And Then There Were None Chapter 1
Justice Wargrave rides in the first class section of a train headed for Devon. He thinks about his destination, the mysterious house on Indian Island. It was built years earlier by a rich American, then abandoned after the death of his wife in a boating accident. Gossip and rumors now surround the place, and the newspapers alternately suggest that the Island has been purchased by a movie star, the military, Royalty, or even an equally mysterious Mr. Owen. Wargrave examines the letter he received, inviting him to the island. The name signed to it is that of an old friend of his, Constance Culmington. He remembers her as being a flighty, and last heard that she'd gone to live in Persia. His thoughts provide the reader with their first clue: "Constance Culmington, he reflected to himself, was exactly the sort of woman who would buy an island and surround herself with mystery! Nodding his head in gentle approval of his logic, Mr. Justice Wargrave allowed his head to nod... He slept..." Chapter 1, pg. 3
On the same train, in the third-class section, sits Vera Claythorne. She too is headed for Indian Island, hired to be a nanny by one 'Una Nancy Owen'. Vera think that she's lucky to have found any job at all - she'd recently been involved in a bit of a scandal: "People don't like a Coroner's Inquest, even is the Coroner did acquit me of all blame!" Chapter 1, pg. 4 Despite her self-assurances though, she still worries about going back to the sea, especially after the drowning... She notices, and is noticed by, the man sitting across from her, Phillip Lombard, a down-on his luck former army man who has been hired by Mr. Morris on behalf of Mr. Owen - his job is to do whatever is asked of him. For a week's work he's paid a large sum of money, but he assures Morris that he won't do anything illegal. Privately, though, he has other thoughts on the matter: "No, there wasn't much he drew the line at. He fancied he was going to enjoy himself at Indian Island." Chapter 1, pg. 7
In a non-smoking car, Emily Brent sits, pondering on the weakness and worthlessness of the younger generation: "Every one made such a fuss over things nowadays! They wanted injections before they had teeth pulled - they took drugs if they couldn't sleep - they wanted easy chairs and cushions and the girls allowed their figures to slop about anyhow and lay about half naked on the beaches in summer." Chapter 1, pg. 7 Recent events have lowered her income, so when she received a letter from a forgotten acquaintance, offering a free vacation on the famous Indian Island, she was more than happy to take U.N. Oliver up on the offer, even though she couldn't really make out the signature or remember the name. General Macarthur is also on the train, having received a letter from Owen, a supposed acquaintance of some old army friends of his. According to the letter, there's going to be some kind of a get together on the island, and the General is only too happy to take a vacation. He'd been worried lately that his old friends had been avoiding him, do to the recent rumors about that thing he was involved in, some 30 years ago...
Dr. Armstrong drives down a country highway, on his way to provide an informal medical consultation for Owens on Indian Island. Life had been good to him lately, he'd become a popular doctor with the upper class, but he thinks back to a horrible incident fifteen years ago - when he turned his life around, and barely avoided going to jail. He puts those thoughts out of his head as a Sports Car blasts by him. The driver of the Sports Car is Tony Marston, who complains to himself about the quality of English roads and drivers. He stops at a country hotel for a drink, and ponders his invitation. He's not quite sure who the Owens are, because they're new money. He hopes they know how to mix a good drink.
William Henry Blore sits in a train, across from an old sailor. He's checking over a list of all the people who are going to be on the Island. He's been hired for some kind of job, but he's nebulous about what it is. He tries to figure out what story to use as a cover - he decides to pretend that he's from South Africa, it's doubtful that anyone will know enough to call him on it. The old seaman across from him wakes up, and tells him that a storm is coming, that the day of judgment is close at hand. Blore thinks to himself: " 'He's nearer the day of judgment than I am!' But there, as it happens, he was wrong..." Chapter 1, pg. 16