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And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None Summary


Here you will find a And Then There Were None summary (Agatha Christie's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

And Then There Were None Summary Overview

Eight disparate individuals receive invitations to make their way to a secluded island off the English coast. Among them are Vera Claythorne, a previous governess who believes she's been employed as a secretary, along with Philip Lombard, an explorer, and William Blore, a former detective, both of whom assume they've been recruited to provide security. Dr. Armstrong anticipates catering to the health needs of the island owner’s wife. The remaining invitees, Emily Brent, General Macarthur, Tony Marston, and Judge Wargrave are under the impression that they are set to reconnect with old acquaintances. Upon their arrival, the guests are met by the Rogers, a butler and housekeeper duo, who share that the host, an individual known only as Mr. Owen, won't be present until the following day. A dinner is held, after which a recorded voice accuses each guest of a specific past murder that was never solved. The guests quickly realize that they have all been assembled as part of an odd scheme. The plot thickens as Tony Marston dies due to poisoned whiskey, which bears resemblance to a verse from a nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians," that is found in every bedroom. As the days pass, more guests die mysteriously. The plot reaches its climax as the remaining guests, Vera, Lombard, and Blore, decide to stay outdoors to avoid the unknown killer. Blore is killed by a falling statue, and they find Armstrong's body washed ashore. Vera, believing Lombard to be the murderer, shoots him and proceeds to hang herself in her room. The perplexing mystery is finally solved when a message in a bottle reveals that the late Judge Wargrave was the orchestrator of this macabre sequence of events, in an attempt to punish those guilty of past crimes. With a terminal illness looming, Wargrave chose to go out with a bang and met his end through a self-inflicted gunshot wound, leaving the island strewn with ten lifeless bodies.

chapter 1

A prior judge, Justice Wargrave, is journeying to a coastal town called Sticklehaven to board a boat to Indian Island. He remembers the gossip surrounding the island since it was bought by the elusive Mr. Owen. It's suggested that a celebrity or royalty really possesses the island. Wargrave checks a letter from an old acquaintance, Constance Culmington, inviting him to the island, whom he hasn't seen in nearly a decade. He believes that Indian Island is the kind of place Constance would acquire. Simultaneously, Vera Claythorne, another passenger on the train, considers her invitation to the island as a secretary to Una Nancy Owen, the island proprietor's wife. Despite her previous involvement in a death inquiry, she feels fortunate to have this job opportunity. She can't help thinking about a lost love and a tragedy at sea. Shaking these thoughts, she observes her fellow passenger, a well-traveled man. The man, Philip Lombard, admires Vera and finds her appealing and competent. He'd been recruited for an unknown task on Indian Island by a stranger named Isaac Morris. He anticipates his time on the island. Elsewhere on the train, Emily Brent, a stern, devout woman, sits upright. She received an invitation to a vacation on the island from an unidentified acquaintance and decided to accept it. General Macarthur, on a slower train, is also invited to the island for a reunion with old friends. He welcomes the invitation, intending to quash a decades-old rumor about him. Dr. Armstrong is driving towards the island after being summoned to check on Mrs. Owen's health. He is thankful for the turn of events that helped him overcome a previous incident involving heavy drinking. During his drive, an expensive sports car driven by Tony Marston, a wealthy and carefree individual, overtakes him. Lastly, Mr. Blore, an ex-detective, travels on a separate train with a list of all the other guests. He is confident that his task will be straightforward. His only companion is an elderly man who warns him of an inevitable storm and impending judgment. Despite initially dismissing the old man's words, Blore later realizes he might be mistaken.

chapter 2

At the Sticklehaven station, two taxis are waiting to transport guests to the dock. Justice Wargrave and Emily Brent share one, while Philip Lombard and Vera Claythorne wait for the tardy General Macarthur. After making idle conversation, they proceed to the dock upon Macarthur's arrival. There, they meet “Davis” and as they're about to set off, Tony Marston arrives, appearing as a “young god” in the twilight. The group is transported to Indian Island by Fred Narracott. He ponders the strange mix of guests who don't seem to be acquainted, nor do they appear to be friends with Mr. Owen, the presumed millionaire. They reach the island and approach a large, contemporary house, greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the butler and housekeeper. Mr. Rogers informs them Mr. Owen is delayed, but invites them to get comfortable. The guests are shown their rooms, drinks are served, and dinner is being prepared. Each guest proceeds to their room. Vera observes her room's details - a bear statue, and a nursery rhyme she recognizes from her childhood about “Ten Little Indians” dying one by one. The rhyme feels fitting for their stay on Indian Island, and the view of the sea brings thoughts of drowning to her mind. Dr. Armstrong arrives later in the evening and encounters Wargrave. Recalling their past interactions, Wargrave asks Armstrong about Constance Culmington, their supposed host. Upon learning she is not expected to arrive, he comments on the peculiarity of their absent host. Meanwhile, Marston is taking a bath, Blore notices the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme in his room and resolves to do well in his task, Macarthur regrets his decision to stay, Lombard plans to enjoy the weekend, and Emily, reading a Bible passage about judgement, descends for dinner.

chapter 3

Amidst strange conditions, the visitors manage to enjoy their meal, with their attention drawn to 10 china figures of Indians on the table, reminiscent of the poem in their rooms. Post-dinner, all except Mrs. Rogers gather in the drawing room, only to be startled by an eerie, robotic voice accusing each guest of a distinct murder. The voice ends its litany seeking any defense. Following the voice's silence, shock and fury ripple through the room. Outside, Mrs. Rogers collapses. As her husband goes for brandy, the rest hunt for the voice's origin, leading them to an antique record player in a nearby room. Rogers, clueless about the record's content, admits he played it as per instructions from his employer. The record is intriguingly titled “Swan Song.” Mrs. Rogers comes around, aided to bed by her husband and Dr. Armstrong. Discussions resume over drinks, with Rogers mentioning their employer, Mr. Owen, is unknown to them, having been hired via an agency and receiving instructions by mail. As everyone shares their invitation stories, it becomes apparent they were duped by “Mr. Owen” who lured them using familiar names in his letters. Judge Wargrave, leading the conversation, points out the discrepancy of Mr. Blore's name from the record, causing Blore to confess his alias and his role as a private detective for Mrs. U. N. Owen's jewels. Wargrave concludes that U. N. Owen is a play on “unknown”, and they have been tricked into attending by a potential murderer.

chapter 4

The conversation shifts to the allegations broadcasted through the gramophone record, with each guest presenting their defence. Wargrave, charged with executing Edward Seton, asserts that he merely passed judgment on a murder suspect. Armstrong, familiar with the case, privately recollects that Seton was expected to walk free until Wargrave swayed the jury to find him guilty. Vera, implicated in the drowning of Cyril Hamilton, explains she was his governess and despite her best efforts could not save him. Macarthur, accused of murdering Arthur Richmond, his wife’s alleged lover, insists Richmond was a subordinate officer who died on a casual scouting mission and denies his wife's unfaithfulness. Lombard, charged with the deaths of twenty-one East African tribesmen, confesses to stealing their food and leaving them to die in the wilderness for self-preservation. Tony Marston, held responsible for the deaths of John and Lucy Combes, recalls running over two children accidentally. Mr. Rogers maintains that he and his wife were innocent in the death of their employer, Jennifer Brady, an ailing elderly woman who passed away when he couldn’t get a doctor in time. He discloses that they inherited money following her death. Blore, formerly a police inspector, explains that he testified against James Landor in a bank heist case. Landor later died in prison, however, Blore maintains his guilt. Armstrong, blamed for the death of Louisa Mary Clees, doesn't recognize the name but privately recalls operating on her while intoxicated. The respectable Emily Brent chooses to remain silent regarding the charges against her. Wargrave proposes they depart as soon as the boat arrives in the morning, a motion supported by all except Tony Marston who thinks they should stay and investigate. Subsequently, Marston takes a drink, chokes, and dies.

chapter 5

Armstrong discovers poison in Marston's drink, leading the others to assume he took his own life, which shocks them due to his jovial nature. Marston's body is subsequently moved to his room, and after a while, everyone retires to their respective rooms, securing their doors. The previously alluring house now exudes an eerie feel. While getting ready for bed, Wargrave reflects on how he, as a judge, sentenced Edward Seton to death. He recalls with satisfaction his cunning manipulation of the trial, which led to Seton’s conviction despite a weak prosecution case and a strong defense. Meanwhile, Rogers cleaning downstairs notices one statue missing from the original ten. Macarthur, unable to sleep, recalls his past actions during the war, where he sent his wife’s lover, a fellow officer, on a suicidal mission. He fears that another officer, Armitage, might have divulged his deeds. Despite this fear, he experiences an unexpected sense of tranquility and realizes that he doesn't want to leave the island. In her room, Vera recalls her past as Cyril’s governess. She was romantically involved with Cyril’s cousin Hugo, who couldn't afford to marry her. Aware that Hugo would inherit the family wealth if Cyril died, she allowed Cyril to swim to a distant rock, disregarding the danger. She quickly dismisses these thoughts. On noticing a similarity between Marston's death and the first verse of the "Ten Little Indians" poem, she feels a shiver of recognition.

chapter 6

Armstrong awakens from a disturbing dream about his surgical table where his patient morphs from Emily Brent to Marston. The dream is interrupted by Rogers, who is unable to wake his wife. On investigating, Armstrong finds Mrs. Rogers has passed away in her sleep, potentially from a sleeping pill overdose. Rogers claims that she only took the pills prescribed by Armstrong. The following morning, the visitors are eager to spot the return boat. Vera, Lombard, and Blore go to the island's peak to look out for it, but it never shows up. After breakfast, Armstrong delivers the news of Mrs. Rogers's demise, causing panic among the group. Macarthur offers his sympathies to Rogers. Once Rogers exits, the group share their theories about Mrs. Rogers's death. Emily Brent believes it was divine intervention, a punishment for Mrs. Rogers's guilty conscience after the murder accusation. Blore suspects that Rogers might have killed his wife to hide their secret. Post breakfast, Blore and Lombard assess their situation and conclude that the boat isn't coming. Macarthur echoes their judgment in a haze and absently states that none of them will make it off the island. In the midst of the confusion, Rogers brings to Armstrong's attention that only eight Indian figures are now present on the table.

chapter 7

Emily and Vera stroll together, during which Emily shares her belief that Mrs. Rogers succumbed to her guilty conscience. She recounts the tale of Beatrice Taylor, who was implicated as Emily's victim by the mysterious voice. Beatrice was Emily's maid who fell pregnant, leading to Emily expelling her abruptly. Abandoned and hopeless, Beatrice took her own life by drowning. Emily asserts her innocence and lack of guilt, yet Vera is troubled by the story. In the meantime, Lombard and Armstrong confer privately. They talk about the likelihood of Rogers murdering his wife and Armstrong voices his suspicion that the Rogers might have terminated their elderly charge by withholding her necessary medication. They contemplate whether Mrs. Rogers committed suicide, but they find the idea of two suicides occurring within a span of twelve hours highly unlikely. Armstrong informs Lombard of the missing two Indian figures and notes the eerie similarity between the first two lines of the poem and the recent deaths. They conclude that their elusive host, Mr. Owen, is the murderer hiding somewhere on the island, and resolve to locate him.

chapter 8

Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong scavenge the barren island. Lombard's possession of a revolver surprises Blore. During their search, they find Macarthur in a daze, alone, looking at the sea. He speaks cryptically of running out of time, requesting solitude, leading them to think he's lost his mind. They leave him, pondering how to communicate with the mainland. Lombard predicts an upcoming storm that will cut them off and asserts that Mr. Owen likely instructed the locals to ignore any signals from the island. They wish to inspect some cliffs for caves, requiring a rope. Blore goes back to the house to fetch one, Armstrong muses over Macarthur's strange behavior. In the meantime, Vera takes a stroll and finds Macarthur. He confides in her about his guilt over Richmond's death and his impending demise. Gradually, he begins to utter his late wife's name, seemingly oblivious to Vera's presence. On Blore's return with the rope, he and Armstrong are alone. Lombard returns from verifying some undisclosed theory and descends the cliffs. While Lombard climbs, Blore expresses his mistrust and finds it peculiar that Lombard carries a revolver, commenting, “It’s only in books that people carry revolvers around as a matter of course.” Lombard's search yields no results, and all three men return to the house to look for their elusive host. Their search is swift as the modern house has limited hiding places. They hear movement upstairs in Mrs. Rogers's room where her body is located, only to discover Mr. Rogers. The search ends with them concluding that only the eight of them occupy the island.

chapter 9

Mr. Owen can only be on the island as one among us—it's crystal clear. Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong start an argument. Blore accuses Armstrong of possibly overdosing Mrs. Rogers with sleeping pills, intentionally or otherwise. Lombard defends himself when questioned about his gun, explaining Isaac Morris hired him for a job that might involve danger on the island. The lunch bell interrupts their dispute, and all but Macarthur go to eat. Rogers presents a simple cold lunch, hoping it'll suffice. The group chats about the imminent storm until Armstrong rushes in with news of Macarthur's death from a head blow. As Blore and Armstrong move Macarthur's body, the storm begins. Vera and Rogers note that only seven statues are left in the dining room. Aside from Rogers, everyone gathers in the drawing room, where Wargrave leads the discussion. He concludes the murderer is one of them, a theory most, except Vera, agree with. He questions if anyone could be free from suspicion. Despite initial protests, they decide to consider everyone, including women and professionals, as potential suspects. They recall their actions over the past couple of days, finding no one has an airtight alibi. Wargrave advises everyone to be cautious and ends the meeting as though concluding a court session.

chapter 10

Vera converses with Lombard in the lounge, both admitting they don't suspect each other. Lombard comments on Vera’s calm demeanor and shares his suspicion about Wargrave, reasoning that his judicial role might have led him to a madness where he desires to hold the roles of both judge and executor. Vera, however, suspects Armstrong, attributing the two poison deaths to a physician's craft. She also suggests that Armstrong could have killed Macarthur under the pretense of fetching him for lunch, pointing out that Armstrong’s medical expertise leaves everyone else unable to challenge his declaration on the cause of death. While polishing silver, Rogers queries Blore about his suspicions. Blore admits he suspects someone but remains mum about who it is. Concurrently, Wargrave and Armstrong engage in conversation, with Wargrave appearing especially keen to preserve his life. Armstrong expresses his dread of everyone being massacred in their sleep, causing Wargrave to observe that Armstrong’s thoughts are filled with banal clichés, labeling his mind as “thoroughly commonplace.” Despite the lack of solid evidence, Wargrave declares his belief that he knows the identity of the killer. Emily, writing in her diary, starts to feel drowsy and scribbles down that Beatrice Taylor, her former pregnant maid who committed suicide, is the murderer. When she regains her senses, she is shocked at what she wrote and fears she might be losing her sanity. In the afternoon, everyone congregates in the drawing room for tea, the normalcy offering a brief spell of relaxation. The tranquility is broken when Rogers announces the disappearance of a red oilsilk bathroom curtain. Although the significance of the lost item is unclear, it stirs unease among the guests. Dinner, mainly canned food, is consumed and everyone retreats to their rooms, ensuring their doors are locked. Rogers alone remains downstairs, securing the dining room door before retiring to bed, a measure to prevent tampering with the remaining Indian figures.

chapter 11

Lombard awakens later than usual, puzzled as to why Rogers didn't wake him up. He encounters the rest, excluding Emily. Both Blore and Wargrave need to be awakened. Upon going downstairs, they can't find Rogers. Emily arrives, clad in a raincoat, stating she's been on a walk around the island. Upon entering the dining room, the group is horrified to find another statue gone. Rogers's lifeless body is soon found in the woodshed with a hatchet wound in the back of his neck. Vera becomes hysterical, rambling about the verse from the rhyme - “One chopped himself in halves, and then there were six”, and questions the presence of bee hives on the island. Armstrong brings her back to reality with a slap. Emily and Vera take on the task of breakfast while the rest spread out. Blore confesses to Lombard his suspicion that Emily may be the murderer. Under pressure, Blore also admits that he once falsely testified against a man. While preparing breakfast, Vera becomes lost in thought, ignoring the burning bacon as she recalls Cyril's drowning. Emily maintains her composure, but gets nervous when Vera questions her fear of death. She reassures herself that she will survive due to her virtuous life. During breakfast, politeness masks the guests' internal panic.

chapter 12

Post meal, Wargrave proposes a meeting to discuss their predicament. Emily stays back, feeling unwell. Armstrong suggests a sedative, which she rejects. As the others tidy up, Emily spots a bee outside the window and senses someone behind her. She feels dazed, contemplating bees and her fondness for honey. She imagines the person to be Beatrice Taylor, drenched from the river, and then experiences a prick on her neck. In the parlour, Blore suspects Emily is the murderer. Vera narrates Beatrice Taylor's story. Some agree with Blore, but Wargrave highlights the lack of proof. They find Emily dead in the dining room, her skin bluish. They remember the rhyme about a bumblebee as they spot one flying outside, and deduce that Emily was injected with a syringe. Armstrong confesses to possessing a syringe, which has now disappeared from his room. Wargrave suggests securing all potential weapons, including Lombard's gun and Armstrong's medical case. Lombard reluctantly complies. However, his gun is missing. At Wargrave's behest, everyone is searched for concealed weapons. All dangerous drugs are stored in a lockable case, placed inside a chest with a different key. Lombard and Blore each receive a key, making it impossible for one to access without the other's knowledge. Though Lombard's gun remains missing, they discover the discarded syringe and the sixth Indian figurine outside the dining room window.

chapter 13

The group, filled with anxiety, congregates in the drawing room. Armstrong, noticeably on edge, continues to light cigarettes with trembling hands. Due to Rogers's absence, they are forced to use candles as their light source. Vera proposes making tea, and the remaining four follow her to ensure everything is done correctly, silently agreeing that they should never split up. Later, Vera decides to shower. She steps into her room and is suddenly overwhelmed by memories of the beach where Cyril met his fate. The scent of salty sea air fills her nostrils and her candle is extinguished by a gust of wind. She feels a damp, cold touch on her neck and screams in fear. The men rush to her aid, finding a piece of seaweed as the culprit for her terror. Lombard suspects it was a ploy to frighten her to death. Blore retrieves a glass of spirits and suspicions arise about it being poisoned. They then realize that Wargrave is missing from their group. They rush downstairs to discover him seated, adorned in the missing red curtain and a makeshift gray wig. After a brief examination, Armstrong confirms Wargrave has been shot in the head. Wargrave's lifeless body is moved to his room. Once more, they can't help but notice the eerie resemblance to the "Ten Little Indians" poem, now leaving only "Four little Indian boys going in for law; one got in Chancery [dressed like a judge] and then there were four."

chapter 14

The four survivors have a canned dinner before retreating to their rooms. Each believes they have figured out the identity of the killer, though no one voices their suspicions. Lombard finds his missing gun returned to its drawer. Meanwhile, Vera is kept awake by haunting memories of Cyril's drowning, a death she realizes she orchestrated. She spots a black hook in her ceiling and connects it to the seaweed incident, finding herself inexplicably drawn to it. As Blore attempts to piece together the mystery in his bed, he's continually distracted by thoughts of his past misdeeds towards Landor. He hears a suspicious noise, follows it, and identifies a figure leaving the mansion. Realizing Armstrong is missing from his room, he alerts Lombard and Vera. Lombard and Blore instruct Vera to stay put while they conduct a search outside. Alone, Vera hears the sound of shattering glass and perceives quiet footsteps inside the house. On their return, Lombard and Blore report that they found no one outside - Armstrong is missing. Inside, they discover a broken window and only three figurines remaining in the dining room.

chapter 15

After breakfast, the final trio sense a reprieve as the storm clears. Lombard strategizes attracting attention from the mainland, while the group tries to understand Armstrong's inexplicable absence. Blore and Lombard clash over Lombard's recovered gun which he refuses to surrender. Blore accuses him of being the killer, to which Lombard retorts with a question of why he hasn't shot him yet. Vera intervenes, drawing their attention to the nursery rhyme hinting at Armstrong's supposed death: "A red herring swallowed one and then there were three." She interprets 'red herring' as a sign that Armstrong has somehow deceived them. Blore dismisses the next line of the poem about a zoo as impracticable, but Vera retorts that they are becoming beasts. The trio spends the morning on the cliffs, vainly attempting to signal for help using a mirror. They choose to remain outdoors to avoid the house's lethal threats. Eventually, hunger drives Blore back to the house, though Lombard denies him the gun. Alone, Lombard tries to convince Vera of Blore's guilt. Vera counters with her suspicion of Armstrong's survival and introduces the possibility of an otherworldly killer. Lombard interprets this as guilt, pressing her about Cyril's death. She initially denies involvement but eventually admits to a man's involvement. A distant crash interrupts their conversation, leading them to discover Blore's body, crushed by the bear-shaped marble clock thrown from Vera's window. They suspect Armstrong's presence in the house and decide to wait for assistance on the cliffs. Along the way, they spot something on the beach, finding Armstrong's body upon closer inspection.

chapter 16

Vera and Lombard, stunned, find themselves over Armstrong's corpse. Lombard's fierce expression and pointed teeth remind Vera of a wolf. Lombard bitterly declares that the end is near. Following Vera's suggestion, they drag the body away from the water, despite Lombard's initial mockery. Suddenly, Lombard senses something amiss and turns to see Vera, having stolen his gun from his pocket, aiming at him. In a desperate attempt, he charges at her, only for Vera to instinctively shoot him in the heart. After Lombard's death, Vera is engulfed by both relief and intense fatigue. She decides to rest at the house until help comes. Upon entering, she notices three figurines on the table. She destroys two and lifts the last one, trying to recall the final verse of the nursery rhyme. She mistakenly believes it to be, “He got married and then there were none.” Thoughts of Hugo, her lost love due to Cyril's death, fill her mind. Absentmindedly, she drops the gun as she climbs the stairs, convinced that Hugo is upstairs. But when she opens her bedroom door, she finds a noose dangling from the hook that once held the seaweed. She believes Hugo wants her to hang herself, and suddenly, the correct final line of the poem comes back to her: “He went and hanged himself and then there were none.” Without hesitation, she places her head in the noose and kicks the chair away.


The perplexing case of Indian Island stumps police officers, Sir Thomas Legge and Inspector Maine. After inspecting diaries of the guests, they determine that neither Blore, Lombard, nor Vera are the culprits. They face a mystery when they encounter the upright chair Vera used to hang herself. They discover that Isaac Morris, the man who arranged the gathering and bought the island under the pseudonym U. N. Owen, died of a sleeping pill overdose that same night. The police suspect foul play and learn that the local residents were told to overlook any distress signals, under the guise of it being part of a wealthy game. The remaining details of the story are revealed in a manuscript discovered by a fisherman. It's authored by Judge Wargrave, who admits his sadistic childhood, his lust for killing, satisfaction from mystery novels, and how his career in law allowed him to fulfill his dark desires. After serving as a judge, he wanted to become an executioner and was inspired by an unpunishable murder case to take action against people who committed murder but escaped the law. He recalled the "Ten Little Indian" rhyme from his childhood, which led to the plot of the murders. Wargrave meticulously compiled his victim list and found out he was dying. He decided to kill himself after taking his victims' lives. His first victims were Marston and Mrs. Rogers, then General Macarthur, and he tricked Armstrong into being an accomplice. He killed Mr. Rogers when he was alone and poisoned Emily Brent at breakfast. Wargrave faked his own death with Armstrong's help and later pushed him off a cliff. He then easily killed Blore and let Vera commit suicide. Wargrave wrote the manuscript to gain recognition for his work, hoping the police would find clues that lead to him. He explains how he will pull off his own murder by shooting himself and then having the gun flung away, leaving the mystery of ten dead bodies on Indian Island.

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