Evil Under the Sun (1982) Script

Please, please, you must come quick.

There's a woman lying dead out on the moors.

It's alright, miss. No need for you to take another look.

Ruber. Alice. Mrs.

I'd say she's been dead for no more than two hours.

Say four o'clock at the outside for time of death.

Hercules Parrot, sir.

Poirot, mademoiselle.

Pucker your lips as though about to bestow a kiss! Poi-rot.

Morning, Poirot. I hope you have good news.

This case has been hanging fire for four months.

No, I'm afraid it's one of those rare cases where an insurance company must, er... laugh and lump it.

Very well.

The usual 100 guineas, I take it?

By the way, Poirot... Take a look at this.

It is the property of Sir Horace Blatt.

He is seeking to insure it with us for £50,000.

Well, on the face of it... it seems to be worth every penny of...

£38 pounds... seven shillings and sixpence.

You are of course quite right. It is paste.

The question is why should a millionaire industrialist perpetrate such an obvious fraud?

Precisely. He must have known the stone would be examined.

So you see... there is something of a mystery.

Rest assured, with Hercule Poirot... mysteries never last for long.

Exactly. We were wondering if you would undertake to investigate the matter.

You know that you can count on my discretion.

Very well, I will see Sir Horace... this afternoon.

Hardly this afternoon, I think. He's on his yacht, the Jolly Roger... in the south of France. Would a further £200 meet the case?

Guineas.

It will make my forthcoming holidays even more attractive.


So that's your game, is it?

You come out here and as near as dammit accuse me, Horace Blatt, of fraud?

Do you seriously think that I'd cheat the insurance company over one bloody jewel? I am worth millions, Poirot.

Nevertheless, I'm afraid it's quite worthless, messieur.

God, I could wring her bloody neck!

If you would care to confide in me... I should be most honoured.

Alright, I'll tell you this much.

A couple of months back... I met a certain lady in New York.

She told me she was so madly in love with me that she'd leave the show she was in... She was an actress, you know.

And come back to England with me on the Queen Mary and marry me.

So I bought her this stone from Tiffany's.

Halfway across the Atlantic, she changed her mind and ran off with another man.

I wouldn't have minded... only she took the jewel with her.

That wasn't a fair do.

You see, I had given her it in contemplation of marriage.

And, frankly... $100,000 is a bit much to pay for three days' fumbling on the high seas.

Oh, messieur, who can put a price on les affaires de coeur?

I bloody can.

And this was too high.

So, three weeks ago... I went after her and demanded it back.

Of course she tried to put me off, but after a week or so she gave it to me and I sent it along to be insured and...

She'd had the bloody thing copied... hadn't she?

It would appear to be the only explanation, messieur.

Well, she's not gonna make a chump out of me.

I happen to know that in three days' time she'll be down at Daphne's place for a little holiday.

I'll give her a little holiday!

Daphne's place?

Yes, you know, Daphne Castle.

She was a mistress of the King of Tyrania for years... then when he upped and married the present queen he gave Daphne an old summer palace to keep her quiet.

She's turned it into one of those exclusive la-di-da hotels where the nobs and nancies come to squawk at each other.

I can't stand it meself... but she's good sort.

Anyway, you'd better come with me. We can sail tonight.

Alas, messieur.

Ever since I was a small boy... I have suffered from le mal de mer.

It needed all my courage to make this small trip.

I will take the train and join you there.

Mes compliments à messieur Jerome.

Waiter?

Could I have another brandy and the bill, please?

Patrick! You haven't got time for another!

The steamer leaves at 11:00! Of course I have!

You have the baggage sent down while I wait for the changes.

Why do I always have to do everything?

Messieur Poirot, your reservation on the night train has been confirmed.

The tickets will be at the desk.

Thank you. Er...

I must go. I've got to catch that damn boat


What on earth's wrong, Rex? You look fearfully glum.

You're supposed to be enjoying yourself. God knows you're paying enough for it!

Don't I know it?

As a matter of fact, Daphne... I was wondering if you would care to trade my bill for a super piece in New Yorker?

You know the sort of thing. "Farewell courtesan, hello inn-keeper."

Darling, I'd love to help. But it's not publicity I need, it's the cash.

Oh, good God, darling, don't we all?

How are the Gardeners this morning?

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale... their infinite vulgarity.

Good morning, Gardeners. Everything tickety-boo?

Good morning.

Sure, Daphne. But I could wish that my shower worked as snappily as the one that I've got back home in New York City.

Oh, you can't expect American plumbing in the Adriatic.

I guess not. Well, at least we've got a shower.

A cousin of Odell's was at some place in Yugoslavia last year and had to wash in a kind of shack in a field. Isn't that so, Odell?

It wasn't my cousin, Myra... it was my aunt.

It was your cousin, Thelma Snatchball.

OK, if you insist. But there were two shacks.

One for the guests and one for the staff.

It was very... stylish.

Boat's coming in, Daphne. Prepare to repel boarders.

That'll be Arlena.

Do you mean Arlena Stuart?

No, Arlena Marshall. She remarried a couple of months ago.

Oh, good God, darling, I didn't know she was coming. Oh, how marvellous!

I am her greatest fan. It will just make my vacation.

Did any of you happen to see that last show of hers, Hail and Farewell?

Hail and farewell, I'll never tell You've cast a spell over me...

We produced it. Remember, dear?

Oh, good God, darlings, I plumb forgot.

Isn't that the one that she walked out on after just three weeks and your biggest hit in years?

You know damn well it was.

And just what was that? A sudden breakdown in health?

More like a sudden attack of gold digging.

Which rather turned it into "Sail and Farewell", eh?

Funny man.

Well, if that's Arlena, she must be being dressed by Woolworths these days.

Oh, that's the Redferns. Patrick and Christine, I seem to remember.

Excuse me, I must put my hostess hat on.

Anyway, darlings... it must have cost you a pretty bundle closing a hit show like that.

Would either of you care to comment?

Why don't you go and play with yourself?

Excessively.

Is coarseness a substitute for wit... I ask myself.

Hello! I'm Daphne Castle. Welcome to the island.

How do you do?

Looks lovely. I'm sure we'll have a nice time here.

Oh. And a naughty one, too, I hope.

Would you care to sign in? Naughty?

What are the holidays for... if you can't do a spot of flirting and get a bit pissy boots?

Quite right. Do you fancy a walk around the island before lunch, dear?

Patrick! You know perfectly well that I've got a splitting headache and I've got all the unpacking to do.

Andrea will show to your room, if you like.

Thank you.

After two days on that suffocating steamer I would have really thought that you'd have more consideration for me.

Anyway, I'm no good at...


Thank you for those three hours of pure and unadulterated hell.

This may come as a nasty surprise to you... but shock absorbers have been standard on motorised vehicles for 30 years.

Stop playing boules with my Vuitton!

Linda, you gormless oaf, do something!

Like what?

Like stop them, cretin.

Kenneth! This is a nightmare.

Take it easy, Arlena. We'll soon be there.

Soon can't be soon enough for me.

Of all the dreadful journeys...

Isn't that the absurd little man we saw in the station at Tirana?

Pinched the only decent taxi from under your nose.

Yes, I do believe it is.

Good morning.

Since we are all obviously going to Daphne's island...

I'd better introduce myself.

I'm Kenneth Marshall and this is my wife, Arlena.

Hercule Poirot. Enchantée, madame. Charmed.

This is my stepdaughter, Linda.

Do stop standing there like a coughdrop and say good morning to messieur Poirot.

Morning. Bonjour.

Was your journey as frightful as ours, messieur Poirot?

Alas, I fear the sea more than the land, madame.

Oh, Mr Marshall, I implore you not to spoil them.

We have to pay double on the way home.

It's only a 20-minute boat trip.

You'll find it all worthwhile once we get to the island, I assure you.

You mean you've been there before?

Yes, I was there for a few days three years ago.

After the death of my first wife.

God's teeth!

Don't worry, darling. It's only the noonday gun.

The noonday gun?

Yes, it's fired every day at 12 o'clock to commemorate the glorious victory of Kosovo-Metohija in 1193.

I am reliably informed that a mere handful of Tyranian cavalry routed over 50,000 barbarous Bosnian fanatics.

The only military success in their entire history.

One success too many.

Arlena! Arlena, darling, I love you!


That tub was even more uncomfortable than that damned taxi.

What if the bitch refuses to do the show?

We'll lose all our backers, that's what.

After all, we sell the show on her name.

To think our futures are riding on that snake-eyed hussy!

Welcome to the island, everybody!

Kenneth, oh, it's marvellous to see you!

Absolutely marvellous.

It must be at least two years since you were last on the island.

It's three, actually. Wonderful to be here. You never met Linda, did you?

No! No, I didn't.

Hello! Hello, Linda. Welcome to the island.

And I don't think you know Arlena.

Oh! Oh, yes. Yes, I do.

Arlena and I are old sparring partners.

Hello, Daphne.

Oh, it's been years. Well, a little time, yes.

Years.

Arlena and I were in the chorus of a show together... not that I could ever compete.

Even in those days, she could always throw her legs up in the air higher than any of us... and wider.

Kenneth, this is such a surprise.

When you told me of an island run by a quaint little landlady I had no idea it was Daphne Castle.

Yes, quite. Daphne, I wonder if we could go to our rooms.

It's been a long journey.

Oh. Certainly.

Andreas!

If you're short-staffed, Kenneth can easily carry the bags.

They'll be brought up in a minute.

There'll be cocktails tonight at eight o'clock.

Do have a good, long, peaceful rest, Arlena.

You must be Sir Horace Blatt's friend. Perhaps... Perhaps you'll sign in.

Oh, so you're the famous Hercule Poirot, eh?

You are too amiable, madame. Perhaps.

I hope you haven't come to practise your sleuthing games on my guests.

They've all got far too many skeletons in their cupboards to join in with enthusiasm.

It's not my intention to derange you or your guests, madame.

Pendant les vacances my desires are simply a good valet... a... tisane de menthe poivrée at eight o'clock in the morning precisely... and of course some wax, some beeswax for my shoes. That's all.

Actually, Gilbert had nothing to do with the success this season.

Oh, my God, I really don't know what we are going to do about them.

I really do think that the Millers have gone too far.

Gilly is my oldest friend, Rex.

Oh, God, I didn't know that!

Gilly is Myra's oldest friend. I just told him, Odell.

Did you hear what Gilbert said about the Queen?

No.

Well, you see...

Enjoying it?

I couldn't have one. This was delicious, if I could... Thank you.

How about a cocktail, messieur Poirot?

White Lady, a Sidecar, Mainbrace or Between the Sheets?

No, if I could have a crème de Cassis or a sirop de banane.

Do you have banana syrup? Certainly.

Oh, my!

I'm the last to arrive!

Have a sausage, dear.

You must be famished, having to wait all that time in your room.

Have you... Have you met the Redferns? Christine and Patrick.

Arlena, darling... Arlena, my favourite leading lady!

Why, if it isn't Odell and Myra!

What on earth are you two doing here?

It's wonderful to see you, Arlena. We have a fabulous show for you.

Oh, it's a real humdinger, honey!

Odell insisted that we both come over here together to see you personally.

Well, it's very sweet of you. But I'm sort of retired, you know.

This is my new audience. Have you met my husband?

How do you do?

How do you do? You'll change your mind. You won't be able to resist this one!

Keeler's mad to do it. But we're holding her off until you have a look.

And Kern, he's done some of the best music...

Arlena, darling, it's simply sensational to see you again!

Hello, Rex. How do you do? I'm Kenneth Marshall...

Excuse me. I must talk to you, Arlena darling.

Not now, Rexy-poo.

Thank you.

Cheers.


Good morning, Linda. How is your lovely mother?

She's not lovely and she's not my mother.

Darling, didn't anyone ever tell you that peevishness is unbecoming in young ladies?

No. But they told me not to talk to very strange men.

Morning, Gardeners!

Good morning. Oh, good morning, Arlena.

I think it's gonna be a hot day.

Good morning Mrs Redfern.

Well, well, she's in wonderful shape.

Yeah. How much was it we paid Kleinfield, Klausewitz and Stummerhoppen to contest that phoney doctor's certificate?

$20,000.

Arlena, darling, you look quite divine in that outfit.

Say no more. It's yours. Next question?

There is something frightfully important I have to talk to you about. So talk.

It's a bit private.

You heard the little man, Linda. Scram!

Well, what is it?

Arlena, I was wondering if you've had a chance to read the proofs of the biography yet?

Indeed I have, Rex. I simply couldn't put it down.

I knew you'd love it.

What a busy bee you've been researching exactly where I was born... and when.

Well, there aren't too many stars were born in Tooting Bec at the turn of the century.

And the sweet way you wrote about how I landed my first leading role in Flames of Eternity. However did you find out?

I bribed his wife.

Naughty Rex!

Ah, the days of my youth. But I've shoved all that behind me now, Rex.

Which is exactly what you're going to do with your lousy book.

But, Arlena darling, you promised. When we were in New York.

I've spent the advance. I simply must have that release.

Forget it.

You're not going to barbecue me to keep yourself in sailor suits.

But, Arlena, angel, you must.

I said forget it, I'm not going to sign that release. And that's final.

You're going to regret this, Arlena.

That's a promise.

Good morning, Mrs Marshall. Good morning, Mr Brewster.

Hello.

Oh, hello.

Oh, Linda, what are doing here? Acting as chaperone, gooseberry or spy?

I just wanted a chat. I don't seem to be having much fun.

If it's fun you're looking for, go play with the jellyfish.

Oh, my God! She runs like a dromedary with dropsy.

Bonjour, madame.

Bitch!

No, no, put me down!

Put me down! No, no, no, no!

I shall cry! I shall, I shall cry!

You do not care for the aquatic sports or the sunbathing, madame.

I wish I could. But I don't go brown. I sort of resemble a cassata.

Pink skin, white blisters, and green in the face.

Unlike your husband, I observe.

No, he manages those things rather well.

Sometimes I think he must think I'm an awful goose.

But why, madame? I do not indulge in those sports myself and yet I assure you, I am very far from being... a goose.

Ah, there you are, messieur Poirot.

I've just had a telephone call from your friend, Sir Horace.

He says he's having trouble with his... piffle valve?

Ha! Such a valve still has to be invented, madame.

Well, I dare say you're right, I wasn't paying attention.

Anyway, the result is, he'll be 24 hours late.

Good morning, Kenneth.

Are you going for a swim?

The water is so hot, the lobsters are coming out red.

Good morning.

Come along, Daddy, you promised to come for a walk with me.


Patrick... aren't you getting a little tired of rowing?

That was last night. And this morning he starts all over...

Andre... Andre... I don't care.

I don't care if messieur Poirot wants cement on his sausages or boot-blacking on his butter, just give it to him!

That finicky little Belgian fart will find it all on his bill anyhow.

With a vengeance! Very well, madame.

I'm so sorry. Are we late? Patrick insisted he row me around the island.

It's bigger than I thought. Poor darling, he's exhausted.

Not in the least surprised.

I'm sorry we didn't take you with us, my dear.

The sun would have been much too strong for you. You know that.

Arlena, here you are, it's the script that I promised you.

No, I thought I told you last night. I've given up the theatre.

These two are all I'm concerned with now.

What's it called anyway? It's Not Right And It's Not Fair.

Sounds like a black man's left leg.


It's alright, Mr Poirot. Pardon, madame. Je m'excuse.

Please stay.

I'm just being silly.

I wish I had more self-control, didn't show what I feel.

Well, that is sometimes not easy for the ladies.

Do you know what I am most sick of in this place?

What, madame? Pity.

I can't bear to be pitied.

Everyone round here seems to feel so sorry for me.

I can tell it by the way they look at me.

"Poor little thing," they're saying.

"What she has to put up with, with that poor fool of a husband of hers."

"What a pity she's not strong enough to compete for what she wants."

Will you allow me to tell you something, madame?

The Arlena Stuarts of this world do not count.

Their domination is of the moment.

Really, to count, a woman must have either goodness or brains.

You can't actually believe that men care for either of those things, can you?

Oh, yes, I do, madame.

Your husband loves you.

I know that.

Come, let us take a little promenade. Hmm?

How I wish I could do that, just lie in the sun.

Mais pourquoi, madame?

Look at them lying in rows, like corpses in the morgue!

They are not men and women. Nothing personal about them.

They're just bodies, butcher's meat, steaks grilling in the sun.

I'm sorry, Mr Poirot, I suffer from vertigo.

I can't bear to look down from a height.

I'm better now. In fact I am determined to enjoy myself.

It's so blissful here, so tranquil, so far from all violence and trouble.

Yes, you are right, madame.

The sky is blue, the sun is shining... and yet you forget that everywhere there is evil under the sun.


You're going to be late for dinner, you know.

Yes, I know.

Just having a bit of a think.

About Arlena?

I suppose it's no use saying it's your own fault.

Not much... No, it never is.

How about, "You've made your bed, now you must lie on it"?

Worse. Thought it might be.

Poor Kenneth. You do pick 'em. Oh, I can cope.

Do you think Linda can? What do you mean?

She's always on at that poor child, bitching the hell out of her.

Yes. Yes, a pity about that.

Linda's like... like her mother, you see, she takes things hard.

Why don't you do something about it? Like what?

Like fixing up a divorce, for instance. People do it all the time.

With most of my friends it's a full-time occupation.

Arlena's alright. She just adores to flirt, that's all.

There's nothing in it. It's all on the spur of the moment.

Spur of the moment? You really are blind.

Who the hell do you think booked Patrick Redfern in here in the first place?

You don't mean...?

I'm afraid so.

Even so. With me, a deal is a deal.

I don't approve of quick marriage and easy divorce.

Arlena is my wife. That's all there is to it.

Till death do you part?

Exactly.

I see.

Well?

I could just kill that cow!

Well, what the hell do we do now, Odell?

Just leave it to me.

I'll think of something. Hm! My hero.

I swear, if you were a man, I would divorce you.

Hello, darling! You'd better get a move on. Where have you been?

I've just been having a word with Daphne.

You get on like a house on fire with her, don't you?

She's a nice lady.

Yes, I suppose she is. As hotel proprietors go.

And you get on rather well with Redfern, don't you?

He's a nice fellow.

Yes, I suppose he is, as gigolos go.

What's that supposed to mean?

You liked him well enough when you met him in London.

I never set eyes on the man before.

Really? I could have sworn you were there.

It must have been your regimental dinner.

Well, anyway, what does it matter?

He just happens to be a guest here who took me for a boat ride.

He just happens to be a guest here, Arlena... because you just happened to book him in.

The bitch Daphne!

Christine, I refuse to talk about it!

That's rich! You don't want to talk about it?

Look here, I can't even speak to a woman without you jumping to the conclusion that I'm having an affair!

Aren't you? You leave me here alone and go off with her.

I'm the laughing stock of the hotel.

Of course you're not! How ridiculous!

Arlena and I are just good friends, that's all!

I don't believe you! Please, let's just go away.

I absolutely refuse. Here we are and here we stay!

If you don't like it you can... Yes, what can I do?

Well, I'm looking forward to having a nice little chat with you, Patrick.

Oh, Myra, that is so beautiful.

How's your drink? Incredible.

How are you?

Too much sun?


Good!

That's enough, Linda. It's adult time. Off to bed.

Come on, darling. Let her stay. She is on holiday after all.

Scram, Cinderella.

You're the top

You're the Colosseum You're the top You're the Louvre Museum You're the nimble tread Of the feet of Fred Astaire You're the National Gallery You're Garbo's salary You're camembert

You're the Nile You're the Tower of Pisa You're the smile on the Mona Lisa I'm a worthless cheque, a total wreck A flop But if, baby, I'm the bottom You're the top

You're the top You're a new invention You're the top

You're the fourth dimension I'm a frog without a log on which to hop But if, baby, I'm the bottom Sorry. You're the top

That was terrific!

Isn't she wonderful?

Wonderful! Wonderful!


Mademoiselle!


Abracadabra!

I know how you did that.

The egg's in your top pocket.

I'm not five years old, you know.

Been for a bathe, darling? What's it look like?

Darling, there is no need to be snappy just because you went to bed bright and early last night.

I always keep mine behind my ear.

What?

Oh, there you are! I was looking for you.

I'm going sketching at Gull Cove. Would you like to come?

Yes, I'd love to.

I'll see you down in the hall in ten minutes.

Ah, hello, Mr Poirot.


Messieur Poirot, just the man!

Would you be very kind and help me push this out?

You require assistance, madame?

It's like trying to launch the Mauritania.

Without the Champagne!

Thank you so much. Oh...

And, messieur Poirot, please don't tell anyone where I've gone.

Everyone will keep following me about. Everyone, madame?

Perhaps some people more than others, but I just want to be alone.

Voilà. Enjoy your swim.


There she goes. Not a care in the world!

I'll make her care.

Oh, what do you know about care? If it'd been up to you... the good Samaritan would've passed by on the other side.

I have an idea, but I need to work it out.

Well, don't forget about my cousin, Hatty Heimenheimer.

It took her so long to "work out an idea"... they finally had to stash her away in the booby hatch!

Odell?

Odell!

Hey, hey, hey. Where's the fire? Sorry.

Have you had your breakfast? Had a piece of toast.

Linda, you really are naughty.

Andreas goes to all the trouble of preparing decent English breakfasts instead of those weedy continental things and you eat toast.

I'm sorry, I just wasn't hungry.

What's the matter?

Is it Arlena?

She's so beastly. You don't want to worry about her.

Things have a habit of working out.

I promise you. Yes, if you make them.

Would you like to come for a stroll to the lighthouse?

This must be my lucky day. I've never been in such demand.

I'd like to, but I can't.

I've got a date to go sketching with Christine.

That's alright. I'm glad to see you're making friends.

Good morning, Kenneth. Ah, good morning.

Morning, darling.

There's a letter for you. The boatman brought it over.

Ah, thank you.

Seeing your daughter has just turned me down... would you like to come for a walk with me, before my staff meeting at 11:30?

I'd love to, but I'm afraid I can't. This must be answered straight away.

This isn't my lucky day, Linda.

You can't get away from me at 12:30. We're playing tennis. Remember?

I remember.

By the way, Linda, have you seen your mother?

No, thank God. Linda, I won't tell you again...

Clean it, clean it. Don't just lean on the thing.

Here we all are.

Well... Well, what a... colourful outfit!

Oh! Oh, I'm so glad you like it.

Linda and I are going off sketching, Mr Marshall.

Don't worry, I'll take good care of her. See you on the tennis courts at 12:30.

Bye, Daddy. Have a nice time.

Morning, Poirot. Been swimming?

You saw me? No.

Yes, I have been swimming!

There's nothing like the shock of cold water and rhythmic movement to stimulate the little grey cells.

Yes, of course. I don't suppose you've seen my wife about, have you?

Madame Marshall? Hmm.

What, she rose so early? She's not in our rooms.

Oh, by the way, I was looking for that fellow Redfern earlier.

I don't suppose you've seen him?

Is someone taking my name in vain?

A very good morning to you, gentlemen.

What kind of paintings do you do, Mrs Redfern?

Call me Christine. Thank you.


Hi, Patrick! Going for a spin?

How about taking me along?

Er... well...

What time is it, dear?

Five to 12.

Lord, I must fly.

I'm playing tennis at 12:30.

That's a fine boat!

I think it belongs to Sir Horace Blatt.

Odell and I were on it once, I think.

Look. I wonder who that is.

You know exactly who it is, you naughty boy!

Would you be a sport and take the boat back?

I'll come back with Arlena, I'll walk.

Are you kidding? I don't know how to work this thing.

Look, it's simple, this lever puts you in gear and all you have to do is steer.

Well, just this once. But don't get me involved.

You're a sport.

Boo!

Hey, come on, wake up!

Oh, my God!

What's the matter?

She's dead!

She's been murdered!

Strangled! Strangled?

It's just not possible. We'd better get some help!

I'll go. You'll stay with the body. Are you kidding? I can't do that!

You're right. The murderer may still be about somewhere.

Can you make it back to the hotel? In a flash. This thing's no problem.

You'd better hurry!

Madame Marshall has been strangled.

There are contusion marks on the head and the neck. This much is evident.

We must now send for the police and acquire a doctor in order to establish the time of death.

Have you ever met a Tyranian doctor, messieur Poirot?

The limit of their skill is determining the fitness of an ox to pull a cart.

That may be so, madame, but...

Dear messieur Poirot, a word in your ear.

The whole world knows that you are a man of enormous discretion and gallantry... a man not only privy to the secrets of kings and prime ministers... but also a man who would never willingly stand by and see a lady in trouble without rushing to her aid.

I appeal to you now, as just such a frail woman, in need of help.

In fact I throw myself on your mercy.

Couldn't we make this a private investigation?

You know how peculiar people can be about a spot of murder.

The scandal of a famous stage star... being murdered here would ruin my hotel.

I'm very sorry, madame... but there is no way to avoid this becoming... an official matter.

In due course of time, of course I quite agree... when it can be released in the proper manner.

But consider, just think what everyone will say if they were to discover that you were here ahead of the police... and failed to solve the crime.

I mean, messieur Poirot, both our reputations are at stake.

I bet it pongs something rotten in there.

Only of the breath of the sea.

Oh, how poetic you are, messieur Poirot.

You have the true soul of France.

The true soul of Belgium, madame.

Yes, of course. How mortifyingly stupid of me!

Oh, do please forgive me. In due course of time.

What do you say, messieur?

Will you bring your colossal brain power to the aid of a lady in distress?

Will you clear up this hideous mess for me with all the brilliance and discretion for which you are world famous?

One moment, madame. I must carry out a little investigation of my own before answering your question.

Messieur Redfern.

At what time did you and Madame Gardener find the body?

It was 12 o'clock exactly.

That bloody gun went off as we were coming round these rocks there.

I sent Mrs Gardener back for help immediately.

I touched nothing except to check she was dead.

Oh, yes, you acted quite correctly.

Well, since I was the last person to see Madame Marshall alive... when I pushed her off in her pedalo at about 10:20, it means the time of death can be established as being between 10:30 and 12 noon.

How absolutely brilliant!

A doctor after all could only give us an approximate time and how she was killed, which I know. I don't need the help of a doctor.

Messieurs!


It's a terrible tragedy, Poirot. It's terrible.

She may have been a bit flighty, Arlena, but no one would've wished this on her.

Just between ourselves... you may have guessed, but she was the lady in question.

That was not too difficult to guess. I suppose it bloody wasn't.

Well, I'd best chalk it all up to experience and be on me way.

There's no point in intruding in the grief of the new husband and all that sort of thing.

You had no chance to speak to Madame Arlena?

Of course not. I've only just arrived, haven't I?

Yes, of course.

There's only one thing that puzzles me in that case.

You remember the false diamond I left in your possession?

Yes.

How did I happen to find it once again on the beach near the dead woman?

Oh, dammit, Poirot. I'd make a right murderer, wouldn't I?

Leaving clues all over the place, eh?

Alright, I confess You confess?

I mean I confess I had a word with her.

I was coming in on the boat and I saw Arlena on one of them pedal things going into a beach along there.

Anyway, I stopped the boat and I rowed meself over.

It's better than confronting her in front of her husband, you know.

We had a bit of a barney, what with her pretending to be all surprised and that.

Anyroad, she promised to sort it out by tonight.

She did not tell you where the real jewel was?

No, dammit, she didn't.

If you don't mind, I'd like to get changed.

I'm getting a little chilly, what with the shock and everything.

I was very fond of Arlena, as you well know.

Yes, you may well have been, messieur.

And yet there are cases of men that have killed those women who made it impossible for them to return to the wives they really loved.

Well, I assure you, that is not the case here.

I could have taken off at any time I wanted.

Anyway you know I had nothing to do with it.

You yourself saw me from the terrace go off in the boat with Mrs Gardener.

Oui, c'est exacte.

It would seem that I am your alibi, messieur.

Please go and get changed.

So, that young man's been sniffing round Arlena, has he?

Can't say I blame him.

I'm sorry, Sir Horace, but it's my duty to put it to you that you were furious with Madame Arlena... that you were determined to get your jewel back... you came up here in order to demand it.

She laughed in your face.

You lost your temper, you strangled her...

That is poppycock! That is bloody poppycock!

If it is poppycock... then it's most regrettable that you said in front of me that you would willingly "wring her neck".

Oh, that were... That was just a bit of chat, that's all.

Look. All I did was tell her that she couldn't make a monkey out of me and I threw that bit of glass at her.

Look, if I had killed her, my crew would have seen me, wouldn't they?

They were all on deck, watching.

Not averse to clocking a decent bit of crumpet, my lads.

It's the only thing that wakes them up.

So, if you don't believe me, ask them.

Très bien. All the same, I must ask you not to leave the island for the moment.

If you insist.

But if I were you, Poirot, I would cherchez le hubby.

You'll find they're favourite when dealing with the Arlenas of this world.

It's a little difficult to accept your condolences, Poirot... when in the same breath you accuse me of murdering my wife because she was unfaithful.

I can understand that, of course.

But I hope you realise that I'm rather easier to get on with than the Tyranian police would be.

And therefore I will ask you where you were between 11:00 and 12:00 this morning.

Very simple. I was in here typing.

I changed for tennis a few minutes after 12:00.

How very curious.

Because, you know, when I passed by your door at what must have been about 11:15...

I heard no sound. I can't help that.

One does occasionally pause to think, you know.

Here. This is what I typed.

As you can see, it would have taken at least an hour to do.

With respect messieur, you could've typed that yesterday, brougt it in with you.

There's no proof that you typed it this morning.

Excuse me, messieur Poirot...

I just couldn't help overhearing. I have the proof you need.

You do, madame? Yes.

Every week it's my custom to collect all my staff together... give them a collective boot up the bum.

It does no end of good, particularly the Eyeties.

Keeps them up to snuff, as my old papa used to say.

Anyway, that meeting was this morning at 11:30... and just before it I came up here to have a wash and I poked my nose in here and I saw Kenneth hard at it, so I... I just didn't disturb him.

But, madame, you cannot see the desk from the door.

I saw him in the mirror.

In the mir...

Oh, in the mirror!

My goodness, you do type fast, Ken.

You must be the Horowitz of the Remington.

Tell me, madame, how many fingers am I holding up?

Three.

Yes. And now how many?

Well, that... that's not fair, you're hiding.

You cannot see in the mirror someone seated at the desk.

It is not me that is hiding, it is you who are lying.

Now, messieur Marshall, are you, by any chance, lying also?

It should be fairly obvious, Poirot, that that letter, all eight pages of it... is in reply to this one from my stockbroker... which arrived by this morning's post at about 10:30.

It should, therefore, be equally obvious that I must have typed it when I said I did.

Yes, it would appear so.

Now to revert to you again, madame.

I would like to ask you a question about your promenade to the lighthouse this morning.

You went alone, I believe?

Yes, I did.

And you must have passed the bay on which Arlena was murdered?

Yes. Yes, I did. I also saw Arlena sunning herself.

Oh!

But then you must have taken the same path home.

There is no logical alternative.

And I am suggesting to you... you could have gone down to the beach... murdered Arlena Marshall and still been in time for your staff meeting at 11:30.

What utter balderdash! You can't possibly think I'd want to kill Arlena just because the silly cow succeeded on the boards and I didn't.

No, that I do not think.

But there is a certain tenderness between you and messieur Marshall.

Otherwise why take that absurd risk of trying to protect him just now?

What if there is? What does it matter?

It matters because Madame Arlena was in the way.

Messieur Poirot, you have the French obsession...

I'm sorry, Belgian obsession, with crime passionnel.

But you're barking up the wrong tree.

You see, I know, I know who did it.

Oh!

You do, madame?

Of course. It was Sir Horace Blatt.

When I came back here from my walk at about 11:15...

I saw him down on the beach.

He was jumping up and down and screaming blue murder at Arlena.

I've never seen a fellow in such a fury.

Why did not you tell me this before, madame?

He is an old chum, isn't he? I didn't know then you were going to start hurling accusations at me and Kenneth.

But he is the chap you want. Why don't you run along and question him?

Yes.

I already have done, madame.

And he is exonerated by his crew.

All the same, his story does confirm yours.

Without knowing it, you have corroborated your own alibi.

Bravo, madame.

I'm sorry, Kenneth. I nearly put you in it.

I was only trying to help.

I know.

I forgive you.

I don't want to hear any more, Patrick.

If you hadn't been poodlefaking with that awful woman... you wouldn't have been there in the first place.

Oh, madame.

May I have a quick word with you? About how you spent this morning.

Why me? I've got nothing to do with all this.

You had no reason to love Arlena Marshall, madame.

Perhaps not.

But I was with Linda all morning.

I went to her room early to ask her to come to Gull Cove to do some sketching, she wasn't there.

I mean, she came along a few moments later. She'd been swimming.

And then we set off and we were there all morning.

If you don't believe me, ask Linda. She'll tell you...

Calmez vous, madame.

Mr Poirot, I'm alright now I want you to think about this very, very carefully.

At what time precisely did you leave the cove this morning?

I was there until 12 o'clock and I went off for my tennis game.

You had a watch? No. No, I didn't.

Then how did you know it was precisely 12 o'clock?

Because, well, when I climbed to the top of the cliff and was waving to Linda... who'd gone for a swim, that awful gun went off.

The one they fire at noon every day.

What did you do then, madame?

Well, I was late, you see, for my tennis which was fixed for 12:30... so I simply tore back to the hotel as fast as I could and changed into my tennis things.

And I went to the court where I met the others.

Mr Marshall, Mrs Castle and Mr Gardener.

I played with Mr Gardener.

I'm sorry I'm late. Not at all, my dear.

I was sketching at Gull Cove. Lost track of the time.

Don't worry. It's only a matter of four minutes exactly.

I'm afraid you have to play with me.

We'd barely started when the news about Arlena came.

Of course, it's a dreadful thing, Mr Poirot... but I can't pretend that I'm not...

A little relieved.

Well, I can understand that.

Is there anything else you want to ask?

Not for the time being.

Come in.

Hello. Hello.

Excuse me, mademoiselle, for intruding into your grief.

Grief? That's a good one.

Why should I be sorry for Arlena?

You hated her so much?

I'm glad she's dead if that's what you mean.

She was horrid to me and beastly to my daddy.

Would you mind if I ask you a few questions about this morning?

Why should I?

I was with Christine Redfern.

She wanted to go to Gull Cove to draw some stupid cliffs.

And did she?

Oh, yes. She sat under her big hat while I sunbathed.

She gets all blistered if she sits out in the sun.

Yes. It's bad luck really.

Here it is. She gave it to me.

It's not bad really.

No, she has talent, that one. These are undeniably, er... cliffs.

When did she leave you?

Five to 12. How can you be so sure?

Because she asked me.

What time is it, dear?

Five to 12.

Lord, I must fly! I'm playing tennis at 12:30.

She got into a fearful panic about being late for tennis and rushed off back to the hotel.

Would you like this? Thanks. It's super.

I'll see you later after my swim.

I remember I was halfway down the beach when Christine called after me.

Don't forget your bathing cap!

I'd forgotten my bathing cap... so I had to come back and put it on. What a bore!

Did you see anyone else while you were swimming?

No, no one.

Apart that is from Christine waving from the top of the cliff.

Look! Why don't you stop asking me all these silly questions about Christine?

She couldn't have murdered Arlena. Neither could I.

That slimy Rex Brewster's the one you should be talking to.

He hated Arlena. He's the one who really wanted her dead.

How can you say that? He admired her so much.

Don't be daft!

He'd written this filthy book about her which she wouldn't allow him to publish.

Excuse me, mademoiselle, but how do you know all this?

I heard them having a row about it on the beach yesterday.

They thought I'd gone away, but I hadn't.

Maybe he won't be able to publish it if he's hanged for murder first.

If I can't see you faces shining in every knife, fork and spoon...

I'll have your guts for garters, understood?

Madame! Have you any idea where I can find messieur Brewster?

Rex? I thought I saw him go out into the garden.

Oh, but...

He's not the one you want.

You should cherchez la femme.

Really, madame?

Absolutely, I have been having a little think, and I worked it all out.

If Horace Blatt is in the clear and Kenneth Marshall is in the clear and I'm... I'm in the clear... and Patrick Redfern is in the clear and Myra Gardener because she was with him.

Then it's all down to little Miss Cringe, isn't it?

Miss Cringe?

Yes.

The jealous wife, Christine Redfern.

Don't believe all that about her being too weedy.

Women fight like tigers when losing their husbands.

Not that I've had much experience of that sort of things myself.

But what is your theory? I mean, how did Madame Christine do it?

I don't know. Probably battered Arlena with a bit of driftwood... then finished her off with a little pressure on the... carotid artery?

The artery there, yes, yes.

Everyone knows that. It's in all the crime novels.

In fact, only the other day a child of 11 did something like that, in Hungary.

Or was it Crete? I don't know... Anyway, she used a pair of nutcrackers.

I know. Perhaps I'd better go and see if any are missing...

No Madame, unfortunately, there are no nutcracker marks on the throat.

And Madame Christine could not possibly have done it.

Her alibi had been confirmed by Mademoiselle Linda, and vice versa.

How very irritating!

"Under the high... lazy... noonday Adriatic sun... the body lay on its back, arms outstretched... parodying in death a position she so often occupied in life."

Oh. That is marvellous, that's...

Oh.

So, you've come, messieur Poirot, to question me about poor Arlena.

I am shattered. I am absolutely shattered.

She was so wonderfully funny, so very generous...

Not generous enough to give you a release so that you could publish that manuscript, eh?

Who told you that?

Never mind, but it is the truth, n'est-ce pas?

You cannot libel the dead.

Now you are free to publish your saucy tales and reap the reward.

Well, I would admit, from that point of view, I have benefitted.

Oh, but I assure you, messieur, that the loss of so radiant a performer infinitely exceeds any possible gain to myself.

You must believe that.

The time of death has been narrowed to between 11:30 and 12:00.

Where were you at this time?

I was on a pedalo.

A pedalo?

Whereabouts?

How should I know? I wasn't carrying a chart at the time.

Oh, que c'est amusant. How amusing that is!

Chart or no chart, it was perfectly possible for you to have watched Sir Horace Blatt's boat leave and then to have pedaloed into Ladder Bay... there to find the unsuspecting Arlena asleep... and then you strangled her.

Messieur Poirot, are you aware that it would take nearly two hours to paddle around the island from Ladder Bay to Gull Bay?

At 12 o'clock precisely... as that boring old gun went off I pedalled into Gull Bay.

Linda was there, swimming.

In fact I nearly hit her, she was splashing around like a deaf seal.

You say that you saw Mlle Linda swimming in Gull Bay at 12 o'clock?

Certainly, I asked her to help me pedal back... but the little charmer refused.

What do you want?

What did you say?

I said, Good god, darling. Help me pedal this damned thing back.

My legs are killing me.

Pedal it back yourself.

So you see, darling, I simply could not have killed Arlena.

Messieur, if you are so anxious to find a murderer... why don't you find out who tried to murder me?

Murder you?

What do you mean?

Well, after I'd been left by that lazy little cow Linda to rupture myself...

I pedalled off.

About ten minutes later, a bottle came whizzing over the cliff and smacked down in the water right next to me.

The damned thing missed my head by inches.

I looked up, there's nobody around.

I must congratulate you on that highly interesting and imaginative story.

I refer of course to your visit, your fictional visit, to Gull Bay at noon.

What do you mean "fictional"? Linda!

Mademoiselle Linda denies having seen anyone there at the time.

What?

Oh, that lousy little hoyden!

I... know she loathes me because I adored Arlena, but this is ridiculous.

You just wait till I catch her...

You! Linda!

Linda. You... You just wait! Stay right...

Linda! You tell messieur Poirot that I was with you this morning when you were swimming in Gull Cove.

Why should I? You weren't.

You lying little brat!

You just tell him that you saw me on the pedalo.

You tell him that you refused to help me pedal back! You tell him!

You tell him! Take your hands off my daughter!

Then you tell her to tell him the truth!

Well, Linda, did you see Mr Brewster when you were bathing in Gull Cove this morning?

Oh, alright then, yes, I did.

Linda, you mustn't tell lies.

You can get people into serious trouble.

Serious trouble? Hell, darling! You can get them hanged!

That was rather the idea, was it not, mademoiselle?

I'm sorry.

Kindly accept my apologies, messieur.

Incidentally, I accept your alibi.

That's real white of you, Mr P!

No, messieur Poirot, I am not as lucky as my dear wife.

I have absolutely no alibi.

I was sitting over there on a stone bench reading my book and between the hours of 11:00 and 12:15 I didn't move.

Now, I'm well aware, messieur Poirot... that in your world, when a murder takes place everyone automatically comes up with a watertight alibi.

However, I belong to that great world of millions of innocent men and women who, curiously enough, don't have the foresight to provide themselves with an alibi when a murder is taking place of which they know absolutely nothing.

Consequently, as I... was guilelessly reading my book... there was no gardener to come trotting by respectfully touching his forelock and registering the time on his grandfather's turnip watch.

In short, messieur Poirot...

I don't have the ghost of an alibi.

Of course, I could have scampered over the top of that peak... like a mountain goat, and... swarmed down the famous steps we've all heard about... and then crept up on Arlena and strangled her with these powerful hands of mine.

But, unfortunately for you, I did no such thing.

You see, I have a big fat motive but no alibi.

Next question?

Next question is what did you do when you had finished being unobserved in the garden?

I went up to my room, again unobserved, to change for tennis.

I was rather thirsty and so I rang the bell. Naturally, no one answered.

Where the goddamn staff had disappeared to was a mystery... and worthy even of your talents, messieur Poirot.

I turned on the tap, but there was no water, not a drop.

Someone was running a bath down the hall fit to float Noah's Ark.

"Damned odd time for a bath," I'd have said.

Anyway, I changed and appeared suitably attired in my Fred Perry outfit on the tennis court at precisely 12:30 to join Daphne and Marshall.

Mrs Redfern came a few minutes later.

And that, messieur Poirot... concludes the case for the defence.

You make pleasantries, messieur, but no alibi is still...

no alibi.

If you're looking for that, I've got it in here.

I've been using it to sort everything out for you.

I was wrong about cherchez la femme. Orry about that...

But it's quite obviously cherchez le fruit.

Rexy is the only one unaccounted for. Look, I'll show you.

At 11:30 Arlena Marshall was left here alive by Horace Blatt... who then sailed on down here. At the same time, Myra and Patrick were here...

Linda and Christine were here, Kenneth was here and I was in my staff meeting.

So it has just got to be our genial columnist.

And, what's more, I know how he did it.

Oh, you do, madame?

Absolutely! Recently I was reading a magazine story about a woman in Malaya who was drowned by a huge moray eel which darted out of a hole... dragged her to the floor of the ocean, its teeth buried in her throat.

Now that's what gave me the clue I needed.

Rex... Rex Brewster could've been lurking in the water off Ladder Bay... and when Arlena appeared on her pedalo, he could have leapt up... pulled her off it...

Very interesting, madame. The only snag is that Madame Marshall was not drowned.

Far less was she gnawed to death...

And perhaps even more damaging to your theory is the fact that it has been established that messieur Brewster was here in Gull Cove with Mademoiselle Linda at 12 o'clock.

He could not possible have pedalled all the way from Gull Cove to Ladder Bay in half an hour.

That's very inconvenient of him.

I mean, if he didn't do it, who did?

I just don't see who could have. Everyone has an alibi.

Oh, no, they do not, madame.

Messieur Gardener does not have an alibi, seems rather proud of the fact.

Oh, but he does, dear, most definitely.

What are you telling me, madame?

At half past 11 I was having my staff meeting... giving the hired help a pleasing stream of the old rancid... and in particular pointing out to Andreas that there was absolutely no point in making your curry de poulet vindaloo so hot that it raised welts on the surface of your tongue... when I looked out of the window and there was Odell reading a book.

He stayed there throughout the entire meeting. I'm positive of it.

What's the matter? Have I said something?

You've said a great deal, madame.

Oh, I... I see what you mean.

You... You mean nobody did it.

And yet we still have a body, madame.


Ah, Rigoletto Correct. Ah, Verdi. Quelle élégance!

It's funny to think, if Giuseppe Verdi had been an Englishman... his name would have been Joe Green.

Yes, I suppose it would, yes.

It used to make the boys laugh when I was trying to din some Latin into them when I was a teacher.

Little boys laugh easily if it keeps them away... even for a moment, from their study of Latin.

Messieurs-Dames, please forgive me for interrupting the cocktail hour... but there are two questions which I must put to you.

First of all... did anybody here throw a bottle into the sea this morning?

No?

Secondly, did any of you take a bath at 12:15 today?

An odd time for ablutions.

How remarkable!

A bath which nobody admits having taken and a bottle which flies by itself.

Joe Green...

It's rather more amusing than at first I thought.


Morning, Sir Horace! Hello, enjoy your swim?

Yes. Sorry I'm puffed, the water was freezing and I'm running to get warm.

Crying his eyes out? Tell him to pull himself together.

Hello, Daph!

That reminds me of a lady policeman. She's all out of breath.

She's telling her friends how she caught a burglar.

"I chased him past the grocer's, and the butcher's, and the baker's."

And then she said, "I finally caught him by the cobbler's"

Sorry, I don't find that remotely funny, Sir Horace.

Oh, I stand corrected, Daph.

I'll tell you what I don't find funny... hanging around waiting for the great detective!

Oh, good morning, messieur Poirot!

Listen here, Poirot. Not only have you not find Arlena's killer... but you haven't found my diamond. So I'm off of this hole, thank you.

The Gardeners and the Redferns want to go, too.

I can't say I blame them. The place is like a morgue.

Oh, I am so sorry.

Madame, there is nothing like a good night's rest to clear the little grey cells.

Kindly ask all our friends to forgather in the lounge after they have finished their petit déjeuner.

When all will be revealed, What?

You mean you know?

Oh, yes.

Give us a few clues!

Alright, I wish you to consider very carefully, a bathing cap, a bath... a bottle, a wrist watch, the diamond, the noonday gun, the breath of the sea and the height of the cliff.

From that you should be able to solve it yourselves.

We meet again in one hour.

Now I am going to have my œ à la coque.

There goes the most insufferable man in the world.

"Ôuf à la coque." That's about his mark, it's what he talks mostly.


Mesdames, mademoiselle, messieurs...

The reason I asked you to meet me here this morning... please, messieur... is that I, Hercule Poirot... have discovered the identity of the murderer of Madame Marshall.

This need surprise no one.

Are you all comfortable?

Even the murderer?

This has been a most unusual crime... in that apparently nobody had the opportunity of committing it.

Madame Marshall was killed between 11:30 and 12 noon yesterday and yet every single one of you had a perfect alibi... including you, messieur Gardener, without knowing it.

I'm very sorry if I have disappointed you.

We had undeniably a body... which meant that somebody was lying.

Who?

After exercising considerable reflection...

I came to the conclusion that it was you...

Madame Redfern.

Me?

But I didn't lie to you, I swear it.

Oh, yes, you did, madame.

When I asked you at what time you left Gull Cove yesterday... you said it was 12 o'clock.

You knew this, you said... because you heard that awful gun go off when you were standing on top of the cliffs waving at Linda who was swimming in the water below.

But messieur Brewster was in the bay at the same time.

It is very curious that you did not mention him.

And it's even more curious that when I confronted M Brewster with the fact that his story about entering the bay on his pedalo at the very moment that the midday gun went off was denied by Linda he lost his temper. He attacked the poor girl.

It would've been so much easier to have called his second witness. You, madame.

He must have seen you standing on top of the cliff and yet he made no mention of it. Why not?

The answer is obvious... you were not there.

But I was there.

And I did wave and Linda waved back.

Tell him, Linda! It's true. She did wave, honestly.

Yes, she probably waved but there was no noonday gun, was there?

I don't remember it. No.

No, there was no noonday gun for a very good reason. It was not 12 o'clock.

But she asked me the time, I looked at my watch and it was five to 12!

The watch, now that is very important.

Let us go back to yesterday morning, shall we?

I was having breakfast on the terrace, an egg... and in the course of performing some act of léger de main for you...

Mademoiselle, I happened to notice that you were not wearing a watch.

Not particularly surprising as you had been swimming... a fact that could be noted by anyone looking out of a hotel window.

You, Madame Redfern, actually told me you went to her room early to ask her to come with you to Gull Cove to do some sketching.

But that she was not there.

What a perfect opportunity to put Mademoiselle Linda's watch forward... 20 minutes?

A few moments later, as you told me...

Linda appeared in the corridor, as you knew she would.

And you invited her to accompany you.

Would you like to come? Yes, I'd love to.

Alright, see you in the hall in ten minutes.

Hello, Mr Poirot.

Your plan to make Linda your false alibi was now in motion.

This is pure supposition, Poirot.

I've never heard such twaddle.

Twaddle or not, it is the only explanation which fits all the facts.

Now if you will be a little patient...

I will explain to you exactly what happened next at Gull Cove.

Madame Redfern, unseen by Linda, consulted her own watch... which she was wearing but kept concealed under the sleeve of that strange voluminous outfit she chose to protect her from the sun.

It is of course 25 to 12.

She then asked Linda the time, who naturally said it was five to 12.

Linda then starts to go down to the sea. While her back is turned...

Madame Redfern returns Linda's watch to the correct time... then calls Linda back, telling her she has forgotten her bathing cap.

Why should she bother to do that, you may ask?

The answer is simple.

Remember, at 12 o'clock the noonday gun is due to go off.

And she can take no chance of Linda hearing and noting it.

A girl splashing about in the sea and wearing a bathing cap would hear nothing.

So let us exactly see what happened as Madame Redfern hurried up from the cove to the top of the cliff.

It is 11:40. She pauses to wave.

Linda waves back.

But there is no Mr Brewster.

No noonday gun.

Madame Redfern now turns and runs across the path which separates Gull Cove from Ladder Bay.

That takes her six or seven minutes, no more.

She arrives at Ladder Bay at about a quarter to 12 and sees Madame Arlena sitting impatiently... awaiting the arrival of Patrick Redfern... with whom, I am convinced, she had a rendezvous.

Oh, Christ!

Suddenly, to her great chagrin she sees you, madame... about to come down the ladder But I couldn't have! I suffer from vertigo.

You know that.

I only know that because you took good care to stage an incident showing me that you suffer from vertigo.

The day before yesterday, on the terrace.

As we were having a stroll and I was drawing your attention to the sunbathing figures on the beach below us, you suddenly fell against me and stepped back, saying you suffered from vertigo.

But she does have it, Poirot. She's always had it.

That is not the case, messieur.

Your wife only pretended to have it in order to prove that she could not have climbed down the ladder.

But, yesterday afternoon...

I myself stood on the cliff overlooking Gull Cove and I discovered something rather interesting.

In order to have seen Linda in the water below and to wave to her... you would have had to stand right on the very edge.

Although I do not suffer from vertigo...

I myself... was quite dizzy.

For you, madame, had you suffered from vertigo, it would have been impossible.

Let us now resume the story from the point at which you descended the ladder.

Madame Arlena decided to avoid a confrontation and was about to leave the beach when she noticed a small grotto at the base of a cliff.

You may well ask how I knew she had been in there.

Yesterday afternoon, not only did I discover the false diamond that Horace Blatt had returned to her... but my excellent wine taster's nose had detected, not as you put it, Madame Castle, a pong... but Souffle de Mer, "the breath of the sea"... which, as you know, messieur Marshall, was her favourite perfume.

But I am digressing.

You ran down on to the beach, but Madame Arlena had disappeared.

Arlena!

Where are you?

I know you're here.

I want to talk to you!

Be with you in a minute.

Well, what is it?

Look here, Poirot. Haven't we heard enough of this blarney?

Arlena was not murdered with a blunt instrument, she was strangled.

And if you would care to bend those beady Belgian eyes of yours on Christine's hands, you'll see they are too small to have strangled anyone.

Yes, I quite agree. In fact that was a major stumbling block to my theory.

Redfern's right, this knocks your theory out of court.

Odell, please, you weren't even there... and I was.

Remember, I saw her lying there strangled.

Christine couldn't have done it.

I am absolutely of your opinion, madame. In fact, she did not do it.

The murder was committed by... her husband, Patrick Redfern.

Now you really are talking out of the top of your hat!

Oh, for God's sakes. Patrick couldn't have done it, any more than his wife.

Don't forget I was with him the whole time between 11:30 and 12:00 when we came into the bay and saw her lying there.

That is the whole point, madame.

One moderately well-made young woman is very much like another.

Two brown arms, two brown legs and a little piece of bathing suit in between.

What exactly did you see from your place in the boat, Madame Gardener?

The ardent young lover, M Redfern... bending over the body with suntanned limbs wearing Arlena's white bathing costume... and a red Chinese hat.

As I pointed out a couple of days ago... all bodies lying on the beach are alike.

"They are not men and women," I said.

"There is nothing personal about them," I said.

"They are like rows of butcher's meat grilling in the sun," I said.

No wonder you were fooled into imagining that you had seen the corpse of Madame Marshall... when what you had actually seen was the live body of Madame Christine Redfern.

That is why the murderer had to conceal the face... because it was not the murder victim lying there, but somebody else.

And who else would help messieur Redfern..

But his own wife?

And now the performance for the benefit of the witness is over.

Madame Gardener departs from the bay by boat to fetch help.

And what do you think happened, Madame Gardener... as soon as you had disappeared?

Why, the corpse leaps to her feet and runs into the grotto to repace Madame Arlena's bathing costume... which she had stripped off the unconscious woman and worn to play her part as a corpse.

I've got a point, Poirot, which will scupper all your whole case.

Christine is as pale as pasteurised milk. Now the question is... how could I have possibly mistaken her arms and legs for Arlena's?

This covers nothing at all, madame.

In answer to your question, I would ask you to consider the bizarre nature of Madame Redfern's beach apparel.

When I saw Madame Redfern in the lobby yesterday morning... she was wearing a totally exaggerated garment which completely covered her from wrist to neck.

No mere fear of the sun could have occasioned such a choice of dress.

She had to wear such an all-concealing outfit because underneath... she was brown as a nut In the grotto, after having climbed into the unconscious Madame Arlena's swimming costume... all she had to do was to stain her hands and neck... something she could not have done earlier. Why?

Because Linda would have noticed.

She puts on the earrings and then she runs out of the grotto and onto the beach, settles herself on Arlena's towel and puts her great big Chinese hat over her face and lies still to await the arrival of her husband and yourself.

Dead... on cue, as it were.

And this, I must admit, he stage-managed superbly... timing his appearance at Ladder Bay exactly to coincide with the sound of the noonday gun.

The rest was easy.

She now changed back into her original costume.

It was about five past 12.

Madame Redfern bids her husband a hurried farewell. The clock is ticking.

She runs back across the island to rejoin the path leading from Gull Bay to the hotel.

She has one more task to perform.

She must get rid of the incriminating bottle of suntan stain.

The bottle that no one would admit throwing.

So she hurls it over the cliff.

But has the bad luck to have the event witnessed by messieur Brewster... whom it almost hit.

She reaches the hotel, arriving there about 12:15.

I myself timed the journey.

But then I was not running like a young gazelle, for obvious reasons.

Madame Redfern now takes the bath, heard by messieur Gardner... the bath no one would admit to taking, in order to wash off the suntan.

She changes into tennis clothes and appears on the court a few minutes late it is true, but unruffled and smiling... a picture of innocence.

Yes, messieur and Madame Redfern...

I blame myself for not having seen through your little charades earlier.

But then, unfortunately, not even Hercule Poirot is perfect.

From the moment you arrived... you started playing out a series of carefully rehearsed scenes... in such a manner that all might hear or see.

Together, there were scenes of hysterical jealousy played close to open windows.

You don't want to talk!

Look here! Can't I even speak to a pretty woman without you jumping to the conclusion that I'm... having an affair with her?

But you are, aren't you?

A part, you, madame, took every opportunity to give the impression that you are a physically frail woman who's no good at sports and who had to hide her skin away from the sun because it blistered and made her look like, what was it?

An Italian ice cream?

And who was altogether to be pitied as a poor little helpless abandoned wife.

Whilst you, messieur... took elaborately indiscreet pains to advertise your romance... instead of trying to conceal it as any prudent lover would.

I think you will all agree that it was a most audacious plan... brilliantly executed.

Oh, yes, brilliantly.

But the one thing you have failed to supply, messieur Poirot, is motive.

Why on earth should I kill Arlena?

I absolutely adored her.

Adultery may be reprehensible... but it certainly is not criminal.

No, messieur, you did not adore her, you adored her money.

And, more especially, the magnificent diamond offered her by Sir Horace Blatt.

Those who teach Latin to small boys are not exactly overpaid.

You're not at all the romantic figure you like to present.

You are a hardened adventurer and a vicious swindler... who had absolutely no moral compunction in borrowing the diamond from Madame Arlena and of substituting a paste copy.

Oh, pray, do continue, messieur Poirot.

Oh, yes, messieur, politeness is very much part of the act.

You knew that your deception would be discovered.

Too bloody right.

And you had to eliminate the only witness capable of exposing you.

And what better opportunity than on holiday... in a small exclusive island... where you could plan and execute her murder?

Picture to yourself the scene, mes amis.

The half-lit grotto.

Madame Arlena slowly returning to consciousness and the so solicitous messieur Patrick preparing le moment juste to strike.

Oh, Patrick.

Suddenly, his hands are around her throat.

She struggles... and it is the end of poor, foolish... beautiful, gullible Arlena Marshall.

And that, mesdames, mademoiselle, messieurs is the story of the murder of Arlena Marshall.

The only thing they had not foreseen was the presence on this island of Hercule Poirot.

The well-known romancer and teller of tales.

Excellent plot line. Imaginatively conceived. Good, clear narrative style.

I'll give you nine out of ten, Poirot.

I'm deducting one mark for total absence of proof.

Is that true?

We've sat here and listened to all that and you can't prove a word of it?

Unfortunately, messieur Redfern is absolutely right.

I haven't a shred of evidence.

Although that is unquestionably what happened.

I don't think we need to sit here and be insulted by this fanciful little mountebank.

Come along, darling. Shall we go and pack?

Just give us five minutes, Mr Poirot... and I'm sure we'll be able to work out how you did it.

After all, where were you at the time of the murder?

You've let that pair get off scot-free and I haven't even got my diamond back!

You've made a right cock-up, Poirot.


Oh, how very kind of you to see us off!

Well, goodbye, my dear friends.

I don't think there'll be any necessity to leave a forwarding address.

Just a moment, Mr Redfern.

Haven't you forgotten something?

Why pay, Patrick? They've done nothing but insult us.

Oh, we must pay it, darling.

After all, we wouldn't want anybody to think we were cheats now, would we?

I know you'll take a cheque. Certainly.

Of course, I also know that you're thinking the cheque may well bounce... but I'm afraid that's as good as it gets.

Here you are, dear. I've put a little extra on for the inconvenience.

Thank you so much.

Would you mind me saying something, Miss Castle?

Your ensemble does absolutely nothing for you.

Goodbye.

Un instant, s'il vous plaît, messieur Ruber.

Messieur Felix Ruber? Who did you say?

Ruber? Who the hell is Ruber?

Felix Ruber is the widower of Alice Ruber... whose strangled body had been discovered on the Yorkshire moors some months ago.

I was called in by the Trojan Insurance Company to examine the police report.

In the event of Mrs Ruber's death... her husband was a beneficiary of a large sum of money.

The police were satisfied that it was the work of a madman or a tramp and so was I, since the only possible suspect... the husband, had a cast-iron alibi... which had been established by a woman-hiker who had found the body earlier in the day.

But last night I asked myself.

A strangulation... an innocent witness, a change of time.

Could the similarity in the pattern of the events here on the island and those on the moors be a mere coincidence?

No, mes amis, the lonely hiker was none other than Madame Christine Redfern.

While messieur Ruber was on a train... undoubtedly attracting attention to his presence before potential witnesses.

The bigamous messieur Ruber was now free to return to his surviving wife, Madame Redfern.

You were clever enough to avoid putting your signature in the hotel register... but, you know, the signature on this cheque is really quite good enough.

Different names, of course. Here on the claim form for Alice Ruber's insurance policy, it appears as Felix Ruber... and here on the hotel cheque it appears as Patrick Redfern.

Different names, but, messieur, undeniably the same handwriting.

My God.

You were wrong to tell me that little joke about Giuseppe Verdi being called Joe Green in English... or that you had once you taught Latin to small boys.

It was at that moment that I realised that in that language

"Felix Ruber" is "Red Fern".

You see, it is folly to try and trick Hercule Poirot... even in a dead language.

Do you think anyone's going to believe the evidence of a couple of signatures?

And your bloody silly word games?

Messieur, if my modest assumptions are too fanciful for you... then perhaps a photograph of a hiker and the mourning husband... which must have appeared in local papers and which I of course have sent for... will be enough proof to hang you, sir.

You will be arrested for the murder of Alice Ruber and of Arlena Marshall.

But before that, there is a small favour I would like to ask of you.

Would you smoke the pipe which has been conspicuous by being unlit since you arrived here?

No?

Dommage.

As I thought.

Sir Horace, please be careful to whom you give it next time.

My God, you're a wonder, Poirot.

Yes?

Poor messieur Poirot.

Brave messieur Poirot.

I've just had a telephone call from His Majesty and he is very pleased with...

The King of Tyrania?

He's very pleased with the matter being cleared up so quickly and so discreetly.

He's so pleased that he's awarding you the Order of St Gudrun the Inquisitive.

St Gudrun the Inquisitive? First Class.

How many classes are there?