You can download series script as text or as subtitles:

Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989–2013): Season 4, Episode 1 - The ABC Murders - full transcript

Poirot receives taunting letters from a serial killer who appears to choose his victims and crime scenes alphabetically.


- Poirot!

- Ah!

Hastings!

Oh, mon ami.

- Get a couple of nice handbags
out of this.

- I'll take care of that,
thank you.

- Who is your friend, Hastings?

- Oh, this is Cedric.

He's a caiman.

I shot him on the Orinoco,

a few miles upstream
from La Urbana.

We'd been in portage around
white water all day,

and I was pretty exhausted.

I can tell you,
it's some distance--

- Hastings.

- What's that, old chap?

- You must tell me the story

in full detail later.

I think these gentlemen
wish to get home to bed.

- Oh, right.

So how have you been
these last six months?

Busy?

- No, the little gray cells,

I fear they grow the rust.

When the date approached
for your return,

I said to myself
"Now something will arise."

We will hunt again together,
we two.

- Sorry.

- But it must be
no common affair, Hastings.

It must be something recherche,
delicate, fine.

- Anyone would think you were
ordering dinner at the Ritz.

Sorry.

Where are we going?

I thought we were going
to my hotel first.

- There is no hotel, Hastings,

until you can reclaim
your apartment,

you stay with Poirot.

- Oh, I say.

This superfine crime of yours
hasn't turned up yet, I suppose.

- Pas encore.

At least, I am not sure.

- This is awfully decent of you,
Poirot.

- Well, not at all, mon ami.

I need you where
I can keep an eye on you,

to protect you from the beauties
with the auburn hair, no?

- What did you mean just now
when you said you weren't sure,

about the superfine crime?

- Ah.

Hastings...

Ah, Hastings,
you've forgotten your crocodile.

I would rather its curious smell
was confined to your bedroom.

- Oh.

Well, it was a present for you,
actually, Poirot.

- For me, Hastings?

Oh, that is beautiful.

- I mean,
if you don't like it...

- No, Hastings, it adds
a certain je ne sais quoi,

do you not think?

- Well, I thought so.

The chap who stuffed it for me

said the smell would go away
after about a month or so.

- Well, I like the smell,
Hastings.

One feels braced.

It brings to London the jungle.

- Good.

For one awful moment,

I thought you might not like
old Cedric.

- No.

- He's a caiman.

I shot him when we were still up
in Venezuela--

- Hastings, it is a week
since I received this letter.

What do you make of it?

- "Mr. Hercule Poirot,

"You fancy yourself, don't you,

"at solving mysteries
that are too difficult

"for our poor, thickheaded
British police?

"Let us see,
Mr. Clever Poirot,

"just how clever you can be.

"Perhaps you'll find this nut
too hard to crack.

"Look out for Andover
on the 21st of the month.

Yours sincerely,
A.B.C."

A.B.C.?

Typed, thick paper,

postmark London WC1.

- What is your opinion,
Hastings?

- Some madman, I suppose.

- A madman is a very
dangerous thing, my friend.

- Wait a minute.

Today's the 21st.

What have you done about it?

Did you go to Andover?

- Hastings, as always,
the man of action, eh?

What is there to do?

There are no fingerprints.

No clues to the possible writer.

- Well, don't blame me

if there's a story
in the papers tomorrow

about a whacking great robbery
near Andover.

- What a comfort that would be.

- A comfort?

- It would dispossess my mind
of the fear of something else.

- Of what?

- Of murder, my friend.

- Cream, crackers--yes.

Edwards' Desiccated Soup.

Yes.

Sausages?

I can't go carrying sausages
around all afternoon.

No.

My desk isn't a blooming larder,
Emily.

Supposing someone--

I'll do that, sir.

- Chief Inspector.

- Ah.
Morning, Poirot.

Well, well, well.

If it isn't Captain Hastings,

back from his holidays in
the wilds of whatchamacallit.

Sit down, sit down.

Looking well too.

Getting a bit thin
on top, though, eh?

- Well, I don't know.
I--

- You'll be rivaling
Monsieur Poirot soon.

- Chief Inspector,

do you know
that Captain Hastings

has brought me back as a present
a crocodile?

- A caiman, actually.

I bagged him while
we were still up in Venezuela.

We'd been in portage around
white water all day, and--

- And to what do I owe
the pleasure of this visit?

- Well, today is the 22nd,
Chief Inspector.

- Yeah.

- You recall
the anonymous letter.

- Oh, yes.
Beware the 21st.

Andover, wasn't it,
you mentioned?

- Oui.

- Just to keep you happy.

Get me Inspector Glen
at Andover, will you?

We get these anonymous letters
every day of the week.

People with nothing better to do

and a bit weak in the top story,
right?

Hello, Dennis?

Japp.

How are you?

Now, listen.

Do you remember that anonymous
letter I told you about?

Yeah.

Oh?
Really?

Right.

Yes, I better.

Right-o.

- Well?

- Well, I don't suppose
it means anything,

but an old woman who kept
a tobacco and newspaper shop

in Andover was battered to death
last night.

Glen says they think
they can lay their hands

on the man who did it, though.

All the same, I'll pop down
there and have a dekko.

- What was the name
of the woman, Chief Inspector?

- Ascher.
Mrs. Alice Ascher.

- No, I mean, the thing is,

there was no money
taken out of the till.

So, I mean,
one would expect

that they would have been after
the money.

- Oh, Poirot.
- Chief Inspector.

- This is Inspector Glen.

He's in charge of the case.

- How do you do?

- Looks pretty
straightforward.

- The victim's Alice Ascher,
60 years old,

struck down behind her counter
by a heavy blow to the head.

- And do you suspect
the husband?

- We do.

We haven't been able
to find anyone yet

who saw Ascher
in the neighborhood,

but, of course,
it's early days.

- Did Mr. Ascher
live with his wife, Inspector?

- No, they separated
some years ago.

Ascher's a German.

Used to be a waiter,
but he took to drink.

- Well, perhaps you should look
at this, Inspector.

- Famous anonymous letter, eh?

- The body was found
in this corner, yes?

- Yes, laying sort of huddled.

- This doesn't read like Ascher.

I doubt if he's got
the wits for it.

It's odd that the letter
should mention

the 21st of the month,
though.

Course, might be
a coincidence.

- I do not like that kind
of coincidence, Inspector.

- Nothing was missing
from the shop.

- No, money in the till
seems undisturbed.

No signs of robbery.

- Something has been added,
perhaps.

- Added?

- An ABC railway guide?

She must have been looking up
trains from Andover.

Or a customer.

- Fingerprints?

- Only Mrs. Ascher's,
as far as we can tell, so far.

- My God, Hastings.

- Wedding picture.

- A beautiful woman, n'est pas?

- Yes.

Look at this room, Poirot.

All that's left of a life:

couple of broken
china ornaments,

photograph,

new pair of stockings.

- Hastings.

Let us not become sentimental.

There is nothing more
for us here.

Come.

- Dear, oh, dear.

- Something is amiss,
Chief Inspector?

- I've been trying
to get a list of people

who were seen coming in here.

- And no one's seen anybody?

- Oh, they've seen people,
all right.

Three tall men
with furtive walks,

four short men
with black mustaches,

two men with beards,

three fat men,

one man with a peculiar hat,

and if I am to believe
what they say,

every one of them
had a sinister expression.

- Does anyone claim
to have seen this man, Ascher?

- Oh, no, nothing helpful
like that.

- She never knew what hit her.

Struck in the back of the head.

- You can't believe

it's the same woman as in
the photograph, can you?

- Well, yes, Hastings,
you can see the line of the jaw,

the bones,
the structure of the head.

Did she have any children?

- No.

But there's a niece.

Name of Mary Drower.

She's in service
out near Overton.

Steady young woman, they say.

- The weapon hasn't been found,
of course.

A weighted stick, club,
something like that.

- Would there be needed much
force to strike such a blow?

- Meaning, I suppose,

would a shaky old man of 70
like Ascher do it?

Perfectly possible,

given sufficient weight
in the head of the weapon.

- I haven't done nothing!

It is a shame and a scandal
to bring me here!

Let me go!

Schweinhund!

How dare you!

- Stop.

- I haven't done nothing.

- I'm not charging you
with anything yet, Ascher,

and you're not obliged
to say anything.

- I did not kill her.

It is all lies!

- You threatened to
often enough.

- No, that was a joke.

- Take him away.

Detained on suspicion.

- I never did go near Alice.

I haven't done anything!

Let me go!

- You perceive, Hastings?

There is already
one further point in the favor

of the innocence
of Monsieur Ascher.

- Really?
- Oh, yes.

If he had been abusing
and threatening his wife,

she would have been facing him
over the counter.

But instead, she had her back
to her assailant.

Obviously, she is reaching
for some tobacco

or cigarettes for a customer.

Ah.

I think it is you who are
Mademoiselle Mary Drower.

Will you not sit down,
mademoiselle?

- No, thank you, sir.

I daresay
the mistress wouldn't mind,

but I'd rather not
while she's out.

- You were fond of your aunt.

- Oh, it's terrible.

Poor Auntie.
Such a hard life she'd had too.

She was always so good to me,
Auntie was.

And all the trouble she had
with that German devil.

It was awful,
the things he used to say,

that he'd cut her throat
and such like.

Swearing and cursing too.

It's dreadful to think, sir,
what people come to.

- Mademoiselle, if you should
need me at any time,

you will be sure
to contact me, yes?

- Is there something
queer going on, sir?

- Yes, my child.

Something queer is going on.

But later, you may be able
to help me perhaps.

- Well, I'll do anything,
sir.

It wasn't right,
Auntie being killed.

- Well?

- I think that Monsieur Ascher

is a suspect most unlikely,
Hastings.

- Ah.

What about the girl then?

- It is always possible,
of course, but with what motive?

- I see what you mean.

If only he'd left a clue.

- Ah, the clue.

It is always the clue that
attracts you, yes, Hastings?

Alas, our murderer, he did not
smoke a cigarette exotique,

leave the ash on the floor,

and then step on the ash

with shoes that have nails
of a pattern most curious.

He's most unobliging,
our murderer.

But at least, mon ami,
you have the railway guide:

The A.B.C.

Now there is a clue for you.

- You mean, you don't think
he left it there by mistake?

- No, he left it on purpose.

The fingerprints tell us that.

- But, Poirot, there
weren't any fingerprints on it.

- Exactemente, Hastings.

Our murderer, he is in the dark
and seeks to remain in the dark.

But in the very nature
of things,

he cannot help
to throw the light upon himself.

- What do you think, Poirot?

- Excellent, Hastings.

Most artistic.
Well done.

- You don't think
he's a bit overpowering?

We can find somewhere else
for the fruit bowl.

What we could do--

- There's another letter,
Hastings.

- Sorry?

- Another letter from A.B.C.

- "Dear Mr. Poirot,

"Well, the Andover business
went with a swing, didn't it?

"First game to me, I think,

"but the fun's
only just beginning.

"Let me draw your attention
Bexhill-on-Sea.

"Date: the 25th inst.

"What a merry time
we are having.

Yours sincerely,
A.B.C."

Good God.

- I fear that the death
of Madame Ascher

is only the beginning,
Hastings.

- There's no doubt
that the two letters

were typed on the same machine,
I suppose.

- No,
and we can fairly assume

that the writer was responsible
for your murder in Andover.

Now we have definite warning
of a second crime

scheduled to take place

in Superintendent Carter's
county on the 25th,

the day after tomorrow

at Bexhill.

What steps do you think
the Sussex police can take,

Superintendent Carter?

- Well, it's difficult.

There's not the least clue
who the victim may be.

- It is possible that the
surname of the intended victim

will begin with
the letter B.

- That would be something.

- I suggest it as a possibility,
no more.

It came to my mind when
I read the signature "A.B.C."

on the first letter and again
when I heard the name

of the unfortunate woman
in Andover.

- You mean, first a Mrs. Ascher
in Andover,

then someone beginning
with B in Bexhill?

- Oui.

- Well, that's possible,
I suppose.

I mean, we are dealing
with a madman.

- But so far he hasn't given us
any clue as to his motive.

- Does a madman have any motive?

- Perhaps he's gonna murder
someone in every town

of the alphabet all the way
from Andover to, uh...

- Zennor.

I've thought a lot about it,
you see.

- Well, at least
we can take some precautions.

Superintendent Carter,

perhaps it would be possible
for your men

to make a special note
of all the Bs in your area,

especially small shopkeepers,

and, naturally, keep tabs on all
strangers as far as possible.

- Bexhill's a seaside resort,
man.

It's the middle
of the holiday season.

People are flooding in.

- So tomorrow's the big day.

Is it old women in tobacconist's
shops, do you think?

- It does not seem likely,
Hastings.

Shops, though, perhaps.

Which of us at some time or
another has not felt aggrieved

by a shopkeeper?

- Good Lord, yes.

Well, at least we know
it can't be Ascher now.

I mean, he's still in custody.

- But what about the girl,
Hastings?

- Mary...whatsit,
the maid?

No.

- Seats at all prices, ma'am.

Seats at all prices.

- I wouldn't give much
for a murderer's chances

with all these men
of yours around, Japp.

- He's as good as nabbed.

- The sanity of a town
full of men

against the insanity
of one man?

Remember the long-continued
successes of Jack the Ripper.

- Hmm.

We don't need
another one of those,

thank you very much.

- I am afraid, my friends.

I am very much afraid.

- Come on.
Come on, boy.

- Hastings!

It has happened.

- But today is the 25th.

- The murder took place last
night between 12:00 and 1:00.

Our homicidal joker's
a man of his word.

If he says the 25th,
then the 25th it is,

even if it's only by
a few minutes.

- But we're quite sure
this is the crime?

- An A.B.C. open
at the trains to Bexhill

was found actually
under the body.

- Do we know who is
the dead girl, Chief Inspector?

- She's been identified
as a Miss Elizabeth Barnard:

23 years of age,

worked as a waitress
at the De La Warr Pavilion.

- Was she pretty?

There he goes again.

- That does not seem to you
to be important, eh?

Mais pour une femme,
it is of the first importance.

It often decides her destiny.

With what was the girl
strangled, Chief Inspector?

- Her own belt.

- Ah, at last, we have
a piece of evidence

that is very definite,

and it tells one something,
does it not?

- I don't see what.

- I have broken the news
to her parents,

but I thought
I'd let them recover a bit

before questioning them.

- Right.

- There are other members
of the family, yes?

- There's a sister.
Typist in London.

She's been communicated with.

And there's a young man.

Girl was supposed to be
out with him last night,

I gather.

- Any luck from
the A.B.C. guide?

- No.
No fingerprints.

Open at the page of Bexhill.

- Yes, that's our man,
all right.

- Well, it must mean something.

Something to do with the trains

from Andover and Bexhill,
perhaps.

- Yes, that is a point.

- This is most distressing,
Chief Inspector,

most distressing.

How will it will
affect our business,

I shudder to think.

- You'll have a boom, madam.

You won't be able to dish out
the dainty teas quick enough.

- Really?

Oh.

How awful.

People are so awful.

- Mademoiselle Merrion,

how long
had Mademoiselle Barnard

been working here?

- This was the second summer.

- She was pretty, yes?

- She was a nice,
clean-looking girl.

- What time did she go off-duty
last night?

- 8:00.
We close at 8:00.

- Did she say what
she was going to do after work?

- We were hardly on
those sort of terms.

- Nobody came
and called for her?

Nothing like that?

- Oh, no.

She had a young man, I believe,

Donald Fraser.

- Weren't you alarmed

when your daughter
didn't come home last night?

- We didn't know she hadn't.

Mrs. Barnard and I
go to bed early.

We never knew Betty
hadn't come home

till the police officer
came this morning.

- Was she in the habit
of coming home late?

- You know what goes on
nowadays, Inspector.

All the same, though,
she was usually in by 11:00.

And she had
this steady young fellow

she was sort of engaged to.

Donald Fraser, his name is.

It doesn't make
any bloody sense.

- No, it doesn't.

- Excuse me, Monsieur Barnard.

Did Betty ever mention
any connection with Andover?

Did she have there, perhaps,
any friends?

- Andover?

No.

- I'd like to look over
Miss Barnard's room, if I may.

There might be something, sir.

Letters, diary...

- All right.
It's in here.

- Who are you?

- You're Miss Barnard.

- Yes, I'm Megan Barnard.

I suppose you belong
to the police.

- Well, not exactly.

- Well, what are you?

- Well--
- Where's Mum and Dad?

- Your father's in there

showing the police
your sister's bedroom,

and your mother's in there.

I wonder if--

- Are you following me?

What do you want?

- This is
Monsieur Hercule Poirot.

- Mademoiselle Barnard.

- I don't see what
Monsieur Hercule Poirot's doing

in our humble little crime.

- What you do not see,
mademoiselle,

and what I do not see,

it would fill a volume,

but what is important

is something that
will not be easy to find.

- What's that?

- The truth.

- I don't know about the truth.

I only know what I feel.

- But that is the most important
thing we have, mademoiselle,

in the hunt for the murderer
of your sister.

- All right.

It wasn't in Betty's nature
to be fond of one person

and not be interested
in anyone else.

And working
in the De La Warr Pavilion,

she was always running up
against nice-looking men.

- I understand, mademoiselle.

- Do you?
Her boyfriend didn't.

She was really keen on him.

He couldn't see why she wanted
to go out with other people.

Once or twice, they had flaming
big rows about it.

Don was so violent.
Betty was frightened.

- When was this?

- Last time
was about a month ago.

They had an awful scene.

Don was all white and shaking.

Oh, there he is.

- Quick, mademoiselle,
run and intercept him.

I wish to speak with him

before the estimable
Chief Inspector Japp.

- Don?

- Did Mademoiselle Barnard
tell you

where she was going
last night?

- She told me she was going to
St. Leonard's with a girlfriend.

- And did you believe her?

- Who are you anyway?

You don't belong
to the police.

- No, monsieur.

I am better than the police.

- Tell him.

- I believed her
when she said it.

But afterwards...

- What did you do?

- I don't know.

I lost my head.

I was convinced
she was with some man.

I thought he might have taken
her to Eastbourne in a car.

I went on there,

looked in the hotels
and restaurants.

They must have thought
I was mad.

I hung around cinemas,
went on the pier.

In the end,
I gave up and came back.

Not much of an alibi, is it?

- No, my friend.

Not much.

- Well, Donald Fraser
certainly seemed to have

a perfectly good motive
for the murder,

and opportunity.

- For killing Mademoiselle
Betty Barnard, yes.

But what was the motive
for killing Madame Ascher?

- Well, that we'll have to
find out.

They're both women, of course.

- And what was the motive

for writing those letters to me,
Hastings?

There's something
about those letters,

something that bothers me.

- You've been very careful.

But you made one mistake.

It'll be the first time

that anyone has suggested you
as the murderer.

You'll be watched.

You'll be questioned.

You'll be followed.

You'll give yourself away.

And they'll get you.

- I killed her, did I?

Accusing me, are you?

Why don't you run away, Mary?

You would if you can,

but you don't move, Mary.

Why?

- Because...

- Because you know
I'm not the killer.

- Yes!

- That's where you're wrong.

I am the Dorset murderer.

I killed Lily James

and all the others,

and now I am going to kill you!

- We've kept the general public
in the dark so far

about the A.B.C. link
between these murders.

If we continue to keep them
in the dark,

then we don't get any
cooperation.

- But if you make it public,
Chief Inspector,

you're playing the game
of the murderer,

which is perhaps why
he writes those letters:

for notoriety, publicity.

- Well, I think
we should chance it.

Splash it about
in the headlines.

- I did not say this before,
Hastings,

because, well, perhaps
it would have been mistaken

for self-importance,

a characteristic that I dislike
more than any other.

- Oh, right.

Delicious soup, this.

- But it is possible

that our murderer
is committing his crimes

because of a direct personal
hatred against me,

Hercule Poirot.

- Because he writes
the letters to you, you mean.

- Exactemente, Hastings.

Or perhaps the animosity
of our murderer,

it is impersonal

and merely because
I'm a foreigner.

- Yes.

Well, there are people
like that.

- It is only the late post,
Hastings.

- Yes, I know.

I was expecting
Lillywhite's catalog.

I've been thinking of buying
some new golf clubs.

I've still only got those old
ones that belonged to my father.

Lord.

- What is it, Hastings?

- It's another one.
Another A.B.C. letter.

Postmarked London WC1 again.

That's significant, you know,
I'm sure it is.

- You open it, Hastings.

Quickly.

- "Dear Mr. Poirot,

"Not too good
at these little criminal matters

"as you thought yourself,
are you?

"Rather past your prime,
perhaps.

"Let us see
if you can do better this time.

"This time it's an easy one.

"Churston on the 29th.

"Do try and do something
about it.

"It's a bit dull having
it all my own way, you know.

"Good hunting.

Yours ever,
A.B.C."

I wonder where Churston is.

- Hastings,

you do not realize?

Today is the 29th.

- What?

- When was that letter written?

- 26th.

- Mon Dieu.

Look, Hastings.

You did not notice
the wrong address.

- "Monsieur Hercule Poirot,

"White Horse Mansions.

"Not known
at White Horse Mansions.

"Not known
at White Horse Court.

Try Whitehaven Mansions."

- Does even chance
aid this madman?

C'est trop tard.

- You can't be sure of that.

- It's 10:20, Hastings.

- Churston, Devon.

Get in at 7:15,
leaves Paddington at midnight.

- Any word from Churston yet?

- Not yet.

We've got men moving in
from all over the area.

It's only a village.

Have you got the letter
with you?

- Yes.

- White Horse Mansions.

Of all the blessed luck.

- With two letters,
he gets the address right.

Why now does he get it wrong?

- Perhaps he did it on purpose.

- No, this fellow's
got these barmy rules,

and I think he sticks to them.

- I know.

He drinks White Horse whiskey.

- C'est ingenieux ca!

He types the address,

and the bottle,
it is in front of him.

- We've heard of psychology
at Scotland Yard too, you know?

- Sir Carmichael always
takes his after-dinner walk

along the cliff top,
Miss Grey.

When he gets to the headland,

he turns right
and comes up past the farm.

But he's always back by 10:00.

Always.

- It's after midnight now.

Suppose he's had an accident
or something.

I'm going down to the cliff.

- I'll go to the other side
of the field.

Perhaps he's started back.

Miss Grey!
Over here!

- They've taken the body
up to the house.

Blow to the back of the head,
apparently.

Blunt instrument.

This should make people sit up

now that the newspapers
are in the know.

Three murders within ten days.

The whole country will
be looking for A.B.C. now.

- But what will they be
looking for, Hastings?

- Well, a madman.

- And what does
a madman look like?

- Well...

- Madame Ascher had no
connection with Bexhill-on-Sea,

and Mademoiselle Betty Barnard

had no link with Andover
that we can discover.

And we will find that neither
apparently had anything to do

with Churston and
Sir Carmichael Clarke.

On that, I would place a wager.

Hundreds of miles

and everything about their lives
seems to separate them.

What is it that binds
them together?

- But why?

I mean, what earthly benefit
can accrue from such a crime,

even in the most diseased
imagination?

- You go straight
to the point, monsieur.

- Ah, Poirot,
this is Mr. Franklin Clarke,

Sir Carmichael's brother.

- You have my condolences,
Monsieur Clarke.

- Mr. Poirot, Captain Hastings.

- How do you do?

- Now let me have a few facts,
would you, Mr. Clarke?

- Certainly.

- Your brother, I take it,

was in his usual health
and spirit yesterday?

- Oh, yes,
I should say.

He was quite his usual self.

- Not upset or worried at all?

- Excuse me, Chief Inspector.

I didn't say that.

To be upset and worried was my
poor brother's normal condition.

- Oh?

- Well, I was shocked
at the change in him

when I returned
from the east recently.

His wife's illness preyed
on his mind terribly.

- Illness?

- Oh, my sister-in-law,
Lady Clarke,

is in very bad health.

Between ourselves,

she's suffering from
an incurable cancer.

She can't live much longer.

- Sir Carmichael
hadn't received

any unexpected
or unpleasant letters?

- Not that I was aware of.

- He wasn't short
of a bauble or two, was he?

- My brother was
a very wealthy man.

- And in possession
of a collection

that is extremely beautiful.

- Yes.

It's what he lived for,
really.

- Have any strangers come
to the house

asking for Sir Carmichael
recently?

- The doctor says
he's finished, sir.

- Thank you, Deveril.

Uh, Deveril,
have any strangers

been inquiring for
Sir Carmichael recently?

- No, sir.

- Ah, doctor,
anything to tell us?

- Well, nothing
we didn't know already.

Death instantaneous.

We've put him
in the billiard room.

- I'll just go and have a word
with Lady Clarke.

- Ah, this is Miss Thora Grey,
gentlemen,

my brother's secretary.

- How do you do?

- I'll talk to you later,
Miss Grey, if I may.

- Yes.

- Mademoiselle.

- I'll be in the library,
if you want me.

- Hastings.

- It just doesn't stand
to reason.

There must be a connection
between these victims.

We just haven't found it yet.

- No.

We hit our heads against
a stone brick.

There is no connection.

- There must be.

- I say no, Hastings.

There is no connection whatever
between these people

except that their names begin

with certain letters
of the alphabet.

We have searched
the background

of the victims
and of the suspects

for any other connection.

Hastings can find nothing.

Scotland Yard can find nothing.

Even I can find nothing.

No, we are wasting our time

because there is nothing
to find.

- You mean those people

were complete strangers
to the murderer?

- Prcisement, Hastings.

Chosen only because of his mania
for the alphabet.

- Finished with that?

- Yes.

- Nasty business, eh?

- Yes, very.

- You never know with lunatics,
do you?

They don't always look barmy.

Sometimes they can look
just like you and me.

- Yes, I suppose they can.

- Now, sometimes it's the war
or something,

and they've never been right
since.

I don't hold with wars.

- I don't hold with plague
and sleeping sickness

and famine and cancer,
but they happen all the same.

- Ah, but war's preventable.

- Shh!

- Oh, I'm sorry, sir.

I expect you was in the war.

- Yes, yes.
Yes, I was.

And it did...

unsettle me.

- They're all here.
- Ah.

- What did you get?
- Biscuits.

- Ah.

- And so we all are assembled,
eh?

Let us begin with you,
Mademoiselle Drower.

When were you last in contact
with your aunt?

- I hadn't seen Auntie
for a fortnight, sir.

I'd had a letter from her,
though, two days previous.

- Ah, now these are
just the sort of facts

which could provide a clue
that is vital, eh?

Now, I believe that you all
may have some information

that you are not aware
that you have.

Did you keep that letter?

- No, sir, but I remember
what it said.

She said the old devil
had been 'round,

and she'd sent him off
with a flea in his ear.

And she said she expected me
over on the Wednesday--

that's my day out, sir--

and said we'd go
to the pictures.

It was going to be
my birthday, sir.

I'm sorry, sir.

I don't mean to be silly.

It's just the thought of her
looking forward to our treat.

- It's always the little things
that get one.

Especially anything
like a treat or a present.

- Same thing happened
when Betty died.

Mum had bought her some
stockings as a present.

That very morning, in fact.

Poor mum.

Found her crying over them.

She kept saying,
"I bought them for Betty,

and she never even saw them."

- Look, uh...

All of us here
have an interest

in bringing the murderer
to book.

Suppose we join forces to try
and track the fellow down?

- I'm sure Mr. Poirot and
the police are quite capable.

- Well, speaking for myself,

I am never too proud
to accept a little help.

Mademoiselle Grey,
when you return to Devon,

and you think back to the day

that Sir Carmichael Clarke
was killed,

you may perhaps remember seeing
around the village a stranger.

- No.

I know I didn't.

Anyway, I've left Churston
for good.

- Now, Miss Grey kindly stayed
on to help me clear things up,

but, naturally,
she prefers a post in London.

- I see.

How is Lady Clarke?

- Oh, pretty bad.

By the way, Mr. Poirot,

I wonder if you could see
a way to running down

and paying her a visit?

Before I left, she expressed
a desire to see you.

- Mais certainement,
Monsieur Clarke.

- Do you think their cooperation
will lead to anything?

- It is possible.

You know, Hastings,

I cannot rid my mind

of the impression
that something was said

this afternoon
that was significant.

Ah, it is odd.

I cannot pin it down exactly.

But something passed
through my mind

that reminded me of that which
I had already seen

or heard or noted.

It will come to me.

Something is the matter,
Hastings?

- Eh?
No, no, no, no.

I was just thinking about D,
as a matter of fact.

- For the next murder?

- Yes.

I mean,
is he out there somewhere,

planning it?

Gives you the shivers
just to think about it.

- "A.B.C. murders.

Captain Hastings speaks."

- Poirot, I--

- '"After third murder,

'"the brutal slaying
of millionaire

'"Sir Carmichael Clarke,

"Monsieur Poirot takes
grave view of situation,'

says Captain Hastings."

- Well--

- "Andover, Bexhill,
Churston...

"Where will A.B.C. strike next?

'"Monsieur Poirot
on eve of success,'

says Captain Hastings."

- Okay, Poirot,
I didn't say all those things.

- I know, Hastings.

Often, between the spoken word
and the written,

there is an astonishing gulf,
n'est pas?

- I wouldn't like you
to think that I--

- Do not worry yourself,
mon ami.

In fact, these imbecilities,
they might even help.

- How?

- Because if our murderer reads

what I am supposed to have said
in the daily blood today,

he will lose all respect for me
as an opponent.

But after another crime,
we will know infinitely more.

Crime is revealing.

- Just a minute.

Lady Clarke.

Monsieur Poirot is here.

- Oh, yes.

Monsieur Poirot.

- Lady Clarke.

May I introduce my friend
and associate Captain Hastings?

- How do you do?

So good of you both to come.

- Merci.

- It was about Car,
wasn't it?

About Car's death?

You haven't caught him yet?

- Not yet.

- He must have been loitering
'round here that day.

- But no stranger came
to the house that day.

- Who says so?

- Well, the servants say so,
and Miss Grey said so.

- That girl is a liar.

- Oh, but--

- And, of course,
Car thought the world of her.

He couldn't see it was only
his money she was interested in.

Once I was out of the way...

- Lady Clarke,

why do you say that
Mademoiselle Grey is a liar?

- Because she is.

She told you no strangers
came to the house, didn't she?

- Yes.

- Very well then.

I saw her with my own eyes,

talking to
a perfectly strange man,

out of this window.

- May I?
- Please.

- Merci.

- At the garden gate.

- When was this,
Lady Clarke?

- In the morning
of the day Car died,

at about 11:00.

- What was he like, this man?

- Oh, an ordinary sort of man.

- No.
Pardon.

A gentleman, a tradesman,
perhaps?

- A shabby sort of person.

I...

I can't remember.

- That was an extraordinary
story about Miss Grey

and the strange man.

- It is as I tell you,
Hastings.

Always there is something
to be discovered.

- But why did she lie
and say she'd seen no one?

It's monstrous to suppose
that a girl like that

should be in league
with a madman.

- Which is why
I do not suppose it.

- A good-looking girl
has a hard time of it.

- Ah, Hastings.

Always you are full
of the charitable feelings

to the young ladies
who are beautiful, huh?

As for me, I am always
full of the charitable feelings

to the old ladies
that have the maladies.

- Mr. Poirot.

- Monsieur Fraser.

- I'm sorry.
I've got to talk to you.

- Come up to the apartment,
Monsieur Fraser.

- Mr. Poirot,

do you know anything
about dreams?

- I do.

You have been dreaming?

- I keep dreaming
the same dream.

I'm on the beach,
looking for Betty,

and she's lost,
and I've got to find her.

You see, I'm carrying
her belt in my hand,

and then...

- Yes?

- She's there,

sitting on the sand.

I come up behind her.

I slip the belt
'round her neck,

and I pull

and pull.

- Go on.

- She's dead.

I've strangled her.

And then her head falls back,

and I see her face,

and it's Megan.

It's not Betty.

It's awful.

- Have your drink.

- I mean, I could have had
a blackout.

- Poirot...

It's come,

the fourth letter.

- Read it, Hastings.

Quickly.

- "Mr. Hercule Poirot,

"Still no success.

"Fie!
Fie!

"What are you
and the police doing?

"Isn't this fun?

"And where shall we go next
for honey?

"Poor Mr. Poirot.

"I'm quite sorry for you.

"We have a long way to go still.

"The next little incident
will take place at Doncaster

"on the 9th of September.

So long,
A.B.C."

- Perhaps our little band
of helpers

will have something
to do after all.

- Where does Mr. Poirot
keep his cups?

- Uh, top cupboard, over there.

- Saucers?

- Uh, bottom cupboard,
over there.

Everything's arranged
in order of height.

- By George, Poirot.

This is a bit of a stewer.

Doncaster on the 9th?

- Oh.
- I can get it.

- Thanks.

- What are you doing here?

- Ah.

- What is this, a convention?

- Good day, Chief Inspector.

- Maybe.

- We've formed an association
of our own to deal with this,

a legion
of interested parties.

- Oh, yes?

- But I rather fancy old A.B.C.
has done for you again.

- Well, as a matter fact,
Mr. Clarke,

I must beg to differ.

I mean, correct me
if I'm wrong,

but the 9th isn't until
Wednesday of next week, is it?

And that seems to give us
plenty of time

to mount a publicity campaign
in the press

and plenty of time

to warn the inhabitants
of Doncaster,

particularly those whose names
begin with the letter D.

- Well, it's easy to see
you are not a sporting man,

Chief Inspector.

- If, however you--

What do you mean?

- Next Wednesday is the day

the St. Leger
is being run at Doncaster.

- Oh.

- Yes, I was wondering
about that.

- Tea, Chief Inspector?

- Merci.

- I mean, the whole of Doncaster
is like a fairground.

- C'est ingenieux.

He has planned
this most cleverly.

- It's my belief the murder will
take place at the racecourse,

perhaps actually while
the Leger is being run.

Thank you.

- Yes, well, of course,
the St. Leger is a complication.

However...

I better get back to the Yard.

Thank you very much.

Everything's under control.

- We don't know
anything about the murderer,

and that's the problem.

We've gone over everything
we do know again and again.

We've talked--

- Not everything, monsieur.

For instance,
Mademoiselle Grey here

has told us that she did not see
or speak to any stranger

on the day that Sir Carmichael
Clarke was killed.

- That's right;
I didn't.

- But Lady Clarke tells us,
mademoiselle,

that on that day,
from her window,

she saw you standing
at the garden gates

speaking to a strange man.

- Lady Clarke made a mistake.

I never spoke--

Oh.

Oh, I remember now.
How stupid...

Oh, but it wasn't important.

Just one of those men who come
around selling stockings.

You know, ex-army people.

They're very persistent,

but he was quite
a harmless sort of person.

I suppose that's why
I forgot about him.

Stockings.

Stockings.

Stockings.
Stockings!

Ca vient!
Stockings!

Stockings!
That is the link.

Do you not remember,
Hastings, Andover?

The room behind the little shop?

Over the back of the chair,
a pair of new silk stockings?

- Well, yes, but--

- Now I remember
what it was

that aroused my attention
two days ago.

It was you, mademoiselle.

You spoke of your mother
who wept

because, on the very day
of the murder,

she had just bought
for your sister

a pair of new silk stockings.

- Yes.
Yes, she did.

She said something
about feeling sorry

for those wretched men who go
around selling door-to-door.

- Describe this man.

- I can't.
I don't...

He had glasses, I think,
and a shabby overcoat.

- Mieux que ca, mademoiselle.

- He stooped.

I don't know.

I hardly looked at him.

He wasn't the sort of man
you'd notice.

- Ah!

In those few words,
mademoiselle,

lies the whole secret
of these murders.

He wasn't the sort of man
you'd notice.

Oh, yes,
there is no doubt about it.

You have just described
the murderer.

- I was wondering, Mr. Cust,
if you'd finished your...

You all right, Mr. Cust?

- I just feel
a bit out of sorts.

- Oh, I'm sorry.

You won't be going away
today then?

- Oh, yes.

I have to go.

I'm going to Cheltenham.

- Oh, that's nice.

Cheltenham's nice.

Got some nice shops.

Terrible, the news nowadays,
isn't it?

Nothing but this murder
business.

Gives me the creeps.

I don't read it.
- No.

- Doncaster, he says his next
murder's gonna be,

if you please,
and tomorrow.

If I lived in Doncaster
and my name began with a D,

I'd take the first train out,
I would.

For all the hundreds of police
they say they're drafting in...

Mr. Cust, you do look bad.

Really, now, you oughtn't
to go traveling today.

- It is necessary,
Mrs. Marbury.

When I undertake
to do a thing,

I follow it through.

- Oh, well.

If you say so, Mr. Cust.

- What a fool I was!

I've let you all down.

I never really looked at him.

Even if I saw him again,

I probably wouldn't
recognize him.

- Now, now, petite

Do not upset yourself.

So far, the luck, it has been on
the side of the murderer, yes,

but sooner or later,
I believe it must turn

and be on our side.

In fact, I believe
that it has turned.

The clue of the stockings
is the beginning.

- Doncaster.
Doncaster.

This is Doncaster.

- Brought your private army
along, I see, Poirot.

- Chief Inspector Japp,
my dear friend,

we did not know
that you were on this train.

- Why, you tossed down
that as much,

what's going on down among
the workers, I suppose.

- Meanwhile,
Mademoiselle Barnard

will be patrolling the area
around the grandstand,

and Monsieur Fraser will be
by the parade ring.

- It seems to me
highly problematical

that we can do anything
of practical value.

- Don't be defeatist, Donald.

- Our weapon is our knowledge,
Monsieur Fraser.

But, remember,
it may be a knowledge

we do not know
that we possess.

Eh, bien.

That is all we can do
for this evening.

I bid you all good night.

- Good night, Poirot.

- Good night, Hastings.

- Good night.
- Good night.

- Look here, Mr. Poirot.

When you went down
to Churston last week,

did my sister-in-law
sort of, well--

I mean, did she hint at all?

- Comment?

Did Lady Clarke hint at what?

- Well, you see, Thora...

Miss Grey is a rather
good-looking girl.

- Perhaps, yes.

Please, seat yourself.

- As my brother always said,

she was the best secretary
he ever had,

but it was all perfectly
straight and above-board.

- But of course.

- But my sister-in-law
got it into her head

to be, well, jealous,
I suppose.

Anyway, after Car's death,

when there was a question
of Miss Grey staying on,

Charlotte cut up rough.

- Cut up?

- Rough.

- Oh.

- Well, women really are devils,
Mr. Poirot.

- Please, Monsieur Clarke,

remember that Lady Clarke
is ill and in great pain.

- I know.

I keep telling myself that.

Still I didn't want you to get
a false impression of Thora

from anything
my sister-in-law may have said.

- Oh.

I can assure you,
Monsieur Clarke,

that Poirot never permits
himself to get false impressions

from anything anyone says.

- Good man.

Good man.

Good night, Mr. Poirot.

- Good night, Monsieur Clarke.

I cannot impress upon you enough
to let your instincts rule.

If you should see anyone

who fits the description
of the stocking salesman,

you must report to the police
but immediately.

Even if you see someone
who looks familiar

but you cannot quite place,

even that is of significance.

- He'll never attempt it now

with a racecourse
full of police.

The man would have to be mad.

- Unfortunately, he is mad.

- In my opinion,

the obsession of the murderer
is so strong

that he must attempt
to carry out what he promises.

Failure to do so would be
to admit defeat,

and that, his insane
egoism would never permit.

Ah, Mademoiselle Grey.

- I'm sorry.
- No matter.

You are only 4 1/2 minutes late.

Eh, bien.

It is time for you
to take your places.

I wish you good luck.

- What about you, Poirot?

- No, Hastings.

My force, it is in my brains,
not in my feet.

We will meet at 3:00
as arranged.

- Very well.

- 32 yards,

with winning prize money
this year of 10,000 pounds...

The strongly fancied
Rogue Scotland,

owned by Lord Astor,

in company with Fearless Fox
ridden by F. Smith,

and Back on the Rails
ridden by Gordon Richards.

And here comes the winner
of this year's derby,

the great half--in the colors
of his Royal Highness...

And they're off!

His Grace leads very smartly
on the inside.

His Grace settled now
in midfield.

Flying Fox tucked away
on the inside...

He's making it
by two legs to one...

- Hastings!
Hastings!

Excuse me.
Hastings!

- It's all right.
Everyone's in position.

- No, no, no, Hastings,
you do not understand.

Look at the crowds.

- Well, yes, I know.
It's jammed everywhere.

It's like looking
for a needle in a haystack.

- Yes, Hastings, yes!

Where is the best place
for a man to hide himself?

- In a crowd of other men?

- Yes, Hastings, and where's the
best place to conceal a murder?

- A murder?
I don't know.

Among a lot of other murders,
I suppose.

- Prcisement, Hastings.

At Churston, I said
that the victims were chosen

in a manner
that was haphazard,

selected only because
of their initials, yes?

I was wrong, Hastings.

All of the victims are
haphazard, yes, except for one.

This monster is committing
a series of murders

in order to draw away
our attention

from one murder in particular.

- Excuse me.

Excuse me.

- Now then, sir.

Show's over.

I think he's ill.

Hey, we better, erm...

By Hank,
that looks like blood!

- Look what's under his seat.

- It's an A.B.C.

- What time?

Right, I'll be right over.

- Eh, I've washed already
in cold.

Eh, I cut my hand.

- You all right, sir?

- Just tell us what happened,
please, Mr. Downes.

- There's a woman
to see you, sir.

Says it's urgent.

- When was this?

- Oh, about 4:15.

- Well, that's three hours ago.

- Well, I didn't think of it
at the time.

Not until I'd heard
there'd been another murder.

But he said he'd cut his hand.

- If you please, madam,
can you describe this man?

- Well, he's tall,
and he stoops,

and he wears glasses.

- And his clothes?

- A dark suit and overcoat
and an homburg hat.

A bit shabby-looking.

- Looks like blood, sir.

- Get it analyzed.

- Poirot, we found it.

We found the name
in the register.

- What is it?
- Look.

- A.B. Case.

- Or is it Cash?

- Well, It's A.B.C. anyway.

- Case, Cast...

- And a London address:
17 Market Street, Southwark.

- There's a suitcase
under the bed, sir.

- Get it out,
and let's have a look.

Stockings.
Silk stockings.

You were right, Poirot.

- Something else here, sir,
right at the back.

It's a knife.

- Don't touch it.

Get the bed out.

- It was funny, though.

The way he said good-bye,

as if he'd never see us again.

Told me he was going
to Cheltenham.

Poor Mr. Cust.

I can't believe it.

Terrible,
the news nowadays, isn't it?

Nothing but this murder
business.

Gives me the creeps, it does.

- You'll be watched.

You'll be questioned.

You'll be followed.

You've been very careful.

- But you never know
with lunatics.

Nasty business, eh?

- Your fate,
it's written.

It's written in your hand.

You've got to admit,

most celebrated man in England.

I die on the gallows.

- I killed Lily James,

and now I am going to kill--
Kill!

Kill!

- So that's that.
Committed for trial.

- Chief Inspector, what is
your opinion of Monsieur Cust?

- That he's playing
a very crafty game.

He's an epileptic,
the doctors tell me.

- But is it possible
for a man to commit a crime

without being aware of it?

- Well, he might try
that line of defense

if it wasn't for the letters.

They show premeditation.

- And of those letters, we still
have no explanation whatsoever.

Until I have a reason for those
letters being written to me,

I will not feel
that this case is solved.

There's a Mr. Strange waiting
in your office, sir.

He says it's urgent.

- Chief Inspector Japp.

- That's me.

- It's about
that Bexhill murder.

- He swears
by all that's blue

that he met Cust
in the Royal George Hotel

in Eastbourne on the evening
of August the 24th,

that they had dinner together,

and then played dominoes
until well after midnight.

- And if he is telling
the truth,

Monsieur Cust could not have
been on the beach at Bexhill

between 12:00 and 1:00,

strangling
Mademoiselle Betty Barnard.

- Listen,
he did the Andover murder.

He did the Churston murder.

He did the Doncaster murder.

He must have done
the Bexhill murder.

- Why?

I don't know why.

Because he's barmy, that's why.

- Excuse me, Monsieur Cust.

For they shall be comforted.

- I am Hercule Poirot.

- Oh, yes.

- I am the man
to whom you wrote those letters.

- I never wrote to you.

I told them
over and over again.

- If you did not write those
letters, Monsieur Cust,

who did?

- I don't know.

They're all against me.

They always have been.

- Even when you were a child?

- No.

But my mother was ambitious.

She gave me
these ridiculous names.

Alexander Bonaparte...

Cust.

She had some absurd notion

that I would cut a figure
in the world.

And what do I end up as?

A door-to-door
stocking salesman.

- You are aware,
are you not...

that the firm who you say
employed you denied the fact?

- Yes.

But I've got their letters
to me,

giving the instructions
as to what places to go

and a list of people
upon whom to call.

- But all of the letters,

they were typed on the machine
found in your room.

- The typewriter was sent to me
by the firm

at the beginning of my job.

- But the letters were sent
after you received the machine.

So it looks, does it not,

as though you typed them

and then posted them
to yourself?

- Yes, I know.
I know.

But I couldn't have done the
second murder, though, could I?

The Bexhill one.

I was playing dominoes
in Eastbourne, wasn't I?

- It is a game
that is very absorbing,

is it not, Monsieur Cust?

- Oh, there's a lot of play
in it, a lot of play.

When I was a clerk
in the city,

we used to play
every lunch hour.

You'd be surprised the way

total strangers
can come together

over a game of dominoes.

- Oh?

- Yes.

I remember one person
in particular.

We just got talking
over a cup of coffee

and started dominoes.

I've not been able to forget
something that he told me.

- What did he say?

- Talking about your fate
being written in your hand.

Told me some amazing things.

Said I was going to be

the most celebrated man
in England before I died.

But that...

- Yes?

- "It almost looks as though

you're going to die
on the gallows."

That's it.

Laughed afterwards.

Said it was only a joke.

But I suffer quite badly
from my head, do you know?

I mean, there are times
when I don't...

I don't seem to remember
what I've done.

- But you do know
that you committed the murders.

- Yes.

Yes, I do know that.

- And I am right,
am I not,

that you do not know
why you committed them?

- No.

No, I don't.

- I'm not having
that dream anymore.

- No.

All that will disappear
with time.

- I don't want
to forget Betty, though.

- No.

We won't forget her.

- Here he is.

- About ruddy time too.

I don't know what
this is in aid of, Poirot.

The case is over,
done with, finished.

- That is true, Chief Inspector.

The man, Cust,
he is in prison.

There will be no more killings.
Finished.

But, you see, I know nothing.

And there is also one small fact
that is vexing.

Monsieur Cust has an alibi
for the night of the crime

that he is alleged
to have committed on this beach.

From the beginning,

I have felt
that there was something wrong

with those letters
that I received.

And there was.

I had assumed that they were
written by a madman.

Mais non.

They were written by a sane man
pretending to be mad.

When do you notice least
a pin?

- Shh!

Don't clatter so, Millie.

- When it is in a pincushion.

When do you notice least
an individual murder?

When it is one of a series
of related murders.

- Hold on a minute.
Hold on.

Cust did the murders.

He was caught red-handed,
more or less.

Blood on his coat,
knife under his bed.

He even admits
to the murders.

What more do you want?

- When I first saw
Monsieur Cust, Chief Inspector,

I knew he was not guilty.

For such a plan, Monsieur Cust
had neither the cunning,

the daring,
nor, may I add, the brains.

The murderer must have flirted
with Mademoiselle Betty Barnard.

Somehow he got her
to remove her belt

with which she was strangled.

You have seen Monsieur Cust.

Can you imagine Monsieur Cust,
as you English say,

getting off
with a pretty young girl?

Monsieur Cust making the click?

- Mr. Poirot, please.

- All along,

I was aware of a dual
personality of the murderer.

Now I see wherein
it consisted.

Two people were involved.

The real murderer: cunning,
resourceful, and daring.

And the pseudo murderer:

stupid, vacillating,
and above all,

suggestible.

The murderer
had been considering

already several schemes

when a chance meeting with
Monsieur Cust produced an idea.

His epileptic seizures,
his headaches,

indeed the whole shrinking
personality of Monsieur Cust

made him, for the murderer,
an ideal tool.

Perhaps his very name
of Alexander Bonaparte Cust

gave to the murderer the idea
of the murders alphabetical.

The arrangements
were excellent.

Some letters were sent
to Monsieur Cust,

as if from a well-known
wholesaler,

offering him employment
on salary and commission.

In fact, the plans were so well
laid down beforehand

by the murderer

that the letters that were
subsequently sent to me

had already been typed.

And afterwards, the typewriter
that was used for the purpose

was sent to Monsieur Cust,
allegedly to use for business.

The preliminary plans
completed,

the murder then set to work.

A list of potential clients
in Andover

is sent to Monsieur Cust,

and he is instructed to go there
on August the 21st.

Monsieur Cust does
as he is directed.

And later that day,
Madam Ascher,

she is murdered most brutally.

- A few days later,

he is instructed to go
to Bexhill-on-Sea,

and on that particular list
of clients is Madam Barnard.

That night,

Mademoiselle Betty Barnard
is strangled with her own belt

on the beach.

- At Churston,
Lady Clarke observes

Mademoiselle Grey
talking with Monsieur Cust,

and Sir Carmichael Clarke,
he also dies.

- Three crimes,

and Monsieur Cust is at
the scene of each one of them.

So...

I was then forced back
to the simple question:

Cui bono?

Who stood to gain anything
from even one of the murders?

Madam Ascher had no money,

so therefore, you,
Mademoiselle Drower,

had nothing to gain
from the death of your aunt.

Mademoiselle Betty Barnard?

Eh, bien.

She was not rich

and lived on the no doubt
niggardly salary

paid to her
by the De La Warr Pavilion.

Sir Carmichael Clarke now...

Well, as the newspapers
endlessly informed us,

Sir Carmichael Clarke was
a millionaire many times over.

- What are you suggesting?

- Persons suffering from
epilepsy, Mademoiselle Grey,

often have blanks
when they cannot remember

what they have just done.

Monsieur Cust
suffered from these.

He was also nervous,
highly neurotic,

and extremely suggestible.

The Andover crime
meant to him at first nothing.

The Bexhill crime?

Well, he was there
at about the same time.

And then came Churston.

So when he receives instructions
to go to Doncaster,

knowing as he does

that the next A.B.C. murder
will take place in that city,

he loses his nerve.

He begins to imagine
that his landlady

is looking at him
in a manner most suspicious,

and he tells her that
he is going to Cheltenham.

- Just as you say, Mr. Cust.

- And this is where
the understanding

of the personality
of Monsieur Cust

by the murderer
pays dividends.

In spite of every inner voice

telling Monsieur Cust
not to go to Doncaster,

nevertheless, he goes.

Why does he go?

Because it is his duty.

Monsieur Cust
goes to a cinema.

And when the film comes
to an end,

he starts to leave.

But while his back is turned,

There occurs the stabbing
of the fourth victim.

- Excuse me.

- By killing four people,

our murderer
hoped to disguise

the one murder
with a real motive.

that of your brother,
Sir Carmichael Clarke.

- But who is this murderer
you keep talking about?

You're not implying it's me?

Well, I couldn't have killed
that fellow in the cinema.

I was at the racecourse
with the rest of you.

- Indeed you were,
Monsieur Clarke.

And the murderer stayed in place
at the racecourse

until the crowds
began to gather.

Soon it would be impossible

to check on the movements
of anyone,

and our murderer,
he quietly slips away.

In the letter that Monsieur Cust
received

from his soit disant employer,

he is instructed
at which hotel to stay,

so there is no difficulty
in picking him up.

Our murderer follows
Monsieur Cust to the cinema,

and in the darkness,

he cold-bloodedly
takes his opportunity.

And when the program
comes to an end,

and Monsieur Cust is leaving,

he does not realize that the
person he passes in the aisle

also slips into his pocket
a knife.

- This is rot!

I've never heard
such out-and-out rot!

- No, Monsieur Clarke,

you were safe enough

and almost certain to inherit
the wealth of your brother

as long as
no one suspected you.

But as soon
as you were suspected,

the proofs,
they were easy to find.

- Proofs?

You haven't got any proofs.

What proofs?

- Your fingerprints,
Monsieur Clarke.

They were discovered
on the typewriter

that was sent
to Monsieur Cust.

The typewriter, which,
if you were innocent,

you could never have handled.

- You little...

jackanapes!

- There he is!

Come on.
After him!

Wilkinson!

Get him!

- Well, that's that,
I suppose.

- Can't believe it.

I just can't believe it.

- He was afraid,
Mademoiselle Grey.

He was afraid that while the
cancer took care of Lady Clarke,

his brother, Sir Carmichael,

might have turned
his attentions towards you,

might even perhaps
have married you.

Then his hopes of inheritance,
it would be lost forever.

By killing his brother,

Monsieur Franklin Clarke
ensures

that when the cancer finally
overcomes Lady Clarke,

the family fortune,
it will be his.

- Mr. Poirot...

I understand why he wrote
all those letters,

because without them,

the murders wouldn't have seemed
connected.

What I don't understand
is why he wrote them to you.

Why not to Scotland Yard?

- Because, mon ami,
you could not even arrange

for a letter addressed to
Scotland Yard to go astray.

Even the least-well-oriented
postman would know

where to deliver it.

- It was the very essence
of the plan of Monsieur Clarke

that the third letter,
it should go astray.

The police were not to be told
about the one murder

with the real motive
until it was safely over.

Alas, it had nothing to do
with my undoubted fame.

No.

Merely, he needed
a private address.

- It was the fingerprint
on the typewriter

that really clinched things,
of course.

- Ah, the fingerprints, yes.

They are useful.

I put that in to please you,
Hastings.

- You mean it wasn't true?

- Not in the least, mon ami.

- Good Lord.

Well, if you don't want it
on the sideboard,

where do you want it?

- It's the smell, Hastings.

It does not seem to fade.

- Oh, it's early days yet,
Poirot.

I gave him a bit of a spray
with some cologne yesterday.

- Whose cologne, Hastings?

- Well, it was, um...

I'll just...

Hello, Chief Inspector.

- Captain Hastings.

Morning, Poirot.

I brought someone to see you.

- Monsieur Cust!

- I just had to come and say
thank you, Mr. Poirot.

You are a very great man.

- Oh, he knows that.

- Thank you very much,
Monsieur Cust.

Oh!

Merci!

- If it hadn't been for you...

Thank you.

Do you know a newspaper
has offered me 100 pound--

100 pound--

for a brief account of my life
and experiences.

- Oh.

Do not accept, Monsieur Cust.

You must stand firm.

You must say to them that
your price is now 500 pounds.

- Do you think so?

- Mais certainement!

Do you not realize,
Monsieur Cust,

that today, you are
the most famous man in England?

- You're right.

You're absolutely right.

Famous.

Hmm.

Well, I must say the money
will be most agreeable.

I shall take a short holiday,
and...

I say.

What a creature!

- Do you like it?

- It's magnificent.

- I shot it,
as a matter of fact.

- You shot it?

- Yes, when
I was in South America.

- Oh, I should like
to hear that story.

- Oh?

Right.
Well.

Sit down, Mr. Cust.

It was when I was up
in Venezuela.

We were a few miles upstream
of La Urbana,

which is actually one of the
hottest places in the world.

The humidity was
absolutely unbearable.

We'd been in portage around
white water all day.

I was pretty exhausted,
I can tell you.

And suddenly, we rounded
a bend in the river

and came upon
the most extraordinary sight.

Just down below the rapids
was a native canoe

obviously in some kind
of trouble,

and I suddenly realized
that they were being pursued

by something rather horrid.