And Then There Were None


Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born into an upper middle class family in South West England. Her mother was British and her father was a wealthy American stockbroker educated in Switzerland. Agatha was the youngest of three children and had a happy early life but her father died of a heart attack when she was only 11, and she later said that this marked the end of her childhood. After her father's death she was sent to receive a formal education first in her native town of Torquay and then in Paris. Agatha began writing after finishing school but could not get anything published. At the same time she was looking for a husband, and after a few failed relationships, met Archibald “Archie” Christie in 1912 and the two were married soon after. Archie went away to fight in World War I and Agatha helped the wounded soldiers back in England as a part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). Agatha published her first novel in 1920, which introduced her longest running and possibly most famous detective character, Hercule Poirot. In 1926, Agatha published her first big hit: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but in the same year her mother died and her husband left her for his secretary. Agatha ran away after this and was found days later registered at a hotel under her husband's mistress's name. They divorced in 1928 and Agatha retained custody of their one child, Rosalind. In 1939 Agatha married archaeology professor Max Mallowan and traveled with him on many trips. She developed a great interest in archaeology and Egyptology. Agatha continued writing into old age and wrote 66 novels and 153 short stories in total.
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Historical Context of And Then There Were None

Christie lived through a tumultuous period in England, including two World Wars. She joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in WWI, tending to wounded soldiers in England. During WWII she worked at the pharmacy in the University College Hospital in London where she learned a great amount about poisons, which she would use to great effect in her post-war mysteries. Christie's 1941 novel, N or M?, describes a search for two of Hitler's top-secret agents and features a character named Major Bletchley. This led the British intelligence agency to investigate Christie, out of fear that she had information on the British top-secret code-breaking agency, Bletchley Park. All turned out to be just a coincidence, as Christie had apparently invented a surprisingly appropriate name.

Other Books Related to And Then There Were None

As the world's best selling mystery writer Agatha Christie has an incredible number of related literary works. And Then There Were None was her most popular and best selling novel, but it did not include her most popular characters, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. Christie herself didn't much care for Detective Poirot even though he starred in 33 of her novels and 54 of her short stories. She found him “insufferable” but knew the public liked him and felt it was her duty as an entertainer to produce what the public wanted. She also must have felt some sort of debt to him because it was her first Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which first got her published. Christie loved her other recurring character, Miss Marple, although she only appeared in twelve of Christie's novels
Key Facts about And Then There Were None
  • Full Title: And Then There Were None
  • When Written: 1939
  • Where Written: England
  • When Published: November 1939
  • Literary Period: Popular fiction
  • Genre: Murder Mystery
  • Setting: Soldier Island (in other editions it is also called Indian Island), off the coast of England
  • Climax: Justice Wargrave's revelatory letter in a bottle, which appears in the second epilogue to the novel.
  • Antagonist: Justice Wargrave
  • Point of View: Third person omniscient

Extra Credit for And Then There Were None

Christie vs. Shakespeare: Christie is the best selling author of all time after Shakespeare and the Bible.

Agatha on Stage: Agatha Christie claimed that the happiest moment of her life was when she was in a Gilbert and Sullivan play as a child but she later said, “an experience that you truly enjoy should never be repeated.” She did go on to write the longest running play, The Mousetrap. It opened at the Ambassador Theater in London in 1952 and ran until 1975 and then moved next door to The Saint Martin's Theater where it is still running.

Popular Poirot: Hercule Poirot is the only fictional character to ever receive an obituary in the New York Times. It appeared on the front page in August 1975, following the publication of the last Poirot novel, Curtains.