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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
The judge continues to lead the group, explaining that the anonymous host is someone who knows a lot about each character, thus enabling him to lure them to the island without suspicion. The guests then begin to explain their innocence in the murders of which they have been accused. Justice Wargrave starts by stating that the man he passed sentence on was indeed guilty and worthy of the death sentence. He denies that he knew the man before the trial, but Dr. Armstrong doubts him. Next, Vera Claythorne argues in tears that the drowned child swam off on his own and it was not her fault; even his mother admitted her innocence. General Macarthur follows with an absolute denial of both his wifeís infidelity and his murder of her alleged lover. Philip Lombard surprises everyone by admitting he left the group of natives to starve to death. He justifies it as self-preservation, adding that natives do not mind death as much as Europeans.
Then, Anthony Marston explains away his manslaughter on the road as an innocent accident, yet makes no qualms about his speeding habit. Trembling, Rogers denies he and his wife did anything wrong in their former bossís death. Yet the others question the coupleís motives since the old womanís death brought them money from her will. Mr. Blore claims he was doing his duty in presenting the evidence that put Landor in prison for life, where he soon died. Yet he also benefited from this death by receiving a promotion for the successful conviction. Dr. Armstrong, for his part, denies even remembering a patient by the name of the alleged victim, but thinks to himself how horrifying it was to accidentally kill his patient while operating drunk. Finally, Emily Brent refuses to comment at all on the accusation against her.
The judge concludes the group session by suggesting they all leave Indian Island as soon as Fred Narracottís boat arrives in the morning, since there is no boat on the island to take immediately. Anthony Marston is the only dissenter, saying the mystery is exciting and a shame to end too soon. Moments later, Marston falls dead from his chair after choking on his drink.
This short chapter begins the chain of murders that will end with all ten characters dead. Anthony Marston is the first to succumb to the strange conspiracy, choking suddenly after all the guests have made excuses for the past murders of which they have been accused. The chapter moves the plot dramatically forward, and the reader understands, unlike the characters themselves, that it is only a matter of time before all of them are destroyed.
The author also builds suspense in the charactersí explanations of their alleged murders. Lombardís admission of guilt and lack of remorse is chilling, for example, and Marstonís focus on his own inconvenience rather than regret for his accident victims is disturbing. In this way, the scene keeps the reader guessing about each characterís capacity to be the scheming murderer on the island.