Death on the Nile
Agatha Christie
Contributed by Sharen Felty
Chapter 11
Summary

The travelers have arrived at Wadi Halfa, another location along the Nile River. Poirot is interested in the meaning of the word ‘fey’, where Mrs. Allerton had used it to describe Linnet. She explains that, in Scottish, it means the joy that precedes a disaster. Miss Van Schuyler disapproves of Cornelia speaking to Mr. Ferguson, as he considers him to be of a lower class. Miss Bower, however, tells her that Cornelia is now dating Dr. Bessner. Poirot catches Jackie staring at Linnet and Simon very angrily, stating that she can no longer do anything about it as they seem not to care about her presence on the steamer.

Poirot meets Colonel Race, a new guest on the steamer, where the two had earlier met during a dinner whereby the host was killed. The colonel informs Poirot he is on a mission to catch a killer on the steamer, although they have yet to identify the suspect. Subsequently, Poirot opens up to Colonel Race about the occurrences on the steamer, specifically those between Jackie and Linnet, and says he is worried about the Doyles. Given the transpiring situation, he advised them to leave the steamer for Khartoum.

Analysis

It is ironic that Mrs. Allerton describes Linnet as ‘fey’ just before Linnet narrowly escapes murder, which Poirot finds to be strange. The word ‘fey’ is further an indication that Linnet’s happiness will be short lived as someone is out to ensure she is never at peace. Also, the fact that Poirot notices Jackie glancing jealously at Linnet and Simon indicates that she may be up to something. Poirot feels that Jackie may be plotting something but at this point he does not have evidence and he can only anticipate. Colonel Race’s presence on the steamer shows that not all passengers are as innocent as they may seem, and that they may have hidden motives. Poirot’s fear, about what happened to Linnet, is an indication that worse things are about to happen and he has already noticed the signs.

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