In 1939 mystery lovers eagerly awaited the publication of Agatha Christie’s new novel, Ten Little Indians. They were not disappointed. The novel soon became a best-seller, gaining critical success along with its popularity. First published in England as Ten Little Niggers, the book was renamed And Then There Were None, from the closing line of the nursery rhyme, for publication in the United States. The original title was deemed too offensive for the American public. Later, the title would be changed to Ten Little Indians.
The novel focuses on a group of people invited by a mysterious Mr. Owen to enjoy a holiday on Indian Island. After the guests start turning up dead, the mystery deepens. Tension mounts as the remaining guests attempt to discover the murderer’s identity before they are all killed. After Christie adapted the novel for the stage, it enjoyed successful runs in both England and America and was twice adapted for film. It has also been translated into several different languages. Critics praise the novel’s intricate plotting and innovative technique, noting that in it, Christie adds new twists to the mystery genre. Most scholars, along with her devoted fans, consider Ten Little Indians to be one of the best mystery novels ever written.