Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989–2013): Season 12, Episode 1 - Three Act Tragedy - full transcript
The inoffensive Reverend Babbington chokes to death at a cocktail party he is attending with his wife at the home of famous actor Sir Charles Cartwright. Some time later Sir Bartholomew Strange, an eminent doctor and friend of Cartwright, also dies of poisoning at a dinner party he is giving miles away. There appears to be no link between the two deaths but Poirot, assisted by Cartwright, offers to help Superintendent Crossfield in the investigation and discovers that a mysterious butler with a birthmark on his wrist was hired for the night and appeared to share a joke with the dead doctor. This man has now vanished and would seem to the killer. A third death, that of a sanatorium patient who has written to Poirot, would appear to link to the doctor's murder and there is certainly a secret which somebody will go to any lengths to conceal - but who would gain from the death of a harmless old vicar?
What's that one? Oh, it's called
an anchor bend, surprisingly!
Hello. Managed to find your way
- Ahoy there!
Poirot! You've arrived!
My guess is you're
in the entertainment business too.
Non, non. Non, monsieur.
I am a... a spectator merely.
- Been down here before?
No, I was introduced to Sir Charles
at a bridge party.
Oh, it is now many... many years.
And you, monsieur, you have
known him for a long time also?
We were at Oxford together.
Tell me, why do you think
he has retired?
Well, 'cherchez la femme',
old fruit, that's all I'll say.
Tollie! Welcome! Good to see you!
- My dear Charles.
Oh, I'm so glad
you two have finally met.
My two best friends
in all the world.
Good afternoon, Sir Charles.
Here is the menu for dinner.
Before sailing it was racing cars,
- What next? Hot-air balloons?
If you will excuse me,
Sir Charles, it might
be a good idea were I
to dine with you tonight.
Well, that would be lovely.
Otherwise we shall
have an odd number of
males and females at
table. I'm glad you agree.
What a remarkable specimen.
How long have you had her?
Six years. In London, then here.
Runs it like clockwork.
But now the bloody woman
wants to leave.
She's leaving? Why?
She says she has an invalid mother.
Sounds unlikely to me.
I'd be very surprised if Miss
Milray had biological parents at all.
Je te remercie for your invitation.
This is a spot most beautiful.
So tell to me, if you please,
who are to be the other guests?
Yes, come on, Charlie, who are
the figures in this drama?
- The "dramatis personae"?
Oh! Not the... the dressmaker
that is so celebrated?
once a jockey himself,
is now something of
a flat-racing fanatic.
Also from London,
is the up-and-coming playwright
Does this London lot know the others
who are coming?
No. Why should they?
My ingenue tonight will be...
Miss Lytton Gore.
Egg Lytton Gore?
Accompanied by her mother,
Lady Mary. The genuine article.
Long on breeding, short on cash.
Then there are the Babbingtons.
Nothing very notable there,
but protocol demands, et cetera.
Best to have the parson along.
Then, last and in every way least,
the young squib Oliver Manders.
- The villain of the piece?
- Let's just say, he's a little bit devious.
the chip on his shoulder.
He never goes anywhere without it.
And that is my cast.
Ah, but we must not forget
for she is also to join us.
How could one forget Miss Milray?
The spectre at the feast!
This is... er... Captain Dacres
and the very beautiful
For many years, madame, I have
admired your creations formidable.
How penetrating of you.
Any chance of a drink, old boy?
I'm just about to mix
As soon as the others arrive.
Any tips for Goodwood, Dacres?
You're a man of the turf, I hear.
What else do you know?
- I beg your pardon?
- What else has she told you?
- Who, man?
Well, I'm not ashamed
of my profession. Not one bit.
There may well be miners
and stevedores and so forth
whose budget does not stretch
but if any woman is misguided
enough to marry one of them,
that, as they say, is her lookout.
Mademoiselle, who is that lady?
Oh, that's Anthony Astor.
Her real name is Muriel Wills.
Oh! Here come the locals.
Oh, you're here.
- Good evening.
Come in, come in! Drinks!
Aye aye, skipper!
Ah, this is Mademoiselle
Lytton Gore, hah?
Who calls herself
Don't ask me why.
Boiled, I like to think.
Have a cocktail, Egg.
I say, Sir Charles, you do know
some very reactionary people.
People are people.
I'm not political.
Oliver's not political either.
He just went to the East End once, by mistake,
and had a "road-to-Damascus" moment.
You of all people should know
how degrading poverty is.
It's all right.
I can fend for myself.
- Ooh! Do I dare?
Oh, go on, Mums. Show
Mr Manders we're not
completely ground down by
the iron heel of capitalism.
I think I might have one, too,
if my wife permits.
May I have my annual drink, dear?
He'll do exactly as he likes,
Do come and meet a friend of mine
who is actually a detective.
- A real one?
- A real one. Golly!
This tastes slightly...
It's a cocktail, Stephen,
not a pint of mild.
Oh! Mr Babbington!
- Is he ill?
Out of the way.
- Stephen, what is it?
- Is he all right, Tollie?
Talk to me. Stephen!
No, I'm sorry, he's not.
- He's dead.
Did you ever see anyone
die like that, Tollie?
I'm a psychologist. I don't see
people die much at all.
A nerve specialist tries hard
to keep his patients alive.
Something is out of joint.
I can't... put my finger on it.
- What if he was murdered?
Who'd want to murder
a harmless old clergyman?
- What if he wasn't harmless?
- Look, Charlie,
you're a thundering
good chap, but you do let
your imagination run
away with you sometimes!
you're a crime expert.
Do you think anything untoward
happened here tonight?
We're planning to get that glass,
his glass, chemically analysed.
- Ah, oui? It can do no harm.
- What do you think will be the results?
All I can do is to guess,
And my guess, it is that they will find
the remains of a dry martini most excellent.
To poison a man with a
cocktail, one of many handed
around on a tray, it is a
technique tres difficile.
So what do you think happened?
All I know, Sir Bartholomew, is that
he was taken ill most suddenly.
Mes amis, perhaps the inquest,
it will reveal to us, hah?
I find nothing
to indicate foul play of any kind.
No trace of poison in his glass,
no sign of any wounding.
I conclude that the
decease of Rev Stephen
Babbington was occasioned
solely by natural causes.
What a lot of tripe!
That coroner should be struck off
The vicar is elderly, mademoiselle,
and his health, it is not so good.
Oh, he had a touch of arthritis, nothing
more! He should have lived till he was 90.
Did you know him well,
this Monsieur Babbington?
He was a sweet man, a devout
Christian and never unkind to anybody.
They had a son, you know. Robin.
Actually, I used to have
rather a pash for Robin.
- And Robin is?
- He's... well...
So, you see, I feel rather strongly
Supposing it wasn't natural causes?
Ma chere, there was nothing in that
cocktail glass but vermouth and gin.
- It is proved!
- Oh, yes, yes, but it's still damned odd!
The Babbingtons hadn't an enemy
in the world.
And why would he just keel over
I'm going to find Sir Charles
and give him a piece of my mind.
I suppose he's had
loads of affairs, has he?
Ah, mademoiselle, je suis desole,
but it is not for -
It's all right. I like a man
to have had affairs.
It shows he's properly red-blooded.
But I thought the two of you,
you were friends?
Yes. He's gone into his uncle's
office in the City, and, well...
He's getting a bit oily,
if you know what I mean.
He just wants to get rich,
which I find odd,
as he's always saying
he's a Communist.
But then... I find most people rather
disgusting when it comes to money.
Ah, mademoiselle, so many people
are disgusting about so many things.
I'm going to say good night,
I've got an early-morning train
Will you return to London,
Monsieur le Docteur?
No. I've... I'm going to Yorkshire.
I have a private clinic up there.
I hope we meet under better circs
- Oui, d'accord.
When you two leave
I shall be quite alone.
I'm sure you'll find
some attractive company.
No, I'm an old man, Tollie.
Hair grows out of my ears.
15 years ago, perhaps. But now
I think I'm deluding myself.
Damned nice though she is.
I'm thinking of selling up,
Well, then we may resume
our weekly lunches at the Ritz.
- No. I mean to get away.
- To where?
I thought the Riviera.
- Monte Carlo.
I make the visit to Monte Carlo
Oh, of course. Where do you stay?
At the Majestic?
I need something to take my mind
off this awful murder.
But then, you don't think
it is murder, do you, Poirot?
I do not wish to disappoint you, mon
ami, but I do not see how it could be.
No. Well, anyway, I don't mean to
stay in Cornwall a moment longer.
I wish to God I'd never come
to the wretched place.
Goodness! There must be
some money in psychology!
Yes, Mums, but why has he invited
us here? We barely know the man.
Oh, it takes me back
to my younger days.
The shooting parties! The balls!
Of course not, you idiot! We
received an invitation, that's all.
I'm warning you, Cynthia. First sign of
a white coat, I'm making a dash for it.
Do come through. Thank you!
- Thank you so much for inviting us.
Ah. Good evening.
Straight through, straight through.
That was a very fine meal,
One found the meringue
You don't stint on the firewater,
as well, I'm pleased to say.
My dear, would you mind?
- Shall we clear now, sir?
- Yes, by Jove, yes, do.
Serve the cheese now, Ellis,
Yes, it has...
My God, Manders! What happened?
Bad smash, I'm afraid. I've been
up in Cumberland for the shooting.
On my way back to London,
lost control of my machine.
Bit of luck I was right outside
your house, Sir Bartholomew.
- Shall I pour the port, sir?
Oh, yes, thank you.
- Is this where your sanatorium is?
- Yes, in the grounds.
Oh. Tucked away.
What caused the crash?
I think I hit an oil slick.
Ploughed into your wall.
Sorry about the medieval masonry
and all that.
That's an extremely tall tale,
However, we drink
to your miraculous escape!
As a matter of fact,
I'm very fortunate to have you
amongst the company,
amongst my good friends
from Cornwall and London,
for the reason that I have
something remarkable to reveal.
I'm only sorry Charlie Cartwright
can't be here. He'd relish it.
Why can't he?
He's in the South of France.
What a pity.
Now! Ladies and gentlemen,
it has recently been brought
to my attention
that... one of you...
Help! Help! Somebody get some help!
A bord, a bord le train bleu!
Depart Gare de Lyon
pour Monte Carlo.
Tout le monde a bord!
Be cheerful, sir,
our revels now are ended...
- Jouez avec moi!
-Jouez avec moi, monsieur!
- Amuse toi avec ton ballon.
- Non, non, non! Madame!
- Ah, Sir Charles! Quelle surprise!
Thank heavens I've found you.
Look at this!
- Oh, non, non!
- Oh, yes.
"We regret to announce the
death of Sir Bartholomew Strange,
the eminent nerve specialist."
His demise occurred suddenly,
at the end of a dinner party.
He was drinking a glass of 'Port'
when he had a sudden seizure
before medical aid
could be summoned.
A glass of Port?
Now will you take me seriously?
We must return to England,
tout de suite!
Dear Sir Charles, I'm so worried!
You'll have seen in the papers
that Sir Bartholomew is dead.
Well, he died in just the same way
as poor Mr Babbington!
Also, I'm worried
about someone else.
My friend Oliver.
He's acting rather strangely.
I can't explain it all in a letter.
But you could find out the truth.
I know you could.
Do come back,
May I say what a pleasure it is to see
you again, Sir Charles?
Oh, thank you.
I hope you have enjoyed your time
Splendid, thank you.
Now, let us see who else was present
at the death of Dr Strange, hah?
Sir Bartholomew Strange is having
his usual party for the St Leger.
Among the guests are
Lord and Lady Cardigan,
Lady Mary Lytton Gore,
Captain and Mrs Dacres,
and Miss M Wills.
- Seduction After Dark.
- I beg your pardon?
That was the play written by
Oui, but there is no mention
of Monsieur Oliver Manders.
It was Mademoiselle Egg herself who
suggested that he also was there.
Tell to me about Melfort Abbey.
Well, Tollie bought it
a few years back, for a song,
and restored it and put up a... sanatorium,
nursing home, whatever you want to call it.
Nut house, basically.
I've got to find out
Someone has murdered my friend.
I'd better get off to Yorkshire.
I know the chief constable
quite well. One moment, my friend.
In Cornwall I felt you to be guilty
of overstating the case...
.. because I found it incredible
that such a gentleman
who was old and harmless
should die a death anything
that was but natural.
But now we have another death,
in circumstances very similar.
And Hercule Poirot,
he must admit... an error.
And so, if you permit,
I myself, Hercule Poirot, will make
the investigation. Mais oui.
will travel to Yorkshire.
That's very handsome of you.
Won't it take up your time?
What is time in the face of death?
I see you have changed your shoes.
Yes. I always start with the feet.
- With the shoes.
Get the walk right.
Then the costume.
Before you know it,
you've got a character.
Ah, oui, d'accord, d'accord.
Welcome to Yorkshire, gents.
Sorry about the weather,
but some of us like it.
I was expecting Fred Johnson.
The chief constable's away.
I'm stood in.
I may as well say right
off, I don't hold with
amateurs coming up from
London, telling me my business.
Superintendent, if you permit,
we are here because of the death
of Bartholomew Strange.
He were highly spoke of round here.
I'm afraid to say
it looks like he were murdered.
There's nowt to indicate suicide.
Tollie would never kill himself.
A friend of yours, sir?
Very much so, yes.
You look oddly familiar.
Anyway, there's nowt for you to do
We're pretty sure
that the butler's our man.
Strange had only had him
for a fortnight.
Morning after the crime, he
disappears, vanishes into thin air.
Where had he come from? Any idea?
His name is... Ellis.
Gave a London agency.
Reference from a previous employer.
Sir Horace Bird, Holland Park.
And have you spoken with Sir Horace?
I'd be happy to, only he's away
in East Africa on safari.
So these references, they could -
They're forged, obviously, Poirot.
Anybody can see that.
And the house guests?
They are to be called as witnesses?
We've asked them to stay on, yes.
Can we look around Melfort Abbey?
No, you can't.
I'm very pally with Fred Johnson.
We used to play polo together
- I'm sure -
- Hang about.
Aren't you Sir Charles Cartwright?
- At your service.
- Why the heck didn't you say so?
I saw you
in Lord Aintree's Dilemma.
I did. I took the wife to London.
She wouldn't see owt else.
It had to be Charles Cartwright
in Lord Aintree's Dilemma.
I remember, we queued for hours
for the Pall Mall Theatre.
But it were worth it!
you please, are you
absolutely convinced in
your little grey cells
that this Monsieur Ellis
is your man?
Why else did he bolt?
My dear Charles, do you
realise that almost every
person who was present
at your dinner in Cornwall
was also present here?
please don't assume that because
I'm a thespian I am also dim.
- Of course I realise!
- What can we deduce from it?
- No, it's just that...
It appears to me that the doctor,
he was making an experiment.
He must have thought that one of the people
in Cornwall was responsible for the crime,
and so he has invited them here
to Melfort Abbey.
I wore this
as Galbraith of the Yard.
Rather authentic, don't you think?
- Hello, Annie.
- Good day, Sir Charles. Come in.
You've no butler?
Mr Baker. He's in Margate.
Sir Bartholomew gave him two
months' holiday for long service.
Excuse me, sir.
That's why Ellis was here.
- It's a caller for you, Sir Charles.
- Oh, thank you, Annie.
Now, listen, I've a pal
who works in the coroner's office,
and he's slipped me
the mortuary report.
I see. They think
it were nicotine poisoning.
Couldn't you get that
just from smoking?
Well, you'd have to smoke
a heck of a lot.
The nicotine is an alkaloid,
and is used habitually
by the gardeners
for the spraying of the roses.
Also they got a toxicology report
on the glass.
It contained Port and only Port.
Exactly the same as last time!
With one difference most important,
This time we know it was murder.
So how did you find it,
serving under Monsieur Ellis?
Oh, it were quite fun, actually,
He'd been in service all over.
He knew things, scandals, about
some very grand households, too!
Is it possible
that he was not in fact a butler?
Oh, no, sir.
No, he'd been in service for sure.
Well, he arranged the work different
from any butler I ever knew before.
Got his own method, sort of thing.
So tell to me, if you please,
about the Doctor Strange.
On the night that he died
how was his mood?
Oh, erm... He were happy, sir.
He even larked about with Mr Ellis,
a thing I'd never heard him do
with Mr Baker.
Pardon, but what does it mean,
he 'larked about'?
Mr Ellis came up
with a telephone message,
and the Doctor asked him
if he was sure he'd got it right,
and Mr Ellis said, 'Quite sure. '
And the Doctor laughed and said,
'You're an excellent butler,
I were that surprised!
What was this telephone message?
Oh. It were from the sanatorium,
about a patient who'd arrived.
A Mrs Rushbridger?
Or summat like that.
That'll be them coming back
from the inquest.
Miss Wills, do you mind
if we ask you some questions?
Do you mind if I call my solicitor?
Erm... do we, Poirot?
Je pense que Mademoiselle Wills,
she makes the little joke, non?
What is it you want to ask?
Did you notice anything... unusual
about the arrangements that night?
I heard there's a secret tunnel.
Did you hear about that?
There's a secret tunnel
that leads to open countryside.
- Is there?
And they think the butler crawled
along it and escaped.
- Where is it?
that's the sort of thing
that detectives detect, isn't it?
I'd start with the bookshelves,
if I were you.
Miss Wills? I couldn't say
what she thought about anything.
Eh bien. Tell to us
what you thought about her.
Someone said she lives in
Tooting, which she can't
help, but she does poke
and pry something terrible.
- She was in my room!
- She was what?
- In my room, poking about.
- No, she wasn't. You're seeing things.
Here we go again! The funny farm's
round the corner.
Do be quiet, Derek.
There's supposed to be a secret
tunnel. Have you heard about that?
The coroner said it was nicotine
- What's that?
- Well, Egg,
it's a colourless, odourless
alkaloid, widely available in fact,
often used by gardeners
to spray their roses with.
. I use it. Everyone does.
If you please to tell me, mademoiselle,
where is Oliver Manders now?
Oh, he went straight back to town
after the inquest.
He had to get straight back
to work, poor love.
Did Ellis poison Dr Strange?
Well, how am I
supposed to know that?
Do you have any information
about the secret passage?
- Do you?!
- I certainly don't!
- And I don't think Mums does either.
- Oh, God,
this is hopeless. We haven't
found out a single thing.
Oh, but you're doing
The police have already searched
Mr Ellis's room, sir.
Yes. Thanks, Annie.
Well, what have we here?
He had athlete's foot.
What is that?
There is something
that is discomposing in my mind.
Yes? Go on.
It is simply the way that Sir Bartholomew
Strange, he made a joke with his butler,
as was told to us
by Mademoiselle Annie.
It did not seem
in keeping with his character.
By God, you're right!
Tollie would never have spoken
to the staff like that.
And when the incident
occur? When Ellis brought
the telephone message
from the sanatorium!
I'll bet there's no such person
as Mrs Rushbridger.
I'll bet you it's a coded message.
I've just returned from abroad
to this dreadful news.
I wanted to call in and make sure
that everything was shipshape.
Dr Strange was very proud
of this place, Matron.
His experimental treatments
are often a great success.
Well, yes. I was speaking
to a chap in Monte Carlo
who has a relation coming here.
Mrs... Damn, what was the name?
Bridger? Rushbridge? Rus...?
Mrs de Rushbridger?
Oh, yes, she arrived.
Rather a bad breakdown.
Lapses of memory.
Severe nervous exhaustion.
She won't be seeing anyone
for a very long time.
Well, thank you so much, Matron.
The bloody woman exists! This
whole thing's giving me a headache.
What do you say we go somewhere
for a stiff whisky? Non, non, non.
Non, non, non.
Non, mon cher.
We must return to the bedroom
Ellis? Oh, why?
The stain of ink?
Now you remember perhaps, hah?
Just a stain on the skirting board,
But how does it come to be there?
No, something, it is amiss.
- Yes, by God, you're right.
He didn't drop his ink bottle. There'd
be more ink. He dropped his fountain pen.
He must have been writing,
or the top wouldn't have been off.
Perhaps he laid it
on the mantel shelf and it rolled?
You know, in the theatre we have to examine
the internal logic of all our actions.
There's this Russian cove
called Stanislavsky... Ah.
He's writing a letter.
He thinks he hears something.
He has to hide the letter.
- No time to rip up a floorboard.
- Can't burn it.
- Non, because of the cinders, hah?
La la la!
Only one place.
Behind the fire?
Have a look, mon ami.
We believe they are letters
drafted by the fugitive Ellis.
This is to say that the writer does
not wish to cause unpleasantness, but...
John Ellis, butler,
presents his compliments
and would be glad of a short
interview, touching the tragedy tonight,
before going to the police
with certain information.
I am badly in need of money.
A thousand pounds would make all
the difference to me. Meet me at...
So that's it! Blackmail.
Er... may I ask
who you're telephoning to?
Cornwall, the Loomouth police.
So Ellis knew something,
he was paid to disappear,
and that's exactly what he did.
The question is: where's he gone?
My friend, I am convinced
that this Monsieur Ellis,
he is dead.
That is why there...
That is why
there is no trace of him.
We are dealing with a maniac
that is very dangerous.
Oh, my Lord!
What about Egg?
Will she be all right? Well...
There is something that concerns me
about the Mademoiselle Egg Lytton Gore.
The stain on the wall.
How did she know that it was ink?
To me it was simply
a stain on the wall.
Women have a better-developed
colour sense than us.
It makes me to be suspicious.
- Of Egg?!
My dear friend, forgive me, but...
we must consider every eventuality.
- Of course we must.
- But it's not her. It can't be!
No, no, no, no! No! Can't be.
I am so fatigued.
Sir, I'm afraid there are...
visitors in the drawing room.
Visitors in the drawing room?
But it is 11 o'clock at night,
Indeed it is, sir.
11 o'clock at night, therefore we do not
have visitors in the drawing room!
- Take this!
- Of course.
- Mademoiselle Lytton Gore!
- Call me Egg.
- What is it that you do here?
- Good evening.
- Monsieur Oliver.
- Oliver has something to tell you.
The motorcycle crash
was a stunt, sir.
- I faked it.
Why did you do such a thing?
Do not make me angry, monsieur.
I am very fatigued!
- I was told to do it.
- By whom?
Bartholomew Strange. He wrote to me, told
me to fake a crash and arrive about 9:30.
But he was as surprised
as everyone else.
- Ten minutes later he is poisoned?
- And there is no connection?
- No! I had nothing to do with it.
You have not told this
to the police?
Well, it's going to look
a bit windy, isn't it, sir?
Why did you obey his instructions?
I heard you'd be there.
And I knew Charles Cartwright
was in France.
- Why are you so wet?
- I'm nervous.
- Why? I don't bite!
- I'm mindful of Robin Babbington.
- Don't be ridiculous!
- What happened to him?
He loved her, and she sent him to
India. He never came back!
That's enough! He went mystical,
went to live in an "Ashram". Gaga!
- He did what he wanted!
- Did he? You drove him away!
You drive us all away
in the end, Egg!
- Miserable business.
- I know.
But it must be done.
Stephen Babbington was a gentle old
soul without an enemy in the world.
And yet he was killed.
Or at least we think he was killed.
We're about to find out.
What reasons are there
for killing a person?
Babbington knew something.
Babbington recognised somebody.
What did he know?
Perhaps it was something
he didn't know he knew.
Perhaps he was the cause
and Dr Strange the effect?
- Well, if we are to believe
that the second murder,
it sprang directly from the first,
then it is the first murder
that we must investigate.
The murder of
the Reverend Stephen Babbington.
If I hadn't moved to Cornwall,
none of this would have happened.
I'm deluding myself, Egg.
I'm no detective.
What is it that you do here?
Well, I've never seen an exhumation
Ah! So this is all, how do you say
here, grist to your mill?
Your command of English is really
rather wonderful, isn't it?
He told Egg to steer clear
But girls are very foolish,
There's something attractive
to a girl
about being told
that so-and-so is a bad man.
She at once thinks
that her love will reform him.
It may seem a wicked thing to say,
.. I was relieved when my husband
died and it was just Egg and I.
A little roly-poly baby, trying to
stand up, always falling over.
Yes, it's a ridiculous nickname.
But don't let that deceive you.
She's a girl
who knows what she wants.
On the night that Dr Strange died, did
he appear to be worried about anything?
No. No, he was in high spirits.
He seemed to be amused
Some private joke.
He said he was going to spring
Sadly, he did.
Do you really think someone
murdered my husband? With nicotine?
That's what they're trying
to find out.
All we know is that Tollie Strange
drank some Port
and... well, it was -
- It was just the same.
I was there. It was just the same.
You have some lovely flowers,
- What are these?
- Lupins, dear.
I have such trouble with greenfly,
I have to spray them constantly!
Forgive my forthrightness,
Mrs Babbington, but...
.. did your husband leave you
very much money?
What? He gave away everything!
Missionaries were better off
than we were.
I used to scold him about it.
What about when he was younger?
Did he have any enemies?
Stephen was my father's curate.
We were engaged for four years.
Then he got a living in Kent,
so we were able to get married.
We lived in Gilling for 16 years.
Then we came to Cornwall.
We were happy.
I have a little idea
I would like to suggest.
Is it possible
that the poison was intended all
along for Sir Bartholomew Strange
and then... the Reverend Babbington,
he drank it by mistake?
No-one who knew Tollie at all well would
have tried to poison him with a cocktail.
- Mais pourquois pas?
- Because he never drank them.
- Couldn't stand them.
- Ah, oui?
May I speak to you the truth?
You know, this whole investigation,
it has been conducted with...
and great skill.
But it has yielded very little, non?
And there is danger.
So now Poirot, he will take charge.
We will return to London
by the early train.
And if you please,
mademoiselle, you will make
the visit to the showrooms
of Ambrosine Limited.
Sir Charles will receive
his instructions from me.
It is the approach classique,
The technique of elimination!
We eliminate the suspects
one by one.
We do not scamper around
like... the puppies.
Fleur-de-lys on the cuffs.
Witty, don't you think?
And the waistline
is rather penetrating.
I shouldn't have it
in the red-lead colour, though.
I should have it in Espanol.
And you've come into some money,
You have so much personality,
you mustn't wear anything ordinary.
Have you been back to Cornwall
since that party?
Oh, my dear, I couldn't.
It was too upsetting.
And you knew the vicar from before,
I think I remember him saying.
In a place called Gilling, in Kent?
Oh, no, no. Marcelle, no!
I asked for the Blue Patou.
No, I would never go to Kent.
Why would I go to Kent?
What's in Kent?!
Perhaps Captain Dacres?
Him? No, he never leaves
the Seventy-Two Club,
except to lose money
at some stupid racecourse or other.
Which we can scarce afford
at times like these!
Oh, now, look, this is lovely.
What did you say your name was
Hello. I'm Bacon.
You have lovely eyes.
Anyone ever mentioned that?
- Tell me about Reverend Babbington.
You knew him, didn't you?
In Gilling, wasn't it?
If you say so, my dear.
Sorry, just back from Newbury,
had a bit of a poxy day.
Funny thing is I can understand bumping
off a doctor, for obvious reasons,
but I can't understand
bumping off a parson.
- Who'd want to bump off a parson?
- Or a doctor?
Oh, a lot of people, lot of people!
Doctors are interfering swine.
- Did Bartholomew Strange -
- Strange? Bartholomew "Humbug"!
I'd like to know what goes on
in that sanatorium of his.
Nerve cases? Very likely
All I know: doesn't
matter what your nerves
are like, they lock you
in, you never get out.
And they call it a cure!
Cynthia told me
not to talk about it.
- Talk about what?
- It! The thing! The Arab!
This Arab gentleman
that Cynthia was wooing.
He was going to invest in Ambrosine,
which it badly needs,
because her head for business is
as about sound as her dress sense.
But he had some awful trouble
with his nerves.
He was seeing a fellow
in Harley Street, a specialist,
who packed him off on a cruise,
a world cruise!
Gone for good! "Arrivederci"!
And his chequebook with him!
That specialist was
We don't know.
But, if it was, things would look
a bit fishy for us, wouldn't they?
Which is I am not supposed to
talk about it.
Now you tell me something. What
was that woman doing in my room?
- What woman?
- Rabbit Face. The playwright.
Always poking and prying.
Like a ferret up a drainpipe,
Oh, isn't it dreadful?
- Miss Milray, are you all right?
- Oh, hell!
- I know. It's terrible.
- Sorry, I'm overreacting.
I'm fine. Really. Really. Fine.
I've known him all my life.
- Mr Babbington?
I grew up in Gilling,
where he was vicar.
- All my family come from there.
- Gilling?! But when -
Sorry, I must dash!
Awfully nice to see you again!
Evening Standard! Vicar poisoned!
Such a pity you left
the profession, Sir Charles.
You'd have been perfect
in this one.
- What's it called?
- Sin In Suburbia.
- Who's playing my part?
- Geoffrey Winchester.
No, no, no. No, he'll be
wonderful. I adore Geoffrey.
- When do you open?
- Next Thursday.
- Come to the dress rehearsal.
- Love to.
And you, Monsieur Poirot. I like
an audience. Bring your friends.
Oh! Merci beaucoup.
Mademoiselle, I would like
to ask you something more
about the events so terrible
at Melfort Abbey.
Because, if there was anything
to be noticed,
I believe that you,
the connoisseur of human nature,
- you would have noticed it.
- "Grist to my mill"?
I was intrigued, I admit.
I've never seen a murder
at close hand before.
Actually, there was one
thing that I suppose I
ought to have informed the
police, if truth be known.
What was it?
Well, it was about the butler.
What was it?
He had a kind of strawberry mark
on his right wrist.
I noticed it
when he poured the Port.
No-one else mentioned a birthmark.
Where exactly was it?
It was right here.
Roughly the size of half a crown.
When you were in Yorkshire,
did Sir Bartholomew mention
a Mrs de Rushbridger to you?
One of his patients?
Suffering from loss of memory?
Well, can you tell us anything else
at all about any of the other guests?
Sorry to have disturbed
- Goodbye, Miss Wills.
She knows something.
I'm sure she does.
Faites attention, mon ami.
You must be careful.
It may not be Mademoiselle Wills
that we must watch.
So, Cynthia Dacres
is desperate for money.
Possibly Dr Strange ruined
her best chances of getting some.
What about Oliver Manders?
Does his story ring true?
writing him a letter?
No, I have the impression
that it is not in keeping
with the character of Dr Strange
to behave in such a fashion.
I'm very suspicious
of Oliver Manders.
What is his relationship
with Mademoiselle Milray?
With Milray? He has none.
The woman is incapable
Now, Oliver Manders was present
at both murders,
and now he's keeping his head down.
Is there a link between Manders
and Miss Wills?
I do not believe so.
So what are we going to do?
- It is a mental process -
- I know what it is!
But can't we DO something?
For you always the action,
Alors, there are enquiries
to be made at Gilling.
The mother of Mademoiselle Milray.
And I wonder if you would be
so kind, the both of you,
to find out what you can about the
past of Rev Babbington?
In the meantime I will make the
preparations for my sherry party.
A sherry party?
Tomorrow evening at eight o'clock.
It is the fashionable thing to do,
Ah. Mesdames, Messieurs,
a moment, s'il vous plait.
Let us have no talk of murders and
poisons because it spoils the palate.
- Sir Charles.
- Thank you, Poirot.
Cynthia. Charming dress.
Why do you bring me to
these awful places?
It's how I pick up custom.
Like you picked up the Arab, like
you picked up Sir Charles.
Keep your filthy insinuations to
To marry an older man, I think it's
His follies are behind him. Not as
with younger fellows, still to come.
I wish that I shared your certainty.
Oh, but we have been so badly off.
I want Egg to see people, places,
great cities and great art.
- I don't know how you put up with it.
- What do you mean?
Him barging in like that. He's a
A wash-out. A flop.
- You're right. I should --
- Monsieur Oliver.
I wish to ask you something.
The letter you received
from Doctor Strange, the
invitation to, how do you
say, gate-crash the party.
Where is it?
Oh, I, er... I burnt it.
Well, after he was killed I thought
it might incriminate me.
But the police
didn't even notice me.
And tell to me, if you
please, what is it that
prevents you from proposing
to Mademoiselle Egg?
I haven't any money.
Can't you see?
Here's to you.
You've changed my life.
Sometimes I feel like I'm bad luck.
- Like a bad penny.
- Oh, don't be absurd.
Poirot, off to Gilling tomorrow?
Ah, oui. But Mademoiselle Milray.
Where is she? She is not here.
- I'm sure that I invited her.
- Good health and God save the King.
- I'll have another sherry, chum.
- Ah, the sherry.
I prefer it to the cocktail and a
thousand times to the whiskey.
Ah, the whiskey. Like the delicate wines
of France, you have to merely taste this -
Charles? Charles! Oh! God!
- Good grief.
Charles, no. No, Charles.
You absurd, play-acting little fool!
You think you know everything about
everything but look what you've done!
A performance magnifique,
- You beast.
Messieurs, Mesdames, I demand pardon
of you all.
This... little farce, it was necessary
to prove to you,
and also to me, one little fact that
my reason told to me it was true.
I placed into one of these glasses a
teaspoon of the plain water.
This water was to represent the pure
And I asked Sir Charles to play the
victim here tonight.
Sir Charles, superb.
But suppose for one moment that this
was not a farce,
that it was a real life.
What do you think the police, will
be the first thing they will do?
- They'll analyse the glass.
- They will analyse the glass.
And traces of the nicotine it will
be found, oui?
Non, you make the error. No nicotine
will be found.
- Why not?
- Because that is not the glass
from which Sir Charles he drank.
The theory of the conjuring trick,
it is very simple.
The attention can never be in two
places at the same time.
While you were looking at the body,
Hercule Poirot, he switches the
This is how both of the murders were
hidden so expertly.
Alors, faite attention.
I demand that you listen to me most
This murderer may strike again.
I any one of you knows anything at
.. now it is the time to speak.
- So you planned it all.
Just to see if anyone noticed if you
switched the glasses.
I also had another purpose.
When Sir Charles he fell dead,
I wished to see the expression on the
face of one person in particular.
- And did you?
Ah. That is my little secret.
So you know who the murderer is?
Then have them arrested.
I cannot. Because until I know why
Steven Babbington was murdered,
I have no proof at all.
And I do not know why.
Excuse me, sir. Telegram.
Please come at once.
Can give valuable
information about death
of Bartholomew Strange.
Margaret de Rushbridger.
Margaret de Rushbridger?
Change at Doncaster. Thank you.
Looks like we won't
find out any more about
the Reverend Babbington
from old Mother Milray.
She died a month ago when I was in
France and Milray didn't tell me.
Oh, this is hopeless.
I wish Poirot was here.
Look at these names.
Well, there are some frightfully
There's a family of Shovepennys.
Here's a Mary Anne Sticklebucket.
None of them are as strange as mine.
- Cartwright. That's not strange.
- It's not my real name.
It's an acting name.
What's your real name?
- Couldn't possibly tell you.
- Why not?
- You'll laugh.
- No, I won't.
- No, I can't tell you.
- What is it?
My father's name... was Mug.
That is genuinely catastrophic.
To go through life as a Mug.
And are you really a Charles, Sir
Charles or are you a sham in all respects?
Well, are you really poisonous?
Are you the black widow everyone
says you are?
What? What do you mean?
- What about Robin Babbington?
- Oh, I don't know.
He was always wet. He wore sandals.
Anyway, you were in Madras with him,
you tell me.
No, I was not in Madras with him.
I found out afterwards from the consul that
he's sold his passport and grown a beard.
- And you had nothing to do with it.
- Well, of course I didn't.
And what about Oliver Manders? Are you
trying to implicate him in these murders?
Because Oliver couldn't kill anyone.
What are you up to? Trying to clear the
field for yourself? See off the opposition?
No, of course I'm not.
I love you, Egg. And I would very
much like to marry you.
I just haven't found the courage to
So you mean you've just been
- Yes, I remember you. With Sir Charles.
- But you never told me your name.
- Oh, I call myself Hercule Poirot.
- And who do you want to see?
Madame de Rushbridger.
But, don't you know? She's dead.
She died this morning.
She's been poisoned.
The box of chocolates came for her
They're liquor chocolates.
Chemical analysis will show.
Was she killed to prevent her
telling us what she knew, eh, Poirot?
Or what she did not know,
I must waste no time.
A lad from Melfort Village says he
were given a telegram by a tramp.
Said he could have two bob if he
Aye. To you.
Bon. Superintendent, if
you please, to take me
to the railway station
as quickly as you can.
And also, there is one other thing
that I would like you to do for me.
Sir Charles telephoned from his
Belgravia residence, sir.
He's concerned that Miss Wills has
He motored out to Tooting for the
purpose of a further interview
but when he got there she was
nowhere to be found.
Miss Lytton Gore, sir.
Monsieur Poirot will see you now,
Mademoiselle, s'il vous plait.
Good heavens, what are you doing?
Alors. I find that the building of
the house of cards is - is -
is most stimulating...
to my little grey cells.
And so whilst I was
in the railway station
.in Yorkshire, I purchased
this pack of cards
But these aren't real cards.
They've sold you Happy Families.
It's a children's game.
I haven't seen these in years.
Master Bun the Baker's son,
Mr Grits the Grocer.
Oh. And here's me.
Mrs Mug, the Milkman's wife.
For I am to be Mrs Mug, Poirot, when
I marry Sir Charles Cartwright.
For that is his real name.
Well, wish me happiness. I've just
told you I'm engaged to be married.
Oh, pardon. Oui, oui. But I do wish
you happiness, Mademoiselle.
But not the brief happiness of youth,
but the happiness that endures,
happiness that endures upon the rock.
I'll tell Charles you called him a
He'll think you're referring to his
acting. God, they're paranoid.
We think it's Miss Wills, by the
way, the murderer. Porquoi?
Because she's gone missing and she's
We're going to see a dress rehearsal
of her play tomorrow.
But will she be there?
Will she show up?
I'm so excited. I've never been
to a rehearsal before.
And Charles says he'll take me
- But Poirot has been blind.
- Are you coming?
- To the theatre?
Oh, oui, but of course
and I shall bring everyone.
Everyone must come.
Oh, do, it's going to be fabulous.
I shall round up the audience but
One moment, driver.
Follow that taxi, if you please.
You cannot do this, Mademoiselle.
It is evidence.
It's so exciting.
It's only Geoff Winchester, Egg,
don't expect fireworks.
Mesdames, messieurs, you have come
to watch a dress rehearsal of a play.
Instead I give to you...
.. Hercule Poirot.
When the Reverend Steven Babbington
Sir Charles advanced the theory
that he had been murdered.
I did not think it likely.
Steven! Steven, please!
I could not figure to myself why
Steven Babbington should be murdered,
never mind how.
As there was no trace of poison
in his glass.
Until... 24 hours ago...
.. when I saw that this murder was
both reasonable and possible.
Who had the opportunity to poison the
cocktail of the Reverend Steven Babbington?
Only Sir Charles and his serving
Who handed around the drink.
But were either of these two at
Melfort Abbey? Non.
Non, they were not. So...
They could be eliminated from being
suspects very swiftly.
So who had the best
chance to put the nicotine
in the glass of Dr
Bartholomew Strange at Melfort?
The butler Ellis who disappeared
but he, we knew,
was a blackmailer merely.
But then I was visited by sensation
I was certain that the
person who committed both of
the crimes must have been
present on both occasions.
Well, that was obvious.
But it appeared to me that this
obviousness was an arranged obviousness.
In other words it was too obvious and
therefore not obvious at all.
I was certain that the
person who murdered the
Reverend Steven Babbington
and Dr Bartholomew Strange
must have been present on both
occasions but not apparently so.
And so I am forced to investigate
once again this butler so mysterious.
This... Monsieur Ellis.
He appears suddenly. Out of the blue.
A fortnight before the crime, and
pht, disappears immediately afterwards.
And Poirot, he comes to the conclusion
that he is dead and in a way I was correct.
I recalled the remarks made about him by the
parlour-maid at Melfort, Mademoiselle Annie.
Well, he arranged the work different
from any butler I ever knew before.
Got his own method, sort of thing.
And eventually Poirot,
he came to realise why.
Alors, if this butler, Monsieur
Ellis, was indeed dead.
Because he never, ever existed.
But Dr Bartholomew Strange was
He must have known the true identity
of his temporary servant.
Do we have any evidence for this?
Oui. His remark facetious.
You're an excellent butler, Ellis.
Said as the joke, ah?
But as told to us by Mademoiselle
Annie, the lark.
And it would have
been a lark perfectly
understandable if the
doctor had known the butler.
Totally understandable if the butler
Sir Charles Cartwright.
His old friend.
And the doctor had known of this
Serve the cheese now, Ellis,
And then we'll. I say, what's this?
Shall I pour the Port, sir?
Yes. Thank you.
Is this where your sanitorium is?
It has recently come to my attention
that one of you...
And now, my heart it is breaking.
it is you who have broken my heart.
I hope you know where you're going
with this, Poirot.
Sadly, mon ami, I do.
.. if anybody at the dinner table
had spotted that Sir Charles
was the butler,
the whole thing could be passed
off as a practical joke.
But nobody did.
Oh, Sir Charles Cartwright is the
He is in disguise and he played
the part but to perfection.
Even adding the little detail
of painting the birthmark on
the... right wrist.
And so the Doctor Bartholomew
Strange, he dies
and this butler escapes
by the secret passage.
And two days later he is strolling
about the gardens of Monte Carlo.
And what of the letters
of blackmail behind the
fireplace in the room
of this Monsieur Ellis?
Sir Charles himself uncovers them.
And the letter asking Monsieur Oliver
Manders to fake the accident?
What could be easier than
for Sir Charles to write a
letter himself in the name
of Dr Bartholomew Strange?
Because he wants to bring you all
together again, non?
So that there are many, many
And so I return
to Mademoiselle Wills.
Mes amis, Mademoiselle Wills
noticed the butler Ellis
more than anybody else
at the table that evening.
And when I interviewed her, in this
Sir Charles, he is gratified that he
spotted the birthmark.
Well, of course, he likes his
audience to notice his skill.
But then la catastrophe.
I do not think that
until that moment
Mademoiselle Wills connected
Ellis with Sir Charles.
But she is an observer.
And when the drinks, they are poured,
she notices not the drinks but...
the hands that held them.
And at that moment,
understood that Sir
Charles, he was the butler.
Because with or without a birthmark,
the hand it was the same.
And now he is worried.
He thinks she knows
something and believes
she is a danger to him.
When Sir Charles acted the death
scene at my sherry party...
.. the face that I was watching was
that of Mademoiselle Wills.
And I saw a look upon that face of
It was then I knew that Mademoiselle
Wills suspected Sir Charles
and if Mademoiselle Wills suspected
then Sir Charles indeed
Wills and now she was
in the danger most grave.
So it was on the advice of Hercule
Poirot that she leaves her London home.
S'il vous plait, entrez Mademoiselle
S'il vous plait, asseyez vous.
And she was wise so to do.
Because the following evening, Sir
Charles he drives to Tooting
to dispose of the one person he feared
could expose him... Mademoiselle Wills.
And now we come to murder victim
number three. Madame de Rushbridger.
How does she fit into the puzzle?
It is my belief that on the day of the
sherry party given by me, Hercule Poirot,
Sir Charles Cartwright rises
early that morning, perhaps
even at dawn to make the
long journey to Yorkshire,
where he disguises himself as a
tramp, gives to a small boy
the telegram addressed to me, Hercule
Poirot at Whitehaven Mansions.
Ostensibly from Madame de
When on my one and only
visit to the sanitorium
with Sir Charles I had
never even mentioned my name.
And why does he do this?
Because he needs Poirot out of the way.
Oh, pardon, one other thing...
He even posted a box of chocolates to
this poor woman who knew nothing.
In fact she would tell to Poirot that
she knows nothing, nothing at all.
It was a decoy, merely.
And it is for this simple reason...
.. that she is dead?
Suddenly I saw how this murder
of Dr Bartholomew Strange
was not only essential
Well, I'm hooked
Oh, go on.
Tell me what was my motive
for murdering my dearest friend?
A man I had known since boyhood.
It was the doctor himself
who gave to me the clue
when he said 'cherchez la femme'.
You know, Sir Charles, it was obvious
to me you were in love,
deeply in love with Mademoiselle
You loved her with a passion that was
so arid, so... terrible.
So why the hesitation? Why did you
not ask her to marry you?
What was the obstacle?
Poirot he will tell to you.
The obstacle it was this...
That you already had a wife.
Oh, but of course, you enact the role
of the bachelor.
But this marriage of yours it took
place since many years before.
When you were young. Long before you were
Sir Charles Cartwright the actor renowned.
And when your name,
it was something else.
Voyez, mes amis.
There are only two situations in the
law when a divorce cannot be permitted.
The first: when either the husband or
wife is serving a life sentence in prison.
And the second: when one or either of
them is confined to a lunatic asylum.
And of course, Sir Charles, you
cannot kill her yourself
because immediately you will become
the prime suspect.
But what if nobody knew?
Then you'd be free to marry Mademoiselle
Lytton Gore without telling her the truth.
But one person did know and one
person only. Your oldest... friend.
The best man at your wedding.
And so before you can remarry,
it is necessary
that Dr Bartholomew Strange,
your friend so dear to you...
he must be eliminated.
And Babbington? I suppose he knew
Ah, well, that was the one flaw in my
Because even if it was you, Charles,
who placed the nicotine into the
you could never make sure of it
reaching one particular person.
You never intended specifically for
the Reverend Steven Babbington, no.
It was intended for anyone who was
Except, of course, for Dr Bartholomew
Strange, who never touched a cocktail.
And Mademoiselle Lytton Gore...
.. the young lady with whom you are
You handed me my cocktail yourself.
Have a cocktail, Egg.
This tastes slightly...
The murder of the
Reverend Steven Babbington
was nothing more nor less
than a dress rehearsal.
Sir Charles he is the actor. He
rehearses the murder before he commits it.
And the rehearsal it goes well.
Steven Babbington he dies.
And foul play, it is not suspected,
not even by Hercule Poirot.
Of course I was invited to
go to Loomouth because if
Poirot suspects nothing,
nor indeed will anyone else.
Eh, Mademoiselle Milray?
You knew that your
employer conducted the
chemical experiments in
the tower in the wood.
In fact, it was you who paid the bills for
the solution for the spraying of the roses.
But you knew he was no gardener.
And when you read about the death of
the Reverend Steven Babbington,
that he was poisoned by this very same
solution, you did not know what to do.
You had known the Reverend Babbington
since you were a little girl.
But now you are in love with your
employer who was so fascinating.
But when you heard about the
death of Madame de Rushbridger,
you decided that
enough it was enough.
So you travelled all the way to
to destroy the apparatus in the tower
to protect the man who you love.
But Poirot he has prevented you.
Superintendent, if you please?
What I have here, sir...
is your passport.
We know exactly when you went to
And I have here...
.. the note that proves...
.. that in the Haviturnham
Asylum in Essex there
is a lady by the name
of Gladys Mary... Mug.
Fifty-eight years of age.
Who is your lawful wedded wife.
Is it true?
- Is it true?
It's all lies.
It is true, Mademoiselle.
I loved you.
God damn you.
What have you done?
WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
IT IS YOU WHO HAVE DECEIVED ME!
These last two days they have not
You are deranged, Monsieur.
You don't know what it's like...
People think you're so happy,
Girls run after you.
You kiss them and then they go home.
Take off their pretty costumes and
they go home... and you're alone.
I would have loved you, Egg,
till the day I died.
That's all I wanted.
Is that so much to ask?
It's not enough
to kill three people for.
Your revels now are ended.
Damn you all.
Don't worry, sir.
Monsieur Manders, I think now is the
to take home the Lady Mary and
Yes, sir. Of course.
You will look after her now.
You fall down.
But you will get up again.
A tragedy in three acts, I think.
A great man brought low.
I can see now I should have gone to
Don't judge me too harshly.
Oh, Mademoiselle, I investigate.
I do not judge.
I've just had a terrible thought...
If anyone could have drunk the
Golly, it could have been me.
And there is a possibility even more
It could have been me.
Correction & resync: lfellix[freelancer]