Race is astonished as he looks at the pearls Miss Bowers has placed on the table. She explains that Miss Van Schuyler was the one to take the pearls from Linnet’s cabin. It turns out Miss Van Schuyler is a kleptomaniac and Miss Bowers found the pearls in her stockings that morning. Miss Bowers didn’t return the pearls earlier because of the murder and because she didn’t want to cause a scandal. Poirot thanks Miss Bowers for coming forward.
It's possible Miss Bowers is lying, but kleptomania is a plausible explanation because it’s consistent with Miss Van Schuyler acting like she has a secret. It’s ironic that a woman as rich as Miss Van Schuyler would still be a kleptomaniac, and in some ways, this recalls the biblical story of the rich man taking the poor man’s ewe lamb that Poirot quoted earlier (though, of course, Linnet is anything but poor).
Poirot asks seriously if Miss Van Schuyler’s mental illness is so severe that it might lead her to commit murder, but Miss Bowers answers no, with no hesitation. Miss Van Schuyler does, however, suffer from partial hearing loss, according to Miss Bowers, which explains why she wouldn’t have heard people moving around in Linnet’s cabin.
It might be reasonable to expect, based on what Miss Bowers just revealed, that Miss Van Schuyler is a potential murderer—but since Miss Bowers is a reliable witness, her confident testimony puts that possibility to rest. Miss Van Schuyler’s hearing loss is significant because it calls into question all of her previous testimony.
After Miss Bowers leaves, Poirot and Race discuss possibilities. Poirot believes part of Miss Van Schuyler’s testimony may still be true—that she saw Rosalie—but he doubts that she heard what she claimed to hear. Poirot fills Race in about his previous conversation with Rosalie and how she was throwing away her mother, Mrs. Otterbourne’s, alcohol. Since Van Schuyler is partly deaf, Poirot and Race deduce that the only one who would’ve had a chance to really hear what was going on was Pennington. They resolve to see him again with “the kid gloves removed.”
As per usual, Race and Poirot recap some major plot points to help set the stakes. The book ups the suspense by making Pennington a character with key information—it’s already clear that he is suspicious and that he has a potentially shady business interest in Linnet’s affairs.
Just then, Poirot holds the pearls up to the light and licks them. He admits he’s not an expert on precious gems, but he’s fairly certain that these pearls are an imitation.
The fake pearls add a twist on top of a twist, as this may imply that Mrs. Bowers is covering up what happened to the real ones. Solving the mystery of where the pearls went will not be so easy after all.