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Page 2

And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie

Page 116

Rogers went round the table collecting the meat plates.

Suddenly, with the plates held in his hands, he stopped. He said in an odd scared voice:

“There’s somebody running...”

They could all hear it - running feet along the terrace.

In that minute, they knew - knew without being told...

As by common accord, they all rose to their feet. They stood looking towards the door.

Dr. Armstrong appeared, his breath coming fast.

He said:

“General Macarthur -”

“Dead!” The voice burst from Vera explosively.

Armstrong said:

“Yes, he’s dead...”

There was a pause - a long pause.

Seven people looked at each other and could find no words to say.


The storm broke just as the old man’s body was borne in through the door.

The others were standing in the hall.

There was a sudden hiss and roar as the rain came down.

As Blore and Armstrong passed up the stairs with their burden, Vera Claythorne turned

suddenly and went into the deserted dining-room.

It was as they had left it. The sweet course stood ready on the sideboard untasted,

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Vera went up to the table. She was there a minute or two later when Rogers came softly into

the room.

He started when he saw her. Then his eyes asked a question.

He said:

“Oh, Miss, I - I just came to see...”

In a loud harsh voice that surprised herself Vera said:

“You’re quite right, Rogers. Look for yourself. There are only seven...”


General Macarthur had been laid on his bed.

After making a last examination Armstrong left the room and came downstairs. He found

the others assembled in the drawing-room.

Miss Brent was knitting. Vera Claythorne was standing by the window looking out at the

hissing rain, Blore was sitting squarely in a chair, his hands on his knees. Lombard was

walking restlessly up and down. At the far end of the room Mr. Justice Wargrave was sitting

in a grandfather chair. His eyes were half closed.

They opened as the doctor came into the room. He said in a clear penetrating voice:

“Well, doctor?”

Armstrong was very pale. He said:

“No question of heart failure or anything like that. Macarthur was hit with a life preserver

or some such thing on the back of the head.”

A little murmur went round, but the clear voice of the judge was raised once more.

“Did you find the actual weapon used?”


“Nevertheless you are sure of your facts?”

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And now?

I shall finish writing this. I shall enclose it and seal it in a bottle and I shall throw the bottle

into the sea.


Yes, why?...

It was my ambition to invent a murder mystery that no one could solve.

But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone. There is a natural craving for

recognition which cannot be gain-said.

I have, let me confess it in all humility, a pitiful human wish that some one should know just

how clever I have been...

In all this, I have assumed that the mystery of Indian Island will remain unsolved. It may

be, of course, that the police will be cleverer than I think. There are, after all, three clues.

One: the police are perfectly aware that Edward Seton was guilty. They know, therefore, that

one of the ten people on the island was not a murderer in any sense of the word, and it

follows, paradoxically, that that person must logically be the murderer. The second clue lies

in the seventh verse of the nursery rhyme. Armstrong’s death is associated with a “red

herring” which he swallowed - or rather which resulted in swallowing him! That is to say

that at that stage of the affair some hocus-pocus is clearly indicated - and that Armstrong

was deceived by it and sent to his death. That might start a promising line of inquiry. For at

that period there are only four persons and of those four I am clearly the only one likely to

inspire him with confidence.

The third is symbolical. The manner of my death marking me on the forehead. The brand of


There is, I think, little more to say.

After entrusting my bottle and its message to the sea I shall go to my room and lay myself

down on the bed. To my eyeglasses is attached what seems a length of fine black cord - but it

is elastic cord. I shall lay the weight of the body on the glasses. The cord I shall loop round

the door-handle and attach it, not too solidly, to the revolver. What I think will happen is


My hand, protected with a handkerchief, will press the trigger. My hand will fall to my side,

the revolver, pulled by the elastic will recoil to the door, jarred by the door-handle it will

detach itself from the elastic and fall. The elastic, released, will hang down innocently from

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the eyeglasses on which my body is lying. A handkerchief lying on the floor will cause no

comment whatever.

I shall be found, laid neatly on my bed, shot through the forehead in accordance with the

record kept by my fellow victims. Times of death cannot be stated with any accuracy by the

time our bodies are examined.

When the sea goes down, there will come from the mainland boats and men.

And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Indian Island.


Lawrence Wargrave

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