Judge Lawrence Wargrave
A recently retired judge. Wargrave is a highly intelligent old man with a commanding personality. As the characters begin to realize that a murderer is hunting them, Wargrave’s experience and air of authority make him a natural leader for the group. He lays out evidence, organizes searches, and ensures that weapons are locked away safely. Wargrave’s guilt is revealed at the end of the novel in a confession that illuminates the characteristics that drive him to commit the series of murders: a strong sense of justice combined with a sadistic delight in murdering.
A former governess who comes to Indian Island purportedly to serve as a secretary to Mrs. Owen. Vera wants to escape a past in which she killed a small boy in her care, Cyril Hamilton, so that the man she loved would inherit Cyril’s estate. Although the coroner cleared her of blame, Vera’s lover abandoned her. Vera is one of the most intelligent and capable characters in the novel, but she also suffers from attacks of hysteria, feels guilty about her crime, and reacts nervously to the uncanny events on the island. The “Ten Little Indians” poem has a powerful effect on her.
A mysterious, confident, and resourceful man who seems to have been a mercenary soldier in Africa. Lombard is far bolder and more cunning than most of the other characters, traits that allow him to survive almost until the end of the novel. His weakness is his chivalrous attitude toward women, particularly Vera, with whom he has a number of private conversations. He cannot think of her as a potential killer, and he underestimates her resourcefulness, which proves a fatal mistake.
Dr. Edward George Armstrong
A gullible, slightly timid doctor. Armstrong often draws the suspicion of the other guests because of his medical knowledge. He is a recovering alcoholic who once accidentally killed a patient by operating on her while drunk. Armstrong, while professionally successful, has a weak personality, making him the perfect tool for the murderer. He has spent his whole life pursuing respectability and public success, and is unable to see beneath people’s exteriors.
William Henry Blore
A former police inspector. Blore is a well-built man whose experience often inspires others to look to him for advice. As a policeman, he was corrupt and framed a man named Landor at the behest of a criminal gang. On the island, he acts boldly and frequently takes initiative, but he also makes frequent blunders. He constantly suspects the wrong person, and his boldness often verges on foolhardiness.
An old, ruthlessly religious woman who reads her Bible every day. The recording accuses Emily Brent of killing Beatrice Taylor, a servant whom she fired upon learning that Beatrice was pregnant out of wedlock. Beatrice subsequently killed herself. Unlike the other characters, Emily Brent feels convinced of her own righteousness and does not express the slightest remorse for her actions.
General John Gordon Macarthur
The oldest guest. Macarthur is accused of sending a lieutenant, Arthur Richmond, to his death during the Great War because Richmond was his wife’s lover. Once the first murders take place, Macarthur, already guilt-ridden about his crime, becomes resigned to his death and sits by the sea waiting for it to come to him.
The dignified butler. Rogers continues to be a proper servant even after his wife is found dead and the bodies begin piling up. The recording accuses Rogers and his wife of letting their former employer die because they stood to inherit money from her.
Rogers’s wife. Ethel is a frail woman, and the death of Tony Marston makes her faint. Wargrave believes her husband dominates her and that he masterminded their crime.
A rich, athletic, handsome youth. Tony Marston likes to drive recklessly and seems to lack a conscience. He killed two small children in a car accident caused by his speeding, but shows no remorse.
A shady, criminal character hired by the murderer to make the arrangements for the island. Morris allegedly peddled drugs to a young woman and drove her to suicide.