Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie
Contributed by Ariane Heyne
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Part 2 Chapter 4-6

Chapter 4

Mrs. Hubbard quickly comes to her interview and says that she possesses extremely important information regarding the murder. She communicates to Poirot that the murderer was actually in her compartment. The evening before, she had gone to sleep, but she was suddenly woken up in the night and became aware that a man was in her compartment. Mrs. Hubbard had been in bed, with her eyes firmly shut and rang the bell for the conductor.  When the conductor finally arrived, there wasn’t anyone within her compartment. Mrs. Hubbard told Poirot that she had requested that the conductor make certain that the communicating door between her compartment and Ratchett’s compartment was properly bolted. For additional safety, a suitcase was placed before the door, as well. Mrs. Hubbard was unsure of the time at which all this happened. Additionally, the lady provides Poirot with some evidence: a button she discovered on the floor of her compartment. This button is identical to that of the Wagon Lit conductor. Poirot inquires of Mrs. Hubbard whether she has ever heard of the Armstrong case. Mrs. Hubbard informs Poirot that she did not have any intimate acquaintance with the family, but she has strong feelings about the case and is upset about the fact that the murderer got away with it. She reacts excitedly when Poirot informs her that Ratchett is Cassetti, the murderer. Poirot also discovers that Mrs. Hubbard doesn’t own a scarlet nightgown, and never had the handkerchief found on the floor in Ratchett’s compartment.

Chapter 5

Greta Ohlsson is the next person who is questioned. Greta is believed to be the person to last see Cassetti (Ratchett) alive. She mistakenly opened the door, believing that it was Mrs. Hubbard’s. Ratchett was within, reading. Prior to leaving Mrs. Hubbard’s compartment, Gretta is asked to ensure that the communicating door was bolted.  After this, at around 10:55, she went back to her own compartment to sleep. Greta and Mary Debenham share a compartment. Greta did not witness Mary leaving the room all night. Greta does not own a red dressing gown. She did not have knowledge of the Armstrong case, but was very upset to learn about the kidnapping.

Chapter 6

Pierre Michel is soon brought in to see about the conductor’s uniform button that Mrs. Hubbard discovered in her compartment after the murder took place. M. Bouc inquires whether Michel has information of any kind, but he doesn’t have any. His buttons are all where they should be. He is angry at the idea that they believe that he might be suspect, and he summons his colleague from the other car so that his alibi can be corroborated. The colleague immediately confirms that his story is true. The conductor is sent away, and Princess Dragomiroff is brought in for questioning. The Princess  tells Poirot that the previous night she went to bed immediately after dinner and then read until 11 p.m. At approximately 12:45, she range to summon her maid, Hildegarde Schmidt, who gave her a massage and read aloud to her until she felt she could sleep. She didn’t hear anything unusual during this time. The Princess indicates that she was a close friend to the Armstrongs. Sonia, their daughter, was her goddaughter. She also informs Poirot that there is a younger Armstrong daughter, but that the Princess is no longer in touch with her. The Princess owns a black satin dressing gown. The Princess asks Poirot for his name. When he informs her of his name, she responds, "Yes. I remember now. This is Destiny."


To maintain the reader’s interest and distract attention away from the solution of the mystery, Christie makes the evidence gathering interspersed with a variety of interruptions and moments of action. Mrs. Hubbard  is the primary source of diversion in this novel. By way of interruption and distraction, she tries to mislead Poirot and the reader in the case. Mrs. Hubbard is the most important puzzle maker for Christie. She successfully twists the plot several times.

As is later found out, Mrs. Hubbard is the well-known actress Linda Arden, grandmother of Daisy Armstrong. Her acting talents assist her in confusing the murder suspects. In Chapter 5, Mrs. Hubbard’s interruption is an instance of her trickery. Her testimony is heart-wrenching. She tells Poirot that the murderer was in her cabin, and she even provides him real evidence. It is a Wagon Lit uniform that she discovered on the floor of her room. When Mrs. Hubbard is informed that Ratchett is Cassetti, who is known to be the murderer of Daisy Armstrong, she is clearly excited. The emotional and boisterous character created by Linda Arden causes the reader and Poirot to assume that she is innocent. Like Christie, she distracts the reader from discovering the truth because she seems so believable.

It is clear that Mrs. Hubbard is shaken when she enters the dining car. She is barely able to articulate what she says to Poirot because she is so agitated. She tells a horrific tale about the man that was in her compartment the previous night. Mrs. Hubbard’s detail and persistence causes one to assume that she couldn’t be a suspect. Mrs. Hubbard makes only one mistake: the assertion that she needed to ask Greta Ohlsson to find out if the communicating door was bolted because it was partly blocked by a sponge bag suspended from the doorknob. The bolt, which was later discovered to be one foot above her door handle, causes Mrs. Hubbard to be a certain suspect. This claim eventually establishes her guilt, and it is the sole clue against a character which is seemingly infallible.

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