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5 Books like And Then There Were None: Sedately Sinister

Mandy Baldwin itcherIt has to be said, this book doesn’t have any true competitors. Christie is a best-selling author and ‘And Then There Were None’, published in 1939, is her best-selling book – the 7th best-selling title of all time. But books like ‘Dead Silent’, ‘The Best Man to Die’ or ‘The Apprentice’ go a fair way toward challenging the Mistress of Mystery. ~ Mandy Baldwin

The Seamier Side of Tweed

In case anyone was fooled by the cream-tea-and-pearls settings of so many of Agatha Christie’s novels, it should be noted that she was trained in the use of  poison – hence her  tendency to use it as a fictional weapon.

‘And Then There Were None’ makes full use of a wide variety of methods of killing; when ten people are lured to an island on the pretexts of a holiday, only to find themselves unable to leave… and being ‘punished’ for their past sins… which just so happen to include murder.

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Books Similar to ‘And Then There Were None’…

‘The Best Man to Die’ (Ruth Rendell, 2009)

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An unexplained car crash, a spare body, and a daughter supposed dead but very much alive…A whole series of entangled relationships are discovered, each linked in some way to the death of one man.

Nobody can explain why the deaths of a wealthy stockbroker and a lorry driver should be connected, but seemingly parochial Inspector Wexford – like Christie’s little Belgian detective Poirot, – has an instinct for these things, and, as he suspected, alibis start to unravel, and criminal dealings come to light.

You won’t guess who dunnit – and certainly not why – until Ruth Rendell decides to share it with you in the last chapter.

Similarity Match: 95%
As one of a series – with a suitably intense and complicated detective – this is as close as anyone gets to replicating the magic of Christie.

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‘Strange Affair’ (Peter Robinson, 2008)

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An estranged brother, and a girl dead in a car on a remote road. How are the two connected? Inspector Banks investigates his missing brother’s home and begins to discover why he sounded so terrified during their last telephone conversation. 

Worse still, his disappearance and the death of the girl are linked in ways which make Banks question whether he ever knew his brother – who he had never liked.

The writing is very complex; mystery piles on mystery, until the devastating conclusion.

Similarity Match: 80%
Lighter on female motive than anything written by Christie – but she would approve of the well-paced, slow-burn story-line.

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‘Dead Silent’ (Helen H Durrant, 2015)

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In a small northern English town, two American students are found murdered – both tagged like cattle. And they’re not the only female students who are going missing. A very modern police duo uses forensic evidence to reach a conclusion to a chain of mysteries which Christie would love…

Similarity Match: 70%
As outrageously English as Christie’s master-work…it just happens to be another side of England.

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If You Like ‘And Then There Were None’, You Will Like…

These stories to follow run a little wilder than Christie’s tense and tight-laced denouements.

‘The Mermaids Singing’ (Val McDermid, 2009)

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A rich and horrifying exploration of the mind of a serial killer and a race to stop him killing… again. 

Just as Agatha Christie used her profession as a pharmacist to good effect in her murder mysteries, Val McDermid has used skills learned in her former life as a reporter to produce a tightly-written drama which will leave you wondering who is next to die and shocked when it is not who you expected.

Perfectly paced, and although there are no punches pulled, as someone who flinches at too much gore, I was glad to find that this didn’t over-do the red stuff.

The same attention to detail as found in Christie’s best-seller – but Christie never wrote from inside her killer’s mind.

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‘The Apprentice’ (Tee Gerritsen, 2010)

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A copy-cat serial killer is already being hunted by police when the original killer, known as ‘The Surgeon’, escapes from prison. Now the pair is committing crimes so similar that it is impossible to know who did what, but it matters because ‘The Surgeon’ has declared he is going to kill the detective handling his case.

Very sparingly written, and many of the characters are only lightly sketched – but the attention to forensic detail is astonishing (not surprising, as Tee was a doctor in her previous life.)

A battle of wits a la Christie… but the murders are simply too graphic for her elegant mysteries.

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It’s Crime…but Not as We Know It

These books are all excellent examples of mysteries solved and murderers brought to justice, but in my opinion, nobody quite matches the elegance of Christie’s 1930s villains and villainesses.

Agatha Christie’s continued status as best-selling mystery author in the world, confirms that the best detective stories concentrate on detection rather than gore.

We want our ‘little grey cells’ invigorated, not spilled across the carpet.

Do you like a mystery which is comfortingly solvable?

Know any book like ‘And Then There Were None’?

Please leave your comments below.

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