From his pocket Mr. Justice Wargrave drew out a letter. The handwriting was practically illegible but words here and there stood out with unexpected clarity. Dearest Lawrence… such years since I heard anything of you… must come to Soldier Island… the most enchanting place… and his correspondent signed herself with a flourish his ever Constance Culmington.
Vera Claythorne…leaned her head back and shut her eyes…. It would be nice to get to the sea! Really a great piece of luck getting this job. When you wanted a holiday post it nearly always meant looking after a swarm of children—secretarial holiday posts were much more difficult to get…
And then the letter had come….
Soldier Island! Why, there had been nothing else in the papers lately! All sorts of hints and interesting rumours. Though probably they were mostly untrue.
Mr. Isaac Morris had shaken his bald head very positively.
“No, Captain Lombard, the matter rests there. It is understood by my client that your reputation is that of a good man in a tight place. I am empowered to hand you one hundred guineas in return for which you will travel to Sticklehaven, Devon….where a motor launch will convey you to Soldier Island. There you will hold yourself at the disposal of my client.”
And now Dr. Armstrong had definitely arrived. His days were full. He had little leisure. And so, on this August morning, he was glad that he was leaving London and going to be for some days on an island off the Devon coast. Not that it was exactly a holiday. The letter he had received had been rather vague in its terms, but there was nothing vague about the accompanying cheque. A whacking fee. These Owens must be rolling in money.
Mr. Blore was writing carefully in a little notebook.
“That’s the lot,” he muttered to himself. “Emily Brent, Vera Claythorne, Dr. Armstrong, Anthony Marston, old Justice Wargrave, Philip Lombard, General Macarthur, C.M.G., D.S.O. Manservant and wife: Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.”
He closed the notebook and put it back in his pocket.