystery genre
  • Devil - a 2010 film written by M. Night Shyamalan adapts this story's basic structure and final plot twist to the confines of an elevator
  • Game - a 2011 Bollywood thriller inspired by the story
  • And Then There Were Fewer, the first episode of the ninth season of Family Guy, is based on the same premise of guests being invited to a remote manor (though they are trapped by a storm) then slowly being murdered.
  • And Then There Were None, a 2015 BBC miniseries commissioned to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Christie's birth.

International titles

  • Italian: Dieci Piccoli Indiani (Ten Little Indians)
  • French: Dix petits nègres (Ten Little Ni**ers)
  • German: Und dann gabs keines mehr (And Then There Were None)
  • Greek: Δέκα Μικροί Νέγροι (Ten Little Ni**ers)
  • Czech: Deset malých černoušků (Ten Little Ni**ers)
  • Spanish: Diez negritos (Ten Ni**ers)
  • Russian: Десять негритят (Ten Little Ni**ers)
  • Hungarian: A láthatatlan hóhér, Tíz kicsi néger, Tíz kicsi indián, Tíz kicsi katona (The Invisible Executioner, Ten Little Ni**ers, Ten Little Indian, Ten Little Soldier)

Worldwide covers

External links