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Murder on the Orient Express (summary)


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Chapter 1
The three men (Bouc, Constantine, & Poirot) interviewed the Wagon Lit conductor, Pierre Michel. Pierre Michel has been employed by the company for over 15 years. He is a respectable and honest man, but not remarkable with his smarts. He says that he was answering bells of passengers all night: the bells of Ratchett, Mrs. Hubbard, and Poirot. Poirot then asked what the loud thud on his door, and he insisted that it was nothing.
Chapter 2
M. Bouc, Dr. Constantine, and Poirot further investigate Hector MacQueen. The three men tell him the true identity of Ratchett (Cassetti), and MacQueen was very upset about it. The three men then learn that MacQueen's father was the district attorney who handled the Armstrong case. MacQueen then says that if anyone deserved what he got, it was Mr. Ratchett. MacQueen admits to seeing the woman in the scarlet silk kimono, but he did not see her face because he was auguring with Colonel Arbuthnot.
Chapter 3
The three men interview the valet, 39-year-old Edward Henry Masterman. The valet's job is to hang up Ratchett's clothes and put his dental plate in water. The valet says that Ratchett yelled at him the night of the murder, saying that he put the threatening letters in his compartment. Masterman says that Ratchett took a sleeping drought that Ratchett to fall asleep. The valet doesn't care for Americans very much. Masterman claims that during the hour of the murder, he was trying to sleep, but he couldn't because of a toothache. He also accuses the Italian man (Foscarelli) of snoring very loudly.
Chapter 4
The three men interview Mrs. Hubbard. Mrs. Hubbard barges in and demands to see who is in authority, claiming that she has very important information to share. She says that the murderer was in her compartment, and she knows that he was because she woke up in the dark and sensed him in her compartment. She then rang for the conductor to tell him what happened, but he didn't seem to believe her. Mrs. Hubbard made the conductor look under the seats and all around her room. She then had the conductor see if the door to her room was bolted, and it was not. Towards the end of the chapter, Mrs. Hubbard starts talking about how the Swedish woman and how she saw her accidentally go into Ratchett's compartment.
Chapter 5
The men interview Greta Ohlsson, who tells them that she was the last person to see Ratchett alive. She says that she was in Mrs. Hubbard's compartment to take some aspirin before bed. After she checked to see if the door was bolted, she went back to her own compartment, took the aspirin, and went to bed. Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot then tell Greta about the Armstrong kidnapping, and she bursts out into tears, saying that she can't believe how evil and cruel the world is. Greta leaves the interview, but not before saying that the murderer may be the large Italian man.
Chapter 6
After Greta, the Russian princess, Princess Dragomiroff is interviewed by Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot. Her story is that she had the conductor make up her bed while she was at dinner, and after dinner, she went to bed. The princess claims that she read until hour of 11, and then she realized that she couldn't sleep. She then rang for her maid so she could read to her until she felt sleepy. Princess Dragomiroff admits that she is friends with the Armstrong family, and that she was the godmother of Sonia Armstrong. She was on terms of friendship with Sonia's mother, Linda Arden. The princess ends the interview by asking Poirot his name because she claims his face seems familiar to her. He said his name to which she replies, "I remember now; this is destiny" before walking out.
Chapter 7
The men then interviewed the Count and Countess Andrenyi, however, the Count entered the dining car alone. He explains to Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot that he and his wife were not going to be of much help, since they were both asleep the entire time. The Count insists that there was no need to see his wife, but Poirot said that it was necessary for his report. Countess Andrenyi finally comes to the dining car, and Poirot asks to see her passport. On her passport, her name is Elena Maria, maiden name: Goldenberg. Poirot also notices a spot of grease on her passport. The Countess explains that she had taken a sleeping drought and was asleep the entire time, but offers no explanation about her passport.
Chapter 8
Colonel Arbuthnot is interviewed after the Count and Countess. Poirot asks his opinion on Mary Debenham, but Arbuthnot doesn't offer much information about her. Poirot then asks Arbuthnot if Mary could have committed the crime, to which the Colonel replies: "The idea is absurd." Colonel Arbuthnot said that, at the time of the murder, he was talking to the American fellow (MacQueen) in MacQueen's apartment. Arbuthnot says that he had never talked to MacQueen before and that they had just fell into an interesting conversation about the situation in India. After he had broken up the conversation with MacQueen, Arbuthnot went to his compartment. He admitted that he smoked a pipe. He then remembered a woman passing by him during the night, though he didn't see her; he just smelt a womanly type of smell. At the end of the chapter, the Colonel remembers a small detail. He remembers that as he was walking back to his compartment, he saw that the door on number 16 was not quite closed. The fellow inside was peering out.
Chapter 9
The men (Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot) then interviewed Mr. Hardman. After some slight discussion about who everyone was, Mr. Hardman spit out his chewing gum and became a different person entirely. He says that his passport is false, and he passes a card to Poirot. The card reads: "Mr. Cyrus B. Hardman. McNeil's Detective Agency." The agency is one of the best known private detective agencies in New York. Mr. Hardman admits to taking up the job to protect Ratchett throughout the train ride, but failing. Hardman is disappointed that he was unable to keep Mr. Ratchett safe. It is also found out that Hardman was the man that was peering out of the number 16 compartment door. He explained that the man coming after Ratchett was a small dark man with a womanish voice.
Chapter 10
Next, the men interview the large Italian man, Antonio Foscarelli; who Monsieur Bouc suspects as the murderer. Antonio was a very talkative man, who dragged on and on about a single subject; he was not a man who had to have information dragged out from him because he offered it up voluntarily. The Italian said that from diner onward, he talked to an American gentlemen at his table before returning to his compartment. Foscarelli also claims that the American---"the miserable John Bull"---comes back later but will not talk. The Italian says that after the conductor (Michel) makes his bed, he goes to sleep.
Chapter 11
Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot interview Miss Debenham, who does not seem distressed by the murder because "after all, people die everyday." Mary says that the interview was a waste of time because "weather or not she like Ratchett's face was irrelevant." When she claims that the scarlet dressing gown was not hers, Poriot leaned in and said "whose then?" which frightened Miss Debenham. She then explains that she saw the woman in the scarlet kimono walking down the hall way, but did not see her face.
Chapter 12
The men talk to the German lady's maid, Hildegarde Scmidt. Poriot was at his kindest and most genial when interviewing her. She said that last night, the night of the murder, she was with her master, giving her a massage and reading to her. When her master got sleepy, Hildegarde says that she returned to her own compartment. She explains that she had seen the conductor coming out of one of the compartments and that he had almost collided with her. She also adds that that the conductor was small and dark with a womanish voice.
Chapter 13
The three men then go over all of the evidence of the passengers, but they are most confused about the small dark man with a womanish voice. They came to three possible conclusions about the evidence: 1) The crime was committed at quarter past one, 2) The crime was committed later and the evidence of the watch was deliberately faked, or 3) The crime was committed earlier and the evidence faked for the same reason above. Bouc, Constantine, and Poriot continue examining the evidence and note that they first heard about the existence of the small dark man from Hardman and that Ratchett had told him to watch out for the man. There is no evidence to support this, only Hardman's word. They then examine the evidence that Hector MacQueen and Colonel Arbuthnot mentioned of the conductor passing their carriage at night. However, the investigators also note that Pierre Michel (the conductor) claims that he did not leave his seat except on certain occasions, none of which took him down the far end of the coach where Hardman And MacQueen were. Therefore, the story of the small dark man has four witnesses. .
Chapter 14
Mrs. Hubbard comes bursting into the compartment where Bouc, Constantine, and Poirot are examining the evidence. She exclaims that there was a knife covered in blood placed in her sponge bag, and when she reveals this piece of evidence, she passes out on the table. Mrs. Hubbard is taken away to be cared for. A short time later, Mrs. Hubbard returns, saying that she is very squeamish when it comes to blood, which was on the knife. She then demands a new compartment, and went on about how she needed a new sponge bag. The three men then searched her baggage, finding nothing of importance.
Chapter 15
Finally, at the end of Part Two, the three men the search every passengers' baggage. They find the exact pipe cleaners that were found at the scene of the crime in the Colonel's baggage. In Hildegarde Schmidt's baggage, they find a hastily rolled up brown Wagon Lit conductor's uniform, and in Poirots baggage, there was a thin scarlet silk kimono embroidered with dragons.