Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

by

Agatha Christie

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Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti Character Analysis

Mr. Ratchett is an older man in his sixties traveling with Mr. MacQueen, whom Poirot first encounters at a hotel in Istanbul. Ratchett immediately gives off a sinister impression to Poirot, to the extent that when Ratchett appeals to the detective to investigate a possible attempt on his life, Poirot refuses to take on the case. Over the course of the novel, Poirot determines that Mr. Ratchett is actually Cassetti, an American criminal who was nearly convicted of the murder of Daisy Armstrong but escaped punishment using bribery. The twelve passengers on the Orient Express, who were each connected to Daisy or the Armstrong family in some way, collectively murder Ratchett on the train. Ratchett’s guilt is never in doubt, and he’s an evil enough person that Poirot suggests an alternate explanation for his murder so the twelve passengers can escape punishment for murdering him.

Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti Quotes in Murder on the Orient Express

The Murder on the Orient Express quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti or refer to Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti. 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 2 Quotes

He was a man perhaps of between sixty and seventy. From a little distance he had the bland aspect of a philanthropist. His slightly bald head, his domed forehead, the smiling mouth that displayed a very white set of false teeth—all seemed to speak of a benevolent personality. Only the eyes belied this assumption. They were small, deep-set and crafty. Not only that. As the man, making some remark to his young companion, glanced across the room, his gaze stopped on Poirot for a moment and just for that second there was a strange malevolence, an unnatural tensity in the glance.

Page Number: 17-18
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1 Chapter 3 Quotes

“Name your figure, then," he said. Poirot shook his head. "You do not understand, Monsieur. I have been very fortunate in my profession. I have made enough money to satisfy both my needs and my caprices. I take now only such cases as-interest me."

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (speaker), Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti (speaker)
Page Number: 32
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 8 Quotes

"In fact, Colonel Arbuthnot, you prefer law and order to private vengeance?" "Well, you can't go about having blood feuds and stabbing each other like Corsicans or the Mafia," said the Colonel. "Say what you like, trial by jury is a sound system."

Related Characters: Colonel Arbuthnot (speaker), Hercule Poirot, Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3 Chapter 9 Quotes

I remembered that MacQueen had called attention, not once but twice (and the second time in a very blatant manner), to the fact that Ratchett could speak no French. I came to the conclusion that the whole business at twenty-three minutes to one was a comedy played for my benefit! Anyone might see through the watch business—it is a common enough device in detective stories.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (speaker), Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti, Hector MacQueen
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

“I would have stabbed that man twelve times willingly. It wasn't only that he was responsible for my daughter's death and her child's and that of the other child who might have been alive and happy now. It was more than that: there had been other children kidnapped before Daisy, and there might be others in the future. Society had condemned him—we were only carrying out the sentence.”

Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti Character Timeline in Murder on the Orient Express

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Ratchett / Cassetti appears in Murder on the Orient Express. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1 Chapter 2
Justice Theme Icon
National Identity and International Connections Theme Icon
Detective Methods and Inner Lives Theme Icon
...in a “queer, soft, dangerous” voice. The younger man assents, calling the older man Mr. Ratchett. (full context)
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...asks M. Bouc’s opinion of them. M. Bouc agrees with Poirot’s negative opinion of Mr. Ratchett, and Poirot describes Ratchett as a “wild animal” and a “savage.” They note the contrast... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 3
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Finally, Poirot glances at the two Americans from the hotel, Hector MacQueen and Mr. Ratchett, and he once again notices the “false benevolence” in Ratchett’s appearance. M. Bouc returns to... (full context)
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As the dining car clears, Ratchett approaches Poirot and sits down. He correctly identifies Poirot and seems to recognize him by... (full context)
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Poirot refuses Ratchett’s offer, but the man continues to press him, offering a large sum. The detective states... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 4
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Poirot passes Ratchett in his cabin, who gives him a hostile look and shuts the door. Mrs. Hubbard... (full context)
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...is stopped. Peering into the hallway, he sees the conductor (Pierre Michel) check in on Ratchett and a voice responds in French that everything is okay. (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 5
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M. Bouc calls for Poirot and tells him that Mr. Ratchett was stabbed to death last night. He also elaborates about the delay, noting that it... (full context)
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Further details of the murder follow. Ratchett was discovered by the conductor at 11 that morning, but his door was locked and... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 6
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Poirot begins by notifying Mr. MacQueen of Ratchett’s death. MacQueen begins in “laborious” French, but soon lapses into English, which Poirot is conversant... (full context)
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MacQueen doesn’t seem especially surprised at Ratchett’s death, saying, “so they got him after all.” He explains his history with Ratchett, relating... (full context)
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MacQueen supplies Poirot with several threatening letters sent to Ratchett and written in an over-the-top style: “We’re going to GET you—see?” The most recent was... (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 7
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 Poirot is taken to view Ratchett’s body in his cabin. Inside, the window is open, which Poirot thinks was intended to... (full context)
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Dr. Constantine concludes that Ratchett was stabbed twelve times, but some blows are glancing while others are deep, some delivered... (full context)
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Poirot begins to search the cabin. He finds a loaded gun under Ratchett’s pillow, and a mixture of a sleeping draught nearby. (full context)
Part 1 Chapter 8
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Dining with M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine, Poirot announces that he’s discovered Mr. Ratchett’s real name: Cassetti, the man responsible for the murder of Daisy Armstrong. Two respected and... (full context)
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...man.” But he escaped justice on a technical inaccuracy. Poirot concludes that the murdered Mr. Ratchett was actually this Cassetti from America, having fled to Europe and changed his name. Given... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 1
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...night, including ones that Poirot himself witnessed. Pierre relates that only Mr. MacQueen was in Ratchett’s cabin that night. After hearing the groan that woke Poirot, Pierre rapped on the door... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 2
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...attorney who unsuccessfully prosecuted Cassetti. He even says that he’d have been willing to kill Ratchett himself, had he known, but he admits, “Seems I’m kind of incriminating myself.” (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 3
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Poirot calls Mr. Ratchett’s personal valet, Edward Masterman, a sober-minded and proper British man with an “inexpressive face.” He... (full context)
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Masterman implies that he didn’t care much for Ratchett, although he’s too mannered to say so until Poirot reveals that Ratchett was responsible for... (full context)
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...night. Before dismissing him, Poirot asks him whether there was bad blood between MacQueen and Ratchett, which he denies by saying “Mr. MacQueen was a very pleasant gentleman.” Finally, Poirot asks... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 4
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...“soothe” her rather than taking her seriously. She asked him to check the door into Ratchett’s room, which wasn’t bolted. Telling her story, Mrs. Hubbard quickly grows impatient with the investigators’... (full context)
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Poirot asks her whether the door to Ratchett’s room was bolted when she went to sleep, and Mrs. Hubbard says that she had... (full context)
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...Hubbard had spoken to the Swedish woman, who was upset because she had mistakenly entered Ratchett’s room. Ratchett made a cruel sexual joke about her being “too old.” (full context)
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Poirot then tells Mrs. Hubbard about Ratchett’s connection to the Armstrong case, and while she’s familiar with it, calling Cassetti a “monster,”... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 5
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...stay with family in Lausanne, Switzerland. She confirms Mrs. Hubbard’s story, including her encounter with Ratchett, from which Poirot moves on “tactfully.”   (full context)
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...denies. She praises Americans for their financial investments in schools and hospitals. When informed that Ratchett was the man who killed Daisy Armstrong, Greta becomes emotional and leaves with her “eyes... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 6
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...Armstrongs through Sonia’s mother Linda Arden. As a result, she finds it entirely just that Ratchett, the man who ruined them, is dead. She alludes to a much younger sister of... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 7
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...“English tweeds” who “might have been taken for an Englishman.” Poirot reveals to him that Ratchett was the murderer of Daisy Armstrong, but his response is muted. The Count has, however,... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 8
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...but remembers Colonel Armstrong after Poirot nudges him towards the correct man. When informed that Ratchett was the man who kidnapped Daisy, Colonel Arbuthnot approves of his death, but he would... (full context)
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...the interview, finding it hard to believe that an “honourable, slightly stupid Englishman” would stab Ratchett twelve times. He insists that “one must respect the psychology.” (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 9
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Hardman reveals that he received the same offer of a job from Ratchett that Poirot did, but Hardman accepted. Ratchett even gave him a physical description of his... (full context)
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...new piece of information, that a small, dark man with a feminine voice was after Ratchett. Poirot observes that no one on the train fits that description. (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 10
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...all night, and Antonio claims that Masterman never expressed any displeasure with his boss, Mr. Ratchett, as he “did not speak” at all. Afterward, he signs a document for Poirot and... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 11
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...claiming ignorance. Unlike some other passengers, she merely shrugs when she hears the nature of Ratchett’s murder and notes that “people die every day.” Poirot responds that “you are very Anglo-Saxon.” (full context)
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...worried that she’s a suspect for the murder as she was the last to see Ratchett alive. Poirot confirms Greta’s alibi and tells Ms. Debenham that Greta is not a prime... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 12
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...identify the man she saw. In the meantime, Poirot asks whether the handkerchief found in Ratchett’s room is hers. Hildegarde responds “I? Oh, no, Monsieur,” which Poirot finds odd, hearing a... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 13
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...to take clues and information as fact than M. Bouc. The irrefutable fact is that Ratchett was stabbed twelve times early that morning. But Poirot notes that the stopped pocket watch... (full context)
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...has been extensively searched, or disguised as one of the known passengers so completely that Ratchett wouldn’t recognize him. (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 14
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...in the oriental style which Dr. Constantine says could have been used for any of Ratchett’s twelve wounds. Poirot says in mock-weariness, “Two people decided to stab M. Ratchett last night.... (full context)
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...dismissive of the murder weapon and instead removes the sponge-bag from the door handle to Ratchett’s compartment. He notices the bolt is above the handle. When M. Bouc observes his fiddling... (full context)
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Poirot tries the door to Ratchett’s cabin and can’t get through, as they had locked the door on the other side.... (full context)
Part 2 Chapter 15
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...Colonel Arbuthnot. In the search, Poirot finds pipe-cleaners that match exactly the one found in Ratchett’s cabin. Arbuthnot seems untroubled by the focus on the pipe-cleaners and notes that he always... (full context)
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...loved Sonia Armstrong and projects that Poirot thinks she would not “soil my hands” with Ratchett’s murder. She openly claims that she would have liked to have her servants “flog” Ratchett.... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 1
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...offers a significant detail as an example: MacQueen said he was brought on to assist Ratchett with languages, yet the voice that answered from Ratchett’s cabin at twenty-three minutes to one... (full context)
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...them. They are of various nationalities. Colonel Arbuthnot has the evidence of the pipe-cleaner in Ratchett’s room. Princess Dragomiroff has a strong motive, as she was very close to the Armstrongs. (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 2
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Dr. Constantine then raises the issue of multiple murderers acting independently. He cites as evidence Ratchett’s wounds, as some are deep and other are superficial, and some suggest a left-handed murderer... (full context)
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...all the facts arranged before them.  He notes, “one or more of those passengers killed Ratchett. Which of them?” (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 3
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Poirot brings up a major constraint on any planned attempt to murder Ratchett: the blizzard. He reasons that the culprit planned to depict the murder as an outside... (full context)
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Continuing with his theory, Poirot brings up the threatening letters Ratchett received. He notes they sounded as if they were “lifted bodily out of an indifferently... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 4
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The Countess gives an impassioned excuse that Ratchett had destroyed the three people “I loved best and who made up my home—my world!”... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 5
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...“You did not ask me.” She has no idea how her handkerchief ended up in Ratchett’s room, but Poirot suspects that she’s lying. (full context)
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...with the doctor to determine whether it’s physically possible that she inflicted the wounds on Ratchett. Dr. Constantine concedes that it’s possible the “feebler ones” were inflicted by the Princess. Frustrated,... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 8
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While denying the murder, Antonio rails against Ratchett calling him “a pig.” He alludes to some trouble with the police in connection with... (full context)
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...been there as I was…” Although she doesn’t admit to the murder, she rejoices that Ratchett is dead. (full context)
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Poirot 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... (full context)
Part 3 Chapter 9
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Poirot sets out the parameters of what they’ve discovered. Mr. Ratchett was stabbed between midnight and two that morning and that at 12:30, the train was... (full context)
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...conductor’s uniform, snuck on the train at Belgrade or Vincovci, With the pass-key, he entered Ratchett’s cabin through Mrs. Hubbard’s, stabbed him twelve times with the knife, abandoned the uniform in... (full context)
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...Poirot responds somewhat unsatisfactorily. The inconsistent time on the broken pocket watch is explained by Ratchett forgetting to wind the watch. The voice from Ratchett’s cabin at 12:37 is explained by... (full context)
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...He also concludes that the pocket-watch evidence was faked and MacQueen had clearly established that Ratchett did not speak French so that Poirot would hear the interaction in the hallway and... (full context)
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As for the identity of the murderer, Poirot establishes first that Ratchett’s guilt is unassailable. He then “visualised a self-appointed jury of twelve people” and the case... (full context)
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...its advantage is that it could be used by anyone “strong or weak.” Additionally, as Ratchett was drugged at the time, each could stab him in turn and remain ignorant of... (full context)
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...stab wounds. He grapples with the irony that the person most likely to have killed Ratchett had no part it in it, namely Countess Andrenyi. The Count Andrenyi took her “place”... (full context)