Murder on the Orient Express Part 2, Chapter 15 Summary
The Evidence of the Passenger's Luggage
The men move carriage by carriage to search the luggage.
Mr. Hardman has plenty of liquor, despite prohibition.
In the Colonel's luggage, they find pipe cleaners that match the one found on the floor of Ratchett's room. Poirot still thinks the crime is not "dans son caractère" (2.15.35), or in the Colonel's character.
They don't find anything unusual in Princess Dragomiroff's bags, and she says she trusts her maid, who is very loyal.
While the Princess's luggage is being searched, she and Poirot have an exchange. She says Cassetti should have been flogged to death.
Poirot says her strength is not perhaps in her arm, but in her "will" (2.15.70).
The Count and Countess's luggage is next. They don't find anything interesting, except that one of the labels on the Countess's suitcase is damp.
Mary Debenham and Greta Ohlsson are the next to have their luggage searched. There are no finds there. Poirot sends Greta to check on Mrs. Hubbard, and gets Mary alone.
Poirot tells Mary that he overheard her conversation with the Colonel on the journey from Syria. There, she said something about, "When it's all over. When it's behind us" (2.15.120).
What did she mean by that? Mary won't say. She does give her word, though, that she had never set eyes on Ratchett before. She says she'd been talking about a task that she'd already undertaken.
Poirot asks Mary why she's not anxious about the delay now, given that she was so anxious about the delay on the Syrian train. Mary almost loses her temper and doesn't answer.
She says she only met the Colonel on this trip. Poirot tells her about the pipe cleaner, and she says he was not involved. She will not say anything else.
By now, Poirot really has her riled up. He says, "if you wish to catch a rabbit you put a ferret into the hole, and if the rabbit is there he runs" (2.15.177).
In Hildegarde Schmidt's luggage, they do indeed find the Wagon Lit conductor's uniform. She says it is not hers, and they believe her.
Poirot says something about Hildegarde being a good cook. She says all her ladies have thought so, and then stops short.
The uniform is missing a button and also contains a conductor's pass key.
They search the luggage belonging to MacQueen, and the valet, and the Italian, but they don't find a scarlet kimono.
Poirot needs to think, but he's out of cigarettes. He goes to his case, and guess what he finds? The scarlet kimono!
Poirot sees it as a "defiance," and says "Very well. I take it up" (2.15.228).