Early the next day, as Poirot begins a walk from the hotel down into town, Simon Doyle joins him. Simon brings up the conversation that Linnet and Poirot had the previous evening. He says he’s glad at least that Poirot helped Linnet realize there isn’t any legal action they can take against Jacqueline. Simon notes that because of her wealthy upbringing, Linnet believes everything can be solved by simply calling the police. But Simon adds that it’s outrageous that Linnet should have to suffer Jacqueline following her around everywhere. He asks if Poirot has also talked to Jacqueline and if he got her to be reasonable. Poirot says he talked to her but couldn’t make her give upon her revenge.
In this chapter, Simon finally tells his side of the story. He doesn’t add a whole lot of new information: like Linnet, Simon finds it unbearable that Jacqueline should be the one in power. Also like Linnet, he doesn’t seem to have accepted yet that in this particular situation, Poirot is powerless to stop Jacqueline if she is really committed to taking action against Linnet.
Simon vents to Poirot about how “indecent” Jacqueline’s stalking behavior has been. He says he’d understand her revenge better if she took real action, like attempting to shoot him. Poirot asks if this sort of violence would be in character for her, and he says yes, Jacqueline is “hot-blooded.” Simon says that Jacqueline’s stalking is making Linnet anxious and that he himself would like to strangle Jacqueline. Poirot asks if that means he no longer loves Jacqueline, and Simon explains his current love for Linnet by comparing her to the sun and Jacqueline to the moon—Linnet is so bright like the sun that he can’t even see a moon like Jacqueline.
The fact that Simon uses the exact same metaphor as Jacqueline is very interesting, and it’s definitely a clue that Poirot picks up on. Perhaps it is just a sign that the two of them have very similar ways of thinking, even after breaking up, or perhaps it is a sign that they’ve had a conversation about the topic before.
Looking embarrassed, Simon asks Poirot if Jacqueline told him that he married Linnet solely to get his hands on her fortune. He stridently denies this was the case—he says, “It—it—sounds a caddish thing to say, but Jackie was too fond of me!” He says a man doesn’t want to feel like a woman owns him. Poirot asks if that’s how he felt about Jacqueline and Simon admits it was, even though Jacqueline didn’t realize how possessive she was being.
Simon’s behavior throughout this chapter suggests that he is hiding something. The obvious secret would be that he only married Linnet to try to get her money, but Simon explicitly brings this possibility up to dismiss it. The fact that Jacqueline cares too much comes up again—this is similar to what Poirot noted about her when he first saw her in the restaurant. This observation introduces the idea that love isn’t always a positive force—it can become obsessive and destructive.
Simon asks Poirot why Jacqueline can’t just take his rejection of her “like a man.” Poirot smiles and notes that she is not, in fact, a man. Simon insists that he’d be insane to marry Jacqueline if he didn’t love her, especially after seeing “the lengths she is likely to go to.” Poirot probes to see what Simon means by this. He asks if Simon knows that Jacqueline carries a pistol in her bag. Simon shakes his head, but he asserts that Jacqueline wouldn’t actually kill anyone—perhaps she might’ve earlier, but now she wants a different type of revenge.
Simon does not seem particularly concerned to learn that Jacqueline carries a pistol—though Jacqueline herself showed the pistol to Poirot and admitted to fantasizing about killing Simon and Linnet.
Simon tells Poirot that his real concern is how Linnet will cope with Jacqueline’s stalking. He talks about an elaborate plan they have to skip town using fake names to book a Nile steamer boat called the Karnak that goes to Wadi Halfa, and from there, they’ll move on to exotic new locations. Poirot notes that eventually, Jacqueline will run out of money and be unable to keep following them. Simon admits this is a clever observation, since Jacqueline is indeed poor. Poirot asks how she made it so far already, and Simon suggests she must have sold off most of her assets to do what she’s doing, meaning she’ll soon run out of money.
Once again, Linnet’s wealth becomes a significant plot point. Though it seems that Jacqueline has found a way to make stalking Linnet and Simon possible, Poirot rightfully notes that this is only temporary—if they keep traveling, eventually Jacqueline will run out of money to follow them. This is important because it suggests that Linnet’s anxiety could be a little exaggerated. She could still easily find a way to outrun Jacqueline—she just doesn’t do so because she’s too proud.
Poirot notices that the thought of Jacqueline being penniless seems to make Simon uncomfortable. Aloud, Poirot admits that Simon’s plan to escape may be successful, even though it is ultimately “a retreat.” Simon says seriously that someday they may indeed have to stand and fight Jacqueline. “There’s no reason why women shouldn’t behave like rational beings,” he says. Poirot quips that sometimes it’s worse when women are rational.
The idea that women are irrational has long been a sexist stereotype. Here, it seems that the statement is mostly meant to highlight Simon’s own ignorance, with Poirot politely indulging him.
Poirot mentions that he himself was also already scheduled to be on the Karnak (the same Nile steamer that Linnet and Simon will be using to hopefully escape Jacqueline). Poirot insists, however, that this coincidence has nothing to do with Simon, Linnet, or Jacqueline—that his trip was booked well in advance in London. Poirot says that he is a meticulous planner. Simon jokingly responds that a murderer would probably be just as meticulous as Poirot. While Poirot agrees, he then adds that one of his most challenging cases involved a crime committed impulsively. Simon says he’d like to hear more, but Poirot says he doesn’t like to engage in shop talk.
Simon’s comment that Poirot is like a murderer actually speaks to Poirot’s skill—after all, in order to be a good detective, Poirot must think like a murderer. This duality—how good is often related to evil and vice versa—is at the heart of Death on the Nile and will help explain several of the characters’ motivations.
Simon mentions to Poirot that he’d be thrilled to hear a detective’s shop talk and that Mrs. Allerton (who will also be sailing the Nile in the Karnak with her son, Tim) has been waiting for a chance to talk with the famous detective. Poirot asks if Mrs. Allerton knows about Simon’s troubles, to which Simon replies that nobody does, saying, “I’ve gone on the principle that it's better not to trust anybody.”
Simon’s reluctance to tell people other than Poirot about his problem suggests a typical attitude of upper-class Britons at the time—not wanting to do anything that would cause a scandal. This passage once again establishes Poirot’s fame and reputation in the story, which mirrored his character’s fame among readers in the real world.
Poirot asks Simon about a third person who’s been traveling with him and Linnet: Andrew Pennington (Linnet’s American trustee). Simon says they met Pennington by chance meeting in Cairo. Poirot delicately asks if Linnet is “of age.” An amused Simon confirms that she isn’t yet 21 but that she doesn’t need anyone else’s permission to marry. He talks about how Pennington left New York on a boat called the Carmanic two days before Linnet’s letter about her marriage to Simon arrived (and thus how Pennington was surprised to learn in Cairo that Linnet was married).
Pennington’s role in the story, which up until this point has been vague, begins to get a little clearer. Poirot intuitively realizes that Pennington must have some involvement with Linnet’s inheritance and that her marriage changed the plan.
Simon tells Poirot that he learned in Cairo that Pennington was taking the same Nile trip as Simon and Linnet. It’s been a relief, since Pennington helps Linnet keep her mind off Jacqueline by talking about unrelated things. Poirot asks if Linnet has confided anything in Pennington, and Simon says no, he’d hoped the whole Jacqueline problem would be finished before their Nile trip. “You have not seen the end of it yet,” says Poirot. “No—the end is not yet at hand. I am very sure of that.”
Pennington’s side of the story was already revealed in the first chapter—it’s clear that he has some stake in Linnet’s finances. So, as Simon tells the story to Poirot, it’s clear that he’s been deceived and that he’s underestimating Pennington. His suggestion that the problem with Jacqueline might be resolved soon further highlights Simon’s naivete.
When Simon says he doesn’t find Poirot’s prediction particularly comforting, Poirot thinks to himself that “the Anglo-Saxon, he takes nothing seriously but playing games! He does not grow up.” Poirot believes that Linnet and Jacqueline are taking this matter seriously, but that Simon is acting with “nothing but male impatience and annoyance.”
Poirot implies that Simon isn’t particularly bright or mature. His comment about male impatience contrasts with Simon’s earlier comments about irrational women, implying that men can be just as irrational and emotionally driven.
Poirot then asks what he describes as an “impertinent” question: if it was Simon’s idea to honeymoon in Egypt. Simon admits that he’d prefer literally anywhere else, but that Linnet’s mind was made up. Poirot notes that once Linnet sets her mind on something, she usually gets it. He has now heard three separate accounts of the events (from Linnet, from Jacqueline, and from Simon) and muses to himself, “Which of them is nearest to the truth?”
It is telling that Linnet would insist on Egypt as the place for their honeymoon, since that’s the same place that Jacqueline and Simon had originally planned to go for their honeymoon. This hints that Linnet may have had ulterior motives in marrying Simon, and that she wanted to hurt Jacqueline by making her feel replaced. Poirot, meanwhile, draws attention to the fact that all the characters he’s just spoken with have their own agendas, and that the real version of the truth probably doesn’t line up exactly with any of them.