And Then There were None – Epilogue

Just so there’s no misunderstandings, this post is on the epilogue, the next post tomorrow is on a mysterious “letter found in a bottle”.

In some ways, this chapter is a bit of a nod to Christie’s normal detective novels, where the police come in and try to sort out the crime. And maybe if Hercule Poirot was on hand or Miss Marple, they’d have a better chance.

But they’re coming up with nothing. We’re now enlightened about the fascinating back story about why the boat never came to rescue the 10 during the week, the involvement of Isaac Morris (the Jewish gentleman referenced back in Chapter 1, if you remember three weeks ago) and a little bit more background on our characters. (Though obviously our killer knew more about their back stories than the police were able to uncover.)

So in some ways, this chapter just serves to reiterate the mystery and deal with any final theories that people might have. (I like the bit best where they’re trying to work out how the last three could have died.) And who doesn’t feel creeped out by the chair below Vera’s body being placed neatly back against the wall?

Without a doubt, U N Owen is the 1930s precursor to Keyser Soze.

And sometime after this investigation was closed – we’re not sure how long – a boat comes across a bottle floating in the water with a letter in it. That letter, which we’ll read tomorrow, contains the final missing pieces of information that shed light on what took place on Indian Island . . .

See you tomorrow!

And Then There Were None – Chapter 14 (6/7 Dead?; 3/4 Alive?)

Now all bets are off. Is it one of the remaining four? Is there someone else on the island? If it’s one of the four, who can it be? If it’s someone else, why can’t they seem to find them? It’s all going crazy.

We also get another look into the back story of the characters, especially Vera, and we realise that she actually was quite callous in killing off young Cyril. And up till now has been very good at hiding the truth of how evil she is. But does that make her evil enough to engineer this?

Blore seems scared out of his mind, but if Dan’s theory is correct – the killer may not realise what he’s doing. Lombard says he’s a bit rattled – but rattled by how close he is to being murdered – or by how close he is to being unmasked as the killer.

And then, of course, there is the doctor – but he’s not in this chapter. We’re left with only three Indian boy statues, which would indicate that he’s dead.

But there’s no body.

And as Dan will be the first to point out, if I don’t:

Four little Indian boys, going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.

So on that rather ambiguous note, I’ll bid you goodbye until tomorrow.

And Then There Were None – Chapter 13 (6 Dead; 4 Alive)

Now this chapter is where the cinematic potential of this story to be redone as a really scary slasher flick comes to the fore.

I love the levels of paranoia in this chapter – five people just sitting watching one another’s every move, checking that the drinks aren’t tampered with.

And then, despite all that, they’re still outsmarted by our very clever killer. Actually, with the whole costume thing – all the missing objects of the last few chapters now being revealed – I’d say a very clever, very twisted killer.

Hang in there, folks . . . only a few days more.

Oh yeah, Dan, and they gave you all the inner thoughts of everyone while they were sitting in the lounge room as well . . .

And Then There Were None – Chapter 12 (5 Dead; 5 Alive)

Well, we’re at the halfway mark now, as another of our suspects bites the dust. Oddly enough, she was our chief suspect from yesterday. We’re now down to five. Unlike that other island serial killer show, having less suspects doesn’t at all make it clearer who is likely to be a killer. (But if you do watch that island show, you would have well and truly worked out the identity by then.)

I’m quite enjoying the character of the Judge, because having worked in the law courts, the way he speaks is characteristic of the way Judges deliver summings up or sentences: very deliberately, point by point, logical.

How else could he persuade everyone to submit to strip-searching?

Actually, while all their actions (locking up the drugs, hunting for the gun, etc) logically make sense, all of this is really about persuading you, the reader, of the rules of the game. It’s Agatha Christie’s equivalent of the conjurer showing you that there’s nothing up his sleeves.

There’s a house, five people, missing gun, drugs all locked up. We’re all clueless. That’s the situation.

See you tomorrow!

And Then There Were None – Chapter 11 (4 Dead; 6 Alive)

Well, without wasting any time, the week kicks off with our 4th victim. See, I was right about Rogers being crossed off the list of suspects.

The good thing is, it leaves us with a more manageable list of suspects:

– The corrupt detective Blore

– The devil-may-care adventurer Lombard

– The religiously severe Emily Brent

– The coldly logical Justice Wargrave

– The “access to all poisons” Dr Armstrong

– The guilt-ridden Vera Claythorne.

This is where we start to notice how 2D these characters are, as well. They just don’t seem to be overly phased by the whole thing. (e.g. Lombard’s amusement at Blore and thinking that he’d be likely to be bumped off because he has no imagination). In fact, if it was me, I think I’d be divvying up the cold food, sending everyone to their room, and not letting people come out until someone comes with a boat.

Either that, or I’d get everyone camped in the lounge room. But then, for sure, the murderer would stay awake longer than everyone else and kill everyone else while they were asleep.

I’m getting morbid, but despite everyone trying their best to eat breakfast calmly, there’s a heightened sense of craziness in the air. This is what I love about this particular novel. In a detective novel, the crime has been committed, so there’s no real tension – just the enjoyment of unravelling whodunnit. In this book, though, all the characters are playing for their lives, and if they don’t work out who’s behind it soon, they’ll be next.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

And Then There Were None – Chapter 10 (3 Dead; 7 Alive)

Sorry this was later than the scheduled 8pm – it took a bit longer to get my daughter to sleep than I thought.

Well, I’m sorry that there have only been two murders this week (thus leaving the lion’s share for the final week of our reading project), but hopefully that will make the last week that more quick and bloodthirsty…

I find this chapter doesn’t contribute to theories so much as just indicates how these suspects react to the stress of the whole thing. If it was me, I’d be freaking out, wanting to sit in the corner of a room, armed with a gun and various sharp firearms.

These characters react in different ways – we see Vera and Philip form themselves into a bit of a duo and the Judge and the Doctor do the same. Menawhile, Emily Brent retreats into her own mind and Rogers is just nervous.

However, of all of these, Rogers seems to be the only one I’d cross off the list of suspects because we seem him on his own and he’s trying to ensure that no more Indian statues get stolen.

Or is that just a red herring?

Guess we’ll all know next week – either way, we’ll all have our doors bolted for the weekend.

And Then There Were None – Chapter 9 (3 Dead; 7 Alive)

The General’s strange premonition in the previous chapter now comes true – he is dead.

Justice Wargrave now becomes the closest thing we’ve seen to a detective in this story. Piece by piece, in true Poirot fashion (including having all suspects in one room), we are walked through the murders – trying different theories – trying to make them fit.

Of course, it leaves us more in the dark than ever – but it really does cover most of the possibilities of what could have happened.

Unless of course, something completely different happened, in which case, Agatha Christie is leading us all up the garden path.

We’ll know in a week and a half…

And Then There Were None – Chapter 8 (2 Dead; 8 Alive)

This for me is probably the turning point chapter. Once the Island is explored, we, as readers, get an answer to the question we’ve all been wondering – is there anyone else on this Island? (This was the fatal mistake that Harper’s Island made – it had an island so big, there could have been hundreds of killers hiding in the woods.)

While, in real life, the characters may not have scaled halfway down a cliff-face or wandered around a house with a tape measure, this is typical Agatha Christie’s way of recognising that you readers are armchair detectives.

There was a particular genre of mystery at the time known as “locked room” mysteries, where somebody would be murdered in a closed space that only certain people could get in or out of. The limited space required the murderers to be clever and limited everything to a fair number of suspects.

Well, now we have the dimensions of our locked room. For anyone thinking, “There could be a secret compartment somewhere”, we now know there isn’t a secret compartment. For those thinking, “The murderer could be hiding in a cave,” there isn’t a cave.

There’s no one else on this island except for the eight characters remaining, and – as the final scene in the Rogers’ room reminds us – two corpses.

I also liked the characterisation of the General – while he’s really gone mad, he’s actually clearly seen what’s going to happen to everyone, and he’s just waiting for him. In fact, if you thought they were going to find him murdered when they walked up to him and he was sitting still – you were meant to. Death is in the air everywhere.

See you tomorrow!

And Then There Were None – Chapter 7 (2 Dead; 8 Alive)

The chapters are getting short and sweet now – hang in there, one-day-at-a-timers – but we get to see the dark side of Emily Brent today.

But most importantly is the insight of Philip Lombard – everyone there has a committed a crime that cannot be punished by a regular court of law . . .

Not that that’s stopping our killer.

And, of course, no slasher story is complete without the inevitable search for the killer. “He must be hiding around here somewhere!” We’ll see how the search goes tomorrow…

And Then There Were None – Chapter 6 (2 Dead; 8 Alive)

A murder is probably the most unpleasant way to start off a week you could think of – unless you’re reading And Then There Were None along with us, in which case – yeah, we get a bit of action and excitement to kickstart Week 2!

Our second victim has fallen, but the idea hasn’t quite sunk in that a) there is a killer and b) it’s a serial killer (assuming, of course, that Dan wasn’t on to something with his multiple people killing each other – which he might have been… or might not have).

I also love that it’s the last beautiful morning on the island. The sun’s up, they’re enjoying their breakfast. Then – someone else is dead – and the boat doesn’t appear to be coming. Once we know the boat isn’t coming, we know we’re into total lockdown mode.

See you tomorrow!