When Miss Bowers comes out of Dr. Bessner’s cabin, Jacqueline stops talking with Cornelia and demands that Miss Bowers tell her how Simon is doing. Miss Bowers says with a bit of worry that there’s always danger of infection. When Miss Bowers reveals that Simon’s temperature is rising, Jacqueline is distraught.
Jacqueline and Simon’s strange relationship continues: Jacqueline continues to be extremely worried about Simon’s health, even though she’s the one who shot him the previous evening.
In tears, Jacqueline finds Poirot and sobs that Simon will die and she’s killed him. She says she loved him and Poirot adds, “Too much,” thinking just what he did when he first saw Simon and Jacqueline at Chez Ma Tante. He reassures Jacqueline that nurses like Miss Bowers are naturally pessimistic.
It still isn’t entirely clear what Poirot is thinking when he suggests that Jacqueline loved Simon “too much.” What is clear is that Jacqueline’s love for Simon (whether current or past) is making her behave irrationally.
Poirot goes back onto the deck where Race once more comes to find him. Race complains that they’re still in the dark, but Poirot reveals that he’s had an idea ever since the death of Louise. Poirot recaps some important clues but is hesitant to say his hypothesis while there are still things to clear up, which Race respects. Poirot says they must rethink everything because their initial ideas were wrong, although he maintains that the pistol’s removal from the crime scene is an important clue that is at the center of his new theory.
It would be anticlimactic if Poirot just revealed everything, particularly with so much of the book left, so he continues to be vague. Race is, in a way, a stand-in for the reader—he’s able to figure some things out but is still in the dark compared to Poirot. Poirot continues to obsess over the pistol, which again suggests that figuring out who moved it and way will be crucial to solving the murders.
Race and Poirot go to see Bessner, who reluctantly allows them to ask one question of Simon. Race asks Simon if he can tell them some more about the time when Linnet opened Signor Richetti’s telegram by accident and it caused him to get unreasonably angry. Simon recounts that Linnet opened it because the bad handwriting made Richetti look like Ridgeway and that Linnet couldn’t make much of the contents. Race asks Simon if he knew the contents of the telegram, and Simon says yes—but before he can elaborate, there’s a commotion outside.
Simon is coherent and doesn’t seem sick, apparently confirming Poirot’s suspicion that Miss Bowers is a pessimist. The intercepted telegram was a suspicious event earlier, and it was never properly resolved. Unfortunately, it won’t be resolved here either, because of the sudden interruption.
Mrs. Otterbourne has come, requesting to speak to Poirot and Race immediately. Since Dr. Bessner hasn’t closed the cabin door, she can speak to them, and she dramatically tells Simon that she knows who killed his wife. She draws out the moment, claiming that she knows with certainty not only who killed Linnet but also who killed Louise. Race doubts this, but Mrs. Otterbourne says she saw with her own eyes.
There is ample reason to doubt Mrs. Otterbourne at this point, given how useless her testimony was earlier. Still, a surprising revelation from an overlooked character would be a classic mystery twist.
Mrs. Otterbourne begins telling a long-winded story, savoring her moment in the spotlight. She alludes to an arrangement with a crew member who secretly procures her something she needs (which Poirot immediately recognizes as alcohol). While rendezvousing with him, she saw Louise go in her cabin. Soon after, someone that Louise seemed to be expecting knocked on her cabin door and went in. Race asks who this person was, but before Mrs. Otterbourne can answer, there’s a Bang!
Mrs. Otterbourne’s flair for the dramatic gets the better of her. She is undone by her vices: first she saw something she shouldn’t have because she was getting alcohol. And here, she takes so long to tell her story (because she loves that spotlight) that someone manages to shoot her before she can reach the end. Out of all the deaths, hers is the most comic. Poirot and Race were even joking earlier about how they wished Mrs. Otterbourne had been murdered instead—of course never suspecting that such a thing would actually happen. That someone killed Mrs. Otterbourne just before she was about to reveal who went into Louise’s cabin implies that this information is crucial for solving Louise’s murder—and that whoever killed Mrs. Otterbourne is likely the same person who killed Louise.
There’s a smell of smoke as Mrs. Otterbourne slumps down with an apparent gunshot wound in her head. Race bends down to examine her while Poirot leaps out to look for a culprit. The deck however is empty, except for a big Colt revolver on the ground. Poirot sprints toward the stern and finds Tim Allerton running in the opposite direction, toward the noise he just heard. When Poirot asks, Tim says he saw no one else on his way over. Poirot heads back, where a small crowd has gathered: Jacqueline, Rosalie, Cornelia, Ferguson, Fanthorp, and Mrs. Allerton.
While Agatha Christie sometimes subverts the tropes of the mystery genre, this particular scene is pure melodrama. The Colt revolver isn’t the one Race found in the dining saloon, although its owner will soon be identified.
Race borrows a glove from Tim and examines the revolver. He reveals that Fanthorp and Ferguson were sitting in the deck lounge and didn’t see anyone run that way. Race identifies the revolver as possibly Pennington’s, then goes to Pennington’s cabin to confirm that the revolver from his drawer is in fact gone. The gun has no fingerprints.
This evidence looks bad for Pennington, though the lack of fingerprints (along with the fact that the killer deliberately dropped the gun) could both point to someone else stealing the revolver.
Race and Poirot find Pennington writing letters on the deck below, apparently oblivious to the shot. He is shocked to hear Mrs. Otterbourne has been shot. Race asks Pennington how long he’s been in the room he is currently occupying, and Pennington says about twenty minutes. Race then informs him that Mrs. Otterbourne was shot with his revolver.
Pennington is shifty, and it’s unclear whether his shock is genuine or feigned. The chapter ends on a cliffhanger, with the consequences of Mrs. Otterbourne’s murder to be explored in the following chapter.