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Don't be a fool. You're so tired that you're imagining the most fantastic

things...

–Vera Claythorne, And Then There Were None

Vera Elizabeth Claythorne is a character from the 1939 detective novel And Then There Were None. Vera was once a governess for a wealthy family who now works as a teacher for a third-rate all-girl's school.

In the events, Vera, alongside nine other people, are gathered Soldier Island, with her being hired as a secretary for the wife of the island's supposed owner, U. N. Owen.

Role in the novel[]

“[Cyril] was forbidden to swim out far. One day, when my attention was distracted, he started off. I swam after him . . . I couldn’t get there in time. . . . It was awful. . . . But it wasn’t my fault. At the inquest the Coroner exonerated me. And his mother—she was so kind. If even she didn’t blame me, why should—why should this awful thing be said? It’s not fair—not fair . . .” She broke down, weeping bitterly.

She was responsible for the death of Cyril Hamilton, a child in her care while she was a governess. Vera let him drown because, in the event of Cyril' s death, her lover Hugo Hamilton (Cyril’s uncle) would inherit the estate and been able to marry her. However, when Hugo intuitively discerned what she had done, he was appalled and broke up with her.

“You can go to the rock, Cyril...” That was what murder was—as easy as that! But afterwards you went on remembering....

After shooting Philip Lombard on the beach, Vera returns to the house only to see a noose hanging on the ceiling prepared for her. Out of guilt, Vera hangs herself, fulfilling the last part of the poem: "One little soldier boy, left all alone; He went and hung himself and then there were none."

Portrayals[]

In the 1943 stage play, Vera survives along with Lombard. Most adaptations follow this pattern.

  • 1945 - In the 1945 film Vera Claythorne was portrayed by June Duprez. In this adaptation she is accused of murdering her sister's fiancé.
  • 1965 - In the 1965 film the character was renamed Ann Clyde and was portrayed by Shirley Eaton. She is again accused of murdering her sister's fiancé.
  • 1974 - In the 1974 film the character was renamed Vera Clyde and was portrayed by Elke Sommer. She is again accused of having murdered her sister's fiancé.
  • 1989 - In the 1989 film Vera Claythorne was portrayed by Sarah Maur Thorp. She is accused of the death of a child, but survives the ordeal.
  • 2015 - In the 2015 BBC miniseries Vera Claythorne was portrayed by Maeve Dermody. She is accused of the murder of Cyril and ends up hanged.
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