Linnet Ridgeway is a very rich young woman in her twenties. Jacqueline de Bellefort is Linnet’s oldest friend but she is absolutely broke. Jackie is engaged to Simon Doyle who is also very poor.
Because Jacqueline begged Linnet, Simon becomes Linnet’s real estate agent. Linnet and Simon see each other so often that they fall in love. They get married and go to Egypt for their honeymoon. Jackie really hates Linnet because she married Simon and follows the two of them wherever they go. Whilst in Egypt, Linnet and Simon meet Hercule Poirot, a famous detective. They tell Hercule Poirot about Jackie and he tries to help them. Poirot tries to convince Jackie to forget about Linnet and Simon and to stop following them. He also tells Linnet and Simon not to worry about it anymore and to go on with their lives. Linnet, Simon and Poirot go on a luxurious Nile cruise on board the steamer, Karnak. Jackie, however, is also on board and shoots Simon in the leg. The same day, Linnet Doyle is shot in the head and everybody thinks Jacqueline did it. But when Poirot goes and investigates, it is quite obvious that she didn’t do it.
Poirot has a kind of ‘helper’ by the name of Race and together they try to track down the killer. A couple of days later, Louise Bourget, another passenger, is found dead on the floor of her cabin with a corner of a thousand-franc note near her. They think she had been blackmailing the murderer because she had seen somebody come out of Linnet’s cabin the night she was killed. Mrs. Otterbourne knows who killed Louise, but before she is able to tell Poirot and Race the name she is shot through the cabin window.
Poirot and Race consider several passengers, including Mr. Fanthorp and Miss van Schuwler, trying to figure out who the murderer is. One of the passengers, Mr. Pennington, is also suspected later because he was the only one on deck at the time Mrs. Otterbourne was killed. After deep research Poirot finally knows who the killer is. It is Simon Doyle. He had actually been working with Jacqueline de Bellefort to kill Linnet and get all her money. They thought they had a great plan with all of the details covered. With Jackie’s intelligence and their great acting, it nearly worked - if Poirot hadn’t been on the steamer. Jacqueline even admitted the whole plan.
Simon’s injuries, however, are worse than expected and he is dying because he wasn’t able to get proper medical treatment on board. Jackie ends up shooting him as he is being taken off the steamer because she didn’t want him to have a long and painful death. She then shoots herself. For them, as with other great love stories, it ended up a tragedy.
‘Death on the Nile’ is a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie who is also known as the Queen of Crime. William Collins Sons & Co first published the book in 1956. The book that I read was the twenty-third impression.
It is very hard to find out the time of this story, but I think it was in the 1930’s. There is mention of flannel trousers, maids, butlers and a smoking-room on board a steamer. These words suggest that the story took place some time ago because they are not used very much these days. There is also mention of cars and trains so it couldn’t have taken place in the 1800’s. To help, there are some pictures of the characters on the back of the cover and they are dressed as if it were the 1930’s.
Death on the Nile is a very appropriate title because it takes place on a Nile cruise and there are three murders.
The genre is crime and this is very obvious because it’s a detective book where you start playing the detective yourself.
The main characters are:
Linnet Ridgeway: A beautiful rich young girl in her twenties, with golden hair, straight autocratic features and a lovely shape. She is worth millions of dollars and she’s got simply EVERYTHING! Linnet really doesn’t care much for other people’s feelings and this is obvious the way she took Simon Doyle away from Jacqueline de Bellefort. On page 19, it is written what Linnet thinks of Simon:
‘Isn’t this all lovely?’ she said. ‘Come in, Simon, and let me welcome my new land agent properly.’ And as she turned to lead the way she thought: ‘I’m frightfully-frightfully happy. I like Jackie’s man… I like him enormously…’ And then with a sudden pang: ‘Lucky Jackie …’
Hercule Poirot: He is a very clever Belgian detective with an egg-shaped head and a black moustache. Poirot isn’t married and doesn’t have any children. He has a great passion for order and thinks he is just great and that he knows everything. He is very egotistical. On page 206, he describes himself:
‘Mais oui,’ he said. ‘I like an audience, I must confess. I am vain, you see. I am puffed up with conceit. I like to say: “ See how clever is Hercule Poirot!”’
Jacqueline de Bellefort: She is Linnet’s oldest friend. She was engaged to Simon Doyle but she still loves him. She would do anything to still be with him. A lot of people think Jackie is very nice, but also quite crazy to follow Simon and Linnet and to shoot Simon. On page 11, Jacqueline says how much she loves Simon:
‘Linnet, I shall die if I can’t marry him! I shall die! I shall die! I shall die…’ Don’t be ridiculous, Jackie.’ ‘I shall die, I tell you! I’m crazy about him. He’s crazy about me. We can’t live without each other.’ Darling, you have got it badly!’ ‘I know. It’s awful, isn’t it? This love business gets hold of you and you can’t do anything about it.’
Simon Doyle: Simon is big and incredibly simple, but also boyish and utterly adorable, according to Jackie. He’s also very poor.
3. PERSONAL RESPONSE
a. The passage from the book which impressed me the most was when Poirot said that it was Simon Doyle who was the murderer and explained how he did it because I hadn’t been able to figure it out. It was hard to believe that Simon did it because he had been shot in his leg, but Jackie had deliberately missed him and the bullet hit the leg of the chair he was sitting on. Because Simon pretended to be shot, he was then able to kill Linnet without anyone suspecting him. Afterwards he shot himself in the leg and got back to his chair to make his alibi totally believable.
“He picks up the pistol from under the sofa, slips out of his shoes, runs like a hare silently along the starboard deck, enters his wife’s cabin, creeps up to her as she lies asleep, shoots her through the head, puts the bottle that has contained the red ink on her washstand (it mustn’t be found on him), runs back, gets hold of Mademoiselle Van Schuyler’s velvet stole, which he has quietly stuffed down the side of a chair in readiness, muffles it round the pistol and fires a bullet into his leg. His chair into which he falls (in genuine agony this time) is by a window. He lifts the window and throws the pistol (wrapped up with the tell-tale handkerchief in the velvet stole) into the Nile.’
b. My new ending to the book would be:
Because everybody is very convincing that they didn’t commit the murders, Poirot cannot figure out who the murderer is. He can’t sleep anymore and starts acting very strange. He gives up investigating the murders and when the cruise finishes, says that he is going to stop being a detective because he’s very disappointed that he couldn’t find the murderer this time. Race is very surprised because Poirot had always been a very determined detective and he doesn’t really believe he would either give up or stop being a detective. Race decides to follow Poirot and can’t believe it when he sees him with Jackie. They are laughing. Poirot tells Race that he and Jackie had planned everything to get all of Linnet’s money and jewellery. Poirot then shoots Race because Race wanted money so that he wouldn’t tell the police. Poirot and Jackie are never suspected of the murders and are never caught.
I believe the story could have really happened because murders are committed for money but I think that the ending is a bit exaggerated. I really don’t think Jackie would have killed Simon like that and then kill herself.
The book started to interest me when Linnet Doyle was shot because I also tried to work out who the murderer was.
It was a very interesting and exciting book and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a good detective mystery.
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