Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Script

[unsettling music]


[unsettling music]


[unsettling music]


[chattering]

[all speak Turkish]

[ship horn sounds]

Your ticket, please. Oh, yes.

Welcome aboard, Miss Debenham. Thank you.

[tannoy] Bosphorus Ferly will shortly depart from Istanbul Sirkect Station, connecting with the Orient Express.

Here's your ticket, Monsieur Poirot. I'm afraid you've got another hour.

Well, please do not wait.

Not wait? After all you've done for us, Monsieur Poirot?

[chuckles] Oh.

My general's orders were to ensure your safe departure.

He also wished me to thank you again for saving the honour of the British garrison in Jordan.

The brigadier's confession was opportune. I say, how did you do it?

Was it the old thumbscrew, you know, the rack?

Yes. Well, you'll be able to rest as soon as you get to Stamboul.

The, er... The church of Santa Sofia is absolutely magnificent.

You have seen it? No.

- Come on. [sheep bleat]

Move. Come on.

Get up. Come on.

Chop-chop-

Er, I hope we did the right thing, booking you into a hotel on the European side rather than the Asian side.

I have no prejudice against either continent.

The... The crossing should be pleasant. The Bosphorus is always calm.

You have crossed by the ferry? No.

Welcome, Colonel Arbu... Arbu... Arbut...

Arbuthnot.

The Bosphorus Ferry will shortly depart for Istanbul Sirkecl' Station, connecting with the Orient Express.

Not now. Not now. When it's all over. When it's behind us. Then.

[man sneezes]

What a funny little man. Obviously a frog.

[ham hanks]


[band plays "on the Good Ship Lollipop"]


Good evening, sir. This way, please.

Ecco finalmente un amigo.

Monsieur Poirot!

[laughs] Bianchi! How are you, my friend?

Good to see you. You have saved me from apoplexy.

Sit down. Thank you.

You have not dined well? No!

The skewers are of better quality than the kebab.

The bottle is more distinguished than its wine.

And the... the café?

Fortunately, I have been called to London. I leave tonight.

On the Orient Express? How else?

Evviva! I have a travelling companion. Ecceilente.

Well, where shall we dine? [both laugh]

[band plays slow piece]

I am desolate, Monsieur Poirot.

There is not one single first-class sleeping berth on the entire train.

What? In December? In December, signor.

Has Bulgaria declared war on Turkey? Are the aristocracy fleeing the country?

I am a director of the line.

Monsieur Hercule Poirot is not only a detective of international fame, but also my personal friend.

Signor Bianchi, Monsieur Poirot...

Ah, coragglo, my friend. We'll arrange something. And Ema! We must go.

[chattering]

[band plays slow piece]

[train whistle blows]

[tannoy] The Orient Express will depart from Platform One at' 9:00pm-

For Uzunkopru, Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Brod, Trieste, Venice, Milan, Lausanne, Basel, Paris, Calais', with connections for London.

[repeats in French]


Bonsoir, Pierre.

Madame la Princesse, mes hommages! Numéro quatolze.

- Fréuie Schmidt, welkommen! Guten Tag.

Bett nummer sechs.

- Danire schdn. Bitte schdn.

[tannoy] Orient Express departs from Platform One at 9:00pm.

[chattering]

[traders talk]

[ladies plead]

[greets in Hungarian]

[chattering]

[traders talk]

[children plead]

Ah, Mrs Hubbard. It's always an honour to greet you.

You have your favourite number, 11.

E000, Signor Bianchi. Benvenuto! Numero no ve. Come sempre.

Grazie, Pierre. I understand that you are full up.

It's unbelievable, signor. All the world elects to travel tonight.

Nonetheless, you must find room for Monsieur Poirot here.

Monsieur Hercule Poirot? The famous...

Precisely. And he is also a personal friend of mine.

Please be so good as to direct...

[greets in Swedish]

Something is lost?

My little medal of St Christopher, to bring me luck and deliver...

...deliver me from evil.

Madame. Madame, lucky tooth from St Augustine of Hippo.

Lucky Buddha, Madame.

[all talk]

Thank God, my St Christopher. St Christopher.


[man speaks French]

My friend has been urgently called to London on a matter of international importance.

I have given him my personal assurance that you will secure an accommodation for him on the coach to Calais.

But, Signor Bianchi, I have already... Hector...

[Hector] Excuse me, gentlemen, but Mr Ratchett has reservations, and we'd be grateful if we could board immediately.

Ah. Mr Ratchett. Welcome to the number ten.

Mr Beddoes, the lower berth in number one.

Mr McQueen, the lower berth in number four.

The upper berth is... As arranged.

Now, Pierre, it is cold.

Now we can place Monsieur Poirot in the number 16, which is always kept vacant.

It is taken, signor, by a Mr Hardman.

Then as a director of the line, I command you to place Monsieur Poirot in what we know to be the empty berth above Mr McQueen's number four.

Monsieur?

At least you can get two tips.

Pardon, monsieur. Sorry.

Pardon.

Well, my second husband, Mr Hubbard, would have raised hell.

No place for my make-up bag, no ice in my drinking water, and the hot water burps as it comes out of the faucet.

Pardon.

Have courage, my friend. it is the last compartment but one.

Pardon.

No. Er... I think there's... there's a mistake.

[repeats in accented French]

Mr McQueen, there is no other berth on the train.

Monsieur Poirot has to come in here. Voila, monsieur, all is arranged.

Yours is the upper berth, the number four. We start in one minute.

I apologise if I have incommoded you here.

However, it is for one night only at Belgrade Station.

Oh, I see. At Belgrade, you're getting off.

[train whistle blows]


[train whistle blows]


[triumphant music]


[train whistle blows]


Better than the hotel?

I shall probably keep the menu as a souvenir.

Hector, I ordered three Islamic 13th-century, perforated pottery bowls and six beakers.

They delivered only five beakers, and one of the bowls arrived chipped, which it was not when I paid for it. Through the nose.

Send a telegram from Belgrade. Yes. Yes, Mr Ratchett.

What's the matter? You look tired.

I slept badly. Yeah, why?

The Belgian in the upper berth snored.

Really? Any other unanswered letters on file?

Er... Only the anonymous ones. We can't answer those, can we?

You'd better go catch up on your sleep before the Belgian gentleman gets back to your compartment.

Go on.


Hi. My name's Hardman. Call me Dick.

Foscarelli. Call me Gino. How are you?

Beddoes.

Mr Beddoes.

[Poirat] Ah, for the pen of a Balzac.

For three days, all these people, these total strangers, meet in a single train whose engine controls their destiny.

Yes, I know. We are both envious of the husband.

Is, er... ls the husband as British as his tweeds?

Oh, heaven forbid. He's a hot-blooded Hungarian.

If you but look at his wife, he will cease to be a diplomat.

- Thank God we are not young. [both chuckle]

My second husband said always to ask for change in dollars or at worst, sterling.

So for Pete's sake, what's a drachma?

It is... What do you call it? The currency...

My second husband also said, “Take a book of food tickets, Mama, and you'll have no problem at all." That just isn't so.

First there's this ten-per cent tip. I think Miss Ohlsson has a headache.

Would you forgive us if we went to the compartment?

Gladly, if you must. If you need aspirin, I always carry it on my person.

I mistrust foreign drugs.

You must excuse me, Mrs Hubbard is upon us.

What's the matter with him? Train-sick or something?

Some of us, in the words of the divine Greta Garbo, "want to be alone".

[waiter] And for dinner this evening?

You will have the goodness to serve me the poached sole with one new potato and a small green salad with no dressing.

Hildegarde!

[Poirot] Who was that majestic lady?

[attendant] The Princess Dragomiroff. Ah, I have heard.

Pardon me, sir. I wonder if you could oblige me with a light.

Yes, certainly.

Thank you. My name is Ratchett.

Do I have the pleasure of speaking to Mr Hercule Perrot?

The pleasure possibly, Mr Ratchett, the intention certainly.

You asked me for a light. I offered you one, and you have not used it.

One can deduce that without acute mental exhaustion.

[laughs] That's wonderful. Sit down, sir.

For a moment. Just for a moment.

Thank you very much.

Well, Mr Perrot...

Poirot. How's that?

Poirot. Oh, Perrot. Right.

I just wanted to say that in my country we also come quickly to the point.

I want you to take a job on for me.

It means big money. Very big money.

What is the case, or, as you put it, the job which you wish me to undertake?

Mr Poirot, I'm a rich man.

Naturally, men in my position have enemies.

Only one. What the hell do you mean by that?

Merely that when a man is in a position to have, as you say, enemies, it does not usually resolve itself into one enemy only.

Oh. Oh, sure. Sure. I appreciate that.

What is your profession?

I'm retired.

From what? Business.

What sort of business? Baby food.

But what does that matter? What matters is my safety.

You are in danger?

My life has been threatened, Mr Poirot.

My secretary can show you two letters on file.

And I... can show you this.

I sleep on it.

Mr Poirot...

$5,000.

No? 10,000?

15,000.

Mr Ratchett, I have made enough money to satisfy both my needs and my caprices.

I take only such cases now as interest me, and, to be frank, my interest in your case is... dwindling.

[train whistle blowing]


[horn blows]

[tannoy] Belgrade Station. The Orient' Express will depart in five minutes.

Ah, Monsieur Poirot!

I am transferring Signor Bianchi's luggage to the Pullman.

He's giving you his own compartment. But you cannot sit up all night!

Ah, my dear friend, do not concern yourself.

It is better for you to stay on the through coach to Calais.

Now, Pierre has made me very comfortable.

There is no one in the Pullman but one Greek doctor. E000.

Such generosity deserves my thanks. - Buon riposa.

Such generosity deserves my thanks. - Buon riposa.

[whistle blows]

[train whistle blows]

[sings to himself]

[Pierre] Monsieur Poirot.

Pierre, could I have some clean towels?

Yes, monsieur. Who are my new neighbours?

To the left, monsieur, the Swedish lady, Miss Ohlsson, shares seven and eight with the English lady, Miss Debenham.

And to the right, in number ten, is Mr Ratchett.

Where is the loquacious Mrs Hubbard? I should like to get some sleep tonight.

Beyond Mr Ratchett, in the number 11. She is still too near.

Goodnight, Mr Beddoes. Ah, pardon.

[Ratchet!] Who is it?

It's me, sir, Beddoes, with your sedative.

Come in.

Thank you, Pierre. Goodnight.

Goodnight, monsieur, and pleasant dreams in number nine.

[Ratchet!] How many drops?

[Beddoes] Of the Valerian? Two, sir, as you said.

[Ratchet?] OK No, no. Put it on the table.

And tell Mr McQueen I want to see the text of the telegram he sent from Belgrade.

Very well, sir.

He wants you.


[knocking] [Ratchet!] Come in.

[indistinct talking]

Ah, tiens, tiens, tiens.

La belle Comtesse-

[sings]

[man gargling]


[man shrieking]

[knocking]

[man] Ce n'est rien. Cétait un cauchemar.

[bell ringing]

Ah, bien, Mr Ratchett. May you now have pleasant dreams.

[bell ringing]

C'est le silence de mart.

[sighs] A snowdrift? Mon Dieu. Ouelie nui't!

So now there's a man in my room. I woke up in the dark three minutes ago, and there was a man in this compartment. I sensed it.

What's more, I know who he was because I nearly walked through his door.

"Madame," said Mr Ratchett, "if this was 20 years ago, I'd have said come in."

Twenty years ago? Ha! Why, I'd only have been 15.

If there should be a reoccurrence, do not hesitate to ring, madame.

[knocking]

Enfin c'est le comble!

Evidemment, j'ai une crise de nerfs.


It's me, sir, Beddoes, with your pick-me-up.

Your Amber Moon, Mr Ratchett.

Your passkey.

The chain.

Dare touch nothing.

Where are Signor Bianchi and the Greek doctor?

In the dining car, monsieur. Fetch them at once.

Well, can't you tap the telephone wires?

Or fire a rocket, or something? This is not a ship, madame.

We are between Vinkovci and Brod.

But in what country? In Yugoslavia.

The Balkans. What else can you expect'?

Snow is God's will. And all is for the best.

Yeah, but how long do you think before we can start getting out of here?

As soon as the stationmaster at Brod sees that we do not arrive on time, he will send...

Dr Constantine, Monsieur Poirot wants to see you.

And you too, Signor Bianchi.

[Bianchi] Forgive me, ladies and gentlemen.

Only God's forgiveness is important.

Ich mdchte mei'ne Prinzessin benachrichtigen.

Signor Bianchi and Dr Constantine.

Mind the broken glass, gentlemen.

Pupils still slightly dilated. Could've been drugged.

Was drugged. [Poirot] With what?

[Constantine sniffs] There's a smell of valerian, which is harmless, but something must've been added.

May I close his eyes now? I wish you would.

Why did he lose so much blood?

Can I pull back the bedclothes? By all means.

Mr Ratchett has been frontally stabbed ten, eleven, twelve times.

- 0h, Dio. Mon pauvre.

If you must go whoop-whoop, please go whoop-whoop not to windward, but to leeward.

Help him, Pierre.

There is something in the pocket. Permit me.

[Poirot] His watch. The time of death.

I can definitely say that death occurred between midnight and two in the morning.

That would fit.

I myself heard him cry out and ring for the conductor at 12:40.

When Pierre arrived, he apologised and said he had been having a cauchemar.

A nightmare.

Then I heard him use his washbasin.

And that is the last thing known.

I beg of you, monsieur. You cannot refuse.

But it is the duty of the Yugoslavian police.

Oh, what, monsieur, to question my passengers on my line?

Never. Now, you must solve the mystery.

When we get to Brod, if we ever do, we present the police with a fait accompli.

We say that a murder has occurred. There is the criminal.

I should like the Pullman coach reserved for the investigation's headquarters.

It will be at your disposal.

And a plan of the coach with the names and locations of all the people in it.

Yes, it will be there.

And the passports of all passengers concerned.

You can even have mine. I go to make a special announcement now.

Grazia. Bring all the passports to Monsieur Poirot.

[Poirot] Are there any other passengers on the train?

[Constantine] In the Pullman coach, nobody but myself and Mr Bianchi.

Alors. Then we must concentrate on the Calais coach.

Where, in my amateur opinion, the murderer is with us now.

[all shout]

Ladies and gentlemen. Please, please, patience. You must have patience.

Now, you will all get the chance to state your views to Monsieur Poirot at his own good time.

It is not good time. It is bad time. God's laws have been bust.

Thou shalt not kill.

And wh-why was I not notified at once, Signor... Mr Bianchi?

I was his nearest associate. And I was nearest to his murderer.

You mean you saw the man? You can identify the murderer?

I mean nothing of the kind.

I mean there was a man in my compartment last night.

It was pitch-dark, of course, and my eyes were closed in terror.

Then how did you know it was a man?

Because I've enjoyed very warm relationships with both my husbands.

With your eyes closed'? That helped.

Excuse me. Anyway, the man smelt of tobacco.

Mr McQueen, Monsieur Poirot would be grateful for a few minutes of your time.

Excuse me.

The man must've entered my compartment to gain access to Mr Ratchett.

I can think of no other reason, madame.

[Poirot] Pierre, your passkey.

Voila', monsieur.

And will you discreetly procure me a lady's hatbox, one of the big, old-fashioned kind, perhaps from the Princess Dragomiroffs maid?

Give me five minutes, doctor.

Mr McQueen, I regret to have kept you waiting, but there has been much to establish.

Please be seated.

Now, I should be grateful for anything you can tell me. What, for example...

Let's get just a couple of things straight first, Mr Poirot.

Who, for example, are you, and what is your status here?

Excuse me.

Monsieur Poirot is a detective, officially delegated to investigate this case by me.

Let us proceed with the matter in hand. Your relationship with Ratchett?

I'm his... I was his secretary.

For how long? A year, give or take.

Where did you meet? In Persia.

He was collecting Gorgan pottery with considerable success.

And I was trying to collect oil concessions with so little success that I went bankrupt, and he offered me the job.

I took it.

And since then? Well, we've travelled around.

He was hampered by not knowing any languages.

I acted more as his courier than as his secretary.

It was a pleasant enough job.

What part of America did Ratchett come from?

I don't know. The fact is, he never talked about his background.

Why, do you think? Well, I used to...

Well, I began to believe that he had left America to escape something, you know, or someone.

And until a couple of weeks ago, I think he succeeded.

And then?

Well, he began to get these anonymous letters, threatening letters, like these.

"I kill killers."

Mm-hmm.

[Poirot] "Prepare to die."

[Blanch!] How brief. But in a sense, how complicated.

Last night, I noticed you dispatching a telegram from Belgrade Station.

That's right. Let's see, he sent for me to see the text right after we left Belgrade.

And then he went, er... Yeah, it was the last I ever saw of him.

Were there any other threatening letters?

Yeah, but none that I was allowed to read.

He used to... He used to burn them.

That explains... What?

[knocking]

My interest in hatboxes.

Precisely what I needed.

[Poirot? Doctor, first the wounds. You counted a dozen?

[Constantine] Yes.

Five are deep, of which three are lethal.

The rest are shallow. And two...

...are so slight as to be mere scratches.

[Poirat] What does that suggest?

That there were two murderers, a strong man and a weak man?

[Constantine] Or a weak woman.

[Poirot] Or a strong man stabbing the victim both strongly and weakly in order to confuse us.

At least we know that by the time of the murder, Ratchett was too drugged to cry out or defend himself with this.

But how did you guess? I didn't.

He showed it to me when he offered me $15,000 to be his bodyguard and I refused.

Ought I to have accepted?

Now, let us consider the ashtray.

Two different matches. A smoked cigar.

A pipe cleaner... And this.

Huh?

The initial H. That should not be hard to identify.

I wonder, Christian name or surname?

We must wait until we examine the passports.

Bianchi, doctor, has it occurred to you that there are too many clues in this room?

Let us proceed by examining what I hope will prove to be the last of them.

The burnt paper.

I use it for the moustaches.

What has that to do with moustaches? To melt the wax.


Observe, memorise, you are my only witnesses.

A-I-S-Y A-R-M-S. [Branchi] What does that mean?

It means we know the true identity of Mr Ratchett.

And why he had to leave America.

Do you remember the Armstrong case?

Of course, the kidnapping of that little American girl, and the killing.

Who does not?

Do you remember the name of the child? Celtamente. It was Daisy.

ID-

D-A-I-S-Y.

Space, A-R-M-S.

Daisy Armstrong.

And Ratchett was her murderer?

Well, no, the actual murderer was tried, sentenced and electrocuted.

But he was only the number two.

The subordinate of a boss whom, at first, he was too terrified to identify.

Only on the eve of his electrocution did he give the name of the boss, who by then had disappeared with the ransom money.

I remember feeling ashamed that he had an Italian name.

Cassetti.

Che mostro. He had a child's blood on his hands.

He had worse than that.

After the shock of the body's discovery, Mrs Armstrong gave premature birth to a stillborn child and herself died in the process.

Her husband, Colonel Armstrong, once a brave officer in the Scots Guard, shot himself.

Mrs Armstrong's personal maid, who came wrongly under suspicion of complicity, threw herself from her bedroom window and she died, so five deaths, five.

Then I thank heaven that Cassetti, who spilt so much blood in his lifetime, should have his own blood spilt now.

[both speak French]

Excellent, Pierre. And could you summon the passengers to me here, one by one in this order, except for the Princess Dragomiroff, who is not only of royal blood, but also much older than she tries not to look.

And, Pierre, since you are here already, we can conveniently start by questioning you.

Your full name is Pierre Paul Michel.

Correct, monsieur. Two male saints' names.

You must be greatly blessed.

I've had my share of good fortune, monsieur.

So... And of bad.

I note the cancellation of your wife's photograph nearly five years ago.

She is deceased. She died, monsieur.

Of grief at the death of our only daughter.

From scarlet fever.

I am truly sorry.

Let us talk of less distressing matters.

On the night of the murder, after we left Belgrade, who were the last people to retire to their compartment?

Show me on the diagram.

About 1:30, I remember seeing the English colonel say goodnight to Mr McQueen outside number three and four.

I saw him walk back into his compartment, number 1.5 which he did not leave.

And after that, did no one re-emerge?

No, but there was one lady who opened a door, I don't know which, and walked in the direction of the toilet at the far end of the corridor, next to the dining car.

- [Poirot] Did you see her return? [Pierre] No, monsieur.

It is possible I was answering a bell.

That reminds me of a final point.

Much earlier, soon after 12:30, you and I both heard Mr Ratchett ring his bell several times and apologise for having had a nightmare.

[bell ringing]

[bell ringing]

[Ratchett] Ce n 'est rien. Cétait un cauchemar.

Who rang the second bell while you were answering Mr Ratchett's?

The Princess Dragomiroff, monsieur. She asked me to summon her maid.

Thank you, Pierre. That is all for the moment.

He had the means to do it. The passkey to Ratchetfs room.

And a knife borrowed from the chef. With whom he was in league.

Which he plunged repeatedly and without motive into the body of his suitably astonished victim.

Anyway, we know the door was not only locked, but chained.

Mr McQueen.

Since our last conversation, I have learnt the true identity of your late employer.

[stutters] You don't say. Mm.

Ratchett was, as you yourself suspected, merely an alias.

He was, in fact, Cassetti.

The gangster who masterminded the kidnapping and killing of little Daisy Armstrong.

You had no idea of this?

No, sir.

If I had, I'd have cut off my right hand so I couldn't type his lousy letters.

And I'd have killed him with my left.

You feel you could have done the good deed yourself?

It seems like I'm kind of incriminating myself.

I should be more inclined to suspect you, Mr McQueen, if you displayed an inordinate sorrow at your employer's decease.

Sorrow?

My dad, my father, was the district attorney, yeah, who handled the Armstrong case.

Mrs Armstrong and her husband came to our house twice for advice about the ransom money.

She was gentle and frightened.

But not too frightened to take an interest in a young man who wanted to go on the stage.

She even said she'd write to...

She died before she got around to that.

She was as helpful to me as a... Well, a mother.

Forgive a Freudian question.

Do you love your mother? I did.

She died when I was eight. An impressionable age. Why do you ask?

We shared a compartment on the first night of our journey.

You cried out to your mother twice in your sleep.

Did I?

I still dream about her.

Go on.

Tell me. I'm emotionally retarded. Tell me that's why I never married.

I am not here to tell you anything, Mr McQueen. You are here to tell me.

Yeah, I'm sorry.

Yeah, there's just one thing.

How did you, er...

...figure out Ratchett's identity?

By a message found in his compartment.

He'd have burnt that, though, as I told you.

Mm. He did.

Yeah, he did.

Then how did you decipher? With the help of a hatbox.

Thank you, Mr McQueen.

He did it. He murdered Cassetti. He practically confessed as much.

No, the psychology is wrong.

A sensitive, motherless boy conceives a passion for a lady whom he admires above all for her gentleness.

Now, could McQueen, admiring the gentleness, commit so foul a murder without betraying the gentleness of what we might call his fairy godmother?

Ah! Godmother.

Now you have accidentally said something valuable. Come.

Mr Beddoes, this is not an inquisition, only an inquiry.

When you took Mr Ratchett his Valerian drops about 9:40 yesterday evening, was he already in bed?

That is so, sir. Mr Ratchett always retired early on trains.

What were your duties before leaving him for the night?

To place the Valerian drops within reach, sir.

Beddoes? Sir.

Did you put this on my table during dinner?

No, sir. Then who the hell did?

I have no idea, sir. May I ask what it is?

What it is is none of your damn business.

I want to know how it got here.

Will there be anything more, sir? There will.

Tell Mr McQueen I wanna see him, now. Very well, sir.

What time would you like to be called in the morning, sir?

Not before ten. Very good, sir.

Was that usual? Oh, quite, sir, yes.

His breakfast was his Amber Moon.

He never rose until it had had its full effect.

So you instructed Mr McQueen and then returned to your own compartment, the number one and two, whose upper berth was occupied by Signor Foscarelli.

Oh, yes, sir, the Italian person. Does he speak English?

A kind of English, sir. I think he learnt it in a place called Chicago.

Did you talk together much? Oh, no, sir. I prefer to read.

Hey, what are you reading, Mr Beddoes?

Love's Captive, by Mrs Arabella Richardson.

Is it about sex? No, it's about 10:30, Mr Foscarelli.

[laughs]I like that. "it's about 10:30!"

And after that you went to sleep. Oh, no. Not until four in the morning.

Unfortunately, I had the toothache.

[furs] And your companion? He snored incessantly.

One final point. How did you come to be employed by Mr Ratchett?

Through Maibaums, sir, the big agency in New York.

You'll find me on their books. And before then?

I was in the army, sir, as a private soldier.

Where? Troon, sir.

In the Far East? Oh, no, sir, in Scotland.

Oh, Scotland. Oh, forgive me. I am only an ignorant Belgian.

Oh, a Belgian, sir? I always thought you were French.

Belgian.

Did you know that Mr Ratchett was of Italian extraction?

So that accounts for his hot temper.

[all chuckle]

His real name was Cassetti. The name means nothing to you?

Do you remember the Armstrong case? No, sir.

Oh, yes, yes. The little girl.

Cassetti was responsible for her murder.

How does that strike you?

I think that instead of our employers requiring references from us, we should require references from them.

[laughs]

Thank you, Mr Beddoes.

Please don't get up, sir. Will there be anything else?

No, that is all.

He did it. The butler did it.

He had constant access to Ratchett.

He could have poisoned the valerian before bringing it to his master.

As for the psychological, well, who knows what boils and bubbles beneath that stiff shirt to which his profession has called him.

Did he not read Loveis Captive? Hmm?

When you suggest he should have been stabbing Mr Ratchett?

[train whistle blowing]


I fear that help is at hand.

Even if it is only a working party with picks and shovels, we must make haste to complete this inquiry before we reach Brod.

If it is an engine with a snowplough, our troubles will really begin.

[Constantine] Who's next?

[Poirot] Mrs Hubbard- Oh, my God.

The whistle means that help is near, madame.

And high time, too.

Time is what counts if we are to complete this inquiry before reaching Brod.

I will therefore make my questions brief and you can confine yourself to a simple yes or no.

Don't waste time yammering.

Your full name is Harriet Belinda Hubbard?

Yes. I was called Harriet after my...

By now, Mr McQueen has doubtless informed you of the true identity of Mr Ratchett? Yes, that low-down...

Were you acquainted with the Armstrongs?

No, of course not. They were a...

I overheard the whole of your conversation with Pierre about there being a man in your room soon after one o'clock on the night of the murder.

Tell me one thing more.

Wasn't the door locked on your side of the door that communicated with Mr Ratchett's compartment?

Yes, so far as I know. My second... What do you mean, as far as you know?

Could you not see the bolt from the bed?

No. Why?

It was masked by my make-up bag on the hook above.

Pierre checked the bolt after I told him there had been a man hiding in my compartment.

Yes, yes, we know all about that.

Oh, no, you don't. I beg your pardon?

You don't know what I found this morning on top of the magazine I'd been reading to send myself asleep.

What?

O h , dio mio.

This is a button from the tunic of a wagon-lit conductor.

Doctor, would you kindly enquire whether Pierre has lost a tunic button?

Gladly.

Your handkerchief, Mrs Hubbard.

Oh, that's not mine. I have mine right here.

Oh, I thought the initial H...

H for Harriet, H for Hubbard, but it's still not mine.

Mine are sensible things, not expensive Paris frills.

What good's a hankie like that to anybody?

One sneeze and it has to go to the laundry.

Mrs Hubbard, you have afforded me a great deal of help in this difficult case.

Thank you, if I may so express it, for playing your part.

If you need me again, I'll be around.

Not one of Pierre's buttons is missing, and all his buttons are sewn on with old thread.

[Poirot] As I suspected.

I'm fright. Have no fear, mademoiselle.

They all come out looking much more peaceful.

Only God can give peaceful.

God dag, froken Ohlsson- Nej; talar ni svenska.

Alas, mademoiselle, that is the extent of my Swedish.

Forgive me if I am personal, but most Scandinavians of my acquaintance are well-educated in other languages.

And yet you have difficulty...

I... I was born backwards.

That is why I work in Africa as missionary, teaching little brown babies more backward than myself.

But I... I see that you have spent three months in America.

Were you not able to improve?

I was in... in a mis... I... I... international group.

In... For getting money for African mission from American rich.

I... I speak Swedish to big audiences in... in... in Swedish-American institution in Minneapolis and other big cities.

In ten weeks, we make $14,000 and... and 27 cents.

That's wonderful, wonderful.

Miss Ohlsson, how long have you been interested in religion?

From five years.

In summer, in... I had been sick as always.

And I sat in the grass in the garden.

And I... I saw Jesus in the sky...

...medmany little children, but all the children were brown.

So it was a sign for me to look after little brown babies.

Yes.

Were your parents religious?

Ne]; they had no respect for God. No.

So it was not just a sign.

It was also a punishment. [cries]

Oh, there, there, there, there.

I'm sure that God will forgive you, Miss Ohlsson, and perhaps, which is more important, so will your father and mother.

Now...

Here is the compartment you share with...

Ja, and here is my number seven bed.

Yes, your number seven. Tell me about number eight.

Is filled with Miss Debenham, a very nice young lady from Baghdad, where she teach English shorthand to children, to forward children.

After the train left Vinkovci, did she leave her berth?

Ne]; she sleep just like me.

If you were fast asleep, how could you be so sure she did not leave?

In Shimoga Mission, I can hear snake breathe.

I would know.

Good. And did you leave your room?

Ne]; not till morning, in my bed-gown.

Is your bed-gown white with red animals?

Nej; is Jaeger.

And Miss Debenham's bed-gown'?

Den var i lila-

Oh, like the French "lilas", "lilac".

- Just lila, just lila. Right.

Good. And why are you making this trip, Miss Ohlsson?

Just as always, money, money for mission.

Good. Good.

When this is all over, mademoiselle, I promise that I shall make you an emolument.

God will find you a reward.

Tack sa mycket. Tack.

Monsieur, she did it.

Merci Pierre, and could you please inform the Princess Dragomiroff that Signor Bianchi and I will attend on her and her maid in her compartment?

Our} monsieur.

Ah! That is very proper.

Monsieur le Comte, this is a Hungarian diplomatic passport.

It gives you and your wife the right to refuse interrogation.

In the circumstances, we waive that right.

You are most kind. As you know, Madame la Comtesse, it is a joint passport which sets out your husband's name and titles, but requires no particulars about yourself, except your signature and your maiden name.

Your maiden name is clearly Grunwald. That is correct, monsieur.

My family is of German extraction, though I now hold Hungarian citizenship.

Unfortunately, the first letter of your married signature has been almost obliterated by a grease spot.

I must say, I find immigration officials are often less than cleanly.

They sit in their box, eating a buttered roll with one hand and stamping the spilt butter into your passport with the other.

Precisely. Therefore, I would be greatly obliged if you could duplicate the mutilated entry of your passport there.

Elena Andrenyi née Grunwald.

Allowing for the difference in pens, the duplication seems exact.

There would be little point in asking whether this handkerchief is yours?

Since it contains neither of my initials, no point whatsoever, monsieur.

And even less point in asking the colour of your dressing gown?

None, unless monsieur takes a professional interest in apricot silk?

I take a professional interest in crime, madame.

Have you and your husband ever visited America together?

No. We first met in Wiesbaden... much later.

Later than what?

Later than the days of my youth, when I was on post in Washington.

You lived in Washington?

Oh, what diplomat of promise has not? [yawns]

You did not sleep well last night? On the contrary.

Apart from one of Mrs Hubbard's customary outbursts, I slept very soundly.

And you, madame?

Oh, even more soundly. We neither of us woke till after eight.

As is my custom on night trains, I took Trional.

Diethyl sulphone dimethyl methane.

One dilutes the white crystals with water. It is a strong hypnotic.

[laughs] He makes it sound like a poison.

As with most sleeping draughts, if taken in sufficient quantities, it is a poison.

You are not accusing... You are not accused, you are excused.

Thank you both for your help and cooperation.

[woman reads in German]


Why have you stopped reading?

[reads in German]

[knocking]

[knocking]

Altezza. Signor Bianchi.

E permesso presentare l'investigatore distinto, Monsieur Hercule Poirot?

Hildegarde has read me many of your cases in the newspapers, but I have had to stop her.

Nowadays, they are the only form of literature that keeps me awake.

And I need what I defiantly continue to call my beauty sleep.

[men chuckle]

You would care for a little cognac? Thank you, no.

Yes, please.

Now, you wish me to confess to the murder of Mr...

What's his name?

Au contraire, Madame la Princesse, it is I who wish to make a confession.

You pay me the compliment of having read about me.

I return the compliment by admitting that I have read about you.

Continue.

I have been accidentally reminded that you were the godmother of Mrs Armstrong, who was herself the mother of the kidnapped child, Daisy.

How did you become Mrs Armstrong's godmother, madame?

I was the friend and admirer of her mother, the great American actress, Linda Arden.

Why did you bring these daggers from the place?

Is that a quotation or a question?

A quotation. I saw her twice as Lady Macbeth in London.

She was the greatest tragic actress of her day.

Was? Surely she is still alive, madame?

Alive, but bedridden.

Did she not have a second daughter, younger than Mrs Armstrong?

There was, but I do not recall her name.

When I paid a visit, she was always away at school.

What became of the younger daughter?

She married a Turk or some such. We never spoke of it.

What was Mrs Armstrong's maiden name?

Mrs Armstrong's maiden name was Greenwood.

May I tax your memory and, indeed, your patience a little longer?

There are other names in the Armstrong household that I cannot recall.

Was there not a secretary?

[Princess] Of course there was a secretary.

Her name, Madame?

Her name? Oh, my memor...

She was a Miss Freebody.

Was there not a gallant chauffeur? There was.

I never used him. I had my own.

Surely he was not the only male servant?

[Princess] I seem to remember one other there.

He was, I think you would say, the colonel's Indian orderly.

And Mrs Armstrong's personal maid.

The one who was wrongly suspected of complicity and killed herself?

I always travel with my own personal maid.

There was no need to speak with Mrs Armstrong's.

Doubtless, Fraulein Schmidt will remember her name.

Surely, Fraulein, as one lady's maid to another, - you conversed as equals below stairs. Ja, fa, naturlich.

But ladies' maids were often called only by their Christian names.

And what was hers?

Paulette.

Hildegarde. You will be so kind as to give me two aspirin.

And you will ask the dining-car attendant to bring me a glass of Russian tea, and then you may retire to your own compartment.

I will ring when I need you.

Jawohl, meine Prinzessin.

Finally, there was the nurse.

I had no need of a nurse.

That is an ordeal still to come.

You never smile, Madame la Princesse.

My doctor has advised against it.

Excuse me.

There is no need for us to fatigue you further.

You have been of the utmost help.

Go and tell Pierre to summon Colonel Arbuthnot in five minutes.

I want a word with the maid. Yes, Poirot.

Fréulein Schmidt!

Might I have a word with you in the privacy of your compartment?

I have to take these aspirins... We will leave the door ajar.

I observed how moved you were at the mention of Mrs Armstrong's maid, Paulette.

She had a sweet nature, mein Herr. We were deep friends.

Have you a photograph of her in your possession?

Ja. I never travel without my photo box. It helps to pass the evenings.

No, please, mein Herr. I am strong.

[screams] Be calm.

This could be your salvation and that of every passenger in the Calais coach, including your mistress.

When did you last open the suitcase?

After Belgrade.

When Pierre summoned me to the Prinzessin, I took out a volume of Goethe, in case she wished me to read her to sleep.

Too stout for Pierre.

And, yes, there is a button missing from the tunic.

A button found by Mrs Hubbard.

And a passkey in the trouser pocket.

Here is the photo, mein Herr.

And this pretty, innocent girl threw herself from a window.

[cries]

Use this, Fréulein.

I found it and thought it must be yours, because it bears the initial H.

No, no, no. That is the handkerchief not of a maid, but of a great lady.

Like your mistress?

It is her style, fa, but not her handkerchief.

I know all her linen.

Besides, the initial is wrong.

What is the princess's first name?

Natalia, mein Herr. It is a Russian name.

Then I must keep it until I find the rightful owner.

Might I also keep the photograph until this evening? I promise to return it.

Ja. Ja. That does not worry me, but this, this does.

Am I to be accused of hiding it in my suitcase?

Fréulein, I am as sure you did not hide the uniform as I am sure you are a good and loyal friend to your mistress.

Not only a good maid, but also a good cook.

Not merely a good cook, but a companion, a comfort, a solace.

[laughs] You see? You are a good cook, are you not?

All my ladies have said so. I...

Auf Wiedersehen.

# Animal crackers in my soup

# Lions and tigers loop-the-loop

[laughs]

Are you opening a dress shop'?

No. We are closing an inquiry. Where is Shimoga?

I beg your pardon? Shimoga, where is it?

It's a bit off my track. I'm a Northwest Frontier man myself.

But Shimoga's down south, in Mysore. Why?

Does it possess a mission?

How the hell should I know? India's pustular with missions.

You are returning on leave from India to England?

Yes. Why overland?

Why not?

Because the sea route by P&O is more usual.

I chose to come overland for reasons of my own.

Colonel Arbuthnot, in a murder inquiry, no suspect's reasons are exclusively his own.

I stopped for one night to see Ur of the Chaldees, and for three days in Baghdad with the AOC, who happens to be a friend of mine.

The English Miss Debenham also has travelled from Baghdad.

It is possible the murder was committed by a woman or by a man and a woman in collaboration.

From your acquaintanceship with Miss Debenham, would you have thought that she was capable physically or emotionally or...

That's a bloody irregular question. I know, but I ask it.

Miss Debenham is not a woman.

She's a lady.

Which precludes her from being a murderess?

The man was a stranger. She'd never seen him before.

You feel warmly in the matter?

I don't know what you're driving at.

Then let us be practical and drive at facts.

Did you know Colonel Armstrong?

[Arbuthnot] Not to speak to.

You see, his outfit and mine wouldn't have mixed much.

I'm Indian Army. He was British Army, serving in India.

Royal Scots. How did you know?

It was in the papers when he shot himself after the kidnapping.

Rotten show.

Thought he'd have been tougher than that.

After all, he got a DSO and an MC in France.

Distinguished Service Order.

Military Cross'?

Mon colonel, Ratchett was responsible for five deaths.

The suicide of the falsely accused maid.

The murder of the Armstrong child.

The death of Mrs Armstrong, while giving premature birth to a stillborn baby.

And the ultimate suicide of Colonel Armstrong, in the face of multiple and intolerable bereavements!

I would have understood his action if, in addition to the DSO and MC, he had been awarded the VC.

Which stands, as you may know, for Victoria Cross and is awarded for valour.

Then, in my opinion, Ratchett deserved what he got.

Though I'd sooner have seen him properly tried by jury.

Trial by 12 good men and true is a sound system.

We believe the murder was committed at 1:15.

What were you doing then?

I was yarning with young what's-his-name, McQueen, in his compartment.

He was interested in the future of India. A bit impractical.

He thought the British ought to move out.

How long did you stay yarning after that?

Till 1:30.

[laughs] It's what I call a three-pipe yarn.

Colonel Arbuthnot, you are the only passenger in the Calais coach who smokes a pipe.

So it would appear. Then this must be your pipe cleaner.

It's the same brand.

It was found in an ashtray by the dead man's bedside.

Then someone planted it there. It's a used "peep" cleaner.

Or are you suggesting that I'm fool enough to have entered Ratchett's cabin, murdered him, cleaned my "peep" and dropped it in the ashtray before leaving?

No, Colonel Arbuthnot.

Miss Debenham!

Er... can I stay? No, Colonel Arbuthnot.

Please be seated.

Forgive me, Miss Debenham. I must be brief.

You met Colonel Arbuthnot and fell in love with each other in Baghdad.

Why must the English conceal even their most impeccable emotions?

To answer your observations in order, of course, yes, yes and I don't know.

Then let me tell you what you do know. That on the Bosphorus Ferryboat I overheard part of your conversation with the colonel.

Not now, not now. When it's all over. When it's behind us. Then.

When what was all over, Miss Debenham?

And when what was behind you? Was it some task that had to be performed?

Some ordeal to be endured'? Some dark deed that had to be dispatched?

Mr Poirot, I'm not at liberty to answer any of those questions.

Not here on this train, perhaps.

But when the Yugoslav police take over an unsolved murder case at Brod, you will not remain at liberty unless you answer.

I can always call my lawyers long-distance.

This is a private matter between the colonel and myself.

Miss Debenham, in a murder case, no matter is private and evasion breeds suspicion.

When what was all over? When what was behind you? Please answer!

You will remain here until I get an answer from you.

Colonel, please, Monsieur Poirot has expressly forbidden...

Poirot has no right. He's out of order. This is a private matter.

- Je vous en prie, mon colonel. Out of my way.

When what was all over? Answer my question.

Get your hands off Miss Debenham.

I was not aware that I was keeping my hands on Miss Debenham.

I asked her a simple question... So I heard.

Then perhaps you can answer it for her.

Can you give me your solemn oath, as a foreigner...

...that if the answer has nothing to do with the murder, you'll treat it confidentially?

I will.

Six months ago, before I'd even met Miss Debenham, my memsahib...

[Bianchi] Come?

My wife expressed herself bored, not only at living in India, but at living with me.

And asked me to provide her with a divorce.

In view of my position, commanding officer, 12th Gurkhas, I refused.

Well, had I not, I should have lost my command.

My wife returned to England, where there is irrefutable evidence that she has been persistently unfaithful to me.

I have therefore instituted divorce proceedings in which she is cited as the guilty party.

And when those proceedings are behind us, when those proceedings are all over...

...I propose to marry Miss Debenham.

Meanwhile, it is of vital importance, under English law, that our...

...behaviour...

...should not provide evidence for counter-proceedings by my wife.

Does that answer your question?

Well...

...it is certainly an answer.

Doctor, is Pierre sufficiently recovered?

Fully. May we go?

You may, with my assurance that our foreigners' lips shall be sealed.

Sorry if I hurt the lad. Provocation.

They could have done it together. She has hidden fire. She is very strong.

Why did you not ask her if she had been to America?

Because I did not need to.

Pierre, le colonel s 'excuse de son geste.

Merci monsieur. Signor Foscarelli!

You are a naturalised American subject?

You bet. For how long?

Seven years. [speaks Italian]

[speaks Italian]

Otherwise, he will detain you longer than you would detain him.

You are a motorcar salesman. You bet.

American automobiles to Italians. [Poirot] Did you know Cassetti?

Not on your sweet life. Era Mafioso.

He says he was Mafia.

Really? Yes.

Who do you... who do you think killed him?

Er... un altro Mafioso. He says another Mafia.

They are always killing each other with a knife or with a gun.

[mimics gill?]

Why did you bring this dagger from the place?

Because I found it in my make-up bag.

Ecco, what did I say? Knives or guns. It's a vendetta between two Mafiosi.

Give me the dagger.

When did you last open your make-up bag?

Yesterday evening. I took everything out.

If you took everything out, why did you need to reopen it?

Because I was putting something back in.

You may set your mind at rest, Mrs Hubbard.

The missing button.

Precisely, and I can assure you the owner of the tunic is not now on the train.

Are you going back to the dining car?

I'll say I am. Do you think I could face my compartment so soon after that?

Would you kindly ask the chief attendant to arrange the tables and chairs so that Signor Bianchi, Dr Constantine and myself can confront the passengers with the solution of the murder?

I... I help with the risoluzione?

Yes, if you will briefly answer two more questions.

Shoot.

On the night of the murder, did Mr Beddoes leave the compartment?

No. No, he grunt like a pig with the pain in his teeth.

And have you ever been in private service?

No.

Thank you. That is all.

- Scusi. Si.

Enfin, doctor? This blood is human.

This dagger could, in two different hands, have inflicted all of the wounds.

And you know who inflicted them, huh?

Our last interrogation will be something of a gamble.

But if it succeeds...

...we'll know.

Ah, come in, come in. Please be seated.

You are Cyrus B Hardman, a theatrical agent.

No. I mean, I'm... I'm not a theatrical agent.

That's a phoney, issued to me under license by Pinkertons.

Ah, the detective agency? Stamboul branch.

Ratchett asked them for an American bodyguard. They sent me.

I... didn't do so hot. [laughs]

Can you prove this was the reason for yourjourney?


[Hardman] It's Paulette. Paulette.

Paulette Michel.

Now I can stop pretending to be anything.


Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?

May I respectfully suggest that there should be no talking while Monsieur Poirot addresses you.

If anyone wishes to make a statement, he or she can do so at the meeting's end.

Thank you.

[Poirot] Ladies and gentlemen, you are all aware that a repulsive murderer has himself been repulsively and perhaps deservedly murdered.

How and why? Here is the simple answer.

There is evidence supporting the theory that the murderer was a stranger to us all.

Mrs Hubbard was conscious of a man in her compartment soon after 1:15am.

She later found near her bedside the button of a wagon-lit conductor.

Fréulein Schmidt discovered, planted in her suitcase, the uniform of a conductor, which could not possibly have fitted Pierre, and from which, in fact, there was a button missing.

And in the trouser pocket of the uniform was a conductor's passkey.

Later still, Mrs Hubbard discovered this bloodstained dagger, which Dr Constantine confirms could have been the murderer's weapon.

The obvious implication is that the murderer, disguised as a conductor, boarded the train at Belgrade, made his way by means of the convenient passkey to Ratchett's compartment, stabbed him to death, planted the dagger and the uniform, and then departed, since the train was now halted in a snowdrift.

Who was he? I am inclined to agree with Mr Foscarelli, who believes that he was a rival member of the Mafia, exacting private vengeance for a vendetta whose precise nature the Yugoslav police will undoubtedly identify.

But... is that all?

No. No, no, no, no. No, it is not.

I said, here is the simple answer.

There is also a more... complex one.

But remember my first solution when I... when you've heard my second.

Let us, for the moment, assume what is perfectly plausible, that the mysterious stranger did not exist.

The murder must then have been committed by some person or persons in the Calais coach and therefore are now present in this dining car.

Let us not, for the moment, ask the question “how", but the question "why", which will tell us how.

I was not surprised that every single one of you should have heard of the notorious Armstrong case.

But I confess to a mild surprise when the first passenger I interrogated, Mr McQueen, admitted, under emotional stress, that he had actually known Mrs Armstrong, albeit very slightly.

She was gentle and frightened.

But not too frightened to take an interest in a young man who wanted to go on the stage.

Was Mr McQueen lying when he denied ever having known that Ratchett was Cassetti?

Or did he become Ratchett's secretary as part of a deliberate plan to avenge Mrs Armstrong's death?

Only by interrogating the other passengers could I hope to see the light.

But when I began to question them, the light, as Macbeth would have said, thickened.

When I told the Princess Dragomiroff that I knew she was Mrs Armstrong's godmother, her answers to my subsequent questions smelled strongly of inaccuracy and evasion.

Even I knew more from reading the newspaper reports than she from her frequent visits.

Was there not a chauffeur?

There was, monsieur, but I had my own. I never used him.

Evasion.

What was the name of Mrs Armstrong's personal maid?

I always travel with my own maid, monsieur.

There was no need to speak with Mrs Armstrong's.

Evasion! I asked for particulars of the manservant.

He was, I think, the colonel's Indian, how you would say, orderly.

Inaccuracy.

Colonel Armstrong was an officer of the British Army in India.

He would have had a British batman, like, er, like Private Beddoes, huh, to serve his personal needs.

Only officers of the Indian Army, like Colonel Arbuthnot, have Indian orderlies.

I asked her the name of Mrs Armstrong's younger sister.

I do not recall her name.

Unbelievable evasion. I asked her the name of Mrs Armstrong's secretary.

Yes, a Miss Freebody.

Non, c'est impossible ca.

The princess, it seems, is playing the psychological game of word association.

Freebody is the name of the junior partner of one of London's most famous and most opulent ladies' stores of the sort perhaps patronised by the princess herself.

The name of the senior partner is Debenham.

Debenham and Freebody.

Was the princess covering up for our Miss Debenham, who taught shorthand in Baghdad?

Can she tell us the name of Mrs Armstrong's younger sister?

Then I will tell you her Christian and her maiden name.

When I asked the Princess Dragomiroff if she could tell me the maiden name of her goddaughter, Mrs Armstrong, she could not possibly, as a godmother, plead ignorance of this. She replied...

Greenwood.

[laughs] Grunwald is the German for Greenwood.

The princess's hesitation persuades me that Grunwald was the true maiden name of her goddaughter, Mrs Armstrong, and that the Countess Andrenyi is Mrs Armstrong's surviving younger sister.

Her Christian name is Helena. Not Elena. No, no, no.

But Helena.

And where did she lose her Christian name's initial H?

She lost it under a convenient grease spot in her husband's passport.

And why was the grease spot purposely applied?

Because she and her husband were afraid that this handkerchief, bearing the initial H, might lead me to suspect her of complicity in the murder.

I swear before God and on my word of honour as a gentleman, that this does not belong to my wife.

No, no, no, no, no, no. Not at... No. No. No. It does not.

No. Nor does it belong to Mrs Harriet Belinda Hubbard.

Nor to Fréulein Hildegarde Schmidt, whose finest quality is her loyalty.

The initial is wrong. What is the princess's first name?

Natalia, mein Herr. It is a Russian name.

In the Russian, or Cyrillic, alphabet, their capital N is written like our capital H.

Madame la Princess's, should this costly handkerchief cease to remain an exhibit, it will be returned to your loyal maid for laundering.

Or is Hildegarde Schmidt really your maid?

I have, perhaps, a nose for the aura of fine food and laid a trap.

You are a good cook, are you not? All my ladies have said so. I...

If you are a lady's maid, your ladies never have a chance of discovering if you are a good cook.

As good a cook as Hildegarde Schmidt must have been to the Armstrong household.

Enfin.

Who do we now have here in this car that could have known or could have been involved with the Armstrong household?

We have, one, Mr McQueen, who became boyishly devoted to Mrs Armstrong at the time of the kidnapping.

Two, the Princess Dragomiroff, who was Mrs Armstrong's devoted godmother.

Three, the Countess Andrenyi, who was Mrs Armstrong's devoted younger sister.

Four, the Count Andrenyi, who is Helena's devoted husband and Mrs Armstrong's devoted brother-in-law.

Five, Hildegarde Schmidt, who was Mrs Armstrong's devoted cook.

Six, Mary Debenham, who was Mrs Armstrong's devoted secretary.

Miss Debenham's inclusion is pure conjecture.

I did not have to ask Miss Debenham if she had ever lived in America, because during her interrogation, she said...

I can call my lawyers long-distance.

An Englishwoman who had never lived in America would have said, "I can always make a trunk call to my solicitors."

Tout de méme, I must thank the pipe-smoking Colonel Arbuthnot for a remark which finally resolved all my confusions about this...

...this extraordinary case.

I prefer to set aside the fact that he denied ever having spoken to Colonel Armstrong in India.

And yet he remembered in great detail the decorations which Colonel Armstrong had won years earlier in France.

I prefer to remember his views on the British jury system.

Trial by 12 good men and true is a sound system.

The iron tongue of midnight hath told.

Twelve.

Suddenly, the number 12 began to ring in my head like a great bell.

Twelve.

Doctor, how many wounds were there in Ratchett's body?

Twelve.

Mr McQueen, how many capital letters, each inscribed by a different hand, were contained in each of the two threatening messages you showed me in Ratchett's correspondence file?

Er... er... 12. 12.

Colonel Arbuthnot, how many persons in a jury?

Twelve.

Pierre Paul Michel, how many passengers in the Calais coach, excluding myself and the murdered man?

Twelve, monsieur.

Show me your wallet. No!

Votre portefeuille. Mr Hardman, you may not speak.

Ratchett never asked you to be his bodyguard, he asked me.

And I, perhaps to my discredit, refused.

Before you joined Pinkertons as a private detective, you were an ordinary policeman, were you not?

A cop...

...who, as is customary with cops, fell in love with a pretty housemaid on his beat.

Yes, and would have married her, if...

Your daughter, Paulette, never died of scarlet fever, did she?

No, she killed herself when falsely accused of complicity in the kidnapping and killing of little Daisy Armstrong.

They...

They could not have done it without you, could they?

You.

The procurer of this disguise for the mysterious member of the Mafia, who never existed any more than the owner of this kimono existed as a real character and not as a red herring to confuse and deceive me.

Although I think that I was not deceived.

I have, how shall I put it, an eye for the...

...for the figure of a receding woman.

Countess, your cosmopolitan accent showed an inherited ability...

...from your actress mother.

But God knows from what implausible source Miss Greta Ohlsson...

...learned her English vocabulary, too ludicrous to be credited.

I was born backwards.

That is why I work in Africa as missionary, teaching little brown babies more backwards than myself.

You coined words like "bed-gown", and yet you understand words like "emolument“.

I truly believe you did look after little brown babies at your mission in Shimoga, which is in India, by the way, you know.

It's not Africa.

But I believe you were covering up for once, years earlier, when you were in America, having looked after a little white baby called Daisy, whose death, though you could do nothing to prevent it, so preyed on your mind that you sought refuge in a vision of Jesus.

And your future as a missionary, looking after little brown babies, was sealed.

You. You were lucky only to be bound and gagged, not crushed like the manservant.

Mr Beddoes. Sir.

You served with the British Army in Scotland.

Colonel Armstrong was in the Royal Scots.

Would you kindly give Dr Constantine your deepest butler's bow?

Yes, there is an old contusion.

The result of a slight fracas in the mess, sir, with regard to the quality of a pudding known as spotted dick.

Thank you, but I think you've been spotted too.

Mr Foscarelli is very knowledgeable about automobiles.

I suspected that perhaps he had once been the Armstrongs' chauffeur.

I asked if he had been in private service.

No.

I think Mr Foscarelli's appalling English is more genuine than Miss Ohlsson's, but I think he meant yes.

Think, monsieur? Think, yes, think!

What else can be done on a train isolated by a snowdrift?

If all these people are not implicated in the crime, then why have they all told me, under interrogation, stupid and often unnecessary lies'?

Why? Why? Why? Why?

[Constantine] Doubtless because they did not expect you to be on the train.

They had no time to concert their cover story.

I was hoping someone other than myself would say that.

Ladies and gentlemen, we now come to my own reconstruction of the night of the murder.

Or, er... the night of the red herrings.

I... I only wish...

I only wish I could describe it with the...

...incomparable panache, the consummate verve, the enthralling cadences, the delicate gestures, the evocative expressions of America's greatest tragic actress, Harriet Belinda.

Miss Linda Arden.

I've heard she wanted to play comedy parts, but her husband wouldn't have it.

Which husband? Your second husband, Mr Hubbard?

Or your first husband, Mr Grunwald?

Linda Arden, the actress, never played as difficult a role as Mrs Hubbard, the organiser of this extraordinary revenge.

Dare I deduce that the great Linda Arden has been cured of her incurable disease and is no longer bedridden'?

It is I who should be committed to a bed in a mental home.

It is I who need a cure for being so slow to notice the tricks that were being played on me with regard to the time of the murder.

Will there be anything more, sir? [Ratchet!] There will.

Tell Mr McQueen I want to see him, now.

Very good, sir.

[McQueen] "And six beakers, stop."

"Only five, repeat, five beakers were delivered."

"One, repeat, one badly chipped, which will be returned on receipt of replacement to my Paris address."

"Signed, Ratchett."

OK, Hector, that's all.

Goodnight, Mr Ratchett. Goodnight, Hector.

[gargling]


[girl screaming]


[shrieks]

[knocking]

Ce n'est rien. C'etait un cauchemar.

[bell ringing]

Bien, Mr Ratchett- May you now have pleasant dreams.


At 1:15 came Mrs Hubbard's announcement that there was a man in her room, who had, for reasons which I dare not even guess, shed a button.

The next morning, the murder was discovered.

Dr Constantine sets the time of the murder anywhere between midnight and 2:00am.

Now, I came to various conclusions.

The clumsy cliche of the smashed watch registering 1 :15 had been done deliberately to excite my disbelief.

And since Mr McQueen had overemphatically said that Ratchett spoke no languages, I was being deliberately manoeuvred into believing that Ratchett was already dead when a voice cried out from his room in French.

In other words, I was being forced into the theory that the murder was committed before 1:15.

A period for which every single one of you had an unshakable alibi.

But... supposing that the crime had not been committed earlier, but later than 1:15...

...when all the noises and incidents designed to confuse rne had died down.

And I had lapsed into sleep because the train was now silent...

...and at peace.

Silent, yes.

At peace, no.

By two o'clock, the murder was afoot.

Envisage it.


For my daughter. My granddaughter.

In memory of Colonel Armstrong.

A great soldier and an even greater friend.

And for Mrs Armstrong. They took me into their home and their hearts.

[cries]

For their Daisy and mine.

Oh, God, forgive me.

For my... my sister and my... niece.

Cassetti. For the grief you brought to my beloved wife.

Vigliacco. [spits]

Schweinehund

For my beloved goddaughter.

For Mother Armstrong... from Hector.

For my gentleman.

To Paulette, with love.

And with mine, God rest the soul of my dear, dead daughter.


I repeat.

A repulsive murderer has himself been repulsively and, perhaps, deservedly murdered.

But in which of the two ways that I have suggested?

In the simpler way, by the Mafioso disguised as a wagon-lit conductor?

Or in the more complex way that I have just outlined...

...which involves many questions and, of course...

...considerable scandal?

Signor Bianchi, it is for you, as a director of the line, to choose the solution that we shall offer to the police at Brod.

Though I confess... I am in two minds.

Though I...

I think the police at Brod would prefer the simplicity of the first solution.

We have the uniform...

...to show the police.

If we have the uniform, there must have been a man in it.

So therefore, I elect the first solution.

Hear, hear.


Hercule. I thank you.

My friend.

Now I must go and wrestle with my report to the police and with my conscience.

Mama?