Characters and Analysis
Poirot is a recurring character in Christie’s novels. A Retired Belgian policeman, he possesses superior intellect and powers of deduction. He is short and wears a bushy mustache which he is fussy about. Poirot is a man of the law but he is able to follow his conscience and adhere to his own understanding of right and wrong.
In this novel, Poirot chooses to ignore the letter of the law in order to adhere to something of a moral law which would suggest that justice has been properly served in the revenge murder of Ratchett, that the family members were justified in killing him.
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Bouc worked with Poirot as a police officer in Belgium. He is now the director of the Compagnie Wagon Lit and the traveling companion of Poirot. Together, they work with the case of the murder. Bouc in many ways is a comic character. He is constantly confused by events, evidence, and most especially Poirot.
Yet he is an important part of Poirot’s investigation. His input, however comic, helps Poirot think about things through as he comes to solve the case.
He performs to work of coroner for the murder on the train. He is present with Poirot and Bouc for most of the investigation. It is Dr. Constantine who determines the exact cause of death, and he is instrumental in helping Poirot throughout the investigation.
Mary Debenham was formerly the governess for Daisy Armstrong. She gives an air of strength and unperturbability. Her conversation with Colonel Arbuthnot is an important early clue for Poirot.
She is in reality Linda Arden, a famous actress and Daisy Armstrong’s grandmother. She presents a diversion for Poirot for much of the novel. Her compartment is directly next to Ratchett’s. Small clues such as Mrs. Hubbard’s disruptiveness and her proximity to the crime serve as key clues for the detective.