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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
After breakfast, the judge suggests that they meet in half an hour to discuss matters, and all agree. Vera Claythorne and Blore volunteer to clear and wash the dishes. Emily Brent complains of dizziness, but when Dr. Armstrong offers her medicine, she violently refuses, with clear fear and suspicion as to the doctorís motives. Alone and drowsy in the sitting room, Emily Brent begins to hear a bee buzzing and imagines that Beatrice Taylor, the girl she drove to suicide, is coming out of the river to haunt her.
Meanwhile, the others have congregated and are discussing the likelihood of Emily Brent being the murderer. Vera Claythorne shares Miss Brentís tale about her pregnant servant who committed suicide, and everyone reacts with anger that she appeared to feel no regret about the girlís death. They decide to have Dr. Armstrong carefully watch Miss Brentís actions for signs of insanity before taking any actions against her. Yet when the group finds Miss Brent, she is dead from an injection of poison through a hypodermic syringe.
Hearing that Dr. Armstrong is the only one who brought a hypodermic syringe to the island, the other four characters immediately suspect him. Lombard seems to be losing his calm demeanor in the midst of this situation. When the doctorís syringe is not in its proper place, everyone submits to a search of their person and room. Any dangerous objects are rounded up and placed in a locked case, which in turn is locked in the pantry plate cupboard. The two keys are given to Lombard and Blore, so that no one person will have access. Lombard reluctantly agrees to add his revolver to the locked-up objects, but it cannot be found where he left it. Everyone searches the entire house as a group but fails to locate the revolver.
It is ironic that as the other characters all discuss Emily Brent as the possible killer, she lies in another room already murdered. As the judge asserts, it is only the dead who can be cleared of suspicion. Miss Brent, unlike General Macarthur, refused to believe she could end up a victim. The reader understands here that death will be inevitable for all ten on the island, whether they welcome it, as the general did, or resist it fiercely, as the spinster did. With the murder of Miss Brent, the plotís pace quickens, as that makes two killings in the same morning. This represents a heightened excitement in the plot, which will culminate in the climax, when only two characters remain alive.
In this chapter also, the remaining characters grow increasingly paranoid and suspicious of each other. They know undoubtedly now that one of them is dangerous, and the mood becomes more desperate with each successive death. Lombard, a man experienced with danger and risky operations, loses his even temper after Emily Brentís death. This hints of his and other charactersí further hysteria and mental breakdown as the plot progresses.