“Perhaps the greatest mystery novel of all time, “AND THEN THERE WERE NONE” is Agatha Christie’s acclaimed masterpiece of murder and suspense. Ten strangers are gathered together on an isolated island by a mysterious host. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…”
I heard myself reading this passage aloud from the borrowed book, when the hall clock chimed 9 times reminding amma to tune the television for a late evening reality show. I sneaked away to next room exonerating myself from the other pleasures and was soon focusing my attention at full swing on the mystery novel at hand.
With “what-will-happen-next” tension swelling up inside, I read through the pages nervously. And then it happened, the first murder at page 50. A chill shot through my spine. It took 2 seconds for me to realize the contributor of chill was not the choked person at the book but the heavy downpour outside accompanied by dolpy effect thunders. The lightening did show its effects. The clocked chimed 10 times. My amma was getting ready to plunge into another night sleep.
I resumed reading. From then, I found myself freezing for every 15 minutes. With the rate of 1 death/15 minutes, the crime author eliminated her characters in the name of murder. For some slaying, I think 3rd and 5th, I did grab the chair and looked around to check if I am still intact and safe. Such was the effect of mystery novel on me.
After 6 or 7, I don’t remember, murders, I paused and submerged my mind in deep thoughts. Deaths ? Who killed? Why ?
Till then, by making use of my meager analytic skills which I had developed while I was solving Infosys puzzles on college days, I suspected 2 characters strongly and believed one among them could be that murder lunatic and was eagerly waiting to confirm whether my suspicions were correct. The latest murder in the book caused such uneasiness in me , as both of the person whom I had doubted, by then, were sent to graveyard, and still the unknown murderer was topping in his killings . This shook me, for I was at loss to suspect whom then. It was like, after working on a mind-boggling puzzle for an hour, only to find at the end that the answer was wrong.
This clearly confirmed, I can never get in to Infosys now, if they still retained their weird puzzles.
I directed the thoughts again to the story. The rest of the few fellows were also killed in the next hour, with the last page revealing the psycho who was behind all these. I closed the book quite disturbed and gazed at the wall clock. The two hands of timer were eager to clasp together to announce the arrival 12 ‘0’ clock, the next day. I slowly landed on bed and tried to sleep. But I couldn’t. My eyes were active visioning the 10 slaughters in various artistic ways. Suddenly the power was off, making me sit straight and nudge amma to check if the power was up on other phases in the electrical box. Amma asked me to check. I said, I can’t. When the reason was asked, I told boldly that I am scared. This piqued her, for she said in a revolting voice – ‘Kandathaiyum night padikatha nu sonna kekuriya” and went off to power box. And then there were none in the room with me.