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Martin Chase

on 28 January 2014

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The Murder
THE CRIME: American millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett was found dead in compartment No. 2 of the Stamboul-Calais coach of the Orient Express at 1:15, with a dozen knife wounds of varying ferocity discovered on the victim's body.

" 'This man Ratchett, or Casetti, was stabbed in twelve places and died last night.' "
(p. 190.)
Hercule Poirot: The Detective
Notable for the following discoveries:

- The letter indicating the Armstrong Case as the motive:
"Only three words and a part of another showed: '-member little Daisy Armstrong.' "
(p. 79).

- The man in Samuel Ratchett's (the victim's) compartment at 12:37:
'M. Ratchett spoke no French.'
Yet, when the conductor came in answer to his bell last night, it was a voice speaking in
that told him it was a mistake and that he was not wanted."
(p. 233).

- The red herring of Ratchett's fictional assassin:
" 'Then Hardman's story of being called in by Ratchett - a lie, of course, from beginning to end - the description of the mythical 'small dark man with a womanish voice,' a convenient description, since it had the merit of not incriminating any of the actual Wagon Lit conductors and would apply equally well to a man or woman.' "
(p. 308).
M. Bouc: The "Watson"
Five Clues
Helpful citizens: Doctor Constantine & Hector MacQueen
Dr. Constantine ("Constantine.jpg")
By Agatha Christie
Presentation by M. Chase
Works Cited
"agatha-christie.jpg." Photograph. n.d. "Will Gluck to Direct Agatha Christe Action-Adventure AGATHA for Paramount."
Collider.com, 2005-2013. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. <http://collider.com/will-gluck-agatha/>

"Blue_Mosque_Istanbul_Turkey." Photograph.2 Aug. 2013. Istanbul 2010. Istanbul 2010, 2013. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. <http://www.istanbul2010.org/>

CeskaSoda. "Hercule Poirot." Illustration. n.d.
. deviantArt, 2013. Web. 30 Dec. 2013. <http://ceskasoda.deviant art.com/art/Hercule-Poirot-94441259>

Screenshot of M. Bouc. Photograph. n.d. "Character List."
Murder on the Orient Express.
Blogspot.com, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013. <http://murderontheoriontexpress.blogspot.com/p/character-list.html>

"Czechoslovak Gendarme (Police) Uniform Button, ca. 1930." Photograph. n.d. "Police Uniform Buttons."
Jim Casey Publishing, 1996-2014. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. <http://www.policeguide.com/Police_Photo_Galleries/Police_Uniform_Buttons/police_uniform_buttons.html>

"Constantine.jpg." Photograph. 30 Dec. 2010. "Constantine."
Hercule Poirot Wiki.
Wikia, Inc, n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013. <http://poirot.wikia.com/wiki/Constantine>

Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc., 2014. Web. 2 Jan 2014. <http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ch-Co/Christie-Agatha.html#b>

"Former Yugoslavia." Map. n.d. "Yugoslavia."
. NationMaster.com, 2003-2013. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country/yu-yugoslavia>

Screenshot from "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974). Photograph. 25 Jun. 2011. "Film Review: 'Murder on the Orient Express' (1974)."
The Agatha Christie Reader.
Wordpress.com, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013. <http://agathachristiereader.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/orient-express-1974/>

"Hector MacQueen - the secretary." Photograph. n.d. "The evidence."
The thoughts of Hercule Poirot
. Awesome Inc., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013. <http://murder-on-the-orient-express.blogspot.com/>

"H.jpg." Photograph, n.d. "Unique Personalized Gift Items."
Duck Bridge Farm.
Duck Bridge Farm, n.d. Web. 1 Jan 2014. <http://www.duckbridgefarm.com/gifts.shtml>

The Literature Network.
Jalic Inc., 2000-2013. Web.2 Jan 2014. <http://www.online-literature.com/agatha_christie/>

Mr. Sefe. "Classic puzzle of a torn letter." Screenshot. 28 Dec. 2006. "Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express."
Moby Games
. Moby Games, 1999-2014.Web. 1 Jan. 2014. <http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/agatha-christie-murder-on-the-orient-express/screenshots/gameShotId,200684/>

MysteryNet and Newfront Productions, Inc., 1998-2012. Web. 2 JJan. 2014. <http://christie.mysterynet.com/>

Image of woman in scarlet kimono. Illustration. n.d. "Murder on the Orient Express."
Glogster, 2007-2012. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. <http://www.glogster.com/benfall/murder-on-the-orient-express/g-6n24munv0edam24n4momna0?old_view=True>

"Tobacco Pipe Cleaner Tool Kit." Photograph. n.d.
Zodiac Gift.
Zodiac Gift, 2013. Web. 1 Jan 2014. <http://www.zodiacgift.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?cmd=product&style=sr-pipe-cleaning-tool-a&colorcode=ss>

Photo of the Hagia Sophia. Photograph. n.d.
tourist hotels & Resorts.
KAPTAN, n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. <http://www.touristhotels.org/istanbul.html>

"Toby Jones as Samuel Ratchett in 'Murder on the Orient Express.' " Photograph. 19 Jul. 2011. " 'Agatha Christie's Poirot:' Series Twelve Review."
The Agatha Christie Reader
. Wordpress.com, n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013. <http://agathachristiereader.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/poirot-review-12/>

Artistic rendering of Poirot and the Orient Express. Illustration.
Watching the Detectives
. Steve Miller, 2003. Web. 31 Dec. 2013. <http://watchtingthedetectives.blogspot.com/2010/04/could-detective-be-killer.html>
Screenshot of Hercule Poirot and suspects ("Film Review").
Image courtesy of CeskaSoda
M. Bouc, the companion of H. Poirot. ("Character List")
Notable For:
- Suggesting the nature of the victim's knife wounds indicate a female murderer:
" 'That is the act of a man driven almost crazy with a frenzied hate - suggests more of a Latin temperament. Or else it suggests, as our friend the chef de train insisted, a woman.' "
(p. 67).

-Suggesting that passenger Antonio Foscarelli committed the murder:
" 'He [Antonio] comes from America - from Chicago - and remember an Italian's weapon is the knife, and he stabs not once but several times.' "
(p. 129).

- Deduces how the murderer entered the victim's compartment from Poirot's evidence of the key:
" 'After all, if a Wagon Lit uniform, why not a Wagon Lit key?.' "
(p. 225).
Mr. MacQueen. ("Hector MacQueen - the secretary")
- Responsible for estimating the time of the victim's death:
" 'Dr. Constantine is of the opinion that death occurred at about 1 a.m.' "
(p. 52).
- Unwittingly discloses the clue of his boss' (the victim Ratchett's) inability to speak French:
" 'He [the victim, Ratchett] was hampered by knowing no languages.' "
(p. 61).
The Solution
Inspector Poirot and the titular train (
Watching the Detectives
Clue #2: The handkerchief with the "H" initial found in the victim's compartment (photo from "H.jpg.")

" 'And most conveniently she leaves her handkerchief behind!' said Poirot."
(p. 74)
Clue #3: The telltale pipe cleaner also found in the victim's compartment (image from "Tobacco Pipe Cleaner").

" 'Did a woman kill him [Ratchett] and did she deliberately drop a pipe cleaner to make it look like a man's work?' "
(p. 78).
Clue #4: The mysterious button found in the compartment adjacent to the victim's from the Wagon-Lit conductor's uniform (supposedly worn by the murderer).

" 'This button, Madame, may have dropped from the conductor's uniform, either when he searched your cabin, or when he was making the bed up last night.' "
(p. 117).

Clue #5: The burned letter, indicating the involvement of the Daisy Armstrong incident in the murder.

" 'If I am right in my assumption, then the letter was burnt by the murderer. Why? Because it mentioned the word 'Armstrong,' which is the clue to the mystery. ' "
(p. 85).
Clue #1: The unknown suspect wearing the Scarlett Kimono (illustration courtesy of "Murder").

"But to his [Poirot's] right some way down the corridor a woman wrapped in a scarlet kimono was retreating from him."
(p. 45-46)
Soon after finding out that all the passengers on the Stamboul-Calais Coach have some connection to the Armstrong family, whether as relatives or friends, Poirot deduces that all twelve of them, in a bid to avenge the murder of Armstrong daughter Daisy at the hands of Ratchett (then known as Casetti), followed the victim onto the Orient Express, and each delivered a separate knife-blow to the victim. Rumors of a mysterious woman clad in a scarlet kimono, or an apocryphal Wagon Lit conductor were fabricated in a bid to throw off Poirot. American passenger Mrs. Hubbard is soon revealed to really be Armstrong matriarch Linda Arden, and the lead murderer.
" 'And then, Messieurs, I saw light. They were
in it. For so many people connected with the Armstrong case to be traveling by the same train by a coincidence was not only unlikely, it was
. I must not be chance, but
' "
(p. 306)
Explaining the Murder
The Author: Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15 , 1890 to Clarissa and Frederick Miller in Devon, England (The Literature Network). Though never receiving formal public education, Christie was taught at home by her governesses and parents, encouraged especially by her mother to study music and practice writing (
The Literature Network
). Marrying Royal Flying Corps pilot Archie Christie in 1914, Christie later served as a nurse during the First World War. She was partially inspired by the knowledge of diseases and poisons garnered in the military hospitals, and the amount of Belgian patients she received during her service to begin her writing career with 1920's
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
, the first in a series of crime novels to feature the methodical, eccentric, and iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (
). Poirot would go on to star in at least thirty mystery works, including
The Murder of Roger Akroyd
Murder on the Orient Express
(1934), and
Death on the Nile
In 1926, shortly following the discovery of her husband Archie's affair with another woman, and the death of her mother, Christie became the source of a currently unsolved mystery involving her disappearance from the public eye for ten days (
). After finding her car in a quarry, police soon located Christie in a hotel in Harrogate, England, apparently having suffered a brief bout of amnesia (
). Sometime after this bewildering episode, Christie divorced Archie in 1928, traveling for some time throughout the Middle East, where she met and married her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, in 1930 (
The Literature Network
). Also during this year, Christie introduced her second most enduring literary character Miss Jane Marple - a elderly, yet cunning, crime-solving spinster - in
The Murder at the Vicarage
). In addition to writing 12 Jane Marple mysteries, Christie wrote 66 novels, a multitude of short stories, and numerous screenplays and romance novels, becoming a dominant figure in the Golden Age of English fiction (

Another, yet lesser known mystery creation of Christie's was the spy-hunting Beresford couple from 1922's
The Secret Adversary
, whose lighthearted, breezy approach to crime-solving directly contrasted with the more logical Poirot (
). Colonel Race of 1924's
The Man in the Brown Suit
was yet another, more obscure Christie crime-novel creation, as the character's primarily colonially-centered adventures caused him to be used less and less frequently by Christie in later years (E
). Nonetheless, Agatha Christie eventually became the best selling mystery author of all time - she was also a greatly popular playwright, her most notable play being
The Mousetrap
). Christie's success led her to being appointed Dame of the British Empire, an honor reserved by England's ruling monarch for an individual's extraordinary service to the crown and country (
). Survived by her husband Max by two years, Agatha Christie eventually passed away on January 12, 1976 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
The Setting
The Hagia Sophia in
Istanbul, Turkey
A map of
("Former Yugoslavia").
" 'Tomorrow evening at seven-forty you will be in Constantinople [Istanbul].' "
(p. 6).
" 'Passing through most countries we have the police of that country on the train. But in Yugoslavia - no.' "
(p. 52).
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