There was a silence—a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating . . . “Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! . . . You are charged with the following indictments.”
This quotation comes from the beginning of Chapter 3, when the guests have just finished their first meal on Indian Island. Before this moment in the novel, Christie has established a general mood of foreboding and has hinted that all of her characters have guilty secrets. Now these secrets are brought into the open by the recorded voice. We begin to realize that these people have been brought to Indian Island for some sinister purpose having to do with their past crimes. The way the voice presents the list of crimes (“You are charged with the following indictments”) serves as an important clue to the murderer’s identity. The guests are charged with their murders in the formal style of a courtroom, in the language that Judge Wargrave was accustomed to using during his career.