Part 2, Chapter 13 Summary
Summary of the Passengers’ Evidence
Bouc, Poirot, and Doctor Constantine are now alone. Bouc does not understand how the enemy of whom Ratchett was so afraid could have been on the train but since vanished.
Poirot reviews the facts. Ratchett was stabbed in twelve places and died last night. The murder either was committed at one fifteen (as much of the testimony suggests) or before or after that time but made to look like it occurred at one fifteen. If it did happen at one fifteen, the murderer is still on the train.
Hardman is the passenger who offered them the description of the potential assailant. Poirot has deduced that Hardman can be believed, despite his pretending to be someone other than a detective. The description is corroborated independently by Hildegarde Schmidt, and both Macqueen and Colonel Arbuthnot saw a conductor pass by at the same time Pierre Michel claims he was sitting at his table. Four witnesses corroborate the existence of a fourth, unknown conductor, so he must exist. Where the mystery conductor is now must next be determined.
He is either two persons (the man Ratchett feared as well as a passenger so well disguised that Ratchett did not recognize him), or he is hidden somewhere on the train. The one inconsistency is the size of the mystery conductor; all of the male passengers except the valet are bigger or taller than the description. Poirot suggests it may be a man disguised as a woman—or it may actually be a woman.
Now Poirot tells Bouc the inconsistencies that Constantine discovered about the wounds and says there may have been more than one assailant. The entire situation seems to be madness, but that makes Poirot wonder if it is actually just a simple case.
The inspector reminds the men that there are two strangers in the case: an unknown conductor and a woman in a scarlet kimono. Neither the uniform nor the dressing gown is in evidence, so Bouc suggests that every passenger’s luggage must be searched. Poirot predicts that the kimono will be found in a man’s luggage and the Wagon Lit uniform will be found in Hildegarde Schmidt’s luggage. If she is guilty, the uniform might be in her baggage; if she is innocent, it will certainly be there.
The men hear a rumbling noise approach and in a moment Mrs. Hubbard barges into the dining car. She cries out that she discovered a bloody knife in her toiletry bag and then faints.