Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 527

Illustration of PDF document

Download Death on the Nile Study Guide

Subscribe Now

The renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is front and center in Death on the Nile. The story begins as the detective is attempting to enjoy his much-deserved Egyptian holiday. However, this comes to an abrupt end when he is interrupted by Linnet Doyle and reluctantly dragged into yet another mystery. Through interviews and his keen observations, Poirot is able to piece together the answer to the mystery.

Linnet Ridgeway initially approaches Poirot with her problem. She comes off as an amiable woman who does not like to ruffle feathers. The wealthy socialite has recently married the former fiancé of her friend, Jacqueline de Bellefort. The main mystery of the story occurs when Linnet is found murdered with her killer still at large.

Jacqueline de Bellefort is introduced as the jealous ex-lover of Simon who has been stalking and harassing Linnet. She comes off as rash and emotional, which makes her "shooting" of Simon in the leg all that more believable. We later learn though that she is still in cahoots with Simon in an elaborate plot to get Linnet's fortune.

Poirot is suspicious of Simon Doyle almost from the start. A poor man who does not seem to think much of himself, he has left Jacqueline for the much wealthier Linnet. However, much of what he says does not add up to the detective. Eventually, Poirot confronts Doyle and accuses him of being in league with Jacqueline to murder Linnet and make off with her fortune.

The second murder victim is Louise Bourget, Linnet's maid. When speaking with her after Linnet's murder, Poirot seems to think that she knows more than she is revealing. However, Louise is found dead before he can discover more. It turns out that she had seen Simon entering Linnet's room the night of the murder and was attempting to blackmail him.

Salome Otterbourne is a romance novelist traveling with her daughter, Rosalie. She takes an immediate liking to Poirot. She tells him that she would like to include him in her next novels, an idea that the detective is quite unsure about. She never gets to write those books, however. She ends up as the third murder victim moments before she is about to reveal who the murderer is.

Andrew Pennington, Linnet's American trustee, is not a man to be trusted. While he is no murderer (despite Poirot's initial suspicions), he is a criminal. He has embezzled a significant amount of Linnet's inheritance to pay for his gambling habit. He has come along to Egypt in an attempt to get Linnet to sign some papers which will help hide his role in the theft of her money.

Colonel Race, a frequent character in most Poirot stories, also makes an appearance. A skilled detective himself, Race is in Egypt investigating a murderer who he believes is among the passengers on the ship. As usual, he assists Poirot throughout this mystery.

Other characters include other vacationers on board the ship such as Tim Allerton and his mother, archaeologist Signor Guido Richetti, the American socialites Marie Van Schuyler and Cornelia Robson, their nurse Mrs. Bowers, Austrian physician Dr. Bessner, and the Communist agitator Mr. Ferguson.