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published in 1939



background
setting & characters
selection of links






BACKGROUND


Agatha Christie's biography


Extract from Agatha Christie's Autobiography

I "had written the book Ten Little Niggers because it was so difficult to do that the idea had fascinated me. Ten people had to die without it becoming ridiculous or the murderer being obvious. I wrote the book after a tremendous amount of planning, and I was pleased with what I had made of it. It was clear, straightforward, baffling, and yet had a perfectly reasonable explanation; in fact, it had to have an epilogue in order to explain it. It was well received and reviewed, but the person who was really pleased with it was myself, for I knew better than any critic how difficult it had been... I don't say it is the play or book of mine that I like best, or even that I think it is my best, but I do think in some ways that it is a better piece of craftsmanship than anything else I have written."


Nursery rhyme about Ten little Niggers

Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.

Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself, and then there were eight.

Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there, and then there were seven.

Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.

Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five.

Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got in chancery, and then there were four.

Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.

Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one, and then there were two.

Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up, and then there was one.

One little nigger boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were None.

(One little nigger boys living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.)
in the nursery rhyme's original version


Translation into French

Dix petits nègres s'en furent dîner;
L'un d'eux s'étouffa et il n'en resta plus que neuf.

Neuf petits nègres veillèrent très tard;
L'un d'eux à jamais s'endormit et il n'en resta plus que huit.

Huit petits nègres voyagèrent dans le Devon;
L'un d'eux voulut y demeurer et il n'en resta plus que sept.

Sept petits nègres fendirent du petit bois;
En deux l'un se coupa et il n'en resta plus que six.

Six petits nègres jouèrent avec une ruche;
Un bourdon piqua l'un d'eux et il n'en resta plus que cinq.

Cinq petits nègres étudièrent le droit;
L'un d'eux finit en haute cour et il n'en resta plus que quatre.

Quatre petits nègres s'en allèrent à la mer;
Un hareng saur avala l'un d'eux et il n'en resta plus que trois.

Trois petits nègres se promenèrent au zoo;
Un gros ours en étouffa un et il n'en resta plus que deux.

Deux petits nègres s'assirent au soleil;
L'un d'eux fut grillé et il n'en resta plus qu'un.

Un petit nègre se trouva tout seul;
Il alla se pendre et il n'en resta plus aucun.





SETTING & CHARACTERS


The novel takes place in Devon (south west of England).
Most of the action is set on Nigger Island off the coast of Sticklehaven.

Devon



mysterious Mr U. N. Owen

Vera Claythorne
Philip Lombard

Anthony Marston
Mrs. Ethel Rogers
Mr. Thomas Rogers
General John Macarthur
Emily Brent
Justice Lawrence Wargrave
Dr. Edward Armstrong
William Blore




SELECTION of LINKS


Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org


SparkNotes
text - context - plot overview - character list - analysis - themes


René Clair's film in 1945






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