Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary
The Christian Name of Princess Dragomiroff
Bouc commends Poirot on his reasoning and is now certain the Countess committed the murder; however, Bouc is hopeful that the courts will be lenient with her because of the extenuating circumstances. Poirot believes the Andrenyis’ story. Princess Dragomiroff enters the dining car and approaches the three men, all of who immediately stand.
She speaks directly to Poirot and says he has a handkerchief belonging to her. Bouc reminds her that her name is Natalia, which does not begin with the letter H; she disdainfully tells him her handkerchiefs are always monogrammed with Russian letters, and “H is N in Russian.” Bouc is taken aback by this piece of information and is flustered. Dragomiroff did not claim it this morning because no one asked her if it was hers.
Poirot asks her to sit with them, and she does. She assures the men that she has no idea how her handkerchief was found in a dead man’s room. Poirot gently reminds her that she already lied to them and so he is not sure if she can be believed now. The Princess claims she lied out of loyalty to her longtime friend, Helena’s mother, and would lie again if it were necessary. She can prove it is her handkerchief, not Helena’s, and Dragomiroff is pleased at the Countess’s loyalty for not revealing the truth during her interview.
After the Princess leaves, Poirot says he now knows why Dragomiroff’s maid hesitated before saying she did not know to whom the handkerchief belonged. He does wonder, however, if his strange theory could still be correct and concludes that it can be. Dragomiroff has no strength in either arm, but Poirot has noticed that the Count keeps his handkerchief in his right breast pocket (which is something a left-handed person might do).
Bouc is dismayed that so many lies were told during the interviews this morning; Poirot cheerfully says there are still more lies to discover. His philosophy is that most people will admit to their lies if they are surprised into doing so; it is his job to make the right guesses to produce this effect on several of the other passengers he believes lied to them.
The next person Poirot summons to the dining car is Colonel Arbuthnot.