Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary
The Evidence of the Count and Countess Andrenyi
The Count and Countess Andrenyi are the next to be interviewed, but only the Count appears. He is a tall, handsome, and elegantly dressed man. The Count understands that every passenger must be questioned, but he knows that he and his wife will be no help as they were both asleep last night and heard nothing unusual.
Although the Count knows it was Ratchett who was murdered, he is not aware of Ratchett’s true identity; however, he does not react to the revelation that Ratchett was actually the infamous Cassetti. The Count lived in Washington for a year and is not sure if he ever knew anyone named Armstrong, but he quickly asks Poirot what he can do to assist this investigation.
Last night his wife had the bed in her compartment made up while they were at dinner; after dinner they played piquet in their second compartment until his wife went to bed at about eleven o’clock. The conductor then made up the bed in the Andrenyis’ second compartment and the Count went to bed. He slept soundly and did not hear the train stop; the Countess always takes a dose of trianal to help her sleep and so heard nothing.
Poirot asks Andrenyi, as a formality, to write his name and address. The man writes slowly and carefully and then passes the paper to the inspector. The Count rises to leave and says it will be unnecessary for his wife to be interviewed; he tries to assert his authority, but Poirot insists.
After Andrenyi leaves, Poirot examines the Count’s passport. It lists his wife’s name as Elena Maria (maiden name Goldenberg) and her age as twenty. A spot of grease has been dropped carelessly on the document. It is a diplomatic passport and Bouc does not want to offend the couple, but Poirot assures his friend that he will be most tactful.
The Countess enters the dining car and Poirot gallantly bows and seats her; the first thing she says is that she heard nothing. Poirot asks if she heard any commotion in the compartment next to hers, the room of the American woman, as Hubbard had “quite an attack of hysterics” and rang for the conductor. The Countess still claims to have heard nothing as she took some medication to sleep.
As she hurriedly rises to leave, Poirot asks her to sign a memorandum. She quickly writes her name, Elena Andrenyi. She was not with her husband in Washington as they have only been married for a year. Her husband smokes cigarettes and cigars but not a pipe.
The Countess is intrigued by Poirot’s unusual questions but tells him she has a corn-colored chiffon dressing gown. She knows a little English and speaks it with a charming accent. Bouc finds the Countess captivating; Poirot is captivated by the grease spot on the Andrenyis’ passport.