Murder on the Orient Express Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary

Agatha Christie

Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary

The Evidence of the Italian

Bouc, director of the train line, is thrilled that the Italian is finally coming to the dining car for his interview as this is the man Bouc thinks is the murderer. Antonio Foscarelli speaks fluent French and is a naturalized American citizen.

When Poirot asks about his job selling Ford automobiles, the Italian gushes everything about his business, his views on the world, his journey, and his income. Foscarelli has been in America intermittently for the past ten years; he never met Ratchett, although he certainly knows the type: respectable in every outward way but “underneath it is all wrong.”

The Italian is ready to go off on a tangent at every question Poirot asks. Finally Poirot tells Foscarelli that Ratchett was actually Cassetti, and the Italian is not particularly surprised. Last night, Foscarelli had dinner with an American gentleman who sells typewriter ribbons. After dinner, Foscarelli returned to his empty compartment; the valet was off doing something for Ratchett, as usual.

The valet, Masterman, returned with his usual long, sad face and said nothing but yes or no when Foscarelli talked to him. Masterman sat stiffly in a corner reading a book until the conductor came to make up their beds. The valet had a toothache, took some foul-smelling medicine, and then lay in bed groaning. Every time Foscarelli woke up in the night, Masterman was still groaning with pain, and Foscarelli does not believe the valet left their compartment last night. The taciturn English valet never expressed animosity toward his employer, but it is true that he rarely spoke at all.

Foscarelli only smokes cigarettes and had been to Chicago as well as other major American cities. Poirot asks him to write his name and address. Foscarelli writes them with a flourish before leaving.

Bouc still believes Foscarelli is the murderer because he is Italian and therefore knows how to use a knife, and he has spent many years in America as well. Bouc does not like Italians and believes they are all liars. Poirot says Bouc may be correct, but there is no evidence to prove that Foscarelli murdered Ratchett.

Poirot believes this murder was not committed in some sort of passionate outburst but in calm deliberation, meticulously planned and staged. Someone calculated the scheme far in advance, and it was probably an Anglo-Saxon. Only two passengers have yet to be interviewed; the next one is Miss Mary Debenham.