Part 1 Summary
In Ten Little Indians Christie creates a masterpiece of mystery and murder. After ten strangers gather together on an isolated island off the coast of Devon, England, one by one, they each are discovered murdered. As those remaining frantically search for the murderer, their own guilty pasts return to haunt them.
Mr. Justice Wargrave, lately retired from the bench, travels by train to Devon where he will be taken by boat to Indian Island. Seven others are also on their way there, most invited by a Mr. or Mrs. Owen. Vera Claythorne, a young, attractive teacher was hired through a letter from Una Nancy Owen for a short stint as a secretary. Captain Philip Lombard is not sure why he has been assigned to the island, other than to hold himself “at the disposal of a client.” Miss Emily Brent, an elderly woman, has been invited by letter by someone she met years ago at a guesthouse. General Macarthur, retired from service, was invited by “a man named Owen” to “chat about old times” and Dr. Armstrong was asked by letter to treat Mrs. Owen’s medical condition. Dashing young Tony Marston also received a letter from the Owens inviting him to the island. None of them, however, are very clear about who the Owens are. While Mr. Blore travels by train to the island, he writes down the names of the seven people we have just met along with two servants, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, and decides to pretend to be a Mr. Davis. As Fred Narracott, a local sailor, takes them all to Indian Island by boat, Vera notes “there was something sinister” about it and “shivered faintly.”
After they arrive at the island, Mr. Rogers, the butler, tells them that Mr. Owen has been “unfortunately delayed” and will not appear until the next day. Mrs. Rogers, the cook, shows them to their rooms and they later reunite for dinner where they discover ten little china Indians on a table. They also note that the “Ten Little Indians” nursery rhyme is framed...
(The entire section is 814 words.)