The Daily News

By: Michelle Domino

Based on: "The Murder on the Orient Express"

A Man Murdered on a Train?

Keep reading to find out the tragic event that took place and has everyone on the edge of their seat!

Hercule Poirot, a private detective, boarded the Orient Express as he was requested to return back to London. He had just gotten off the Taurus Express which ended up in Istanbul. While Poirot waited, he ran into M. Bouc, who was an old friend and also the head of the Wagon Lit. M. Bouc arranged a place for Poirot on the Orient Express. Once he is ready to board the train, he discovers he must ride in second-class because it is unusually crowded. A man who also boarded the train goes by Ratchett. Detective Poirot knew of the man that Rachett was; he knew he had an evil character and explained him to M. Bouc as an animal. Ratchett approached Poirot and asks him if he will work for him because he was receiving death threats. Detective Poirot refuses his case. The night Poirot goes to rest, he observed some strange occurrences. First being a cry he was woken by, it came from the compartment next to his which Ratchett had stayed in. Throughout the night, Poirot had difficulty sleeping because of the strange silence of the train. Then, he hears Mrs. Hubbard ring her bell and tell the conductor that there is a man in her compartment. Poirot ends up ringing his bell for some water and is informed that the train is stuck in a snow bank, suddenly he hears a loud thump that came from where Ratchett was staying. The next morning he is informed that Ratchett was found murdered in his compartment. Poirot claims that he will examine the case. He found that Ratchett was stabbed twelve times and one of the windows was left opened. It was said that the murderer had escaped through the window, but there was no footprints in the snow. Also, it was confirmed that it must have occurred between the hours of midnight and 2 AM. In the compartment a pipe cleaner, handkerchief with the letter "H" on it and a match were what was found at the crime scene. Along with a piece of paper, which had the name "Armstrong" written on it.

Clue Left Behind?: The Pipe Cleaner

There were many clues left behind by the suspect, one in particular being a pipe cleaner. The reason why it stood out was because Rachett did not smoke a pipe, therefore would find no use in having a pipe cleaner around. Now, Poirot had found what he thought would help him in finding the killer. Little did he know it would be harder than he thought. Poirot had went through a series of in depth interviews with each passenger aboard the Orient Express. He went through 14 passengers, men and women, and of all different nationalities. All of them either did not smoke or used another type of tobacco, such as a cigarette. Colonel Arbuthnot, one of the passengers, was the only one who used a pipe. He could be a suspect because his daughter, Daisy Armstrong was murdered by Rachett a.k.a Casetti...

The Suspects

As previously mentioned, detective Poirot made an effort to interview each of the passenger to see if they knew anything about Rachett's murder. Some of the passengers knew of almost nothing, such as Hector Maqueen, the conductor, Colonel Andrenyi, Cyrus Hardman, Antonino Foscarelli and Mary Debenham. The passengers mentioned either had very little to offer to the case or was completely unaware of the occurrence. On the other hand, there were some passengers that provided valuable information. That includes, Edward Masterman, Mrs. Hubbard, Greta Ohlsson, Princess Dramgomiroff and Colonel Arbuthnot. Greta Ohlsson was the last to see Rachett alive, but they knew she could not have done something so barbaric, she cried and sobbed as she was a very delicate woman. Edward Masterson was Rachett's valet and was not referred to much, even though he knew Rachett personally, Poirot ruled him out as a subject. Mrs. Hubbard was in the compartment next to Rachett's and her granddaughter was Daisy Armstrong whom Rachett had murdered. Other than that, that could not link her to Rachett. The last woman they interviewed was Princess Dramgomiroff, she was a Russian princess, also quite old. The only suspicion Poirot had against her was that the handkerchief previously mentioned, that was found in Rachett's compartment had belonged to her. Poirot finally concluded that it could have not been a woman because of how servere Rachett's wounds were. But, how does that explain the Kimono......

Clue Left Behind: Woman or Man

Detective Poirot had another piece of evidence to consider. He recalls seeing a "woman" in a scarlet kimono leaving Rachett's compartment around 2 in the morning or even earlier. The kimono itself was a beautiful silk and had embroidered golden dragons on the backside of it. Mary Debenham reported that she too had seen the "woman" and that she was rather tall and slim. Mrs. Hubbard then reported that she heard what seemed to be a woman's voice come from Rachett's compartment also. As previously mentioned, a handkerchief with the letter "H" printed on it was found in Rachett's compartment. All these things had Poirot to come to the conclusion that it must have been a woman that committed the crime.......

The murder was further and more throughly examined, they did not confirm the gender of the convict for the following reasons: Rachett's wounds were fairly intense and it was assured that it must have been a man, not many women had that kind of strength. Next, they heard from Mrs. Hubbard once again and she informed the, that a man was in her compartment the night of the murder. She was paraylzed with fear and was absolutely positive that the man she saw was the murderer. Also, Mrs. Hubbard provided a solid piece of evidence, a small, metal button. She found it in her compartment in the morning after the murder. It was from a Wagon Lit Conductor's uniform so they called down Pierre Micheal (the Conductor) and he was missing no buttons, the other two conductors were not missing any either. They were almost positive it was a male who was responsible for Rachett's death, but could not be sure.

Bonus Backround: Who Was Rachett?

When Rachett was killed, the passengers were no surprised because of his past, they knew why someone would be after him. To begin with Detective Poirot described him as a "wild animal." Also, his real name was actually Casetti, he changed it so people would not recongize him when he was released. Rachett a.k.a Casetti was responsible for the death of Daisy Armstrong. He kidnapped her and killed her for money. The Armstrong family was furious that he was released and basically got away with murder. Every time a passenger proceeded to talk about the Armstrong case you could the grief in their eyes and the anger in their voice. It was tragedy that such a young life was taken from such an evil man.
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Clues Left Behind: "Special "Messages"

Another clue as to who murdered Mr. Ratchett was that his door was locked from the inside. Also, the adjoining door was locked. This means that the only way the murderer(s) could have left the compartment was through the window. But, the detective and the doctor believe that the murderer was trying to trick them by making it seem as if he/she left through the window. So, the murderer probably left through one of the doors...but how?

While interviewing Hector MacQueen, M. Poirot finds out that Mr. Ratchett had received several threatening. The letters had been written by two different people alternating who wrote which words. In the letters, the writers threatened to kill Mr. Ratchett.

Poirot uses an old hatbox, a small spirit stove, and a pair of curling tongs to find the words written on the burned paper. The paper says

"- member little Daisy Armstrong."

After reading this, he knew the person who murdered him did it because they knew he was Cassetti and wanted revenge. Then he discovered, Mrs. Armstrong died trying to give birth to a second child and Mr. Armstrong shot himself. Then, the maid of the Armstrong family was accused of this crime and she threw herself out of a window and died. It was later proven that she had nothing to do with the murder or the kidnapping. Later, Poirot decides that however burnt the letter must have been connected to the Armstrong family in some way. Then, if the letter was found, it would immediately direct suspicion to that person!

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The End Results: Who Was the Killer?

After a long investigation of the crime scene and interegation every passenger aboard the Orient Express, Detective Poirot had finally come to some conclusions with the help of M. Bouc. The case was reviewed and they decided to created a list of questions:

  1. The handkerchief marked with the initial H. Whose is it?
  2. The pipe cleaner. Was it dropped by Colonel Arbuthnot? Or by someone else?
  3. Who wore the scarlet kimono?
  4. Who was the man or woman masquerading in Wagon Lit uniform?
  5. Why do the hands of the watch point to 1:15?
  6. Was the murder committed at that time?
  7. Was it earlier?
  8. Was it later?
  9. Can we be sure that ratchett was stabbed by more than one person?
  10. What other explanation of the wounds can their be?

With the evidence in mind, Poirot went over the questions and thought about the case. Not before long, Detective Poirot has discovered the solution to the case. Before he reveals this solution, he calls in several people and reveals their true identities. Poirot discovers Countess Andrenyi is Helena Goldenberg, aunt of Daisy Armstrong. She wet her luggage label and distorted her nameon it, in an effort to conceal her identity. Also, Mary Debenham was Daisy's governess, Antonio Foscanelli was the Armstrong's chaffer, Masterman the valet, and Greta Ohlsson was Daisy Armstrong's nurse. Princess Dragomiroff claims her handkerchief from Poirot, the same found in Ratchett's compartment.

The case came down to two possible solutions: The first solution is that a stranger came in the train at Vincovci and killed Ratchett. The second solution is that all of the passengers aboard the Orient Express were involved with the murder. He said that twelve of the thirteen passengers, all close to the Armstrong case, killed Ratchett to get revenge on him for killing Daisy Armstrong. Mrs. Hubbard, revealed as Linda Arden, admits that the second solution is correct. Poirot suggests that M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine tell the police that the first solution is correct to protect the family. M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine accept Poirot's suggestion.

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