“Story’s quite true! I left ‘em! Matter of self-preservation. We were lost in the bush. I and a couple of other fellows took what food there was and cleared out.”General Macarthur said sternly:“You abandoned your men—left them to starve?”Lombard said:“Not quite the act of a pukka sahib, I’m afraid. But self-preservation’s a man’s first duty. And natives don’t mind dying, you know. They don’t feel about it as Europeans do.”
Although Agatha Christie’s hipster detractors no doubt would protest at such a characterization, in Philip Lombard and Vera Claythorne we can be said to have a damned couple that comes straight out of noir. Truly these two people occupy the darkest of spaces on Christie's isle of the dead.
He had said it as though a hundred guineas was nothing to him. A hundred guineas when he was literally down to his last square meal! He had fancied, though, that the little Jew had not been deceived—that was the damnable part about Jews, you couldn’t deceive them about money—they knew!