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Even though the guests are the only people on the island, they are all mysteriously murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely, the old nursery rhyme, ” Ten Little Indians “.
The novel has also been published and filmed under the title Ten Little Indians. It is Christie’s best-selling novel with million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery and the seventh dhristie popular book of all time.
It has been adapted into several plays, films, and a video game. Eight people of different social classes: Armstrong, Ex-inspector Blore, Mr.
Agahha arriving, they are told that their hosts, a Mr. Each guest finds in his or her room an odd bit of bric-a-brac and a framed copy of the nursery chdistie “Ten Little Soldiers” “Niggers” piccoki “Indians” in respective earlier editions hanging on the wall. Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven. Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves chirstie then there were six. Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumble bee stung one and then there were five.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
One little Soldier boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.
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Before dinner that evening, the guests notice ten soldier etc. During the meal, a gramophone record plays, informing the ten that each is guilty of murder. The guests realize they have been tricked into coming to the island, but find that they cannot leave: They are murdered one by one, each murder paralleling a verse of the nursery rhyme, and one of the ten figurines being removed after each murder. First to die is Anthony Marston, whose drink is poisoned with cyanide “one choked his little self”.
That night, Thomas Rogers notices that a figurine is missing from the dining table. Rogers dies in her sleep that night, which Dr. Armstrong attributes to a fatal overdose of sleeping draught “one overslept himself”. General MacArthur fatalistically predicts that no one will leave the island alive, and at lunch, ;iccoli indeed found dead from a blow to the back of the skull “one said he’d stay there”.
Meanwhile, two more figurines have disappeared from the dining room. In growing panic, the survivors search the island in vain for the murderer. Justice Wargrave establishes himself as a decisive leader of the group and asserts that one of them must be the murderer playing a sadistic game with the rest. The killer’s twisted humor is evidenced by the names of their “hosts”: Owen” is a pun on “unknown”. The next morning, Rogers is missing, as is another figurine. He is found dead in the woodshed, struck in the head with an axe “one chopped himself in halves”.
Later that day, Emily Brent is killed in the kitchen by an injection of potassium cyanide that leaves a mark on her neck “a bumblebee stung one”. The hypodermic needle is christoe outside her window next to a smashed china figurine.
The five survivors — Dr. Wargrave suggests they christle up any potential weapons, including Armstrong’s medical equipment and the judge’s own sleeping pills.
Dieci piccoli indiani (film 1989)
Lombard admits to bringing a revolver to the island, but says it has gone missing. Resolved to keep the killer from catching anyone alone, they gather in the drawing room and only leave one at a time.
Vera goes up to her room and discovers a strand of seaweed: Her screams attract the attention of Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong, who rush to her aid. When they return to the drawing room, they find Wargrave in a mockery of a judicial wig and gown with a gunshot wound in his forehead “one got into Chancery”.
Armstrong confirms the death, and they lay Wargrave’s body in his room. Shortly afterward, Lombard discovers his revolver has been returned. That night, Blore hears someone sneaking out of the house. He and Lombard investigate and, discovering Armstrong missing, assume the doctor is the killer. They wake Vera and the three spend the night outdoors. In the morning, Blore leaves for food and does not return. Vera and Lombard soon discover his body on the front lawn, skull crushed by a bear-shaped clock “a big bear hugged one” —and on the shore, Armstrong, drowned “a red herring swallowed one”.
Paranoid, each assumes the other is the murderer. In the tense standoff that follows, Vera feigns compassion and has Lombard help her move Armstrong’s body out of the water, using the opportunity to relieve him of his revolver.
She kills Lombard on the beach “sitting in the sun” and returns to the house. Dazed and disoriented, Vera is unsurprised to find a noose prepared in her room. In a trance of exhaustion, guilt, and relief, she hangs herself, fulfilling the final verse of the rhyme. There are no clues on the mainland—the man who arranged “U. Owen’s” purchase of the island covered his tracks well, and was killed the day the party set sail—and while guests’ diaries establish a partial timeline, the police cannot determine the order in which Blore, Armstrong, Lombard, and Vera were killed: Blore could not have dropped the clock on himself; Armstrong’s body was dragged above the high-tide mark; Lombard was shot on the beach, but his revolver was found outside Wargrave’s room.
Lombard’s gun having Vera’s fingerprints and the clock that killed Blore came from her room point to Vera as “U. Owen”-yet evidence that someone was still alive after Vera’s suicide is that the chair Vera used to hang herself had been righted and replaced against the wall. Inclement weather would have prevented the murderer from leaving or arriving separately from the guests: Yet all the murders appear to be accounted for, and the inspectors are baffled.
A fishing trawler finds a letter in a bottle just off the Devon coast: He reveals a lifelong sadistic temperament juxtaposed uneasily with a fierce sense of justice: As a judge, he directed merciless summations and guilty verdicts, but limited to those cases in which he has satisfied himself of the guilt of the defendant sthrilling at the sight of the convicted person crippled with fear, facing their impending death. But the proxy of the bench was unsatisfying: Wargrave longed to commit murder by his own hand.
Prompted to action by the discovery that he was terminally ill, he sought killers who had escaped justice and lured them to the island.
And Then There Were None
As he killed them one by one, he reveled in the mounting terror of those who remained, their reactions to the murders confirming their guilt to his extensive judicial experience. He also kills the guests by order of their level of guilt, first killing those whose crimes were less direct or out of carelessness, or who felt some level of remorse, and saving the most cold-blooded killers for last. Having disposed of the first five guests, the judge then persuaded the trusting Armstrong to fake Wargrave’s own death, “the red herring”, under the pretext that it would rattle the “real murderer”.
That night, he met Armstrong on the cliffs and pushed him into the sea, knowing the doctor’s disappearance would provoke the suspicions of the others. From Vera’s room, Wargrave pushed the stone bear-shaped clock onto Blore, crushing his skull. He then watched Vera shoot Lombard. He also watched as Vera hanged herself. Wargrave pushed the chair she stood on against the wall, wrote out his confession, put the letter in a bottle and tossed it out the sea. Wargrave admits to craving posthumous recognition of his scheme.
Even if his letter is not found, he argues that three clues exist implicating him, although he surmises correctly that the mystery will not have been solved:.
Wargrave describes how he plans to kill himself: He will then wrap a handkerchief around the handle of the gun and shoot himself in the head. His body will fall back as though laid there by Armstrong. The gun’s recoil will send it to the doorknob and out into the hallway, detaching the cord and pulling the door closed.
The cord will dangle innocuously from his glasses; the stray handkerchief should not arouse suspicion. Thus the police will find ten dead bodies and an unsolvable mystery on Soldier Island. Wargrave rated his victims’ degree of guilt leaving the worst for last so they would suffer most. Marston, a mindless as well as conscienceless killer by carelessness is put down first like a dangerous animal. Rogers, the tool of her husband, is given a relatively merciful death as is General MacArthur whose crime was one of passion.
Rogers, a killer for gain, suffers a bloody death and Miss Brent, the self-righteous killer, is on the verge of breakdown before she dies. The final five are all guilty of betraying a trust; Dr. Armstrong killed a patient by his drunken negligence; Blore, a police officer, gave false testimony against an innocent man; Lombard betrayed men under his command, colored or not; but Wargrave judged Vera Claythorne the worst of the lot for killing a child in her care.
The following details of the characters are based on the original novel. Stage and film adaptations have often varied with names and backgrounds, such as Judge Wargrave being renamed Quinncannon and Lombard accused of causing the death of his pregnant girlfriend.
The novel was originally published in Britain under the title Ten Little Niggers in All references to “Indian” in the story were originally “Nigger”: Modern printings use the rhyme Ten Little Soldiers and “Soldier Island” for reasons of political and ethnic sensitivity.
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All of the instalments carried an illustration by “Prescott” with the first instalment having an illustration of Burgh Island in Devon agathha inspired the setting of the story. This version did not contain any chapter divisions.
For the United States market, the novel was first serialised in the Saturday Evening Post in seven parts from 20 May VolumeNumber 47 poccoli 1 July VolumeNumber 1 with chtistie by Henry Raleigh and then published separately in book form in January The motion picture also used this title. Inthe play was published under the new title Ten Little Indians the same title under which it had been performed on Broadwayand in an American paperback edition also used this title.
British editions continued to use the work’s original title until the s and the first British edition to use the alternative title And Then There Were None poccoli in with a reprint of the Fontana Paperback.