Literary Techniques for Suspense in And Then There Were None
Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jul 04, 2004
Literary Techniques for Suspense in And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie
And Then There Were None, is an intriguing murder mystery novel that follows the lines of a poem called "Ten Little Indians". The story is intricately written to keep the reader in absolute suspense from the beginning to end.
The novel involves eight people being mysteriously invited to spend a summer holiday on "Indian Island". Among the eight are a judge (Justice John Wargrave), doctor (Edward James Armstrong), military general (General John Macarthur), former inspector/current private detective (William Blore), mercenary (Phillip Lombard), young rich athlete (Tony Marston), religious woman (Emily Brent), and a schoolteacher (Vera Claythorne). Additionally, a married couple consisting of a butler (Thomas Rogers) and a maid (Ethel Rogers) are both already present on the island. With the exception of the Rogers', only the host, who is expected to arrive the next day, is absent. As the guests begin talking together, they discover that all of them were invited by a Mr. U.N. Owen. Wargrave surmises that their host's name is fictitious since it so closely resembles the word "unknown." The other guests agree, and tension begins to build. Another mystery is the fact that each of the guests has found a poem titled "Ten Little Indians" in each of their rooms, and mysteriously enough, it appears that there are ten small Indian statuettes arranged at the dinner table. It doesn't take long for each of the guests to realize that the poem and statuettes are representative for each of them.
With passing of the first night's dinner, the group hears a mysterious voice condemning each one of them to a specific murder. A phonograph is found behind one of the walls, it is later discovered that the butler, Mr. Rogers, had been instructed to do it by the host, but that he hadn't known what was on the recording. Every guest begins to suspect all of the other guests.
The first murder occurs when Marston dies from poisoned whiskey. The next morning, it is announced that Mrs. Rogers died in her sleep of unknown causes. Along with their deaths, two of the dolls disappear from the dinner table. Based on the two deaths and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders, the remainder of the guest decide to leave the island on the supply ship...