Recurring Characters in the Hercule Poirot stories
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Captain Arthur Hastings
Hastings first meets Poirot during his years as a private detective in Europe and almost immediately after they both arrive in England, becomes his lifelong partner and appears in many of the novels and stories. Poirot's view of Hastings was of a man with plenty of imagination but not a great deal of brains.
It must also be said that Hastings was a man who was capable of great bravery and courage when the road got rough, facing death unflinchingly when confronted by the Big Four and possessing unwavering loyalty towards Poirot. When forced to choose between Poirot and his wife in that novel, he chose Poirot.
The two were an airtight team until Hastings met and married Dulcie Duveen, a beautiful music hall performer half his age, which was not objectionable in the late Victorian, Edwardian world. They later emigrated to Argentina leaving Poirot behind a "very unhappy old man."
Poirot's secretary, Miss Lemon, has few human weaknesses and the only two mistakes she is ever recorded making is a typing error during the events of Hickory Dickory Dock and the mis-mailing of an electric bill. Poirot described her as being "Unbelievably ugly and incredibly efficient. Anything that she mentioned as worth consideration usually was worth consideration." She is an expert on nearly everything and plans to create the perfect filing system. Interesting enough is the fact that she once worked for the government agent-turned-philanthropist, Parker Pyne. Whether this was during one of Poirot's numerous retirements or before she entered his employ is unknown.
Chief Inspector Japp
Japp is an Inspector from Scotland Yard and appears in many of the stories, trying to solve the cases Poirot is working on. Japp is an outward going, loud and sometimes inconsiderate man by nature and his relationship with the bourgeois Belgian is one of the stranger aspects of Poirot's world. He first met Poirot in Belgium, 1904, during the Abercrombie Forgery and later that year joined forces again to hunt down a criminal known as Baron Altara. They have also meet in England where Poirot often helps Japp solve a few cases and lets him take the credit in return for special favours. These favours usually entail being supplied with cases that would interest him.
George the Butler
In addition to these regular characters, it is noteworthy that all the gentlemen in the novels have butlers; Poirot's butler is the most incurable snob he could find. George (we are never told his last name) is a classic English valet and first entered Poirot's employ in 1923 and didn't leave his side until the 1970s, shortly before Poirot's death. A competent, matter-of-fact man, with an extensive knowledge of the English aristocracy and absolutely no imagination, George provides a steady contrast to Hastings.
|First appearance||The Man in the Brown Suit|
|Last appearance||Sparkling Cyanide|
|Created by||Agatha Christie|
|Portrayed by||David Niven
|Occupation||Secret Service Agent|
Race is a highly intelligent ex-Army Colonel who had a stint as a leader of the counter intelligence division of the British spy agency MI5. He is immensely rich, having inherited the fortune of "Sir Lawrence Eardsley". The Colonel starred as a detective in four of Christie's books, most notably as Hercule Poirot's good friend in Cards on the Table and Death on the Nile. He also appears in Sparkling Cyanide and The Man in the Brown Suit. He is known for his patience, composure, and ability to quickly detect facts without anyone else noticing. The Man in the Brown Suit is perhaps the only novel in which the emotional side of Colonel Race's nature has been given consideration. It gives a whole new depth to his personality.
In the 1978 film of Death on the Nile Colonel Race was played by David Niven. In the same book's 2004 TV adaptation for the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot, he was played by James Fox. As Fox was unavailable for the 2006 adaptation of Cards on the Table the character was replaced by the similar character "Colonel Hughes", played by Robert Pugh. In the BBC Radio 4 adaptations of Death on the Nile (1997) and Cards on the Table (2002), Race was played by Donald Sinden. ITV's adaptation of The Clocks makes the character of Colin Lamb, strongly implied in the book to be the son of Superintendent Battle, into the offspring of Colonel Race.
His first name is given as "Johnnie" by a minor character in Sparkling Cyanide. In the film of Death on the Nile, he is called "Johnny." The 2002 ITV adaptation of Sparkling Cyanide featured Oliver Ford Davies as "Colonel Geoffrey Reece."
- Patricia D. Maida, Nicholas B. Spornick, Murder she wrote: a study of Agatha Christie's detective fiction, Popular Press, 1982, p.154.