Christie begins the novel in England, and here we are introduced to most of the characters who revolve around Linnet Ridgeway, the heiress... By the time we have reached chapter 6 of Part 2 [Egypt], we have met the major characters [in order of appearance]:
- Linnet Ridgeway: an English-American heiress, mistress of Wode Hall. Beautiful and imperious, Linnet ALWAYS gets what she wants, but does she deserve what she gets?
- Joanna Southwood: a friend of Linnet's, Joanna is a vicious gossip who would drop a friend if she "lost all of her money."
- Marie: Linnet's maid who has been disappointed in love because Linnet investigated and discovered Marie's lover already had a wife and three children. Perhaps Marie should be grateful to Linnet, or perhaps Linnet was simply not willing to hire a new maid.
- Lord Charles Windlesham--Lord of Charltonbury and a suitor for Linnet's hand and her fortune. He will be disappointed in both.
- Jacqueline [Jackie] de Bellefort--Linnet's best friend, even though her economic circumstances are far below Linnet's now. Jackie is passionate and, perhaps, loves too much. After all, she once stuck a penknife in a boy who would not stop teasing a dog.
- Hercule Poirot--the famously observant Belgian detective who enjoys fine food, fine wine, and a fine mystery.
- Simon Doyle--Jackie's finace and Linnet's new estate agent who becomes Linnet's new husband. He takes Linnet on the honeymoon to Egypt that Jackie had planned for herself and Simon--rather unimaginative, right?
- Tim Allerton: doted on by his mother and a friend of Joanna Southwood. Or, at least he enjoys her gossiy letters, but he does not necessarily enjoy her presence. Tim is apparently a young man of leisure whose income is derived from very vague sources.
- Mrs. Allerton: an old-fashioned gentlewoman, Tim's mother loathes his friendship with Joanna Southwood. She worries about money, but she and Tim really do have a good relationship and get along well together.
- Cornelia Robson: a New Yorker of slightly reduced circumstances who is acting as a companion for her extremely wealthy cousin, Miss Van Schuyler. Cornelia seems timid and biddable, but appearances can be deceiving.
- Miss Van Schuyler: A denizen of New York with an apartment overlooking Central Park, this extremely wealthy old woman has asked Cornelia to accompany her and Miss Bowers on a trip to Egypt.
- Miss Bowers: Miss Van Schuyler's nurse who assures Cornelia's mother that there will NOT be any trouble of THAT sort. Of WHAT sort? There is a secret here...
- Andrew Pennington: Linnet's American trustee who seems quite perturbed about Linnet's sudden marriage to Simon. He and his partner make plans to pull something off in Egypt...
- Jim Fanthorpe: Apparently he is sent to Egypt by his uncle's firm [Carmichael, Grant, and Carmichael] to do something about Andrew Pennington, but what?
- Mrs. Otterbourne: While a trip to Egypt is NOT a "matter of life and death" to her, this sex-obsessed novelist seems to be more infamous than famous, and she may find things are much more exciting in real life than on the pages of a book.
- Rosalie Otterbourne: the long-suffering daughter of Mrs. Otterbourne may seem demure, but she really IS passionate in her hatred of Linnet Doyle.
Clearly the scene will move from Cairo to the steamer Karnak with the next chapter [chapter 6], and more characters will join the story, but for now, we have enough to discuss the rather long exposition for this novel. Christie has gotten us this far with various characters adding bits and pieces to the basic narrative. What are your thoughts so far? Which characters do you like? Which do you dislike? Why? What would YOU do if you were either Simon or Linnet? What do you think Jackie will do?
That there will be a murder is obvious because of the inclusion of Christie's Hercule Poirot--he is a detective who solves mysteries, after all, and then there is that title...
Don't forget to respond to THIS post and then respond to a classmate before the week is out as part of your weekly class requirements!
T. Barb :)