full title And Then There Were None (originally published as Ten Little Indians)
author Agatha Christie
type of work Novel
genre Murder mystery
time and place written 1939, England
date of first publication 1939
publisher G. P. Putnam’s Sons
narrator The narrator is an unnamed omniscient individual.
point of view The point of view constantly shifts back and forth between each of the ten characters.
tone The narrator relates the story in a dark, foreboding, and sinister tone, and often reacts dramatically (or melodramatically) to the events of the story.
setting (time) 1930s
setting (place) Indian Island, a fictional island off the English coast
protagonist Although no clear protagonist exists, Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard are the most fully developed characters, and they outlive almost everyone else.
major conflict An anonymous killer gathers a collection of strangers on Indian Island to murder them as punishment for their past crimes.
rising action The accusations made by the recorded voice turn the island getaway into a scene of paranoia; the murders of Tony Marston, Mrs. Rogers, General Macarthur, Mr. Rogers, and Emily Brent indicate that no one will be able to escape the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme.
climax The apparent death of Judge Wargrave and the disappearance of Dr. Armstrong strip away any sense of order.
falling action The murders of Blore, Lombard, and Vera, combined with Wargrave’s confession, restore some sense of order to the chaos of the story.
themes The administration of justice; the effects of guilt on one’s conscience; the danger of reliance on class distinctions
motifs The “Ten Little Indians” poem; dreams and hallucinations
symbols The storm; the mark on Judge Wargrave’s forehead; food
foreshadowing Vera’s first sight of Indian Island, which she thinks looks sinister, hints at the trouble to come; the old man’s warning to Blore on the train that the day of judgment is approaching hints that Blore will soon die; the “Ten Little Indians” poem lays out the pattern for the imminent murders; Vera’s fascination with both the poem and the hook on her ceiling presage her eventual decision to hang herself.