Study Guide

Murder on the Orient Express Part 1, Chapter 4

By Agatha Christie

Part 1, Chapter 4

A Cry in the Night

  • At Belgrade, the Athens coach is added to the train. M. Poirot is upgraded to a first-class accommodation – compartment No. 1, where M. Bouc had been staying. Now M. Bouc is moving to the Athens coach.
  • At 9:15 p.m., the train leaves the station. Poirot runs into MacQueen, who is talking to Arbuthnot. MacQueen says he thought Poirot was getting off at Belgrade. Nope, he was just upgraded to first class.
  • In the corridor, the elderly American woman, Mrs. Hubbard, is talking to the Swedish lady, the sheep-like woman, about aspirin.
  • Mrs. Hubbard and Poirot exchange words. She mentions her daughter, of course.
  • They catch a glimpse of Mr. Ratchett, whose room connects with Mrs. Hubbard's, and Mrs. Hubbard tells Poirot that she is scared of Ratchett. She even bars the communicating door between their rooms at night.
  • Arbuthnot and MacQueen come down the corridor, and go into MacQueen's carriage to talk about India and politics.
  • Poirot heads to his bed, which is in the compartment past Hubbard and Ratchett's. He goes to sleep.
  • Later that night, Poirot wakes up to a loud groan. The train is standing still. He hears the conductor go to Ratchett's door and knock. A voice answers in French that everything is fine.
  • Poirot checks his watch – it's "twenty-three minutes to one" (1.4.41) – and goes back to sleep.

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