Everyone feels better and starts to enjoy themselves after dinner. Wargrave is amusing, Mr. Blore (pretending to be Davis) discusses South Africa; Mr. Lombard continues to eye everyone suspiciously. Anthony Marston comments on the small soldier figurines placed in the middle of the table. Vera points out that they must be connected to the nursery rhyme in her bedroom and everyone responds that they have the same thing in their own rooms.
The comforts and pleasures of civilized society make everyone feel better. It is also revealed that the entire house is structured around the idea of the Ten Little Soldiers poem. In spite of this oddity no one yet suspects that anything is wrong. This shows how much people trust the order and structure of upper class society.
Miss Brent and Vera get up and everyone follows them to the drawing room. Vera says that it must be difficult to get here in a storm – hard to get servants. Miss Brent responds that Mrs. Oliver was lucky to get these two. Vera thinks it's funny that old people always get names wrong and says that Mrs. Owen has been lucky indeed. Miss Brent says she's never met anyone named Mrs. Owen.
This is the first moment when the characters begin to see a crack in the story—a crack we, as readers, have known all along: the guests were not all invited here by the same person.
The men enter before the women can finish their conversation. Mr. Rogers serves coffee and all the guests feel satisfied with their meals. All of a sudden a recorded voice pierces the silence. It charges each of the guests with a murder. It knows the specific date of the murders and the names of the people killed. The voice ends with “Prisoners at the bar, do you have anything to say in your defense?”
The secrets that everyone has been holding are all of a sudden revealed by an anonymous voice. Each one of the guests, who felt protected by the fact that no one knew about his or her past crime, has now been revealed as guilty. The voice also structures the speech as if it were a court, implying that there will be justice.
When the recording ends, Mr. Rogers drops the coffee tray and at the same time there is a scream and a thud as Mrs. Rogers faints. Everyone starts frantically asking what happened and only Wargrave and Miss Brent seem unmoved.
Christie often provides information about who doesn't react to events. This draws the reader to participate in the detective work.
Wargrave looks around the room and opens a door where he finds a gramophone on a table. There are three holes in the wall to the other room so the sounds can get through. Mrs. Rogers comes to and Dr. Armstrong gives her brandy.
The discovery of the gramophone shows the guests that the whole speech was planned long in advance. It also shows that whoever planned this stunt has a sense of the theatrical.
Wargrave asks Rogers if he put the record on. Mr. Rogers tells them that he was told to turn the gramophone on, but assumed that it was music. He swears that Mr. Owen instructed him to do it. The name of the record is “Swan Song.”
Whoever organized this was able to use Rogers without arousing his suspicious. A “Swan Song” is the last effort made before death – an ominous, foreboding title.
Mr. Rogers and Dr. Armstrong take Mrs. Rogers to bed. Marston says that the needs a drink and he and Lombard come back with some whiskey. Dr. Armstrong comes back and says he has given Mrs. Rogers a sedative.
Christie is very clear about which character does what action in an attempt to bring the reader into the detective work. She develops suspicion for all of them
Wargrave then takes charge and the room becomes a court of law. Everyone tries to pool their information to see what they know about the situation. It turns out that no one has ever seen Mr. Owen. Mr. Rogers shows the letter from Mr. Owen with their instructions. Mr. Blore looks at the letter and determines that there are no clues in it. Marston comments on Owen's fancy name: Ulick Norman Owen.
The scene very quickly becomes a courtroom controlled by Wargrave. This impromptu court adds to the feeling of suspicion, but also keeps everything in order. These very civilized characters are dealing with the recent events in an organized and civil manner. The society has not yet broken down.
Each continues to go around and explain their situation, and why they were called here. They all provide the same information that was given in chapter one when each character was introduced, except Lombard who lies and says that a mutual friend of Mr. Owen invited him.
The reader has more information than the characters as this point. A careful reader can find inconsistencies in the characters' actions or stories, as we do with Lombard.
Wargrave then turns to Mr. Blore and says that his given name, Davis, was not mentioned in the recording. Mr. Blore explains that he is not actually Mr. Davis but says that he was hired by Mr. Owen as a detective to watch over Mrs. Owen's jewels. But now Blore believes that there is no Mr. Owen.
Blore switches the attention from himself and his own lies to their host, Mr. Owen. From this point on everyone is constantly under trial and trying to keep the guilt off of him or herself.
Wargrave agrees, and points out that the initials given U. N. Owen can be easily turned into UNKNOWN. Vera exclaims that this is all insane while Wargrave announces his belief that they are dealing with a “dangerous homicidal lunatic.”