How’s this for an ending: police officers find ten dead bodies on the island and clear evidence that someone else killed them. What are they supposed to do with that?
Luckily, Christie clears things up for us with an epilogue, which reveals the mystery via a real-life message in a bottle. No, seriously. A message in a bottle washes up on shore, stuffed with Justice Wargrave’s detailed explanation of engineering the whole setup at Soldier Island. So, the ending wraps up everything up by solving the supposedly unsolvable mystery.
It also gives us some insight into the mind of a killer. Wargrave reveals the logic—ahem, “logic”—behind his decision to commit the crimes and then confess to them:
It was my ambition to invent a murder mystery that no one could solve.
But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone. There is a natural craving for recognition which cannot be gainsaid.
In the end, we see that Wargrave is indeed the crazed killer, a sociopath who wants recognition for the murders as though they’re a work of art rather the criminal actions of a madman. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, Wargrave.