Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

by

Agatha Christie

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M. Bouc, who is a friend of Poirot’s, is a high-ranking employee of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, the company that operates the Orient Express. As the murder of Mr. Ratchett is a considerable liability for the company, Bouc asks Poirot to solve the case. Whatever his talents as a train executive, Bouc is comically unsuited for detective work, as he seizes prematurely on bits of convenient evidence and proceeds according to personal prejudices, including his admitted dislike of Italians. Bouc provides a good foil for the careful, open-minded Poirot so that the latter can explain his thought process about the case to the reader by way of correcting Bouc’s misconceptions.

M. Bouc Quotes in Murder on the Orient Express

The Murder on the Orient Express quotes below are all either spoken by M. Bouc or refer to M. Bouc. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper edition of Murder on the Orient Express published in 2011.
Part 1 Chapter 3 Quotes

“And yet—it lends itself to romance, my friend. All around us are people, of all classes, of all nationalities, of all ages. For three days these people, these strangers to one another, are brought together.”

Related Characters: M. Bouc (speaker), Hercule Poirot
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1 Chapter 8 Quotes

“I will come to the moment when, after the parents had paid over the enormous sum of two hundred thousand dollars, the child's dead body was discovered; it had been dead for at least a fortnight. Public indignation rose to fever point. And there was worse to follow. Mrs. Armstrong was expecting another baby. Following the shock of the discovery, she gave birth prematurely to a dead child, and herself died. Her broken-hearted husband shot himself.”

Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2 Chapter 5 Quotes

"Without a doubt, that is the solution of the mystery. Doubtless he and this Ratchett were in this kidnapping business together. Cassetti is an Italian name. In some way Ratchett did on him what they call the double-cross. The Italian tracks him down, sends him warning letters first, and finally revenges himself upon him in a brutal way. It is all quite simple." Poirot shook his head doubtfully.

Related Characters: M. Bouc (speaker), Hercule Poirot, Antonio Foscarelli
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3 Chapter 5 Quotes

"It has this advantage," said Poirot. "If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it—often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect. That is the only way to conduct this case. I select each passenger in turn, consider his or her evidence, and say to myself, 'If so and so is lying, on what point is he lying, and what is the reason for the lie?' And I answer, 'If he is lying—if, you mark—it could only be for such a reason and on such a point.'”

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (speaker), M. Bouc
Page Number: 250-251
Explanation and Analysis:
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Murder on the Orient Express PDF

M. Bouc Character Timeline in Murder on the Orient Express

The timeline below shows where the character M. Bouc appears in Murder on the Orient Express. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1 Chapter 2
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
In the hotel restaurant, Poirot finds an old friend named Monsieur Bouc , a fellow Belgian and the  director of a train company. M. Bouc knew Poirot... (full context)
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Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
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The two Americans depart, and Poirot asks M. Bouc ’s opinion of them. M. Bouc agrees with Poirot’s negative opinion of Mr. Ratchett, and... (full context)
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
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M. Bouc escorts Poirot to the Orient Express, which he is also traveling on. When they reach... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 3
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Deception and Genre Expectations Theme Icon
On the next day, Poirot joins his friend M. Bouc in the train’s dining car. M. Bouc rhapsodizes about the passengers on the train, members... (full context)
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Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
...on Poirot but does not rest on him with the “nonchalance of the uninterested aristocrat.” M. Bouc clarifies that the lady is the Russian Princess Dragomiroff, an ugly but “cosmopolitan” woman who... (full context)
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Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
...pale skin, dark hair, and a “foreign-looking” face. Poirot describes her as “jolie” and “chic.” M. Bouc places them as a husband and wife associated with the Hungarian Embassy. (full context)
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National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
...MacQueen and Mr. Ratchett, and he once again notices the “false benevolence” in Ratchett’s appearance. M. Bouc returns to his compartment while Poirot listens to the American woman complain about Turkish currency,... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 4
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
The Orient Express pulls into Belgrade, at which point Poirot exchanges cabins with M. Bouc , who moves into the adjacent train car occupied only by a Greek doctor. As... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 5
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...things,” and Colonel Arbuthnot asks Poirot about the delay, confusing him for his fellow Belgian M. Bouc. (full context)
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M. Bouc calls for Poirot and tells him that Mr. Ratchett was stabbed to death last night.... (full context)
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M. Bouc implores Poirot to take the case while praising at length his powers of deduction and... (full context)
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In conversation with the conductor, Pierre Michel, and M. Bouc , Poirot determines that the train car was locked after dinner and no one could... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 6
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
...MacQueen is dismissed, and although Poirot is reluctant to remove anyone from suspicion prematurely, as M. Bouc suggests, the sober and genial MacQueen doesn’t seem capable of the crime. M. Bouc suggests... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 8
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Deception and Genre Expectations Theme Icon
Dining with M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine, Poirot announces that he’s discovered Mr. Ratchett’s real name: Cassetti, the man... (full context)
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Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Deception and Genre Expectations Theme Icon
...to Europe and changed his name. Given the scale of his crimes, neither Poirot nor M. Bouc can “regret” that he’s dead. (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 1
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Pierre Michel seeks validation from both Poirot and M. Bouc that he hasn’t been negligent in any way. They reassure and then dismiss him. (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 5
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After Greta Ohlsson’s departure, M. Bouc lobbies Poirot to call the Italian man who roomed with Masterman. M. Bouc is fixated... (full context)
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M. Bouc is untroubled by the clear alibi that Masterman offered for the Italian, but Poirot is... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 6
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Before moving on to the next witness, Poirot and M. Bouc ask Pierre Michel about the button that Mrs. Hubbard found. Pierre flies into a panic... (full context)
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...the previous night, she claims that she was in her cabin with her German maid, Hildegarde Schmidt, who massaged her to relieve her arthritis. (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 10
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Poirot observes that his friend M. Bouc will be delighted to call the Italian passenger, Antonio Foscarelli, because M. Bouc sees him... (full context)
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Even though there’s no evidence against Antonio, M. Bouc continues to suspect him, exclaiming “Italians use the knife! And they are great liars. I... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 12
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Poirot is confused by the interview with Ms. Debenham. He tells M. Bouc that he believes this was a premeditated crime, rather than a crime of passion, and... (full context)
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...of the compartments and walking swiftly past her in the other direction, a fact that M. Bouc particularly treats as sensational. The conductor passed her moving towards the dining car, ignoring a... (full context)
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M. Bouc sends for the three conductors so that Hildegarde can identify the man she saw. In... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 13
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Poirot, M. Bouc , and Dr. Constantine take stock of the evidence. They’re faced with a “small, dark... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 14
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...the door handle to Ratchett’s compartment. He notices the bolt is above the handle. When M. Bouc observes his fiddling with the door, Poirot says cryptically, “The same point does not strike... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 15
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...Debenham flatly refuses to talk further, and Poirot departs. Afterward, Poirot delivers a proverb to M. Bouc “Mon ami, if you wish to catch a rabbit you put a ferret into the... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 1
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Poirot, M. Bouc , and Dr. Constantine reconvene. M. Bouc again stresses his confusion with the case and... (full context)
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...voice that answered from Ratchett’s cabin at twenty-three minutes to one spoke in idiomatic French. M. Bouc finds this to be proof that Ratchett was dead at this time, but Poirot cautions... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 2
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M. Bouc narrows it down to Mrs. Hubbard, Mary Debenham (whose middle name is Hermione), and Hildegarde... (full context)
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At one point, M. Bouc “struggles in mental agony.” They try out several plausible and implausible theories, after which Poirot... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 3
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The three men think, but neither M. Bouc nor Dr. Constantine think very productively and are distracted by private, unrelated thoughts. Poirot awakens... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 4
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Poirot and M. Bouc go to the dining car to confront the Count and Countess with this new information.... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 5
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Alone again, M. Bouc expresses certainty to Poirot that the Countess is guilty, but Poirot reminds him that there... (full context)
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M. Bouc is shocked, objecting that her first name is Natalia, to which the Princess responds that... (full context)
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...Dr. Constantine concedes that it’s possible the “feebler ones” were inflicted by the Princess. Frustrated, M. Bouc laments the lies that the passengers have told them, but Poirot is unfazed by them.... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 7
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M. Bouc marvels at the “guess” that brought out Ms. Debenham’s former occupation. Poirot had already suspected... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 8
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M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine marvel at the carousel of emotional confessions and the coincidence of each... (full context)
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...states that he has known for “some time” who killed Mr. Ratchett and he asks M. Bouc to assemble the passengers in the dining car so that he can propose two solutions. (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 9
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...of that language.” He plans to give two solutions to the crime and then asks M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine to “judge” which is the correct one. (full context)
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...be found among the assembled passengers. But then he says that “was our theory” and M. Bouc exclaims in surprise. (full context)
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In response, Poirot moves on to a second theory. He alludes to M. Bouc ’s early comment that the train contained people of all classes and nationalities. The only... (full context)
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Poirot defers to M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine, who both suddenly decide that Poirot’s first theory is more credible after... (full context)