There is nothing quite like discovering ‘whodunnit’ in a murder mystery novel and that is why books like And Then There Were None are so popular with Agatha Christie still a reigning name in crime fiction even 44 years after her death.
In And Then There Were None, ten strangers are all unwittingly invited to a private island off the coast of Devon for a weekend by an unknown wealthy host who is nowhere to be found when they all arrive. What appears to be a curious assortment of people; a Doctor, an army General, a former governess, a pensioner… becomes not so curious after all as they share more in common than they realise; deeply hidden secrets. Their dark pasts seal their fates as one by one they start being killed off in time with a rather sinister nursery rhyme until there were none.
You don’t need to be a fan of crime fiction to enjoy a murder mystery, but be warned it may start a hankering for the genre as solving the crimes depicted can become addictive, as is discovering some well know phrases and popular detective culture which originates between the pages of these books like And Then There Were None.
9 Books like And Then There Were None
A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Let’s kick off this list of books like And Then There Were None with the original detective, of course, it is Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous crime-solving duo, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
Elementary you say? (well I thought so)
Published in 1887 and originally to relatively poor acclaim, A Study in Scarlet is the novel marking their first appearance together and is the best place to start if you are committed to reading the novels that follow. Laying the foundations for how the pair come to work together and live in that famous Baker Street flat, A Study in Scarlet offers an introduction to the ingenuity of Holmes.
It is the first piece of detective fiction to utilise the magnifying glass as a tool for investigation (paving the way for many detectives to come), as Holmes must solve a mysterious murder at Lauriston Gardens.
Though it is hard to avoid the many adaptations of the novels, reading A Study in Scarlet is still a real treat seeing first hand the genius of Doyle’s idiosyncratic Holmes and his amazing abilities of deduction.
The Yellow Room, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Mary Roberts Rinehart, the author who coined the now incredibly famous phrase “the butler did it” is often referred to as an American Agatha Christie and makes a fitting addition to this list of novels like And Then There Were None with her book The Yellow Room.
When a corpse is discovered in the linen closet of the Spencer family’s summer house in Maine, Carol Spencer becomes suspect number one as the house is eerily deserted when she arrives with her invalid mother. All the servants have mysteriously disappeared along with the phones and the mansion is locked up so who else could have put the body there?
With war waging across the seas and in the grounds of their mansion with a killer on the loose, Carol enlists the help of Major Jerry Dane to help her solve the mystery and prove her innocence before it’s too late.
Though tame in comparison to some of Christie’s descriptions of her murdered characters, The Yellow Room though poignantly exploring themes of loss and premature death still manages to keep you invested in finding out the truth.
The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith
The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first of the Cormoran Strike mystery series written by Harry Potter author JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, a modern crime novel drawing inspiration no doubt from the aforementioned titans as it remains classic in vein.
When we first meet Strike, he is newly single, living in his office and barely making ends meet working as a private investigator after losing one of his legs to a landmine in Afghanistan. Things aren’t great but they start to look up for Strike when a John Bristow calls on him to investigate the mysterious death of his sister which police have ruled a suicide.
It turns out his sister is the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to those close to her as the Cuckoo, by taking the job Strike is thrust straight into a world of multimillionaires where nothing is a problem for those with money.
Strike must ignore the many seductions, pleasures and distractions of the rich if he’s to get to the bottom of what truly happened to the illustrious Cuckoo. The Cuckoo’s Calling is a gripping detective novel perfect for fans of books similar to And Then There Were None to get swept up in.
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
Psychological dramas and thrillers often go hand in hand with the genre of crime fiction which is why I have chosen to include Daphne du Maurier’s haunting and mysterious gothic novel Rebecca on this list of novels like And Then There Were None. It is a story of love, obsession and secrecy – perfect ingredients to any mystery novel and the mystery at the heart of this novel is its titular character, Rebecca.
Following a whirlwind romance and sudden wedding proposal our narrator, the unnamed second wife of the dashing, wealthy widower Maxim de Winter, finds herself living in the shadow of his perfect first wife Rebecca who died under rather suspicious circumstances. The second Mrs de Winter is slowly and steadily driven mad by the ghostly presence of Rebecca which seems to threaten her newly wedded bliss from beyond the grave.
Rebecca demonstrates the expanse of the mystery novel genre and offers Christie fans (and crime novel fans) an unbelievable secret to uncover.
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
If you like reading books like And Then There Were None because you are a die-hard fan of crime fiction then true crime novels will be right up your street and what better place to start than with the original true crime novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
On November 15th 1959 in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the local and much loved Clutter family were murdered, shackled to their beds and shot in their heads. With no apparent motive and barely any clues, Detectives were baffled by the seemingly impossible to solve cold blooded murder.
The story caught the eagle eye of Capote and with his long time friend Harper Lee they travelled to Holcomb to begin reconstructing the murder and the investigation which remarkably led to the eventual capture, trial and execution of the killers.
6 years in the making and the last novel Capote ever finished, In Cold Blood blends journalistic prowess with a deeply affecting narrative and is a pioneering piece of non-fiction, a perfect read for avid murder mystery fans!
All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
There is nothing quite like reading a book that keeps you on your toes from start to finish and there is no better way to describe our next book – Megan Miranda’s gripping novel All the Missing Girls.
Nicolette Farell left her hometown shortly after her best friend Corinne strangely disappeared without a trace. Now she is back ten years later to care for her ailing father and old wounds slowly start to reopen as she is reintroduced to some old characters from her past who are inextricably linked to Corinne.
When another young girl goes missing shortly after Nic’s return, she can no longer avoid her demons and begins investigating the new disappearance along with what happened all those years ago. As readers, we are kept guessing by the intriguing narratives and backwards timeline which is told over the space of 15 days and slowly reveals parallels between the two disappearances.
With plenty of page-turning twists and turns and an imaginative plot, All the Missing Girls is everything that mystery lovers and fans of books like And Then There Were None want for their next read.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
In another creative narrative like the aforementioned All The Missing Girls, an unexpectedly brilliant debut from writer Stuart Turton in his award-winning novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
Aiden Bishop becomes embroiled in a game, he doesn’t know how long he has been playing but he knows the rules, Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day and keep on dying until he solves the murder and identifies her killer, breaking the deathly cycle. Set in a vast and lavish 1920s mansion called Blackheath Manor, in order to the solve the murder everyday Aiden awakes in the body of a different guest at the manor in this a game of Cluedo on steroids!
A dazzling take on a murder mystery with time loops and body swaps which will probably see you flummoxed until the very last page. Turton has kept all the elements of the genre and dissects certain aspects which brings readers something fresh to think about. A fantastic novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will thrill any reader of books similar to And Then There Were None.
Crooked House, by Agatha Christie
Given the number of novels Agatha Christie has written, it would be rude not include at least one more of her novels on this list of books like And Then There Were None. Said to be one of her personal favourites and with an ending that her publishers considered too shocking initially, Christie welcomes us into the Crooked House, to find out who poisoned Aristides the patriarch of the Leonides family.
Three generations of the Leonides family live there and when suspicions start to circulate it is Aristides second wife Brenda who appears to be the prime suspect being decades his junior and rumoured to be having an affair with the grandchildren’s tutor. We get to investigate from the inside as narrator Charles Hayward, betrothed to one of Aristides granddaughters, must find out ‘whodunnit’ so they can get married.
With plenty of surprising plot twists and turns with a house full of fascinating, curious characters and featuring another rather sinister interpretation of a nursery rhyme, you are guaranteed to get drawn into the Crooked House.
A Judgement in Stone, by Ruth Rendell
We finish this list of books like And Then There Were None with a book by an author who is also renowned for her murder mysteries, Ruth Rendell.
Once quoted as saying it is not the murder which fascinates her but the reasons why someone would commit murder providing the allure, she, therefore, chooses to focus on the ‘whytheydunnit’ rather than the who, and her novel A Judgement in Stone is a prime example of this.
Eunice Parchman, housekeeper to the Coverdale family, murdered all four members in the space of 15 minutes one Valentines day and it is down to Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch to find out why.
Rendell brilliantly exhibits character, motive and what the strain of guarding a secret for a lifetime can do to a person. A Judgement in Stone is an enthralling novel and one of the best psychological thrillers I have read, by an author so established in the genre.
Though books like And Then There Were None adapt superbly well to all sorts of different media – stage, film, tv serials, radio plays etc nothing really is quite like reading them.
To me the crime genre never gets old, I adore these old and expansive mansions as settings, the curious characters all harbouring secrets, their mysterious pasts and the wicked and imaginative crimes committed. Yet despite the similarities that can be drawn between the novels, they still always surprise us and keep us on our toes and that is why we keep reading.
Are you searching for more books like And Then There Were None? Have any recommendations that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!