Diez negritos

Diez negritos - Orestes Llorens, Agatha Christie The plot is really simple. There are ten people on an island and they are being murdered one by one. After they have established that the deaths are crimes and not accidents, the remaining people people search the island and discover that the killer has to be one of them because there is nobody else there and they can’t get off the island due to bad weather.

All the characters are hiding a dark secret. They are all responsible for another person’s death. They have never murdered anybody, but their actions led to someone’s death in a more or less direct way.

As more people are being murdered, we can see how the lack of knowledge and of trust is affecting the remaining characters. It reaches the point where nobody is allowed to go alone anywhere because the others think they may poison the food or set a trap. Another thing that is responsible for the growing mistrust and nervousness is that not only is someone killing people, but also little statues are disappearing. There were ten little figures of black people at first. Every time a murder occurs, a figure vanishes. That all the crimes follow the lines of a poem and seem to be unavoidable doesn’t have a positive effect on the future bodies either.

In order to fully enjoy this novel, one has to agree to believe that everything in this master plan is happening as it should, no matter how unlikely it is that not even one of the many potential victims discovers the truth. In fact, one has to reach literally the last few pages to find out who the killer is. Throughout the book there are clues that point to who the murderer is not, but I don’t think there is anything that suggests who that person is.

I specially liked how the author portrays the effect the murders have on the characters, specifically once they realize that no help is coming. Although not everybody’s reaction is described in great detail, a general feeling of fear is successful.

I know there are people who say this is the best Agatha Christie novel and I don’t think I can fully agree until I have read them all, but I can say that this is the best one I’ve read.