This novel should have come with a warning.
DO NOT READ IF YOU'RE SEVERELY PARANOID
Because the machinations at the heart of this novel is that there are no secrets, even between strangers. And who knows, maybe one day, someone very evil and demented will happen upon the very thread that linked them all and pull at it. With devastating consequences.
Strangers stranded on an island is nothing new in the literature world, but strangers on a comfy island and getting nicked one by one is new, not to mention when after a while, no one else is left!
Toying with this plot, which Agatha Christie claimed to be the most taxing plot of them all, the story unfolds with a very energetic, very handsome man speeding down a road in a new shiny car with the women swooning after him. A few chapters later we see him choking on his drink while dining, and seconds later died. The first line of the nursery rhyme has been realised, and there are nine more to follow...
Christie's toying with the rhyme is very delightful, albeit cruel and frightening. There was a moment where the characters were discussing about the rhyme and wondering where in the world would their demented tormentor find a red herring or a bear, as suggested in these lines:
Four Little Indian boys going out to sea
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three Little Indian boys walking to the zoo
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Without giving anything away, suffice to say that Agatha Christie got her bear and red herring just the way she wanted them. And the ending is simply haunting and depressive. Not your usual Christie, but her best ever.