Race and Poirot discuss the implications of the fake pearls. Poirot is sure Linnet was wearing the real pearls at dinner the previous evening. They wonder if Miss Van Schuyler stole fake pearls or if Miss Bowers made the whole kleptomania story up to cover her own thievery.
Race and Poirot lay out the facts—it’s important to establish that the real pearls were, in fact, on the boat at some point, which narrows the possibilities of where they could have gone.
Race and Poirot begin a search of the cabins for the real pearls. They go through the rooms of Signor Richetti, Ferguson, Fanthorp, Louise, and Tim, finding no incriminating correspondence or handkerchiefs. They search especially carefully in Simon’s cabin but find nothing. They return to Linnet’s and the only thing that catches Poirot’s eye is two little bottles of nail polish, one of which is called “Nailex Rose” and is empty except for a little bit of dark red liquid at the bottom. Poirot says there’s something curious about this and that he needs to speak to Louise.
The Nailex Rose bottle may not seem particularly significant, but Poirot’s interest in it should be taken as a signal that it is a vital clue. The red liquid in the bottom of the vial is too dark to be considered “Rose,” suggesting someone replaced the contents with a different liquid. Dark red liquid could be used to fake blood—like Simon’s leg wound—although Dr. Bessner did confirm that Simon’s wound was real.
Race and Poirot continue the search, going through Miss Van Schuyler’s cabin, their own cabins, Miss Bowers’ cabin, and Rosalie and Mrs. Otterbourne’s cabin without finding anything of note. While searching Dr. Bessner’s cabin, they talk with the still-recuperating Simon, who confirms that Linnet didn’t travel with imitation pearls. They find nothing. While checking Pennington’s room, they find no pearls and all his documents seem to be legitimate. He does have a revolver in his drawer, but it’s too big to be the one that killed Linnet.
Race and Poirot’s search is fruitless, which deepens the mystery. Pennington in particular seems like someone who might’ve had incriminating documents pertaining to Linnet, but either he’s being very careful or the issue with the documents is a misunderstanding.
After leaving Pennington’s cabin, Poirot suggests Race search Jacqueline’s cabin, Cornelia’s cabin, and two empty cabins while Poirot goes back to speak to Simon. Poirot asks Simon if Linnet ever lent out her pearls. The question makes Simon embarrassed because he hasn’t known Linnet long enough to be sure. When Poirot suggests perhaps Linnet lent the pearls to Jacqueline, Simon gets worked up and claims Jacqueline isn’t a thief.
Though Simon doesn’t know if Linnet ever lent out her pearls, it was revealed in the first chapter that Joanna got a good look at them. Poirot may seem to be asking innocent questions, but he is in fact prodding Simon to see what sort of reaction he gets.
At this moment, Race comes in to Dr. Bessner’s cabin and announces to Poirot that he found nothing in his search. Just then, a steward and stewardess also come and announce that the search in the saloon was fruitless. Signor Richetti caused some trouble and had a gun on him (but not the kind that killed Linnet). Rosalie does, however, carry a small pistol. Meanwhile, they say, Louise can’t be found.
The presence of other guns on board is significant and hints at the possibility of more trouble ahead. It’s out of character that Rosalie would have a pistol, since she’s been characterized as mostly passive and sulky thus far. It’s perhaps less surprising that Richetti has a gun, particularly given his mysterious excursion away from the group earlier in the story.
Race wonders if Louise disappeared because she stole the pearls. He and Poirot begin a search for her, beginning with her cabin. At first, they don’t find anything, although they notice that one of her shoes is resting at an odd angle. When they look under the bed to investigate, they find Louise’s dead body.
The death of Louise is a shock because until the moment her body is discovered, she seemed like a minor character with little connection to the murder. Still, when Poirot interviewed her, she seemed to be holding back information—and perhaps what she knew was enough to get her killed.