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And Then There Were None | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

The men decide to heliograph from the cliffs, using a mirror to signal an SOS to the mainland. Vera Claythorne thinks the "red herring" in the rhyme means that Dr. Armstrong is not dead and has simply taken the figurine. The men argue about Philip Lombard taking his revolver, and Ex-Inspector Blore mentions there is no zoo on the island, the next verse in the rhyme. Vera says, "Don't you see? We're the zoo ... last night we were hardly human anymore."

They sit on the cliffs in the sun and flash the mirror, and Blore gets hungry at 2:00 p.m. Vera and Lombard refuse to go back to the house, but Blore is determined to keep the meal schedule. When he goes off to the house, Vera says she thinks Armstrong is still alive, but Lombard thinks Blore may be the murderer. He says Blore could be any madman, and could have lied about being a police officer. Vera wonders if the murders are "absolute justice" from a higher being, but Lombard doesn't believe they are supernatural at all. She admits to Lombard that she encouraged Cyril to swim to the rock because of her desire to marry Hugo. Then they hear a loud noise from the house. They run to the house and find Blore crushed by the marble bear clock that must have been thrown from Vera's room window. Lombard now thinks Vera is right; Armstrong is alive, and they return to the cliff to look for him. They look down and discover Armstrong's body on the rocks below.

Analysis

The combination of murder, guilt, and terror have turned the guests into animals, only concerned for their survival. Blore tries to get his normal meal and loses his life. There is no longer any normalcy on Indian Island, not even at mealtime.

Even though Lombard has the revolver, Vera has trusted him, as has Blore, who wanted to borrow the revolver, but Lombard wouldn't let him. She trusts him so much that she tells him about Cyril and Hugo. Now they look for Armstrong after Blore is killed, because if the murderer isn't one of them, it has to be Armstrong. When they find Armstrong's body, they realize they are wrong. Right up to the end, Christie keeps both the guests and readers on edge, raising the tension chapter by chapter. At the same time, she keeps the guests and readers guessing who the murderer is. There are only two guests left, so it must be one of them, right? That would be much too easy for a Christie murder mystery.

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