Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989) s06e01 Episode Script

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

We need the river for access.
- What about the other area downstream? - We can't afford both, Simeon.
Well, we've got to.
If anyone else starts prospecting, we'll have lost all we've done in the last six months.
There.
That's my share for the claim.
I'm off at first light.
I should make Pretoria in four days.
- And be back in ten, eh? - And in six months we'll be rich.
Good night, Gerrit.
Good night.
Sit hom op een fran dir perde.
En vat hom terug na die kirall.
- Who the hell are you? - Stella de Zuigder.
And you? Lee.
Simeon Lee.
How long have I been here? This is your third day.
You'd have died in half a day if we hadn't have found you.
Thanks.
I was, er, mauled by a lion.
Yeah, I know.
I took the bullet out.
All right.
My partner attacked me.
That's what diamonds do to people, eh? Don't worry.
They're safe.
And your map.
It's a bit bloodstained, though.
Do you, er live out here all by yourself? My father got tired of trying to marry me off.
- Gere for meerd.
- Gere for meerd.
Geliedjie.
Geliedjie.
Geliedjie.
- Geliedjie.
- Geliedjie.
Waghallisige.
Waghallisige.
- Goed.
- Goed.
- Goed.
Goed.
- Goed.
Simeon? Simeon? Simeon! Merry Christmas.
Happy Christmas.
And to you, sir.
Thank you very much.
That's the last decent meal I'll get till the New Year.
You are not looking forward to your Christmas? - We're going to Mrs Japp's family in Wales.
- Ah.
If they start singing again I shall think of you, Chief Inspector, as I sit down to my simple repast.
For Poirot, it will be a quiet Christmas with my radio perhaps, a book, and a box of exquisite Belgian chocolates.
Well, listen, Poirot.
Think of me on Christmas morning when you open this.
Thank you, Chief Inspector.
- Merry Christmas, Poirot.
- Merry Christmas to you.
- A very happy Christmas to you.
- And to you.
All right, all right, I'm not a child.
Bring them in.
Mr Simeon Lee? Yes.
Have you got them? Get out.
Get out, all of you! Get out.
Voila.
- Can I help you? - Yes.
Monsieur Dicker? Yes.
Monsieur Dicker, my radiator, it has gone cold.
The boiler's broken, sir.
- Then the boiler it must be repaired.
- It will be, after Christmas.
After Christmas? That is most unsatisfactory.
Unfortunately, I can't do anything about it.
I don't I can't get a plumber until after the holidays.
- I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do.
- Au revoir, Monsieur Dicker.
Oh, non.
- Yes? - Hercule Poirot? It is I, Hercule Poirot, who speaks.
I need a detective to come and stay here in my house for Christmas.
- Non, monsieur, I - Don't say no, just like that.
Hear me out.
Superintendent Sugden of the Shropshire police recommended you.
- I do not know him.
- I don't care.
He knows you.
My life is in danger.
Have you received any threats, Monsieur? Lee.
Simeon Lee.
Ah, well, you'd have to be here to understand.
Tell to me if you please, Monsieur Lee, does your house have the central heating? What? Yes, of course.
Very well.
Poirot will be there tomorrow.
Give to me if you please, your address.
Thank you so much, sir.
Thank you.
Madam? Help the needy at Christmas? Are you ready to order, sir? Yes.
Thank you very much.
But please to tell me, what is this brown Windsor soup? Well, sir, it's soup from Windsor.
I see.
Then I will have this brown Windsor soup.
Followed by the saddle of lamb.
OK if I share your table? Of course.
Well, I'll be glad to get out of London, I don't mind telling you.
Terrible place.
- But you are English, no? - Been abroad for years.
- What about you? - I am Spanish.
Did you see any of this civil war business over in Spain? I saw a bomb drop.
And it blew up a car.
That didn't upset you? One is alive for a time in this world, yes, and then one is dead.
And one's friends are sad and one's enemies rejoice.
Don't you believe in forgiving your enemies, senorita? No I do not.
If I had an enemy, I would cut his throat.
Like this.
I wouldn't like to be your enemy, senorita.
It does not look very délicieux.
Well, sir, it is brown Windsor soup.
What, er brings you to England? I'm going to stay with my English relations.
They are very rich, I think.
They live in a big house called Gorston Hall.
Good God.
What is it? You must be Jennifer's girl.
My mother's name was Jennifer.
I'm Harry Lee.
Jennifer was my sister.
Do the family know you're coming? Oh, yes.
That's more than they do with me.
He's playing God, as he always does.
It's the role he enjoys most.
Well, I think it's extremely boring.
Boring or not, it's our duty to be here, Magdalene.
Moreover, it enables us to save considerably.
We shouldn't have to scrimp and save like this.
Can't you make your father give you some more money? He upped my allowance last year.
What happens when he dies? The bulk of his money comes to Alfred and me.
Isn't there another brother? No.
No, no.
Harry left years ago.
We don't talk about him, incidentally.
A very disreputable character.
Your father's not all that reputable, George.
What on earth do you mean by that? When he gets me alone he makes me feel quite uncomfortable.
The things he says.
Yes, yes.
Well, one has to make allowances.
It isn't only the things he says.
At father's age, with his health being so bad Must you always give in to him, Alfred? He's a very old man, Lydia.
And he'll get older, and more tyrannical.
Why must we have George and Magdalene for Christmas? Father hasn't seen George for a long time.
He's very good to us, you know, Lydia.
Oh, Alfred! Magdalene's going to be frightfully bored, anyway.
Why George has to go and marry a girl 20 years younger than himself, I shall never know.
He always was a fool.
I suppose she's been quite a help to him in his constituency.
- What is it, Horbury? - Beg pardon, sir.
Is it convenient if I take the car? Mr Lee has asked me to go to the station and meet some more guests.
Some more guests? Wait a minute! Come in! We have just seen Horbury and he says that Ah, Lydia, my dear.
What a nice colour you've got.
He says there are to be more guests.
Just straighten my legs for me, would you, my dear? It's a terrible thing to get old, Lydia.
Who are these people that are coming? Well, first of all, there's my old friend Hercule Poirot.
Who's he? A friend.
And then there's Pilar.
Pilar? Pilar Estravados.
Jennifer's girl.
My granddaughter.
- But you didn't tell me.
- It's going to be a grand Christmas! All my children round me.
There now, Alfred.
There's your clue.
Guess who the other visitor is.
But you haven't got any more Your brother, Harry, of course.
What do you think of the spats? And the patent leather shoes? Just the thing for a weekend in the country.
And those mustachios must have enough wax in them to keep Madame Tussaud's going for a fortnight.
- Miss Estravados? - Yes.
Mr Simeon Lee sent me to meet you.
- Mr Harry Lee? - Sure.
I'll put your bags in the boot.
Mr Poirot? Are you a friend of the old bastard Simeon? I am a friend of Mr Lee, yes.
It's no good you calling him Mr Lee, chum.
There'll be more Mr Lees than you can shake a stick at at Gorston this Xmas.
And I'm one of 'em.
Harry Lee's the name.
Hercule Poirot.
- Pardon? - Poirot.
Hercule Poirot.
- French, eh? - Non.
I'm her long-lost uncle.
Tell him your name, Pilar.
Pilar Estravados.
You two should get on, being foreign.
Alfred.
The car's arrived.
What are you doing? I'm writing a note to Father, protesting in the strongest possible terms Note! Whatever good do you think notes are going to do? Bless my soul if it ain't Tressilian! How are you, Tressilian? Mr Harry! Still here, eh? Miss.
Still the same ugly old dump.
You don't look very tough.
Hercule Poirot is a detective, not a bodyguard, monsieur.
Oh, is he? Got a brain, has he? Good thing somebody has.
All my sons are complete nincompoops.
I've probably got better sons scattered round the world, born on the wrong side of the blanket.
My family hate me, you know.
It is not hard to see why, Monsieur Lee.
They're frightened of me.
It is often the way with men who are old and rich.
Well, I'm going to make an announcement this evening and then they'll have good cause to hate me.
What do you want? You wanted to see Miss Estravados, sir.
She's outside.
All right.
One more minute.
What is it that you wish me to do here, Monsieur Lee? Keep your eyes open.
Keep your ears open.
Et bien.
What am I looking for? What am I listening for? You'll know when it happens.
Tressilian is taking your bags to your room, sir.
Thank you.
I've been a very wicked man, Pilar.
What do you think of that? The nuns say all men are wicked.
Nuns! But I don't regret it.
I've enjoyed every moment of it.
I've cheated and I've stolen and I've lied.
And the women! - Are you shocked, Pilar? - Why should I be shocked? Men always desire women.
That is why wives are unhappy and go to church and pray.
You are the devil's brat.
You like me to sit here with you, Grandfather? Yes, I do.
It's a long time since I was close to anything as young and beautiful as you are.
It warms my old bones.
But you don't fool me.
Don't think I don't know why you sit here, listening to me droning on.
Money.
All right.
I'll show you something.
I just got these yesterday from the company museum in Pretoria.
These are the first diamonds I ever took from my first mine.
- But they are little pebbles, that is all.
- They are uncut.
That's how diamonds are when they're found.
- Well, why do you not have them cut? - Because I like them like this.
It all comes back to me.
The sunshine, the oxen, and the smell of the veldt, and the quiet of the evenings.
It is unfortunate that these so-called Republicans have forced him to take the action he has taken.
But take it from me, Generalissimo Franco has right on his side.
Ah, yes.
It is always reassuring to hear the opinion of an expert on these matters.
Can I top anybody's glass up? You're very tanned.
Have you spent time in South Africa too, like your father? Only a year or two.
I've been in Argentina mostly.
Well, apart from my time in Macao.
I've been absolutely nowhere.
Could I have a word, Lydia? I'm sorry.
Excuse me.
I've remembered who this Hercule Poirot is.
He's a detective.
- The police? Oh, surely not.
- He's one of those private detectives.
But why should your father want to Excuse me, sir.
- What is it, Horbury? - Mr Lee is ready to see you all now.
Come in! Hello.
Is that you, Charlton? Oh, yes.
I'm sorry to trouble you at home, but it is rather urgent.
I want you to make a new will for me.
Yes.
Sit down.
I won't be long.
Yes.
Well, you see it's some time since the other will was made and things have changed.
No, no, no.
I don't want to spoil your Christmas.
Come over on Boxing Day or the next day, yes, yes.
I shan't be dying just yet! Goodbye.
You're all looking very glum.
What's the matter? Harry.
I'd have known you anywhere, even after all these years.
Your taste in clothes hasn't improved, I see.
Good to see you, Dad.
You're looking well.
Fortunately, I did not ask you all up here for the pleasure of seeing your smiling faces, but because I want to say that we have to reorganise things a bit, now that we have two more people living in the house.
What do you mean? Pilar will make her home with us here, naturally.
And Harry is home for good.
Harry's coming to live here? What's wrong with that, old boy? Harry is my son too, you know, George.
Of course, it is going to mean cutting back a little in other areas.
Your allowance, for instance, George, will have to go.
You can't do that, Father.
You don't understand how heavy my expenses are already.
Well, let your wife do her bit then.
She could make her own clothes.
Even my wife could make her own clothes and she was one of the most stupid women it's been my sorrow to meet.
You've no right to talk about our mother like that.
Right? Right! You've no rights, any of you.
You're just a set of namby-pamby weaklings! Has any of you produced one grandson for me? No! Hold hard, Dad.
I'm just sick to death of the lot of you.
Get out! Get out, all of you! Get out! Get out! - What's got into him? - Go to hell! I blame you, Alfred.
You've had charge of him here.
What are you talking about? I think there's a case for getting a doctor in right away.
A doctor? There's nothing wrong with him.
He's clearly not of sound mind.
Two doctors, isn't it? Ladies, shall we? Shall I announce you, Superintendent? That's all right, Tressilian.
Mr Lee's expecting me.
Come and have some coffee.
The gentlemen will be through in a minute.
Over here? It's wonderful that you came, Pilar.
It's wonderful for me to meet my uncles and aunts and this grand house.
- After seven years? - I've got these blokes chasing me for cash! I was having a word at a cocktail party with Buffy and you know he has the ear of the PM.
- Who was it? - Mr Sugden.
The superintendent of police.
Watch what you're doing! - I'm sorry, Mr Tressilian.
- You've got no right to go touching things.
What did he want, this police superintendent? He's collecting for the police orphanage.
- And did he get anything? - I'm sure he did.
We'll be having more snow tonight, I shouldn't wonder.
We'll be cut off again if we're not careful.
- Good night, ladies.
- Going to the pictures? I expect so.
It's coming from Dad's room! It's locked! It's locked! Dad! Dad! - We'll have to break the door down.
- Don't be a fool.
It's made of solid oak.
Quick! Battering ram! - What's going on? - One, two, three! - What does this mean? - What was that terrible noise? One, two, three! Again.
One, two, three! - We've got to put some more effort into it.
- One, two, three! One more should do it.
One, two, three! Dad! Excuse-moi, monsieur.
- I've forgotten my book.
- I didn't know whether to open it, sir.
- What's going on? - Something's happened upstairs, sir.
Superintendent, I was just going to phone the police.
I would've used Mr Lee's phone, but they told me not to touch anything.
- What? - It's old Mr Lee, sir.
Mr Simeon.
He's been killed! Murdered! My God, what a shambles.
Nothing must be touched.
All right.
I want this room cleared.
- Who are you? - Police.
Superintendent Sugden.
You got here very quickly.
Would everybody please wait downstairs? Excuse me, Miss.
Nothing must be touched or disturbed.
She knows that.
You picked up something from the floor.
I did? It's in your hand now.
Please give it to me.
You must be Mr Poirot.
Superintendent.
Lucky we had a detective here on the spot.
Perhaps.
- Stay in here, would you? - Look! Don't touch it.
It is where he kept his diamonds.
They have gone.
What are you doing here, Poirot? I've come to rescue you, mon ami.
Superintendent Sugden was going to call in Scotland Yard in any case, so I suggested that, as you were just across the border Well it must have been the work of a lunatic.
That's your theory, is it? Isn't there a mental home in the vicinity? A homicidal maniac.
How do you suppose this homicidal maniac gained admittance to the house, Mr Lee? The only unlocked door was in the kitchen and the staff didn't see any homicidal maniacs.
Well, I - Pardon.
- No, come in, Mr Poirot.
I have the Chief Inspector Japp with me, Superintendent.
Japp? Oui.
From Scotland Yard? This is a pleasure indeed, Chief Inspector.
Thank you, sir.
I expect you're used to this kind of thing, Chief Inspector.
but murders are rare in this part of the country.
I imagine so, sir.
Well I was just about to ask Mr George Lee the crucial question.
Oh, yes? Which is, of course, Mr Lee, where were you at the time of the murder? I was in here on the telephone, calling my agent in Westeringham, as a matter of fact.
So you were actually in this room when you heard the noises from upstairs? The crashing about and screaming.
Yes.
Mr Poirot tells me these diamonds have gone from the safe, sir.
Yes.
I'm getting some men in from Shrewsbury to do a thorough search of the house and grounds.
But the theft of the diamonds may not be as indicative as it seems.
Forgive me, but I don't nderstand, Superintendent.
Mr Lee telephoned me yesterday afternoon.
He wanted me to come over and see him at What's more, he told me to tell the butler that I was collecting for some police charity.
Well, Mr Lee is an important person in these parts, so I did as he said.
He told me that several thousand pounds worth of diamonds had been stolen from his safe - he thought.
He thought? He said they were missing, but that only two people could have done it, and one might have done it as a joke.
I have yet to meet anybody in this household with even the most rudimentary sense of humour.
He didn't happen to name these people? No, he didn't.
But it's odd.
He wanted me to go away and come back again in about an hour.
Said he'd have a clearer idea then about if he'd been robbed or if it was a joke.
I can tell you, by this time I was getting pretty fed up with Mr Lee.
But of the two people that he suspected, is it possible that one could be a servant and the other a relative? If it was family, he didn't want to drop them in it? Well, yes.
Perhaps my visit was just meant to put the frighteners on them.
- So you left? - Yes, I did.
It wasn't worth my while going all the way home, so I went and sat in the car.
I was on my way back - I was to use leaving the orphanage subscription book as an excuse - when all this hell broke loose.
What's been going on in here? Simeon Lee was a man who was shrunken, old and frail, n'est-ce pas? And yet all this.
It signifies, do you not think, Chief Inspector? Looks more like a five-star riot than a simple throat-cutting.
- This door was locked, you say? - Yes.
May I? There are no prints on it, apart from the old man's.
Ah.
You observe the little scratches at the end of the barrel, Chief Inspector? It's been turned from the outside using long-nosed pliers.
But why, mon ami? So we would think Simeon Lee locked the door himself and it was suicide? A suicide most strange who hurls around all the furniture and then screams before he commits the act.
Suppose Mr Lee put up more resistance than the murderer expected and made such a racket that he had to get out quick without putting the room to rights.
He couldn't have got out through the window? All bolted shut.
This one isn't.
It's locked in that position for ventilation.
Is it not a possibility that Simeon Lee did commit suicide, but wanted it to look like murder? Why would he do that? Simeon Lee was a man most vengeful and had not a great love for his family.
Blimey.
What did Mademoiselle Estravados pick up from the floor in the room of Mr Simeon Lee? - Oh, last night? - Oui.
Here.
In detective stories, it's the sort of thing that solves the mystery.
What do you think? A little wooden peg.
And a little rubber ring.
Keep them if you like.
If they've got anything to do with the murder, I'll retire.
Non, non, non.
I would not deprive you of them, mon ami.
Tell me, what was it that made you recommend me to Monsieur Simeon Lee? - I didn't.
- Ah.
- What time was it you went out last night? - Just after eight o'clock.
I went to the cinema in Oswestry.
It's only ten minutes in the bus.
- Anybody see you there? - I was with a young lady.
Oh, yes? What's her name? Doris Buckle, sir.
She works in the United Dairies at Markham Road.
I didn't have anything to do with this, sir.
What do you know about the diamonds in Mr Lee's safe? Nothing, sir.
They arrived the day before yesterday.
Mr Lee said they came from his old company museum in Africa.
It's not very pleasant when a murder happens in a house.
Nobody said it was.
- Morning.
- Good morning.
- Can I help you? - Non, non, thank you.
I'm just looking.
- Christmas presents, is it? - Oui.
- For the wife? - Er non, non, non.
If you please, monsieur, I should like to buy the present for a good friend.
With a sense of humour, I dare say.
Well Bulb-operated hairy spider? Non.
Thank you.
My three-in-one packet of itching powder, ink blot and stink bombs? Non, non, non.
You see, my friend, he is a policeman.
He won't be wanting the Sherlock Holmes Detective Set, then? I do not imagine so.
Non.
- Cigars? - Exploding? Jamaican.
Bon.
Bonjour, Madame Lee.
Bonjour, monsieur.
Good morning, Mr Poirot.
Pardon, madame, but I do not understand that which you do.
Oh, it's just a hobby of mine.
Miniature gardens.
Erm this one's a desert oasis.
And this will be an Italian vineyard, when it's finished.
And this is a Japanese garden.
Do you see all the stones? C'est charmant.
Mr Poirot, why did my father-in-law ask you to Gorston? To tell you the truth, madame, I am not sure.
He told to me that his life was in danger.
But from whom? He did not specify.
There is somebody I don't trust.
Horbury's only been with us a year and Tell me, madame.
At the time of the murder, your husband, he was in the dining room with Monsieur Harry? - Where were you? - I was in the drawing room having coffee.
- So, you were alone? - No, no, the Spanish girl was there.
No, no, she wasn't.
She went out a couple of minutes before.
First Magdalene went, and then Pilar went.
So, you were quite alone? Yes.
I suppose I was.
And who was first to arrive at the door of your father-in-law? I was.
It's locked! It's locked! And you saw no other person who came out of the room? Of course not.
Tell me, Monsieur Lee.
I have to, I'm afraid, ask the questions most obvious, as well as the subtle ones.
Did you know the combination of the safe belonging to your father? No, nobody did, but it would have been easy enough to discover.
You must find out who did this awful thing, Mr Poirot.
You must find out! Very violent sort of blokes, these Africans.
Europeans do not figure badly in the arts of violence, Chief Inspector.
But it gives you the creeps, this place.
You are too sensitive, mon ami.
That's true.
Chief Inspector What is it, Poirot? We know of two possible motives for the murder of Monsieur Simeon Lee.
One is the simple case of the theft of the diamonds.
And the other's old Simeon's will.
Did someone want him dead before he made the changes he threatened? Précisément.
No, no, no, no.
You'll go in-off, if you do that.
Now, grip the butt of the cue firmly and Ah, good morning.
Mr Harry Lee, I presume? - And who are you? - Chief Inspector Japp, Scotland Yard.
Ah, brought in the big guns, have they? I'd like a word with Miss Est-rahvados.
Estra-vados.
Yes.
In private.
Don't let them bully you, kid.
- Now, then, Miss Estra - vados.
Estravados.
Quite.
You understand English all right, do you? My mother was English.
I am really a very English person.
Is your passport English? It is Spanish.
We'll have a look at that, if you don't mind.
It's in my luggage, I think.
So, your grandfather sent for you from Spain, and you arrived yesterday? Is that right? Yes.
Tell me, mademoiselle.
When Sorry.
I was looking for Sergeant Coombes.
Don't let me interrupt.
When you first met your grandfather, what did you think of him? He was very, very old.
He had to sit in a chair, and his face was all dried up.
But I like him, all the same.
I think that, when he was a young man, he must have been very handsome.
Like you.
There you are, sir.
I think I'd better find Sergeant Coombes.
Now, these diamonds that were stolen They were not like diamonds.
Just very ugly little stones.
So, he showed them to you, did he? Didn't give you any of them, I suppose? No.
But I thought that one day he would, if I was very nice to him, and came often to sit with him.
Because old men they like very much young girls.
Tell me, Mademoiselle.
Who do you think stole them? - Horbury.
- Why do you say that? He has the face of a thief.
His eyes go so From side to side.
And he listens at doors.
Where were you when the crime was committed, Miss Estravados? I went up to my room.
I remember the butler had just brought in the coffee.
But I wanted a clean handkerchief, so I went upstairs.
I was sitting at my dressing table, repairing my make-up.
And then far away I heard a scream and everybody running, and so I went, too.
I see.
So, you were all by yourself, up in your bedroom, when Simeon Lee died? Yes.
Yes, I was.
Here, Sergeant! Empty.
Whose room is this? It's that Member of Parliament's, and his wife's.
You know what I think, Poirot? Non.
What is it that you think? I think this murder was done by a woman.
That's what.
And why is it that you think that? Right.
Simeon Lee was a frail old man, yes? Monsieur Simeon Lee was a man of the frailness extreme.
Then how do you account for the furniture in his room being knocked about all over the shop? I mean, he couldn't have put up much of a struggle against a man, but against a woman Ah, Chief Inspector, you have been thinking again.
I have warned you of this before.
- Oh, well - But seriously, Chief Inspector all of the family, the women included, will have alibis for the time of the murder.
Well, the lovely Magdalene's is flimsy, and it was her luggage we found the diamond case in.
If I'd stolen the diamonds, would I be stupid enough to leave the box in my own luggage? Would you tell us where you were at the time of the murder, Mrs Lee? - In the drawing room.
- In the drawing room with Mrs Lydia Lee? Um no.
I'd come in here to telephone.
- Was anybody in the room with you? - No.
It was a private call.
I was alone.
How long were you in here, Madame Lee? What's it got to do with you? Just answer the question.
How should I know? You know how long it takes to make a call in the evening.
- It was a trunk call, then? - Well, of course it was.
You don't honestly think I'd know anybody in this godforsaken dump, do you? Well, one of them's lying.
Magdalene can't have been there alone making a phone call, the same time as her husband was there alone making a phone call.
Exactement.
Perhaps we should tax them with this together, Chief Inspector.
Here's another thing, Poirot Boy! On the desk in my room, you'll find my spectacles.
In your room, madam? There's something un-English about this murder.
This throat-slitting.
Not quite our style.
What'll you have then, Poirot? Well, that's very kind of you, Chief Inspector.
A glass of dry white wine.
- Wine? - A Muscadet, perhaps.
Well, they might have some cider.
Hello, Hercule.
How are you doing? - Let me buy you a drink.
- Non, merci.
The Chief Inspector Japp is already buying me one.
So, it was the glamorous Magdalene had the diamonds all the time, I hear.
Er the leather box, but not the diamonds.
Ah, Mr Lee.
I've been looking for you.
Well, you only had to look in the nearest pub! But tell me, though.
What do you think of the opening times in this country? Sit down for a minute.
Good health.
What made you decide to return to England after all these years? I thought the fatted calf would make a welcome change.
No, my father wrote to me a year or so ago, suggesting that I came home, so I came.
And Monsieur Alfred - how did he feel about your return? Alfred's always been jealous of me.
You see, he was the good, stay-at-home, stick-in-the-mud son.
Tell me.
What do you think was the purpose of the confrontation that your father had with his family before dinner last evening? He wanted to see the fur fly! He was watching us like a cat, to see how we reacted.
What changes in his will was he thinking about? Do you know? I imagined Shall I say I hoped the change would be to the benefit of your humble servant.
Pilar, too.
I wouldn't be surprised.
You got any theories about this murder, Mr Lee? I don't understand it at all.
I mean, that door was locked.
It took some doing to break it open.
And there was no-one in the room but Dad.
Nobody could have got out through the window.
The door was locked from the outside.
No, the key was on the inside.
You noticed that, Monsieur Lee? Well I do notice things.
It's a habit of mine.
I er I must get back to my friends.
I've been feeling very queer.
Very queer indeed.
It is indeed a business most odd.
Oh, dear.
It gave me quite a turn, it did.
When I went into the hall there was this strange man standing there, and Mr Harry's voice said, "Still here, Tressilian"? Alive.
The same as ever.
It must have been a feeling most strange.
It seems sometimes as if the past isn't the past at all.
It seems to be, the bell rings, and I go to let someone in Doesn't matter if it's Mr Harry or Mr George, or Superintendent Sugden, even.
But I'm saying to myself "But I've done all this before".
That is most interesting, Tressilian.
Yes, well I'd just like to check some times with you, Mr Tressilian.
When the noise started upstairs, Mr George Lee was telephoning.
Can you confirm that? Oh, somebody telephoned, sir.
The bell rings in my pantry here.
If anybody lifts the receiver to dial a number, there's a faint noise on the bell here.
Hm.
And about this fellow Horbury, the valet, he was out of the house by quarter past eight? A bit before that, sir.
It was just after the superintendent arrived.
I remember particularly, because he broke a coffee cup.
Horbury broke a coffee cup? How was that? He was just lifting it up, admiring it, like, and I happened to mention that Superintendent Sugden had arrived, and he just dropped it.
Did he, indeed? Sit down, will you? - I prefer to stand.
- Very well.
It's about these telephone calls on the night of the crime.
You put through a call to Westeringham, I think you said, Mr Lee? To my agent in the constituency, yes.
Your call went through at 7:56 exactly.
Well, I couldn't say the exact time.
Ah, but we can, you see, Mr Lee.
Your call was put through at 7:56 and ended at 8:09.
Your father was killed, Mr Lee, at about 8:15, so I must ask you for an account of your movements during those six minutes.
Well, the exchange must have made a mistake.
Well, I may have just finished telephoning.
I think I debated making another call.
You would hardly debate whether or not to make a telephone call for six minutes.
Are you doubting my word? We do like these questions answered, Mr Lee, in a murder case.
I don't like your tone, Chief Inspector.
I'm sorry for that, Mr Lee.
Mrs Lee, I think you said that you were telephoning when the alarm broke out, and that, at that time, you were alone in the study.
Telephoning? You didn't telephone from here.
Didn't I? Erm I don't know.
I was so upset.
Well, you stated that George, don't let them bully me.
You know, if people shout at me, I can't remember anything at all.
I'm so upset I won't have my wife treated like this! It's disgraceful.
She's a very sensitive woman.
I warn you: I shall have a question asked in the House about the bullying methods of the police.
- She'll be back.
- In five minutes, I should say.
When she's worked out a story, eh, Poirot? You know, Chief Inspector, this case certainly gives one to think, n'est-ce pas? It gives one to think, all right, Poirot.
Look at it.
Poor thing.
It's what I picked up in Grandfather's room.
He must have had a balloon, too, only his was a pink one.
You seen a ghost or something, Poirot? Chief Inspector, I might just have done precisely that.
- Goodbye, sir.
- Goodbye, and Merry Christmas.
- Ah, Madame Lee.
- Monsieur Poirot Funnily enough, I wanted a word with you.
I can trust you, I know, Mr Poirot.
You look so kind.
You see, there's This doesn't have to go any further, does it? I mean, you don't have to tell that awful policeman? I wanted to telephone somebody.
A friend of mine.
A man.
And I didn't want George to know about it.
I know it was wrong.
I do not judge, madame.
No.
Anyway, I went to telephone after dinner, when I thought George would be in the dining room.
- Seven years! - I've got these blokes chasing me for cash.
And when I got there, I heard him telephoning, so I waited.
And where did you wait, madame? There's a little place for coats and hats and things just by the door.
And I slipped back there where I could see George come out of the study.
Only, he didn't come out.
And then I heard all the noise, and I heard Mr Lee screaming.
Anyway, it would be very, very awkward for me to talk about this in front of George.
You do see that, don't you? Here, Poirot! Listen to this.
- Good afternoon, Sergeant.
- Sir! Tell Mr Poirot what you just told me.
Well, sir, the Superintendent asked me to make a few inquiries, like, about any reason that Horbury might have for being a bit careful about the police.
- Did you find any reason? - He did.
Extorting money under threat in Bedfordshire.
Modified blackmail.
It couldn't be proved, so he got off.
He couldn't have committed the murder.
His lady friend says he was at the cinema.
Everyone agrees he left the house before eight.
I know.
Infuriating.
Tell him the other thing, Coombes.
We also made an inquiry or two about Mrs George Lee.
Magdalene Jones, as she was, when she was living with a Commander Jones, who passed her off as his daughter, only she wasn't.
Before that, she was Madeline Potts of Willesden.
She took the Commander's savings, and left debts all over Hampshire.
Thank you very much, Sergeant.
That one isn't as simple as she seems, Chief Inspector.
She said she went to telephone a man, but she overheard her husband and concealed herself until he'd finished.
Well, it sounds like about her dap.
What are these blooming things, Poirot? Now, these are the miniature gardens of Madame Alfred Lee.
What's the point of a miniature garden? You can't do anything with it.
You can't take a deck chair out and sit in it.
They are art, Chief Inspector.
See here? This one is the vineyard italien.
And this one is the garden Japanese.
It's just stones, isn't it? I know the Japanese are peculiar, but What are you looking at? What is it? It's a stone.
Very nice.
Nicer than you think, Chief Inspector.
The little Frog's been doing his Christmas shopping.
- I want to see what he has bought for me.
- Steady on! It is not for me, I think.
What the devil is it? It is an imitation moustache.
I knew that thing of his couldn't be real.
What is it? We'd like a word, Mrs Lee.
Yes, all right.
I'll come out.
Alfred's resting.
He had very little sleep last night.
Would you come through here? This is his mother's old room.
It hasn't been touched since she died.
Tell me, madame, your husband, he was very attached to his mother? He adored her.
Can you explain these? What are they? Uncut diamonds.
We found them in your Japanese garden.
If I'd stolen the diamonds, I would have just dug a hole somewhere and buried them.
Have you really no idea who did this awful murder? We've got more idea who didn't do it.
Please God let it be a stranger, not a member of the family.
It might be both.
What do you mean? It might be a member of the family, and, at the same time, a stranger.
It is merely a little idea that has occurred to the mind of Hercule Poirot.
The official reading of the will generally takes place after the funeral of the deceased.
However, as that will not now be until after the inquest, I have been asked to give you the bare bones of Mr Simeon Lee's testament now.
Asked by whom? Interested parties, Mr Lee.
The main provisions of the will, which was made ten years ago, are quite simple.
Half Mr Simeon Lee's property goes to his son, Mr Alfred Lee.
The remainder is divided equally between his other children.
Alfred's struck lucky again, as per usual! Half the old man's fortune! You ought to think yourself lucky my father left you anything at all.
Well, I don't think I need to go any further.
What about Pilar? She's not mentioned in the will.
Doesn't she get her mother's share? Jennifer Estravados, if she had lived, would have received her equal share with the rest of you.
As she is dead, the portion that would have been hers is shared out between you.
Then I have nothing? My dear, the family will see to that.
I think she ought to get Jennifer's whack.
Well, I really must be going.
Goodbye, Mrs Lee.
Anything I can do, please consult me at any time.
I agree with Harry.
Pilar is entitled to a share.
This will was made years before Jennifer's death.
The law is the law, I'm afraid.
We must abide by it.
Yes.
We're all very sorry for Pilar, but, as George says, the law is the law.
My dear, this must be very unpleasant for you.
Would you leave us while we discuss it? Yes.
Yes, very well.
Well, gentlemen, you've heard what you came for.
This is family business now.
You really are a skinflint, George, aren't you? At least I'm not a sponger.
You've battened on Dad these last 30 years! As an elected Member of Parliament Can we please discuss this sanely and quietly? Yes.
Jennifer only died last year.
I am sure that Simeon intended to make provision for Pilar in a new will.
We should carry out his wishes.
- I agree.
- Certainly not! It's preposterous.
Considering George is the only person here who has done anything, it's shameful his father left him so little.
Well, that's clear enough.
Alfred and I are in favour of the motion, George is against.
The ayes have it.
There isn't any question of ayes or noes.
My share is mine absolutely.
I shall not part with one penny of it.
So, who profits from Simeon Lee not altering his will? All of them, except the Spanish girl.
So, we can cross her off the list, then? Yes.
Well, maybe.
No! I will not! It's your right, Pilar! You speak like that! That is why I cannot do it! It's not charity, it's justice! You have all spoiled everything.
I am going away.
Now.
At once.
You will not be troubled by me no more.
The matter of your passport, Miss Go to hell! - What's going on? - It's a family matter.
I'm sorry.
Alfred and I had agreed to settle part of the estate on her.
She refused to take it.
She is still alive.
- Good morning, Tressilian.
- Good morning, sir.
Merry Christmas.
Oh, thank you, sir.
Hercule, have you heard how the girl is this morning? Merry Christmas to you, Monsieur Harry.
Yes, Mademoiselle Estravados, she sleeps peacefully.
She has, I think, the broken clavicle.
Yes, I heard all that from the doc last night.
But who would want to do such a thing? Excuse me.
- What have you got to tell me? - It is most interesting.
I went into the room of Mademoiselle Pilar.
I opened the drawer and I took out her passport and What's the meaning of all this? Merry Christmas, Maggie.
Good morning.
Please to come in now.
Please to make yourselves comfortable.
Mademoiselle Estravados has something that she wishes to say to you.
You think I am your niece, Pilar Estravados.
That is not so.
I don't understand, Pilar.
I would not have told you, not ever, but for the money.
To come here and pretend and cheat and act, that was fun.
But when Lydia said that the money was mine, and it was only justice, it was not fun any longer.
I am sorry.
Pilar was killed when I was travelling with her in her car in Spain.
I had not much money and nowhere to go and I thought, "Why should I not go to England and become rich"? When it began, it was fun, wondering if This is preposterous! This is criminal! Getting money by false pretences! Well, she didn't get much from you, did she? So, I'm not your uncle any more, eh? It's rather more serious than that.
If she'd lie about that, she'd lie about anything.
I'll tell you what I think, Miss What's your name? Lopez.
Conchita Lopez.
Well, Miss López, I'll tell you what I think happened.
When Mr Lee found that the diamonds were missing, he sent for you.
You did so.
He accused you of theft.
You denied it.
No! This is not true.
I left the drawing room after dinner.
I came up here to my room for a handkerchief.
But then I thought I would go and see the old man.
I thought he would be pleased.
But when I was on the stairs, I saw that someone else was there at his door.
I slipped back into the corridor in case the person turned around.
I didn't want them to think I was I don't know the word.
Ingratiating yourself? - Yes? - No.
Go on, Pilar.
Conchita.
I heard those horrible noises, crashes, screams, and when the people came running, I joined them.
Wait a minute, this is all very airy-fairy.
You say you saw someone outside Simeon's door.
Who did you see? I do not know who it was.
It was too dimly lit to see, but it was a woman.
Rubbish! She'd say anything to get off the hook.
I always said an outsider killed my father.
In my opinion, Simeon Lee, your father, he was killed by his own flesh and blood.
One of us? I deny that.
Oh, yes.
There is a case against every person in this room.
Nonsense.
Balderdash! Eh, bien.
I will begin with the case against you, Monsieur George Lee.
- Now, wait a minute! - You had no love for your father.
You kept on good terms for the sake of money.
You knew that when he died, you would probably inherit a substantial sum.
And there is your motive.
I never heard such After dinner, you made a telephone call lasting 13 minutes.
You could then have easily visited the room of your father and killed him.
Afterwards, you left the room, hoping that the whole affair would look like that of a burglar.
But you omitted to make sure that the window it was left open to support this burglar theory.
That was stupid, but you are, pardon me for saying so, rather a stupid man.
But many stupid men have become criminals.
How dare you speak to my husband like that! Ah, yes.
Then there is, of course, Madame Lee.
She also had a motive.
She is in debt.
And the tone of some of Simeon Lee's remarks would have made her uneasy.
She also has no alibi.
She said she went to the telephone, but did she, in fact, make a call? We only have her word for what she did.
I suppose it's our turn now.
How do you suggest that dear Alfred killed his beloved father, when we were both together in the dining room at the time? Eh, bien, that is very simple, monsieur.
You and your brother are on the terms very bad.
Let us suppose that these bad terms were part of a clever plot.
What if you and he got together some time before? Then comes the night of the murder, which, together, you have planned so cleverly.
One of you remains in the dining room, talking loudly, to make it appear as though two people are there.
The other brother, he goes upstairs and commits the crime.
You don't understand You devil! What if it was not a woman that Mademoiselle Lopez saw outside Simeon's room? What if Mademoiselle Lopez is lying, to support a man of whom she has grown fond? - Now, look! - No.
You're wrong.
It was me that Pilar saw.
You, Lydia? I can't believe I've been such a coward, to keep silent because I was afraid.
You'd better tell us now, Mrs Lee.
I'd been thinking about the unpleasant scene we'd had with Simeon before dinner.
When Pilar, I'm sorry, Conchita, left the drawing room, I decided to go up and see him.
I was going to be firm with him and tell him that Alfred and I were leaving.
Lydia! Yes, I was! I'd had enough humiliation, Alfred.
I knocked on Simeon's door.
There was no answer.
I knocked again.
Still no answer.
I tried the door handle.
The door was locked.
Then those terrible noises started inside the room.
I stood there.
Paralysed.
Alfred and the others came and battered down the door and we saw inside the room.
And there was no-one there.
Just Simeon lying dead.
There was no-one else there.
Do you understand me? And no-one had come out.
All this time, you've said nothing.
No! Because if I had, you'd have thought that I had killed my father-in-law.
Non, non, madame.
When you heard those screams and the sounds of the struggle, Simeon Lee was already dead.
Already dead? What do you mean? Did I not tell to you that I thought I had seen a ghost? The first time was when I visited a shop in the village.
The owner of this shop, he is a fellow most jovial, n'est-ce pas? He delights in the childish pranks and How do you say, "le blague"? The practical tricks.
You're not trying to tell us that this was a practical joke? Non, non, madame, not a joke, but a trick most deadly.
The killing itself was simple.
Our murderer sets the scene.
The diamonds are taken from the safe, which had already been opened.
Furniture is piled in the centre of the room like a tower.
Then a strong, thin length of cord is tied around this tower.
The two ends of the cord are then passed through the narrow gap in the window and allowed to drop to the ground below.
The door, it is locked from the outside.
The stage, it is set.
Our murderer walks casually away, waits a little while, then returns to the wall below the window and takes up the slack on both ends of the cord.
The perpetrator has prepared the final element in his ruthless plot.
But the terrible scream? Ah, yes.
The dying screams of Simeon Lee.
The cry of a man in mortal agony, a soul in hell.
Monsieur Harry Lee described it as that of the killing of a pig.
My friend in the village shop unwittingly played his part.
Morning.
In that establishment most eccentric, the owner sells long, pink bladders, which have, painted on them, faces.
These are called Dying Pigs.
They are blown up, like a balloon, and the little wooden peg is placed in one end to prevent the escape of air.
Our murderer had placed in the room one of these balloons and had attached the cord to the little wooden peg.
His plan accomplished, our murderer pulls the remains of the Dying Pig out through the window, leaving behind only the little wooden peg and a telltale fragment of the balloon.
But the most valuable clue was uttered by the butler, Tressilian.
He said that he felt strange.
He said that he felt that things were happening that had happened before.
One simple occurrence gave to him this feeling.
It was when he met Monsieur Harry Lee, when he first entered the house.
Bless my soul if it ain't Tressilian! Mr Harry! When you look at Harry Lee's face, you can see why.
What the devil do you mean? In the face, Monsieur Harry Lee closely resembled his father.
The similarity is striking in Simeon's portrait in the sitting room.
All of the men in the Lee family have a likeness that is most strong.
All right, Poirot.
All very clever, no doubt, but who is this murderer? Ah, the good Chief Inspector Japp always makes Poirot stick to his task.
In order to answer your question, it is necessary that we make a short journey.
Suivez moi.
I hope you know what you're up to, Poirot.
Bonjour, Madame de Zuigder.
We would like to see your son, if you please.
Oh, God.
This was indeed the death of an evil man.
Remember the reputation of Simeon Lee? How he broke his wife's heart with his affairs with other women? He boasted of the illegitimate sons that he had sired.
A man born, pardon me, madame, on the wrong side of the blanket can, nonetheless, inherit the features of his father, his pride, his patience, and his vengeful spirit.
It was my revenge, my pride, my vengeful spirit.
And I did not inherit it from Simeon Lee.
I got nothing from Simeon Lee, nothing.
And you waited.
You and your son followed Simeon Lee and you waited.
You instilled into your son your own rage.
I saved Simeon Lee's life.
He used me, stole from me, deserted me and my child.
Your son changed his name, settled down to a career and he also waited.
Nothing was so important to either of you but the total destruction of Simeon Lee.
Simeon Lee earned his death, as he earned nothing else in his whole life.
He was a Come in, Superintendent.
What's going on? Now you can see, can you not, Chief Inspector, you can see why Tressilian felt so disorientated? What's all this about? The extent of his disorientation did not fully dawn upon me until I purchased from the village shop the false moustache and attached it to the portrait of Simeon Lee in the sitting room.
The likeness it was extraordinary.
You're saying I look like Simeon Lee? You are like Simeon Lee in almost every respect.
None of that! You resemble very closely your father.
And also, like your father, you are prepared to wait years, if necessary, for your revenge.
And your revenge is indeed terrible.
And so you embark on your ingenious subterfuge weaving the intricate web of deception that will make the murder which you have committed appear to have been perpetrated by an innocent member of the household, while you yourself were absent.
You make sure that Tressilian notes well your exit from the house.
We'll be having more snow tonight, I shouldn't wonder.
- Good night.
- Good night, sir.
You stop halfway down the drive.
You wait long enough to distance yourself from the crime in the minds of the family.
And then return to the house.
Once beneath the window, you activate the mechanism most crude that creates the hideous sound of a murder that you had already committed.
Then, to further your alibi, you find an excuse to come back into the house.
I've forgotten my book.
I want this room cleared In this way, you are fortuitously present to investigate your own crime.
These are mere ravings.
Unsubstantiated ravings.
Non, non, Superintendent.
Also like your father, you are prepared to stop at nothing to achieve your aim.
As the investigating officer, you are perfectly placed to put the diamonds where you know they will be found and to do the same with the black leather case.
In this way, you sought to incriminate the innocent.
And worse.
Mademoiselle Lopez had given you already one nasty moment.
I think that, when he was a young man, he must have been very handsome.
Like you.
You knew, which we did not know, that she meant that literally.
I think I'd better find Sergeant Coombes.
She saw the likeness.
And then she made the discovery of the balloon.
It is what I picked up in Grandfather's room.
He must have had a balloon, too.
Suddenly, you were afraid.
You thought that she might put the two and two together.
From that moment, the fate of Mademoiselle Lopez, it was sealed.
Fortunately for her, at your first clumsy blows, she screamed.
You were forced to leave the task unfinished.
Madre de Dios! Harold Sugden, I am arresting you on a charge of the wilful murder of your father, Simeon Lee.
May his soul rot in hell.
I'm sorry, Mother.
We did well, Harold.
Come on.
Let's get it over with.
Who were you going to telephone? My dressmaker.
At eight o'clock on the night before Christmas Eve? Why did Simeon ask you down here in the first place? Sugden wanted an expert witness to prove that he could not have been involved.
So, he asked Simeon Lee to invite me.
But Sugden said he didn't.
He did not want us to know that he had been in contact with Simeon Lee before.
Mr Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, must you go so soon? With regret, madame, we have to catch the train.
Monsieur Lee.
Mr Poirot, I wanted to thank you so very much.
Non, non, pas du tout.
It is a sad thing, non? To meet like this and at Christmas.
Au revoir, mon amie.
Monsieur Poirot! I wanted to say goodbye and to thank you.
Mademoiselle Lopez.
I suggest that, in future, you maintain your own identity.
It will cause, I am sure, much less of the complications.
Harry and I are going to Paris.
She knows she'll be safe with an old man like me.
- I'm sure she will, Monsieur Harry.
- Goodbye.
Oh, yes? Merry Christmas, Chief Inspector.
Oh, Poirot, you shouldn't have.
I have not yet thanked you for my present.
I hope you like them.
Oh, I do, very much.
Such wonderful colours.
Such workmanship.
Emily's been knitting those blessed gloves for months.
Ah, well, you must tell her how much I thank her and how much her skill is appreciated.
I will.
I will.
You're not going to wear them now, then? Non, non, mon ami.
These must be kept for best.
I shall wear them only when I go to church.