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Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express Part 2, Chapter 11 Summary
The Evidence of Miss Debenham Mary Debenham comes in. She's neatly dressed and cool as a cucumber. Poirot takes a different approach with her. He gets her facts (that she went to her compartment and went to sleep), but then he starts asking her questions about her feelings. Poirot knows how to push buttons. He asks her if she is distressed about the crime. She says she is not. Poirot can tell she's getting peeved, so he lets her in on his method: "I see at once that you will be orderly and methodical…I ask what you feel, what you thought." (2.11.32) Still, we do get some information: Mary is traveling from Baghdad, where she was a governess to two children. She says she wants a post in London. Poirot remarks that he thought she might be getting married. (Again, pushing buttons.) Her opinion of Miss Ohlsson? Simple and pleasant. Her gown is not a scarlet kimono, nor is Miss Ohlsson's. However, she says, "that is not mine" (2.11.65), which makes Poirot think she has at least seen the kimono. She admits that she has. Mary did see a person out the door. This person had a cap on her head. She was tall and slim, with dragons on the back of her gown. Mary asks Poirot if he suspects Greta Ohlsson, and if she can reassure Greta since Greta was the last one to see Mr. Ratchett. Mary says, "She's like a sheep, you know. She gets anxious and bleats" (2.11.93).
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