SnailShell

“And Then There Were None” Reading Notes


2021-02-24 1225 words 6 minutes read notes study

Summary

The book was the execution of ten people, carried out on an isolated island. Ten people of very different backgrounds were invited, by various ruses, to come on to the island. A recorded voice blared out accusations, that each of them had committed a murder and escaped the punishment of the law. One by one, they started dying, in the same manner as described by a nursery rhyme that was carved in their bedrooms. A rich young man died by poison. The maid died by sleeping pill overdose. No one else was on the island, so the murderer must be among themselves, but despite their effort at self-preservation, the killing continued. The general was killed by the sea. The butler was chopped by an axe. The old distinguished lady was again poisoned with cyanide, while a bumblebee was present, as a symbol for bee sting. They searched for poisons and weapons, but then, the Judge was shot when they rushed to help the young lady. The doctor ran out of the house and vanished at midnight. The ex-policeman was killed by a bear-shaped clock dropped from a window. The last two, Vera the young lady, and Lombard the shady hard man, found the corpse of the doctor floating in the sea. Now that there was no other option, Vera though Lombard was the murderer. She cheated him, stole his gun, and shot him dead. Then, as she came back to her room, she was so moved by the murder, the shooting, and the guilt, she committed suicide.

The judge was the mastermind. His death was faked by the doctor, who was convinced that faking the death would help draw out the real murderer.

Head Hopping

The book was written in 10 view points, and constantly hopping from one head to another.

For instance,

He had said it with acceptance—almost with welcome.

But to Vera the words—the thought—brought rebellion.

No, it should not be the end.

Despite the fact that we know the criminal is among them, and that we get to read their inner thoughts from time to time, there was still the mystery.

The trick was that the Judge was positioned to be the authority in the very beginning, and the readers are already accustomed to his sharp judgment, when he remained composed and shrewd later. He was also very good at making deductions using only the evidence that had been presented to him, rather than leaking the fact that he knew everything all along. He misled the other nine people, in exactly the same way the author mystified the readers.

The head hopping worked well in this book, as it shows the fear, the anxiety, the curiosity, that were presented in each mind. There were no lead detective to solve the crime; each of them were equally suspicious and suspected.

Annotations

Chapter One

Page 3 Location 100

Vera Claythorne, in a third-class carriage with five other travellers in it, leaned her head back and shut her eyes.

Page 5 Location 128

Philip Lombard, summing up the girl opposite in a mere flash of his quick moving eyes thought to himself:

Page 6 Location 155

In a non-smoking carriage Miss Emily Brent sat very upright as was her custom. She was sixty-five and she did not approve of lounging. Her father, a Colonel of the old school, had been particular about deportment.

Page 8 Location 184

General Macarthur looked out of the carriage window. The train was just coming into Exeter, where he had to change. Damnable, these slow branch line trains! This place, Soldier Island, was really no distance at all as the crow flies.

Page 9 Location 198

Dr. Armstrong was driving his Morris across Salisbury Plain. He was very tired … Success had its penalties.

Page 11 Location 221

Tony Marston, roaring down into Mere, thought to himself: “The amount of cars crawling about the roads is frightful. Always something blocking your way. And they will drive in the middle of the road! Pretty hopeless driving in England, anyway…. Not like France where you really could let out….”

Page 12 Location 237

Mr. Blore was in the slow train from Plymouth. There was only one other person in his carriage, an elderly seafaring gentleman with a bleary eye. At the present moment he had dropped off to sleep.

Chapter Two

Page 21 Location 378

Down the steep track into the village a car was coming. A car so fantastically powerful, so superlatively beautiful that it had all the nature of an apparition. At the wheel sat a young man, his hair blown back by the wind. In the blaze of the evening light he looked, not a man, but a young God, a Hero God out of some Northern Saga. He touched the horn and a great roar of sound echoed from the rocks of the bay. It was a fantastic moment. In it, Anthony Marston seemed to be something more than mortal. Afterwards more than one of those present remembered that moment.

Chapter Four

Page 51 Location 842

Whoever it was who enticed us here, that person knows or has taken the trouble to find out a good deal about us all.

Chapter Eight

Page 101 Location 1612

He cleared his throat and said in a would-be conversational tone: “Nice peaceful spot you’ve found for yourself, sir.”

Chapter Nine

Page 130 Location 2076

Blore said: “That’s what happened. Absolutely. And that lets out the judge, Mr. Lombard, myself and Miss Claythorne.” His voice was loud and jubilant. Mr. Justice Wargrave, bringing a cold eye to bear upon him, murmured: “Ah, but does it? We must take into account every possible eventuality.”

Chapter Eleven

Page 149 Location 2358

Philip Lombard had the habit of waking at daybreak. He did so on this particular morning. He raised himself on an elbow and listened. The wind had somewhat abated but was still blowing. He could hear no sound of rain….

Page 150 Location 2381

The little party moved through the house. Rogers’ room, as Philip Lombard had already ascertained, was untenanted. The bed had been slept in, and his razor and sponge and soap were wet.

Chapter Sixteen

Page 216 Location 3420

Aeons passed … worlds spun and whirled … Time was motionless … It stood still—it passed through a thousand ages…. No, it was only a minute or so … Two people were standing looking down on a dead man…. Slowly, very slowly, Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard lifted their heads and looked into each other’s eyes….

Page 217 Location 3440

He had said it with acceptance—almost with welcome.

But to Vera the words—the thought—brought rebellion.

No, it should not be the end.

Page 219 Location 3468

His quick brain was working. Which way—which method—talk her over—lull her into security or a swift dash—All his life Lombard had taken the risky way. He took it now. He spoke slowly, argumentatively: “Now look here, my dear girl, you just listen—” And then he sprang. Quick as a panther—as any other feline creature…. Automatically Vera pressed the trigger…. Lombard’s leaping body stayed poised in mid-spring then crashed heavily to the ground. Vera came warily forward, the revolver ready in her hand. But there was no need of caution. Philip Lombard was dead—shot through the heart….

Christie, A. (2011). And Then There Were None.