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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
After mechanically eating out of cans while watching each other warily, the four surviving characters march up to their rooms as a group, simultaneously locking and bolting their doors and barricading themselves in with furniture. Philip Lombard opens his bedroom drawer, only to find his missing revolver returned to its place. Vera Claythorne lies awake trying to convince herself that she has nothing to fear locked in her room, all the while remembering Hugo and his drowned nephew, Cyril. She imagines staying locked in her room to protect herself from the murderer, but wonders if she could stand to be alone with her thoughts. She remembers how Cyril had begged her to let him swim out to a far rock and she had secretly consented, knowing the child was not strong enough to stay afloat on his own. She had swum after him slowly, purposefully arriving too late to save him. No one but Hugo, her lover, had suspected any evil intentions on her part, and Hugo disappeared from her life abruptly.
Blore stays awake pondering everything that has happened so far and the problem of the missing revolver. He tries to think methodically and thoroughly, as he had been trained to do as a police officer, but his thoughts turn to Landor, and man he helped sentence to prison through his false testimony. Then suddenly, he hears footsteps outside his door and ventures out to investigate. Seeing a figure slip out the house, he knocks on the other three survivorís doors to ascertain who is still in their room. He finds only Dr. Armstrong missing, and recruits Lombard to help him hunt the doctor down. The two men instruct Vera Claythorne to stay in her room unless they both return together.
Vera dresses and waits, listening to every sound. She hears a windowpane shatter, then a little later, footsteps and voices moving about the house. Finally, Lombard and Blore return to her door and announce that Dr. Armstrong is nowhere on the island or in the house. They did, however, find the window broken and only three Indian figures left on the table.
Desperate to stay alive, Vera fantasizes about keeping herself locked in her bedroom for the duration. Yet her primary fear of doing so is not food, water, or toilet needs; it is that she doubts she could stay by herself with nothing to do but think. This shows that her past still haunts her, so much so that she would rather be among the others and the unknown killer than face hour after hour of her own memories and guilt. When Vera discovers the black hook on her ceiling from which the seaweed must have hung, it gives her an uneasy feeling; this foreshadows the noose that will hang from the same hook at the end of the book, enticing Vera to end her own life.
Bloreís thought pattern in this chapter is also revealing: While attempting to solve the question of the missing revolver, which is critical for him to stay alive, Blore cannot help but remember the face of Landor, the falsely accused criminal he helped to convict. He remembers Landorís wife and daughter and worries about their fate after Landor died in prison. The fact that Blore thinks of his past sin at a time when his own life is in danger demonstrates the power of guilt, a theme of the book.
The level of mystery heightens in this chapter when Lombard and Blore find Dr. Armstrong missing and only three Indian figures left in tact. This is an important twist in the plot that maintains a high level of suspense for the reader, since it changes the action from another predictable murder to a missing person.