"And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Indian Island."

And Then There Were None Timeline

What year does the story take place? We know the month was August, so it must have been either in 1937 or 1938. Reasons:

  • It was originally serialized in June and July of 1939, so it could not have taken place in August of that year.
  • Vera Claythorne was responsible for Cyril Hamilton’s death in August 1935. Thus our years are limited to 1936, 1937, or 1938.
  • Tony Marston was responsible for the deaths of John and Lucy Combes “upon the 14th day of November last.” If the story took place in 1938, that would be 1937; if it took place in 1937, that would be 1936; if it took place in 1936, that would be 1935.
  • If the story took place in 1936, when referring to Vera Claythorne's murder of Cyril, the Voice would have likely said, “last August,” “August a year ago,” or, as the Voice said regarding Marston, “on the 11th day of August last.” Therefore I'm inclined to toss out 1936 as a possible year.
  • August 8, 1937, was a Sunday; August 8 was a Monday in 1938. Either day is a likely day for beginning a week’s vacation, as some of the guests were told.

Therefore, I am assuming it takes place August 1938 mainly because having the story commence on 08.08.38 appeals to me.

Regardless of the year, here is a timeline of the story's events that incorporates all references to dates and times in the novel.

August 3 (?)

  • Mr. and Mrs. Rogers arrive on Indian Island. (Page 51: On August 8, Rogers says, "We've only been here just under a week, sir, my wife and I.")

August 8

  • William Blore, Emily Brent, Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, General Macarthur, Tony Marston, and Justice Wargrave arrive at Indian Island by boat accompanied by Fred Narracot. After arriving, they are told Mr. Owen has been delayed in his arrival.
  • Dr. Armstrong arrives separately, accompanied by Fred Narracot.
  • 8:00 pm: Supper is served.
  • 9:20 pm: A recorded Voice accuses each of the ten visitors of murder.
  • Marston is murdered.
  • One of the Indian figurines disappears.
  • Isaac Morris dies.

August 9

  • After midnight: The guests go to bed.
  • Mrs. Rogers is murdered in her sleep.
  • 9:00 am: Breakfast is served, after which Armstrong informs the guests of Mrs. Rogers’ death.
  • 9:50 am: Guests realize that Narracot has not returned.
  • Guests notice that a second figurine is gone.
  • Blore, Armstrong, and Lombard search the island and the house.
  • General Macarthur is murdered.
  • Noon or 1:00 pm: Luncheon is served.
  • Another figurine disappears.
  • A storm breaks.
  • 4:00 (?) pm: Tea time; wool and a bathroom curtain are missing.
  • 8:00 (?) pm: Dinner is served.
  • 9:00 pm: Vera and Emily go to bed.
  • 10:00 pm: Armstrong, Blore, Wargrave, and Lombard go to bed.
  • Before retiring, Rogers locks the doors to the dining room to protect the figurines, putting the key in his pocket.

August 10

  • Daybreak: Lombard awakens.
  • Rogers is murdered; figurine is removed.
  • 8:00 am: Lombard is asleep again.
  • 9:30 am: Lombard realizes no breakfast has come, goes in search of Rogers.
  • 9:35 am: Lombard awakens Blore.
  • Rogers’ body is discovered.
  • Breakfast.
  • Emily Brent is murdered.
  • 10:55 am: Emily Brent’s body is discovered.
  • The guests discover Armstrong's hypodermic syringe and Lombard's revolver have both disappeared.
  • The guests search each other and their rooms.
  • The syringe and another broken figurine are found outside the dining room window.
  • 12:00 noon (?): Midday meal.
  • 3:15–5:00 pm: Five remaining guests sit together in the drawing room.
  • 5:00 pm: Tea time.
  • 5:45 pm: Guests discover the lights don’t work because the generator hasn’t been running. They light candles.
  • 6:20 pm: Vera finds seaweed strung from a hook in her room.
  • Wargrave is found dressed as a judge with “a round stain mark from which something . . . trickled” on his “high bald forehead.”
  • Lombard, Claythorne, Armstrong, and Blore eat supper.
  • Lombard, Claythorne, Armstrong, and Blore go to bed.
  • Lombard discovers the revolver replaced in his bedside table.

August 11

  • Midnight: Blore is in his room thinking through the situation.
  • After midnight: The storm stops. Armstrong is murdered.
  • 1:00 am: Blore hears someone in the hall. He and Lombard discover that Armstrong is missing and go in search of him.
  • A figurine is thrown out the window.
  • Breakfast.
  • Morning: Blore, Lombard, and Claythorne heliograph SOS to the mainland. Boy scouts see the signal.
  • 2:00 pm: Blore returns to the house for lunch and is murdered.
  • Lombard and Claythorne find Amstrong’s body.
  • Shortly before sunset Vera shoots Lombard.
  • Vera destroys two of the remaining three figurines.
  • Vera sees a noose hanging from the hook in her room, breaks the last figurine, and hangs herself.
  • Wargrave straightens the chair in Vera’s room, writes a note explaining the events, places it in a bottle, and throws it into the sea. He then commits suicide.

August 12: Fred Narracot returns.

August 13: Police surgeon arrives.