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And Then There Were None | Chapter 8 | Summary

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Summary

Ex-Inspector Blore, Philip Lombard, and Dr. Armstrong set out to search the island for the murderer. Lombard reveals he has a revolver, which Blore at first thinks is useful, but then he wonders aloud to Dr. Armstrong why Lombard would have brought a revolver to the island for a vacation. During their search, they come across General Macarthur, who is sitting in a trance at the seaside. He snaps at them and says there is "so little time" and they need to leave him alone. They all think the general has completely lost his mind, and Armstrong begins to wonder if the general could be the killer. The men continue their search, find nothing, and realize they can't adequately search the cliffs on the island without rope. Blore retrieves some rope, and Lombard volunteers to drop down the side of the cliff to explore.

Vera Claythorne tries to avoid Miss Brent now that she knows what Miss Brent is like, but she can't stop thinking about the young maid, Beatrice, committing suicide by drowning. She also envisions the young Seton being sent to his death by Justice Wargrave. When Vera goes outside to get some air, she sees the general and talks with him. The general tells her that he actually did send Richmond to his death because of the affair with Leslie, and that the general loved his wife very much. After Richmond's death Leslie left him alone, and he was even more alone after she died. He tells Vera, "You'll be glad, too, when the end comes." Vera doesn't understand him.

The men have found nothing on the island, so they search the house. Rogers passes by with drinks. They hear a sound upstairs and think it's the murderer, but it's just Rogers getting his clothes out of his room because he doesn't want to sleep in the room with his wife's dead body. Rogers moves so quickly and quietly it's no wonder they thought a stranger was in the room. Rogers speaks only to Dr. Armstrong. The men continue their search and find nothing, agreeing there is no one else on the island "but their eight selves."

Analysis

The guests' suspicions of each other mount as the novel progresses. Ex-Inspector Blore hopes there's a revolver available to protect them from the murderer if they find him, but the fact that Philip Lombard has a revolver and is the most mercenary of all of the men begins to bother him. Rogers won't talk with anyone but Dr. Armstrong, the only person on the island he trusts, because he saw Dr. Armstrong treat his wife and knows the doctor did not give her anything stronger than a mild sedative. Rogers also knows there is no one else on the island, so he is the first person in the group to realize the murderer has to be one of the guests.

Vera Claythorne's conversation with General Macarthur is much gentler than his conversation with the men earlier; he opens up to her, telling her about his guilt. He admits he sent his wife's lover into battle knowing the man would die. The scary part of his determination to end his life in peace is that he tells Vera that she, too, will be ready to die. Vera doesn't get it, and this is the second time in the novel Vera has thought about not wanting to die. The mounting terror in the plot, however, and the flaws in each character that make them possible suspects produces turmoil and anxiety in the others' minds.

Rogers is not completely trusted by any of the men except Dr. Armstrong, who now thinks the general might be crazy enough to be the murderer but sees Rogers as a person consumed by fear. Rogers's quick movements unnerve the other men. Body language serves to fill in character details where words do not suffice. But Rogers's insistence that they are the only people on the island, they discover, is not a lie. The lack of a suspect relieves some of the characters, but others wonder which guest is the murderer.

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