The first mystery I remember reading was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It was also published with some slight differences as Ten Little Indians. I thought it was a suspenseful, baffling book and from then on was hooked on mysteries.
For anyone not familiar with the story, the set up is eight people are invited to a house party on a remote English island. A couple is hired to act as staff. When the group arrives on the island, their host isn't present and nobody seems to know exactly who he or she is. After their first dinner, a mysterious recording is played that details how each of the ten people is responsible for the death of someone. It makes everyone uneasy, particularly when they realize they are stranded on the island.
And then one by one the ten start dying until as the title says there is no one left. But the ten are the only ones on the island, so how could it be?
It hooked me the first time I read it and just now when I read it again. Although I was pretty sure I remembered who did it, I still couldn't put the book down. The puzzle was so well done, I even began to wonder if my memory was wrong. Aside from the ingenious plot, I think what I liked so much both times I read the book was I felt like I was right there on the island with them trying to figure out what was going on.
Like a classic Chanel suit, even after all these years, the book still looks good. The only thing that occurred to me when I finished reading it this time, was that all those dead bodies stacking up around the house would have smelled pretty bad and caused quite a fly problem - neither of which was mentioned as the remaining people went about having their meals, and sleeping in nearby rooms. But then I guess Dame Agatha was into plot not forensics.
What other classic mysteries still hold up as well as a good suit?
Editor's Note: Betty Hechtman is the author of the Crochet Mystery Series. Her fascination with crochet, like many love affairs, began in Las Vegas.