Murder on the Orient Express Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Agatha Christie

Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Further Surprising Revelations

Bouc insists nothing would surprise him now, not even if everyone on the train proves to be connected to the Armstrong household. Poirot asks if Bouc would like to see if his favorite suspect, the Italian, has such a connection. Poirot is going to make a rather extraordinary guess.

Antonio Foscarelli is wary as he enters the dining car and claims he has nothing more to add to the investigation. Poirot says Foscarelli has undoubtedly been investigated before because he was the chauffeur for the Armstrongs at the time of the kidnapping.

Suddenly deflated, the Italian admits he lied for business reasons and because he does not trust the police. Foscarelli claims he had nothing to do with Ratchett’s murder, and Poirot dismisses him. The angry Italian assumes this is some kind of conspiracy to blame him for the Armstrong child’s kidnapping and murder, although Poirot insists Foscarelli had nothing to do with the incident. The Italian says he loved the little girl, that she “was the delight of the house.” Tears come to his eyes as he strides from the dining car, and Poirot sends for the Swedish woman.

Bouc cannot believe it is possible that yet another passenger is connected to the Armstrongs; Poirot assures him that it is best to know everything before deciding who is guilty. A weeping Greta Ohlsson enters and collapses on a seat facing Poirot. He gently asks her if she was the nurse who was in charge of Daisy Armstrong. She was. Now she cries in her renewed grief over the poor child’s death. She was afraid to admit the truth because she was so overjoyed that Ratchett was dead and could no longer hurt innocent children. Poirot assures her he understands and the woman leaves, still weeping, just as the valet enters.

Masterman approaches Poirot and, in his usual unemotional voice, admits that he was Colonel Armstrong’s batman in the War before becoming his valet in New York. He is telling the truth now because he does not want Poirot to think that Foscarelli killed Ratchett. He knows the Italian would never kill anyone, and Masterman swears again that Foscarelli never left their compartment last night. Poirot says little and Masterson leaves as unobtrusively as he entered.

Constantine says this is becoming more “wildly improbable” than any mystery novel he has ever read, and Bouc agrees. Hardman appears. He has no Armstrong connections but is shocked that so many of his fellow passengers do; Hardman admires the inspector, who does not look particularly astute.

Bouc jokes that not everyone on the train could be involved; Poirot says Bouc just does not understand yet. He asks Bouc if he knows who killed Ratchett; of course he does not. Poirot knows and has known for some time. Poirot asks Hardman to assemble all the passengers, as he has two possible solutions to this case and wants everyone to hear them.