Murder on the Orient Express
How we cite our quotes:
He was a man of between sixty and seventy. From a little distance he had the bland aspect of a philanthropist. His slightly bald head, his domed forehead, the smiling mouth that displayed a very white set of false teeth, all seemed to speak of a benevolent personality. Only the eyes belied this assumption. They were small, deep set and crafty. Not only that. As the man, making some remark to his young companion, glanced across the room, his gaze stopped on Poirot for a moment, and just for that second there was a strange malevolence, and unnatural tensity in the glance. (1.2.38)
Though things are not always what they seem in this novel, one thing is certain: everyone knows Ratchett is evil just by looking at him. Is this message consistent with the rest of Christie's novel?
"If you will forgive me for being personal – I do not like your face, M. Ratchett," he said. (1.3.85)
Though he knows relatively nothing about Ratchett, Poirot relies on his instincts to judge the man's character.
"And most conveniently she leaves her handkerchief behind!" said Poirot. "Exactly as it happens in the books and on the films – and to make things even easier for us it is marked with an initial." (1.7.76)
The placement of the clues is so perfect as to call attention to itself. Note how Poirot compares the clues to books and films in the genre. (Very meta.)
"Say something, then, my friend, I implore you. Show me how the impossible can be possible!"
"It is a good phrase that," said Poirot. "The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances." (2.13.3-4)
Poirot senses that he must look beyond the surface of things. He's a practical guy, and he refuses to be confounded by how strange things appear to be.