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And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None | Chapter 14 | Summary



The group realizes Vera's seaweed incident was meant to cover the sound of the gunshot that killed Justice Wargrave. They all go to bed, locking their doors, and the revolver shows up in Philip Lombard's drawer again. Everyone is locked in their room, frozen in terror, waiting for the sun to rise and worried they won't make it to the next day. Vera notices a big black hook on her ceiling, which is where the seaweed hung, and she begins to think about how she arranged for Cyril to try to swim to the rock without telling his mother. She figured if Cyril survived she would tell his mother he was lying, since Cyril often lied. She begins to feel as if Hugo, her former lover and Cyril's uncle, is in the room with her.

Ex-Inspector Blore sees the faces of all of the victims in his mind's eye, and then sees Landor's face. He remembers that Landor, who died in prison, had a wife and children, and wonders what happened to them. Then he hears footsteps in the hall. He runs out into the hall, and then he checks the doors of the other guests. Vera answers hers, as does Lombard, but there is no answer at Dr. Armstrong's door. Lombard and Blore go to search for him, taking the revolver, while Vera stays behind. She worries about how Armstrong might come back and get her or set the house on fire, and looks down to see if she can jump. She hears breaking glass, and then the men running up the stairs. They tell Vera that Armstrong is missing and there are only three little figurines left on the table.


Blore's bravery shows in this chapter, because he risks his life going out into the hallway to chase the murderer. He thinks that because Dr. Armstrong is not in his room he must be the murderer. Vera, waiting for the men to come back, wonders if Armstrong might show her wounded bodies of the men and claim they were dead, which is an interesting theory that may prove useful to someone later but is of no use to her now.

The big black hook on Vera's ceiling is a clue as to when she might be a victim. The rhyme, as usual, is the place to go for clues. Another figurine is gone, and this must mean Armstrong is dead, but the three remaining guests don't think of that. Why would a figurine go missing if the missing person is not dead?

Vera's self-reflection reveals just how intricate her plot was to get rid of Cyril, and this time, thinking about the crime, she begins to think Hugo is in the room with her. This hallucination foreshadows how tormented Vera will become because of her guilt. Christie has done this with several other characters as well—as the character nears their final hours, readers learn more about the character's guilt in the death of another. At first, Christie paints them not necessarily as innocents, but certainly not as cold-blooded murderers. As time goes on, however, and readers learn more about their plots and premeditations, as well as their excuses for murder, sympathy for the plight of the characters lessens. Now rather than feel sorry for them, readers may feel that justice is being done. Readers now can consider whether they feel comfortable about losing sympathy for the guests about to be murdered. Moral dilemmas such as this are some of the most interesting aspects of murder dramas.

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