Louise searches Linnet’s belongings. Other than the pearls, which are definitely missing, everything else in order. Later, walking along the deck, Race tells Poirot about his theory that the splash Fanthorp heard may have been Jacqueline’s pistol being thrown overboard. Race suggests a search of the boat for the gun, but Poirot responds that they should wait before revealing what they know.
The confirmation that the pearls are missing adds another layer to the mystery, and the splash that Fanthorp heard continues to be another crucial element.
Poirot admits that the missing pearls make it look like robbery but finds it odd, since a robbery might cause a search while everybody is still stuck on the boat. Race and Poirot wonder if Louise knew more than she said. They agree they don’t trust her, but Poirot stops short of connecting her to the actual murder. Instead, he thinks it’s more likely she was involved with the robbery. They discuss finding the engineer Fleetwood that Louise mentioned when she spoke with them earlier.
Poirot hints that the missing pearls may not have been stolen, since a robbery in a confined space like the boat would only draw attention to the crime. His suspicion of Louise also matches up with her guilty behavior during her earlier conversation with Simon.
Race asks if there are any other “possibilities,” and Poirot brings up Pennington, the American trustee. He found it suspicious earlier when Pennington was trying to get Linnet to sign documents without reading them. Simon will sign anything, so Poirot muses if perhaps Pennington could have murdered Linnet in order to work with Simon. Race admits it’s possible but says there’s no evidence.
Pennington has one of the strongest motives out of the characters, but Race points out that none of the available evidence so far seems to point toward him.
Race then brings up Ferguson as a suspect. He also brings up “my fellow”—the agitator and murderer that Race has been looking for on the boat. They both admit that it’s unlikely Linnet was murdered by Race’s suspect, although Poirot raises that possibility that maybe Linnet discovered the man’s true identity and therefore needed to be silenced.
The link between Race’s man and the murderer isn’t clear yet (if there’s any link at all). Poirot’s suggestion that perhaps Linnet discovered the man’s secret identity is arguably the most plausible of the possibilities.
Soon after, Fleetwood is brought into the smoking room, and Poirot remembers seeing him talking with Louise earlier. Fleetwood is alarmed when Poirot says they know a reason why Fleetwood would be mad at Linnet. After some protestation, Fleetwood admits that Louise’s story is generally accurate and that Linnet really did interfere with his potential marriage to Marie. Fleetwood was angry to see Linnet lording about on the boat in her expensive pearls, but he maintains he didn’t shoot her and that he was asleep in his bunk, with an alibi from a fellow worker.
Fleetwood’s anger over Linnet preventing his marriage underscores her selfishness, though she seemed to think of her interference as doing Marie and Fleetwood a favor. Despite having a solid motive, Fleetwood remains a minor character in the story. Though his anger toward Linnet seems genuine, he seems to have a solid alibi.
Race says the next thing to do is establish the time of the crime. Poirot comments that he himself heard nothing—that he slept so soundly it was almost as if he had been drugged. They decide to speak with Tim and Mrs. Allerton, who are soon brought in. Mrs. Allerton says she went to bed at 10:30 p.m., but she vaguely recalls hearing a splash and running footsteps, perhaps within an hour of falling asleep. After establishing that Mrs. Allerton doesn’t personally know Linnet, Poirot asks if Mrs. Allerton had ever suffered any financial loss due to Linnet’s father, but she denies it.
Poirot’s comment that he slept as if he had been drugged may, in fact, be true. Since Poirot’s reputation precedes him, a smart murderer would specifically try to keep Poirot from observing important events. There is precedent in other Christie stories, like Murder on the Orient Express, where the murderer interacts directly with Poirot. The Allertons are not major suspects in the case, though comparing the testimony of various passengers will be important in the coming chapters.
Tim gets asked the same questions as Mrs. Allerton. He says he got into bed at 10:30 p.m., then read for a little over half an hour. After that, he heard a man’s voice saying goodnight—Race interjects that this was him speaking to Linnet. Later, after going to sleep, Tim remembers waking up to a commotion and hearing somebody call Fanthorp. Amid the commotion, he heard a splash. Poirot wonders if the splash wasn’t in fact a shot, and Tim says he did hear a cork pop. He wonders if the pop was actually the shot, or if the pop confused him and made him think of the splash of a drink being poured out. That’s all Tim knows, so they let him leave.
Tim doesn’t add a whole lot of new information and isn’t sure of what he saw and heard. Overall, his testimony seems to line up with what other passengers have said so far.