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And Then There Were None | Chapter 16 | Summary

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Summary

The only two people remaining alive are Philip Lombard and Vera Claythorne, and they both think the other one is the murderer. Lombard thinks Vera conjured the clock to fall somehow, and he looks like a wolf to her. She looks down at Armstrong and says, "Poor Dr. Armstrong," and Lombard accuses her of "womanly pity." Vera says they have to move the body and at least drag it ashore above the water mark. When Lombard stands up, Vera is pointing the gun at him. He lunges for it and she shoots him.

Vera is relieved to be the one left alive and goes to the house. She is exhausted and elated, but the exhaustion and the trauma take their toll. She goes up to her room and sees a noose hanging from the big black hook in her room, and a chair underneath the noose. She drops the revolver and the figurine in her hand. The figurine breaks on the floor. Vera thinks Hugo is somehow in the room, urging her to hang herself. Vera puts her neck in the noose and kicks the chair away. "And then there were none."

Analysis

Lombard suddenly has a different opinion of Vera, thinking she is some kind of witch or conjurer, but he falls for her trick, moving Dr. Armstrong's body, to get his revolver away from him. It's a resourceful trick, and it works. But readers are still left scratching their heads. Could Vera really be the person who committed all the murders? What motive has Christie presented?

The answer is in the figurine, which breaks on the floor as Vera sees the noose in her room. Because of her extreme anxiety, she hallucinates that Hugo is there. This adds to her mounting guilt that she intended Cyril's drowning and makes her vulnerable to the opportunity to end it all. She believes Hugo wants her to die, so she hangs herself. Is this a murder? There is more to the novel than just these chapters, and no Agatha Christie novel ends without a full explanation.

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