Notes On Parker Pyne Investigates

Rating: 3.5 out of five

Year of Publication: 1934

Motive for Crimes:

blackmail (Have You Got Everything You Want?)

identity (The Gate of Baghdad)


Parker Pyne offers a solution for unhappy people.

There are twelve problems:

First, a wife who suspects her husband to have fancied a younger woman must know the truth.

Second, a lonely Major who requires to do something he has been good at in a civilian life.

Third, a woman comes with a gambling debt paid by pawning a diamond.

Fourth, a husband who is reluctant to grant the divorce.

Fifth, a forty-eight-year-old city clerk whose life has little spark in it asks Mr. Pyne for a bit of adventure.

Sixth, a wealthy widow who wants to know how to spend her money. But little does she prepare for the subsequent events she will encounter.

Seventh, a young woman who travels with her dashing husband approaches Mr. Pyne on board of the Simplon Express. For her jewel case has gone missing. Does Mr. Pyne believe her story?

Opened in 1897, the famous hotel in Istanbul has survived the First World War. It is where Edward Jeffries comes clean to Mr. Pyne about the missing jewelry case of his wife.

Eighth, a fellow traveller has been murdered at night on the road to Baghdad. Two theories emerge on the cause of death: stabbed at the back of his head or hit by a sandbag. The latter is suggested by the murderer.

Ninth, in Shiraz while taking a stroll Mr. Parker drops his card at a house, the abode of an eccentric Lady Esther Carr. What makes Mr. Parker want to see her?

Tenth, in Petra the daughter of an American magnate has lost her pearl ear ring worth £40,000. Among the suspects are the people who have been in the same tour; an archaeologist, a Member of Parliament, a military officer and Mr. Pyne.

Eleventh, a woman who complains to everyone round her has been found dead in her room on a ship during the Nile tour. As all passengers are being questioned, who has got the strongest motive to kill her?

Lastly, a curious circumstance arising following the kidnap of an eighteen-year-old lad on holiday with her mother in Delphi. Mr. Pyne ought to clear his name.





His advertisement is the thirties’ equal of nowadays ‘No Win No Fee.’ Lawyers are not required.

What appeals from the twelve cases in the book is some ordinary clients Mr. Pyne has agreed to take. The characters are a world apart from Murder in The Orient Express (see the Notes), which is published in the same year. The shadow of the Belgian sleuth might be behind the other man’s being less popular and less known among the avid fans.

It is interesting that both men have a number of similar traits. Perhaps not in their countenance, but their enjoying travelling and are well connected. Also,  they have Miss Lemon as a super secretary. Although Mr. Pyne  is as methodical as Poirot, the former does not seem to mention the work of his grey cells. Instead he plans either a splash of drama or  a confidence trick in order to solve his cases.

Personally Mr. Pyne is more like Harley Quinn. There is a touch of mystery in Mr. Pyne. He describes himself to Major Wilbraham (The Case of the Discontented Soldier) saying: ‘you see, for thirty-five years of my life I have engaged in the compiling of statistics in a government office. Now I have retired and it has occurred to me to use the experience I have gained in a novel fashion…’ Be that as it may, those sentences are as good as Alan Turing’s saying during his interview to a Manchester Detective Inspector that he had worked in Bletchley radio factory during the War.

More about Mr. Pyne’s past career is while he is having dinner with the British Consul in Shiraz. The latter’s story about Lady Esther Carr has aroused Mr. Pyne’s curiosity. For he happens to know Lady Esther’s father, the former Home Secretary, under whom he used to work. In what capacity is anyone’s guess. His identity, however, is a sly humour of Christie’s which often appears in other books.

Persepolis in Shiraz

In creating a retired civil servant (ex-MI-6?) to do sleuthing jobs, it is apparent that Christie wishes to take a break from Poirot. For Mr. Pyne is a pleasant man; he might be quiet but approachable. If M. Poirot works alone,  Mr. Pyne prefers to have two actors in his employ. He commissions Mrs. Oliver to stage a ‘saving a damsel in distress’ plot for Major Wilbraham. Unfortunately, one scheme fails to deliver in The Case of the Discontented Husband, partly due to Madeleine de Sara, one of the actors.

Another evidence is in the book title itself, which was on the press ten years after Poirot Investigates (1924). The last of Mr. Pyne’s case, Problem At Pollensa Bay (1935), appears first on the UK magazine (see the Notes). He  seems to travels  to more countries than Poirot and have more sensible sartorial choice than   the other in hot climate.

Christie’s attempt to’ defy’ the almighty a little man with an egg-shaped head is in vain. Her frustration is channelled through Mrs. Oliver whom also grows a dislike towards her Swedish detective Mr. Finn. It does not help either that the amiable Mr. Pyne has received fewer nods from the avid fans. Did Christie discontinue Mr. Pyne due to the lukewarm reception? Or, did her publisher ask her to ‘kill’ the nice English man (supposing Mr. Pyne is English)?

Whilst the book has not gained he same glory as Murder On The Orient Express, the flow and the drama in Mr. Pyne’s cases are nearly as good as in the other book. For both books are teemed with Christie’s  travelling to the Far East. Moreover is her having captured the happenings in  the society in the post-war years. Her portrayals of arrivistes – the ‘in-betweeners’ in today’s lingo- and moral hypocrites are amusing and clever.  The Pearl of Price is the exemplary example of Christie’s criticism towards them.

And therefore I suggest two ways to judge the book: either put it away if the expectations are for a thriller because Christie is not very good at writing one or go finish it if a test of ingenuity and the exploration of human psyche appeals more. Besides, her short stories work better than her novels.


The Twists:

– Claude Lutrell refuses Mrs. Crackington’s gift (The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife)

-Major Wilbraham and Freda Clegg would not find the ivory cache (The Case of the Discontented Soldier)

– ‘Jules’ only slips the diamond ring off Lady Dorthemeir’s finger, not replacing it (The Case of the Distressed Lady)

-Reginald Wade wants to marry Miss Madeleine de Sara (The Case of the Discontented Husband)

– The city clerk is sent on a trip to Geneva to the trick a mafia gang (The Case of the City Clerk)

– Amelia Rymer wishes to remain as Hannah Woodhouse (The Case of The Rich Woman)

-Edward Jeffries has an accomplice on board the train (Have You Got Everything You Want?)

– Colonel Smethurst is an old Etonian like Samuel Long, a mole (The Gate of Baghdad)

The replica of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.

– Muriel King, a lady maid, believes that she will be blamed for the deadly accident occurred (The House of Shiraz)

-Caleb Blundell’s business has gone belly up (The Pearl of Price)

-Sir George Grayle does not poison his wife (Death On The Nile)

– Mr. Thompson is Parker Pyne (The Oracle at Delphi)


The Most Fascinating Character: Mrs. Amelia Rymer

‘I’m not going to let money come between me and my happiness’

She is extremely rich and lonely. Furthermore, she is bored; having yearned for company since her husband Abner died.When he was alive they put a Midas’s touch to every investment they had made.

As her frustration grows she decides to turn up at Mr. Parker’s office. ‘If you are any good at all you’ll tell me how to spend my money!’

Mr. Parker understands who she is and how different she is from the other clients. To my mind, the life of Amelia Rymer seems to reflect the life of her creator.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd catapulted Christie into the limelight. So when she was reported missing a few months later, the search mission became the police biggest operation in the year of 1926. Having checked in as Mrs. Neele the Swan Hotel in Harrogate, Christie had no idea whatsoever about her making the headlines on the paper. Nor did she expect a great crowd at the King’s Cross as she arrived at the station with Colonel Archibald Christie.

But Mrs. Rymer has no desire to disappear but a bit of interest in her life, possibly the replacement of Mr Rymer. Just as Christie, Mrs. Rymer is angry to have learnt that Mr. Parker might have deceived her. From a wealthy middle-aged woman to a simple farm woman Hannah Woodhouse, Mrs. Rymer tries to fight back at first but then accepts her new identity after some time. What triggers the change of heart is the presence of a new farm labour Joe.

Suppposing a banjo player in the hotel did not recognise Christie, would she remain incognito for a longer time? What difference would it have made? To this day her eleven days disappearance is still shrouded in mystery, having stated in her biography of having ad no recollections on it.

Agatha’s being a ‘Gone Girl’ during her disappearance. How has Amelia Rymer transformed during her year’s missing?

When a year has gone Mr. Parker comes to see ‘Hannah’ in the farm. ‘Come, Mrs. Rymer are you an unhappy woman now?’ he asks. She admits ‘No. I’m not unhappy.’ But what would she do with her money, of which has been presided over by Mr. Pyne during her ‘absence’?

If Christie jumped on the Simplon-Orient and searched her happiness along the rail tracks for Istanbul, Mrs. Rymer only needs to stay in England.

Amelia and Agatha have found their happiness when it is least expected.


Cast of Characters:

Parker Pyne’s employees:

Miss Lemon (Mr. Parker’s secretary)

The Actors:

Claude Luttrell

Madeleine de Sara

The novelist: Mrs. Oliver


1. The Case of Middle-Aged Wife

The client: Mrs. Mary Crackington

George Crackington (Mary’s husband)


2. The Case of Discontented Soldier

The client: Major Charlie Wilbraham

Freda Clegg

Mrs. Oliver (the novelist)


3. The Case of Distressed Lady

The client: Daphne St. John/Ernestine Richards

The Dortheimers (Lady and Sir Reuben)

Gerald St. John (Daphne’s husband)


4.  The Case of the Discontented Husband

The client: Reginald Wade

Irish Wade (Reginald’s wife)

Mrs. Massington (Irish’s friend)


5. The Case of The City Clerk

The client: Mr. Roberts

Lucas Bonnington

Maggie Sayers/Grand Duchess Olga


6. The Case of The Rich Woman

The client: Mrs. Abner Rymer/Hannah Moorhouse

The Gardners

Joe Welsh


7. Have you Got Everything You Want?

The client: Elsie Jeffries

Edward Jeffries (Elsie’s husband)


8. The Gate of Baghdad

The group leaving for Baghdad:

Hensley (Smethurst’s good friend)

Squadron Leader Lotus

Netta Pyrce


Miss Pyrce (Netta’s aunt)

General Poli

Captain Smethurst

Flight Lieutenant Williamson


9. The House at Shiraz

The client: Lady Ester Carr

Herr Schlagal (the German pilot)

The English Consul in Shiraz


10. The Pearl of Price

The client: Carol Blundell (Caleb’s daughter)

Caleb P. Bundell (a rich American)

Dr. Carver (an archaeologist)

Sir Donald Marvel (Member of Parliament)

Colonel Dubosc (a career military officer on leave)

Jim Hurst


11. Death On The Nile

The client: Lady Ariadne Grayle

Basil West (Sir George’s secretary)

Miss Elsie McNaughton (Lady Grayle’s nurse)

Sir George Grayle (Lady Ariadne’s husband)

Pamela Grayle (Lady Grayle’s niece)


12. The Oracle at Delphi

The client: Mrs. Peters (the Junior’s mother)

Mr. Thompson (the hotel manager at Delphi)

Willard Peters Junior (Mrs. Willard’s son)



Parker Pyne to Reginald Wade: (The Case of Discontented Husband)

‘You do not understand human nature, Mr. Wade. Still less do you understand feminine human nature. At the present moment you are, from the feminine point of view, merely a waste product. Nobody wants you. What use has a woman for something that no one wants? None whatever. But take another angle. Suppose your wife discovers that you are looking forward to regaining your freedom as much as she is?’


Parker Pyne to Mr. Roberts: (The of City Clerk)

‘You are carrying a cryptogram which reveals the secret hiding place of the crown jewels of Russia. You can understand, naturally, that Bolshevist agents will be alert to intercept you. If it is necessary of you to talk about yourself, I should recommended that you say you have come into money and are enjoying a little holiday abroad.’


Parker Pyne to the murderer: (The House of Shiraz)

‘Your ridiculous statement that Smethurst had been killed by bumping his head. O’Rourke put that idea into your head when we were standing talking in Damascus yesterday. You thought – how simple! You were the only doctor with us – whatever you said would be accepted. You’d got Loftus’s kit. You’d got his instruments. It was easy to select a neat little tool for your purpose. You lean over to speak to him and as you are speaking drive the little weapon home. You talk a minute or two. It is dark in the car. Who will suspect?’

The confession of the perpetrator (The Pearl of Price):

‘It was really sheer accident to start with. I was behind you [Mr. Parker] all morning and I came across it a moment before. She hadn’t noticed it. Nobody had. I picked it up and put it into my pocket, meaning to return it to her as soon as I caught her up. But I forgot.

And then, half-way up that climb I began to think. The jewel meant nothing to that fool of girl; her father would buy her another without noticing the cost. And it would mean a lot to me. The sale of that pearl would equip an expedition…’

Notes On Death On The Nile

Rating: four out of five

Year of Publication: 1937

Motive for Murder: Wealth and Identity


On a Nile steamer a honeymoon couple are among other passengers; she is The Girl Who Has Everything and he simply the luckiest man. As a matter of fact, their marriage has become a sensation in the media. For everybody thought she would have married a suitor.  Not even her best friend, Jacqueline Bellefort, who introduced Linnet to her ex-fiancee, Simon Doyle. As far as Bellefort is concerned, Linnet has taken away Doyle from her.

Furthermore, Bellefort appears to have followed them since they started from England, turning up at every place. Needless to say, Mrs. Doyle is infuriated, particularly when the other is spotted on the boat despite her husband’s attempt to have registered them for the cruise under an assumed name.

One night, a row breaks between Bellefort and Doyle. Minutes to midnight, a shot is fired. Simon’s leg is injured. The next day Linnet’s maid finds the lifeless body of her mistress in the cabin. She has died from a bullet in the head. The doctor estimates that the time of death is between midnight and two am.

No doubt either Bellefort nor Linnet’s husband could have murdered her. Nonetheless, Bellefort shot him before midnight and afterwards was sedated and attended by a nurse. As for Doyle, he would not have been able to walk with a wounded leg to the deceased’s cabin and killed her. Thus, is there anyone else who has the motive to kill the deceased?

On the night before the cruise, she tells Poirot about Bellefort’s threat to finish her and Simon off. On the other hand, the sleuth asks Bellefort to stop her act. ‘Go home, Mademoiselle. You are young; you have brains, the world is before you.’

A few days afterwards the second body is found: the maid has been strangled and there are bundles of Franc notes on her body.

Would there be the third one before the boat berth at Wadi Halfa?


Aswan, South Egypt

The characters: An alcoholic, a communist and sinister young man, a woman who plots a murder to the minute details, a doctor, a haughty but kleptomaniac aristocrat, an heiress, a greedy maid, an archaeologist, an Austrian doctor, a haughty American woman, a young lord in disguise, another young man who steals for fun, a witty elderly woman and an accomplice to the murderer. Do I list them all?

The subplots: a jewellery forgery, the mystery of the missing velvet scarf of Van Schuyler’s and the deceased’s diamond, the unmasking of a provocateur, the blackmailing, the embezzlement of trust funds and the other triangle of romance to match the claim of ‘a very elaborately worked out plot.’ I see.

Perhaps it is only me who feel inundated by the sheer number of them – not to mention the other details of the ancient Egypt sites along the way.

To begin with, the characters remind me of their resemblances in the other Christie’s novels.  The mother and son Allertons remind me of the Chesters (Problem At Pollensa Bay). Mrs. Allerton is Mr. Satterthwaite in dress, Poirot’s female sidekick whom is as composed as Jane Plenderdeith (Murder In The Mews) but with an agreeable sense of fashion. The protagonist Linnet Doyle (nee Ridgeway) has a touch of Arlene Marshall about her attitude while her husband Simon and Jacqueline Bellefort can be likened to the Redferns (Evil Under The Sun). Miss Van Schuyler is Mrs. Upward (Mrs. McGinty’s Dead) and her cousin Cornelia Robson is as kind and as vague as Mrs. Summerhayes. Mr. Ferguson is the spiteful young scientist Alec Legge (Dead Man’s Folly) and Oliver Manders (Three-Act Tragedy). Signor Guido Richetti is Father Lavigny (Murder In Mesopotamia). Please tell me if this is not confusing enough.

Furthermore, the subplots are tangled affairs, which two or three of them could have been omitted without making the whole plot less satisfactory. The reunion between Colonel Race and Poirot trigger my asking if there was a need for these men to have been in another collaboration again (as they have been in the previous Cards On The Table). For Mrs. Allerton is sufficient as another brain to the case. In addition of her worrying about her son being attracted to a wrong girl, she is inevitably involved in the matter of the alcoholic Mrs. Otterbourne. And, if there was not a

Abu Simbel Temples was built by Pharaoh Ramses II in 1257 BCE; two temples carved out of solid rocks. It is on the west bank of the Nile in Aswan.

In the later book of Christie’s published a few years afterwards, much similarities are noticed in spite of different setting, names and the making of a convincing alibi. The victim is carefully chosen, the killers have a sound alibi and Poirot is also featured. The only difference is that the killer and her accomplice have run the plot before and succeeded. On the other hand, Linnet Doyle’s killer is a first-time plotter and bound for mistakes.

What makes the plot exciting is the witness accounts of having heard two different shots. Besides, the assumption that the murder weapon was thrown into the sea afterwards.  Yet, during the search Poirot finds a small revolver in Rosalie Otterbourne’s handbag, which is the same type of the murder weapon but later on it disappears.

Be that as it may, Christie marvels at her depiction of Linnet Doyle (see Clues for her profile). There is so much about her, just like Simeon Lee (see Notes On Hercule Poirot’s Christmas) expressed by a number of minor characters of admiration, jealousy and concerns about her confidence and ruthlessness. On the one hand, she is used to the idea of getting everything she wants, which includes a man in particular. On the other, despite the envy, there is little about an orphan lonely girl who has ruined the live of the only friend she had. Thus, what punishment can it be than an ‘execution’ to redeem her sin of ‘taking a poor man’s one ewe lamb’ as Poirot put it?

Moreover is the authoress’s deliberation on the part of the other two protagonists Jacqueline Bellefort and Simon Doyle. The dynamics among the three of them are well executed and the triangle of love is stronger than Triangle at Rhodesia (see Notes On Murder In The Mews) and Sad Cypress.

The most fascinating thing discussed here is the authoress’s notion that genes may play part in making someone a murderer. For studies show that emotions such as fear can be passed down to children and grandchildren in the genes rather than simply by witnessing and copying behaviour. Nonetheless, can the thesis also be applied for a ‘crime gene’?

Anyhow, it seems to me that she has delivered her promise for readers to ‘escape to sunny skies and blue water as well as to crimes in the confines of an armchair.’ In this not so-winter-wonderland weather in the UK I dream of the smell of warm air, the sun glinting on the Nile, the bobbing of the boat on the calm river and an excursion to Abu Simbel Temples and Temple of Kom Ombo. I would not have minded the heat in the least!

Hercule Poirot visit Elephantine island before going on the cruise heading for Wadi Halfa.

The Twists:

–         The small revolver Jacqueline Bellefort used for shooting Simon Doyle has gone missing

–         Linnet Doyle mistakenly reads a telegram for Signor Richetti with some vegetable words in it.

–         Mrs. Otterbourne recognises the person who came into Louise Borgeout’s cabin

–         Borgeout happens to have woken up on the night of the murder and looked out of the cabin, during which she saw the person who entered her mistress’s cabin and left shortly afterwards

–         Rosalie Otterbourne denies having had a .22 mm revolver.

Cast of Characters:

Mrs. Allerton (Timothy’s mother)

Andrew Pennington (Linnet’s US lawyer)

Dr. Bessner (an Austrian doctor, a bachelor who attends Simon after being shot)

Miss Bowers (Miss Van Schuyler’s nurse)

Mr. Burnaby (the landlord of Three Crowns, a local who observes about an heiress’s appearance Linnet Ridgeway in Malton-under-Wode).

Charles Windesham (a suitor for Linnet)

Cornelia Robson (Miss Van Schuyler’s poor cousin)

Monsieur Gaston Blondin (the proprietor of Chez Ma Tante, where Poirot sees Jacqueline and Simon together as they sit at the next table)

Mr. Ferguson (a.k.a. Lord Dawlish)

Fleetwood (the ex-boyfriend of Linnet’s former maid, who is prevented from having married the maid. He happens to be one of the crews in the boat)

Hercule Poirot

The 1978’s film starring Peter Ustinov as the Belgian sleuth, sitting between Colonel Race (David Niven) and Maria Van Schuyler (Bette Davis).

Jacqueline de Bellefort (Linnet’s old friend and the ex-fiancee of Simon)

James Fanthorp (the lawyer who is assigned to shadow Linnet on board of the steamer)

The Honorary Joanna Southwood (Linnet’s friend)

Signor Guido Richetti (an Italian archaeologist)

Linnet Doyle (nee Ridgeway, half American who has inherited huge wealth from her mother)

Louise Borgeout (Linnet’s French maid)

Marie Van Schuyler (Cornelia’s rich and snob cousin who takes her to a trip to Europe and Egypt)

Mrs. Salome Otterbourne (Rosalie’s mother, a ‘chick-lit’ novel author)

Simon Doyle (Linnet’s husband, Jacqueline’s ex-fiance)

Sterndale Rockford (Pennington’s partner at the solicitor office)

Timothy Allerton (Joanna’s cousin)

Colonel Race (Poirot’s sidekick, who appears in Cards On The table and The Man In The Brown Suit)

Rosalie Otterbourne (the daughter of Mrs. Otterbourne)

William Carmichael (James’s uncle who orders him to take a trip to Egypt to keep an eye on Linnet Doyle)

The Most Fascinating Character: Mr. Ferguson/Lord Dawlish

Alastair Mackenzie stars as Ferguson in 2004’s adaptation of the novel. Ferguson character does not appear in 1978’s film nonetheless.

First noticed by Poirot, he is described as ‘ a tall, dark-haired young man, with a thin face and a pugnacious chin. He was wearing an extremely dirty pair of grey flannel trousers and a high-necked polo jumper singularly unsuited to the climate.’ To Mrs. Allerton he is ‘our anti-capitalist friend.’

When he talks, his remarks are quite cynical to some people. Linnet Doyle is a person ought to be shot and Dr. Bessner is an old pompous bore. Yet, he is genuinely frustrated towards Cornelia Robson’s submission to her domineering cousin growing fondness to the doctor.

Not until a search by Poirot and Colonel Race into each passenger cabin does his true identity come into light. The young Lord Dawlish sounds to be on a mission to be a commoner. Although he fails in his attempt to be one with Poirot’s wincing at his sartorial choice and a signet ring found in his drawer. An Oxford graduate, he is drawn to communism. It is suggestive that he might have been one of the idealistic young people who joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in the thirties. Needless to say, he is a symbol of rebellion.

As any other young man, he finds love unexpectedly in a seemingly meek woman, Robson. She is riled by his criticism to the doctor, which actually means well. Soon he understands that the other is a competitor to win her heart and it confuses him a lot. Just like Mrs. Doyle, he believes that his way of thinking is better than others. This kind of arrogance does not recognise failure.

Towards the end of the book, he knows he is losing the battle and therefore is resigned to ask her hand in marriage to Maria Van Schuyler. Yet he has neither strategy nor tactic to make the haughty woman accept him. Her response to his proposal is a foregone conclusion. ‘There is such a thing as social position, Mr. Ferguson.’

Robson’s sudden presence in the scene puts things into perspective. ‘If-if I liked you, I’d marry you no matter who you were,’ she says to Ferguson. ‘But you don’t like me?’ he replies. ‘I-I think you’re just outrageous. The way you say things…The things you say…I-I’ve never met anyone the least like you. I –‘

(Readers, this is one of my favourite scenes in the book. Robson stands up to him and her cousin, showing the courage that she never thought she had).

Poor Ferguson. I hope he has learnt that the old doctor has a sporting spirit in him; a man of experience who understands the game he is in.

Nevertheless, I wonder if Van Schuyler would have changed her mind about Ferguson after Poirot had told tells her about his vast fortune and upbringing.



On Jacqueline Bellefort:

Linnet Ridgeway (to Joanna Southwood):

‘…We were together at a convent in Paris. She’s had the most terrible bad luck Her father was a French Count, her mother was American – a Southerner. The father went off with some woman, and her mother lost all her money in the Wall Street crash. Jackie was left absolutely broke. I don’t know how she’s managed to get along the last two years.’

Hercule Poirot:

‘…You have chosen, Mademoiselle, the dangerous course… As we here in this boat have embarked on a journey, so you too have embarked on your own private journey – a journey on a swift moving river, between dangerous rocks, and heading for who knows what currents of disaster…’

On Linnet Doyle:

Simon MacCorkindale as Simon Doyle and Lois Chiles as Linnet Doyle in the 1978’s film.

A local man (to Mr. Burnaby):

‘It seems all wrong to me – her looking like that. Money and looks –it’s too much!If a girl’s as rich as that she’s no right to be a good-looker as well. And she is a good-looker….Got everything, that girl has. Doesn’t seem fair…’

Mrs. Allerton (in response to Poirot’s remark: ‘That would be like the Queen in your Alice in Wonderland, “Off with her head.”’)

‘Of course. The divine right of monarchy! Just a little bit of the Naboth’s vineyard touch…’

Jacqueline Bellefort:

‘But you are a queen, Linnet! You always were. Sa Majeste, la reine Linnette. Linette la blonde! And I-I’m the Queen’s confidante! The trusted Maid of Honour.’

to Poirot: ‘…I loved Linnet…I trusted her. She was my best friend. All her life Linnet has been able to buy everything she wanted. She’s never denied herself anything. When she saw Simon she wanted him- and she just took him.’

Joanna Southwood:

‘You know, Linnet, I really do envy you. You’ve simply got everything. Here you are at twenty, your own mistress, with any amount of money, looks, superb health. You’ve even got brains!…’

Rosalie Otterbourne (to Poirot):

‘I’m odious. I’m quite odious. I’m just a beast through and through. I’d like to tear the clothes off her back and stamp on her lovely, arrogant, self-confident face. I’m just a jealous cat- but that’s what I feel like. She’s so horribly successful and poised and assured.’

Simon Doyle (to Poirot):

‘My dear Monsieur Poirot, how can I put it? It’s like the moon when the sun comes out. You don’t know it’s there any more. When once I’d met Linnet – Jackie didn’t exist.’

On Simon Doyle:

Jacqueline Bellefort:

To Miss Ridgeway: ‘…He’s big and square an incredibly simple and boyish ad utterly adorable! He’s poor – got no money. He’s what you call “county” all right –but very impoverished county- a younger son and all that. His people come from Devonshire. He loves the country and country things. And for the last five years he’s been in the City in a stuffy office. And now they’re cutting down and he’s out of a job. Linnet, I shall die if I can’t marry him! I shall die! I shall die! I shall die…’

To Poirot: ‘Simon didn’t care a damn about her (Linnet)! I talked a lot to you about glamour, but of course that wasn’t true. He didn’t want Linnet. He thought of her good-looking but terribly bossy, and he hated bossy women! The whole thing embarrassed him frightfully. But he did like the thought of her money.’