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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Having discovered no Mr. Owen hiding on the island, Lombard, Armstrong and Blore begin to attack each other. Blore accuses the doctor of giving an accidental overdose of sedative to Mrs. Rogers, Lombard says Blore is probably guilty of the perjury charge made by the gramophone, and Blore demands to know why Lombard brought a revolver to the island. Lombard confesses that he was hired to come and look out for trouble, but says now he believes that was a trap and that he is in the same trouble as the other guests.
As lunch begins, Dr. Armstrong goes to call General Macarthur who is still sitting out by the sea. Meanwhile, they all notice a storm is coming and lament that Fred Narracott’s boat never came that day. Suddenly, the doctor runs in to announce that the general is dead from a blow to the head, possibly by a life preserver. As the men carry in his body, Vera Claythorne and Rogers together discover that only seven Indian figures remain on the table now.
Justice Wargrave unemotionally leads the remaining guests in a discussion of the facts so far: Since no one else was discovered on the island, one of them must be the murderer. Everyone agrees, and the judge further asserts that no one can be cleared of doubt for position, character or probability, since all are strangers to each other, professional men are just as capable of killing as anyone else, and a woman could have committed the murders just as easily as a man. From there, they go through each of the murders to determine whether it would have been impossible for any one of them to commit any of them. The guests grudgingly agree that any of them could have committed the murders in all three cases.
This chapter is an important turning point in the plot because the characters realize that the murderer is one of them, not an unknown assailant hidden on the island somewhere. This acknowledgment adds to the suspense, as they realize they have been socializing with an insane killer all along. The subtle doubting of others’ motives now turns into full-scale fear and suspicion, and no one can trust anyone else. The judge continues in his leadership role in the group, helping them come to the same logical conclusions he offers. His insistence that all seven remaining people are equally under suspicion is a critical building block for the rest of the book, in which the characters will continue to doubt each other equally as the possible murderer.