Death on the Nile Summary

Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile

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Death on the Nile Summary

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Death on the Nile, a detective novel written by Agatha Christie and published in 1937, features Christie’s famed character, Detective Hercule Poirot. The story takes place in Egypt as a famous heiress is murdered on a luxury ship during a Nile River cruise.

The novel begins in London with Poirot running into a couple engaged to be married, Simon and Jacqueline. Jacqueline brings Simon to the restaurant to meet her best friend, the wealthy heiress Linnet, so that she can get him a job. After they meet and talk, Simon eventually leaves Jacqueline to marry Linnet.

Jacqueline is heartbroken and stalks them as they leave on their honeymoon. The couple asks Poirot about getting rid of her, but he informs them there is nothing the police can do. He tries to talk to Jacqueline in private, but she continues to follow them. They try to trick her into believing that they have extended their stay in Cairo, as secretly they board a cruise ship. They are devastated to find that Jacqueline has managed to board the boat.

One night, Jacqueline gets drunk and shoots Simon in the leg. Poirot does not hear the shot, sleeping deeply through the night’s events. He learns that Linnet was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Her pearl necklace is missing, and there are two bottles of red nail polish though one is labeled as pink.

There is a “J” written on the wall despite the fact that Linnet died instantly. Jacqueline is suspected, but it is confirmed that after she shot Simon, she spent the rest of the night in hysterics in the care of another character, Miss Bowers. Simon was incapacitated by the leg wound and could not have done it either.

They find the missing pistol in the Nile River, and Jacqueline’s maid, Louise, claims that she saw nothing. Jacqueline apologizes to Poirot, claiming she still very much loves Simon. Though he finds the pearls in another person’s cabin, they are revealed to be fake. Louise is found stabbed to death. Mrs. Otterbourne reveals that she knows who killed Linnet, but she is shot by someone from outside the cabin who is not found.

Poirot ties up some loose ends with other characters then reveals that Jacqueline and Simon murdered Linnet in an elaborate plan. Simon faked his bullet wound with the ink in the nail polish bottle. He then shot Linnet in the head and shot himself so that the doctor would find a real bullet wound. He replaced the bullets and tossed the gun into the river.

Jacqueline stabbed Louise when Simon revealed her blackmail, and Jacqueline shot Mrs. Otterbourne to prevent her from revealing that she saw Jacqueline leaving Louise’s room after the murder. They had drugged Poirot the night of the murder to prevent him from waking up. They had planned to steal her money after the marriage and, after a suitable mourning period, get married themselves.

As the ship docks, Jacqueline shoots Simon and then herself to prevent their arrest. Poirot reveals that he knew about the presence of the pistol but wanted to give the lovers time to take a kinder way out than trial and prison.

As with many Christie novels, the conflict between good and evil is an overarching theme of the novel. Poirot is a reasonable man who works to uncover the truth. Each case he has, the characters use a variety of methods to confuse the investigation, but Poirot can see through the lies. At every turn, a red herring temporarily throws off the investigation, befuddling other characters. Poirot uses his sense of logic and his ability to synthesize essential details to triumph. Ultimately, evil cannot be successful in the face of such calm logic.

In this case, nothing is what it seems. There are clues, such as the missing pearls, that turn out to be the result of another character’s shortcomings and clues, such as the lost stole, that are necessary for the case. The story does not reveal all the pertinent details. Christie uses a variety of subplots to allow us to find out which details are important and relevant to solving the central case, and which ones can be explained away.

Christie is a master at throwing us off the scent of the real perpetrator. She uses the art of subterfuge and subplot to lead us through a series of events that keep us guessing until the very end. Each character is both important to the plot movement and insignificant to the real mystery of who committed the crime. She reveals each of their personalities through the conversations at the beginning of the book, and then we rely on Poirot to untangle all the events until the climax is revealed.