How does Agatha Christie build suspense in And Then There Were None?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Christie builds suspense, first, in the mysterious way each of the guests is summoned to the island, none of them knowing the host. Following that, the mysterious record plays, accusing them all of having, in various ways, gotten away with murder. Then, almost immediately, Marston, one of the guests, dies. His drink has been poisoned. The next morning Mrs. Rogers is found dead, and not long after that General MacArthur dies from a blow to the head.

The mysterious host and the three murders in quick succession build a sense of suspense or anticipation. Unlike in other murder mysteries, it now becomes clear that all (or all but one of) the guests are destined to be killed in retribution for their crimes. This being the case, one wonders from moment to moment who will be murdered next and how. Meanwhile, high waves mean no one can escape the island, and phone lines being cut means no one has a chance of calling for help. The tension escalates.

Readers can imagine themselves in the place of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 562 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team