Deception is viewed as a negative term in society. However, in the genre of mystery novels, it is the essential key to its success. For the reader to want to continue on, he/she must be supplied with numerous possibilities for an ending. The only way one could provide such an abundant selection is with the use of deception. Agatha Christie has deceived her readers on purpose to present more plentiful probabilities for a conclusion. “No job is trickier or more critical than inventing ostensibly fair misdirection—that is, preserving some connection with plausibility while making many characters suspect. She (Agatha Christie) has perfected it.” (Wagoner, 2) Her skill has made her the most popular mystery author and now has over two billion books in print. She has also achieved Britain’s highest honor when she was made a Dame of the British Empire.
And then there were None (Ten Little Indians) is the most popular novel written by Agatha Christie and is considered, by many, the greatest mystery novel ever written. In this acclaimed masterpiece of murder and suspense, Mr. Owen gathers ten strangers who share forgettable pasts together on an isolated Indian Island. However, the guests do not know the identity of their host. As they start telling their deepest, darkest secrets to each other, one by one, they start to die.
In this novel, deception is a significant part of the story. Agatha Christie misleads the reader by giving an impression that a mysterious, unknown figure has committed the heinous murders. Dr. Armstrong is one of the guests on the island and is suspicious about the homicides. He does not feel any of his fellow guests are to blame so he says, “You’re probably right! Damn it all, there must be someone hiding on the island! Ah! Here comes Lombard!” (Christie, none 68) By supplying a possible scenario, Christie has made the reader consider the possibility that it maybe true. Further on in the novel, Christie hints about the identity of the alleged killer. Mr. Justice Wargrave is beginning to think that he can’t trust anyone on the island. He is starting to blame others including the very people who also have been attempting to solve the murders. In an abnormal, feverish tone he says,Its Armstrong…. I saw him looking at me sideways just then…. His eyes are mad…. Quite mad…. Perhaps he isn’t a doctor at all….