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Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie

Chapters 7–8, Section three

Chapters 4–6, Section three

Chapters 7–8, Section three, page 2

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Chapter 7

Mary Debenham is called into the dining car. Poirot asks why she lied and concealed the fact she was living in the Armstrong house at the time of the murder. Mary admits this is true; she had to hide her true identity so new families would hire her. She was afraid that if people found out she had any connection to the Armstrongs they might not hire her. Mary tells Poirot she did not recognize Countess Andrenyi, three years had passed since she last saw the Countess and she looked much different. Mary breaks down in tears and Colonel Arbuthnot, still in the room, threatens Poirot. The couple leaves the dining car. M. Bouc is, again, astonished at Poirot's abilities, he cannot figure how he knew the Mary worked at the Armstrong house. Poirot tells M. Bouc he knew it was Mary because the Countess tried so hard to protect her. The Countess described her governess as a big, red-haired woman—the exact opposite of Mary. The countess, thinking of Debenham, told Poirot the name of her governess was Freebody. In London there is a store Debenham and Freebody—it was the first name she thought of.

Chapter 8

M. Bouc says he wouldn't be surprised if everyone on the coach had something to do with the Armstrong family. Poirot tells him that his remark is profound. The Italian, Antonio Foscanelli, is called once again to the dining car. Antonio admits he was the Armstrong's chauffer, but insists he did not murder Ratchett. He describes Daisy to Poirot, "the delight of the house," who used to pretend to drive the car.

Greta Ohlsson is called into the dining car. She immediately collapses into tears. She admits she was Daisy Armstrong's nurse and regrets not telling Poirot earlier.

Masterman is called next. Masterman immediately approaches Poirot and, without any prodding or questioning, tells Poirot he was Colonel Armstrong's batman in the War and was his valet afterwards. Masterman pleads Antonio's innocence; he argues that Antonio "wouldn't hurt a fly."

After Masterman departs, Hardman enters. Poirot asks if he is not somehow connected to the Armstrong house. Hardman denies any connection, but thinks he may be the only one on the train that is not involved with the Armstrongs. Hardman asks if Poirot has any idea about the identities of the American and her maid. Poirot, smiling, suggests they may be cook and housekeeper. Hardman asks if Poirot knows who murdered Ratchett. Poirot replies, "I have known for some time." He tells Hardman to call all of the Passengers into the dining car.

Analysis

In Murder on the Orient Express, Christie describes British attitudes towards American and Americans in 1934. Hardman is the typical "American": he is loud, fairly obnoxious and constantly makes jokes. The United States is described as a diverse country that brings together many nationalities and peoples.

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