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In the novel And Then There Were None, Miss Emily Caroline Brent was a sixty-five year old stern and religious woman. Her father had been a Colonel, of the old school. She was the niece of Tom Brent, and a friend of Elsie MacPherson.

When her maid Beatrice Taylor became pregnant out of wedlock, Miss Brent dismissed her. Unable to find any help, Beatrice committed suicide. Miss Brent showed no remorse for what she had done since she considered that the suicide only added to the maid's list of sins.

Emily Brent spent two summers at Bellhaven Guest House. There, she met a certain Miss Oliver. Mr Owen used Miss Oliver's name to lure Emily to Soldier Island along with nine other guests. As the bodies pilled up, Emily Brent started to feel haunted by Beatrice Taylor. When she noted the murder of General Macarthur in her diary, she stated "The murderer's name is Beatrice Taylor" which caused her to question her sanity.

That night, Emily Brent had nightmares of Beatrice pleading in vain to be allowed back into her house, but she refused because it would be condoning a sin. Moments before she was murdered, she even had a vision of Beatrice making her way towards her, soaking wet from the river in which she had drowned.

Her death was caused by a lethal injection of cyanide using Dr Armstrong's syringe after her coffee has been laced with chloral. A bee was even left on the window pane in accordance with the nursery rhyme:

"A bumblebee stung one and then there were five."

The murder weapon was eventually found by William Blore who had actually begun to suspect Emily Brent of being the murderer, her motive being "religious mania" and he even compared her to the suspected American murderer and spinster Lizzie Borden.

Portrayals[]

  • 1945 - In the 1945 film, Miss Brent is portrayed by actress Judith Anderson. In this adaptation she is accused of being responsible for the death of her young nephew who she treated brutally and who committed suicide, a tragedy for which she expresses no regret.
  • 1965 - In the film from 1965, the character is renamed Ilona Berg and is portrayed by Daliah Lavi. In contrast to the original novel, she is portrayed as a glamourous actress with a promiscuous past, accused of murdering her husband.
  • 1974 - In the 1974 adaptation, the character is renamed Ilona Morgan and she is portrayed by actress Stéphane Audran. Again, she is a glamourous actress, accused of murdering her husband.
  • 1989 - In the 1989 film the character is renamed Marion Marshall and is portrayed by Brenda Vaccaro. Mr. Owen accuses her of being responsible for the death of an actress named Beatrice Taylor.
  • 2015 - In the 2015 And Then There Were None miniseries, she was portrayed by Miranda Richardson. Her role is mostly faithful to the original one. However, here it is she who finds the body of John Macarthur and not Dr Armstrong. Here, she asked Vera Claythorne to make her some tea before dying, so she is the one who finds her body instead of the whole group.
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