Fred Narracott—that’s the man who took the party out there—did say one thing that was illuminating. He said he was surprised to see what sort of people these were. ‘Not at all like Mr. Robson’s parties.’ I think it was the fact that they were all so normal and so quiet that made him override Mr. Morris’s orders and take out a boat to the island after he’d heard about the SOS signals…. The signals were seen by a party of Boy Scouts on the morning of the 11th. There was no possibility of getting out there that day.
You’re thinking, sir, that if the man wasn’t on the island, he couldn’t have left the island, and according to the account of the interested parties he never was on the island. Well, then the only explanation possible is that he was actually one of the ten.
I was restrained and hampered by my innate sense of justice. The innocent must not suffer.
And then, quite suddenly, the idea came to me—started by a chance remark uttered during casual conversation. It was a doctor to whom I was talking—some ordinary undistinguished GP. He mentioned casually how often murder must be committed which the law was unable to touch.
And he instanced a particular case—that of an old lady, a patient of his who had recently died. He was, he said, himself convinced that her death was due to the withholding of a restorative drug by a married couple who attended on her.…
A conversation between two old military gossips in my Club put me on the track of General Macarthur. A man who had recently returned from the Amazon game me a devastating résumé of the activities of one Philip Lombard. An indignant memsahib in Majorca recounted the tale of the Puritan Emily Blunt and her wretched servant girl. Anthony Marston I selected from a large group of people who had committed similar offences. His complete callousness… made him, I considered, a type dangerous to the community and unfit to live.
… I intimated to Armstrong that we must carry our plan into effect. It was simply this—I must appear to be the next victim. That would perhaps rattle the murderer—or at any rate once I was supposed to be dead I could move about the house and spy upon the unknown murderer.
Armstrong was keen on the idea. We carried it out that evening. A little plaster of red mud on the forehead—the red curtain and the wool and the stage was set. The lights of the candles were very flickering… and the only person who would examine me closely was Armstrong.