Headscratchers / Five Little Pigs

  • Elsa's account of the conversation between Amyas and Caroline in the library - the one in which Caroline says "You and your women!" - was a lie. Are we to assume that Elsa was not called to recount that conversation at Caroline's trial? If she had, Caroline would have smelled a rat immediately.
    • I think the implication was that it was real - it was also when Caroline said: "I'll kill you one of these days!" The actual words did incriminate her, but only because Elsa drastically changed the manner in which they were spoken to sound furious and threatening, rather than affectionately exasperated.
    • While Elsa did lie to Poirot about hearing Amyas say he was going to leave Caroline, this part was probably invented for Poirot in particular. All she had to do at trial was recount the parts that were actually said, and Caroline would think nothing of Elsa mishearing the intent behind the words.
      • No, according to ex-superintendant Hale, Elsa's testimony in the court didn't substantially differ from what she wrote to Poirot (which is logical - she didn't want him to have any discrepancies to jump onto). I guess Caroline just decided that passionate Elsa, being sure that it was Caroline who killed Amyas, committed a perjury to get her revenge - or even that Elsa convinced herself that such a conversation must have taken place (not at all an unknown concept for Christie, by the way, - recall the woman from Major Despard's story in Cards on the Table). That would actually be in line with Caroline's general condescending attitude towards Elsa, which also explains why it probably didn't even cross Caroline's mind that Elsa could have had an agenda of her own.
  • It seems as though Poirot missed the opportunity for an Engineered Public Confession at the end. Why did he not secretly bring officers or other witnesses to overhear his private conversation with Elsa?
    • He knows that it would be futile because even if Elsa were incriminated, her husband would get her off the hook, since she's of high class now and the case is more than ten years old. He even mentions this at the end, but knows that Elsa has trouble living with herself.
    • Also, he couldn't have known for sure that Elsa would decide to have a private conversation with him (it was Elsa's decision to start it).
  • So how did Poirot know what Angela Warren had been reading in the weeks up to the tragedy? What's even more striking, I've come across two different versions of what exactly the book was - either "the life of painter [Paul] Gauguin" or "The Moon and Sixpence" by W. Somerset Maugham. I suspect it's just some Mind Screw on part of Dame Agatha, but maybe I'm wrong?
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