Study Guide

And Then There Were None Lies and Deceit

By Agatha Christie

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Lies and Deceit

Rogers said hoarsely:

“A lie—a wicked lie… we never did—neither of us…” (4.12-13)

Mr. Owen’s voice comes on, everyone denies that they did anything. Obviously. We all like to look good at parties, right?

It had come about exactly the way things happened in books. The letter in the wrong envelope. She’d been writing to them both and she’d put her letter to Richmond in the envelope addressed to her husband. Even now, all these years after, he could feel the shock of it—the pain… (5.99)

That awkward moment when you find out about your wife’s infidelity, right? But seriously: Macarthur has been lied to and cheated on, and so he retaliates by… lying and cheating, i.e., sending his wife’s love off to die in battle.

“Doesn’t seem to make much odds now. Oh well, here goes, Landor was innocent right enough. The gang had got me squared and between us we got him put away for a stretch.” (11.116)

Blore isn’t the most upstanding guy. He’ll do just about anything for a promotion, and he only admits that he committed perjury toward the end. But by then it’s too late to lie anyway. We’re pretty sure honesty doesn’t count when you’re forced into it.

“That damned fool, he believed every word I said to him. It was easy... I must be careful, though, very careful.” (11.174)

This little thought is presented without an owner, but after the events, it’s clear that Justice Wargrave is the one thinking these things about Dr. Armstrong, and the Wargrave just might be the biggest liar of them all.

The doctor said, still in the same lifeless voice:

“Got him through the head. Instantaneous.” (13.149-15)

Dr. Armstrong is a pretty good liar. He’s got everyone on the island fooled here—hey, he even had us fooled. Too bad Wargrave is an even better liar.

Vera said vehemently:

“I didn’t! I didn’t! You’ve no right to say that!” (15.178-179)

Even when it’s just her and Lombard at the end, Vera can’t admit that she let Cyril drown. Come on, Vera. We’re all friends here. (Except for the crazy murderer, but you know.)

“A conjuring trick, my dear—a very good one…” (16.16)

Lombard always manages to keep his cool in tricky situations (like ones involving abandoning “natives” to die. He’s totally fine with lying to Vera about having killed Blore, even though there are literally no consequences at this point. In our book, that makes him almost as much of a sociopath as Judge Wargrave.

“So that’s the reason for your womanly solicitude! You wanted to pick my pocket.” (16.55)

Vera may be scared, but she sure can care of herself. She tricks Lombard at the very end and picks his pocket for the revolver. We like to imagine this part with song and dance.

“You can go to the rock, Cyril…”

That was what murder was—as easy as that! (16.131-132)

You could argue—and, actually, we did: see our “Character Roles” section for more—that the whole book is really about getting Vera to admit the truth. Here, she’s finally stopped lying to herself, which is always a good move. Bad move: her next step, which is hanging herself.

We carried it out that evening. A little plaster of red mud on the forehead—the red curtain and the wool and the stage was set. (E.176)

We like to imagine Wargrave laughing maniacally here, as he describes how he fakes his own death. Talk about a lie: this is the deception that makes his whole rule work.

And Then There Were None Lies and Deceit Study Group

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