Ten strangers are summoned to Soldier Island by a millionaire known as U.N. Owen. Then at dinner, a recording plays that airs out secrets each of them had been keeping – secrets that accuse them of being guilty. By the end of that first night, one of them is dead.
A storm traps the remaining nine on the island. With no way out, they are soon picked off one-by-one, and those who are alive raced to figure out who the killer is. Is it one of them, or is someone else lurking on the island with them?
I’m still relatively new to Agatha Christie’s books, but I already know this is my top favorite of hers and will probably stay that way no matter how many of hers I read. I also have no doubt that she is truly the Queen of Mystery.
The story hooks you right from the beginning, wondering why these people are selected to go to the mysterious Soldier Island, and stay in the lavish mansion that was built there. After all, if there’s such a mystery about the owner of the island, how would these ten people know him? What’s their connection to him? The ten even wonder themselves how they each got the attention of the owner, when they themselves are unsure of who he is.
While trying to figure out that mystery, then you have the first death, and each that follows, so now you also try to figure out who the murderer is. The group collectively suspects each other, given their supposedly questionable pasts and the fact that none of them really know each other. What they definitely figure out is that the deaths are occurring in line with the nursery rhyme that’s displayed and framed in each of their rooms, but they cannot figure out how exactly they’ll happen or who is next.
As for the characters, there’s no way to really like any of them. They’re all unreliable, for one thing; some of the men are either pretentious or just blatant jerks, Vera is too high strong and shrill, and Emily is a self-righteous snot who thinks she can do no wrong (i.e. the type of Christian that gives bad names to Christians). It’s easy to see how some of them could be capable of being behind the murders, it’s trying to figure out who that’s the fun part of reading this.
This book is such a page turner… it kept me hooked all the way through the story. There are no dull moments and nothing drags on. The deaths happen quickly, and each time I thought I figured out who was behind it, I turned out to be wrong. And the ending is freaking brilliant as the killer reveals themselves. The ending is the entire reason why this book is now one of my favorite mystery novels. I still can’t get over it. Brilliant.
I probably don’t even need to say that I recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but I’m going to anyway. If you love mysteries, and haven’t read this yet, you really need to!
Rating: 5/5 stars