And Then There Were None | Study Guide

Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None | Chapter 12 | Summary

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Summary

After breakfast, Vera Claythorne and Miss Brent rise to clear the dishes, but Miss Brent has to sit back down again. She feels "giddy." Ex-Inspector Blore says he's "domestic" and goes into the kitchen to help with the dishes. Everyone else does, too, leaving Miss Brent at the dining room table alone. Miss Brent hears a buzzing in her ears and sees a bumblebee on the window. She thinks of honey dripping, then of the drowned Beatrice dripping. She tries to call out and move her head, but can't. Then she smells something wet, hears footsteps, and feels a prick on her neck.

Everyone is in the drawing room waiting for Miss Brent. Justice Wargrave says they should all discuss what they should do next, but before they go into the next room, Blore says he thinks Miss Brent's religious mania makes her a prime suspect for the murders. Vera admits Miss Brent told her the story of Beatrice drowning, and that she felt no remorse at all. The group goes into the drawing room to confront Miss Brent, and discovers she is dead.

Dr. Armstrong says it wasn't a bee sting but a syringe full of cyanide that killed Miss Brent. He discovers the syringe in his bag is missing. Justice Wargrave tells everyone they have to pool all the medications and weapons they have and lock them away, and then submit to a search. Philip Lombard discovers the revolver in his drawer has gone missing. The men are searched to the skin and Vera gets to wear a bathing costume for her search. Everything dangerous is locked in one cabinet and then in another. Blore gets one key and Lombard gets the other. The broken syringe and figurine show up under the window, but the group can't find the revolver.

Analysis

The rhyme this time is a hard one to duplicate, but the killer manages to get a bee to go onto the window. Miss Brent has been drugged so she can't move, and then the syringe of cyanide kills her instantly. Blore realizes that since the window is open, the killer probably threw the syringe out the window, and the broken figurine symbolizes the death of Miss Brent.

Everyone became suspicious of Miss Brent while they were in the drawing room, but she is acquitted very quickly by her own death. Now things get serious, and all the possible murder weapons have to be locked away. However, the revolver is gone, and they can't find it. The next verse is about Chancery, but no one thinks about what might happen in the next verse of the rhyme. They might have done well to think about which of them would be the most likely victim in that verse, and keep an eye on that person, but they are too scared. Justice Wargrave, who is the only one connected with the court, steers them away from thinking about the rhyme and instead focuses them on weaponry and generic murder.

The figurines keep disappearing each time someone is killed, and this time, the murder weapon is right next to the figurine. It's unnerving for the guests this happened right under their noses, and the reader may think a syringe must point to the doctor, but syringes can be stolen. Now that everything is locked up, they all hope they will be safe.

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