Agatha christie murder on the orient express part15
7. The Evidence of Count and Countess Andrenyi
Count and Countess Andrenyi were next summoned. The Count, however, entered the dining-car alone.
There was no doubt that he was a fine-looking man seen face to face. He was at least six feet in height, with broad shoulders and slender hips. He was dressed in very well-cut English tweeds and might have been taken for an Englishman had it not been for the length of his moustache and something in the line of the cheekbone.
“Well, Messieurs,” he said, “what can I do for you?”
“You understand, Monsieur,” said Poirot, “that in view of what has occurred I am obliged to put certain questions to all the passengers.”
“Perfectly, perfectly,” said the Count easily. “I quite understand your position. Not, I fear, that my wife and I can do much to assist you. We were asleep and heard nothing at all.”
“Are you aware of the identity of the deceased, Monsieur?”
“I understood it was the big American-a man with a decidedly unpleasant face. He sat at that table at meal times.” He indicated with a nod of his head the table at which Ratchett and MacQueen had sat.
“Yes, yes, Monsieur, you are perfectly correct. I meant-did you know the name of the man?”
“No.” The Count looked thoroughly puzzled by Poirot’s queries.
“If you want to know his name,” he said, “surely it is on his passport?”
“The name on his passport is Ratchett,” said Poirot. “But that, Monsieur, is not his real name. He is the man Cassetti, who was responsible for a celebrated kidnapping outrage in America.”
He watched the Count closely as he spoke, but the latter seemed quite unaffected by this piece of news. He merely opened his eyes a little.
“Ah!” he said. “That certainly should throw light upon the matter. An extraordinary country,America.”
“You have been there, perhaps, Monsieur le Comte?”
“I was in Washington for a year.”
“You knew, perhaps, the Armstrong family?”
“Armstrong-Armstrong-it is difficult to recall. One met so many.” He smiled, shrugged his shoulders. “But to come back to the matter in hand, gentlemen,” he said. “What more can I do to assist you?”
“You retired to rest-when, Monsieur le Comte?”
Hercule Poirot’s eyes stole to his plan. Count and Countess Andrenyi occupied compartment Nos. 12 and 13 adjoining.
“We had one compartment made up for the night whilst we were in the dining-car. On returning we sat in the other for a while-”
“Which number would that be?”
“No. 13. We played piquet together. At about eleven o’clock my wife retired for the night. The conductor made up my compartment and I also went to bed. I slept soundly until morning.”
“Did you notice the stopping of the train?”
“I was not aware of it till this morning.”
“And your wife?”
The Count smiled. “My wife always takes a sleeping draught when travelling by train. She took her usual dose of trional.”
He paused. “I am sorry I am not able to assist you in any way.”
Poirot passed him a sheet of paper and a pen.
“Thank you, Monsieur le Comte. It is a formality, but will you just let me have your name and address?”
The Count wrote slowly and carefully.
“It is just as well that I should write this for you,” he said pleasantly. “The spelling of my country estate is a little difficult for those unacquainted with the language.”
He passed the paper across to Poirot and rose.
“It will be quite unnecessary for my wife to come here,” he said. “She can tell you nothing more than I have.”