Death on the Nile is a 1937 mystery novel by Agatha Christie.Hercule Poirot is on holiday in Egypt, on a Nile River cruise. Among the other passengers is Linnet Ridgeway, a rich, beautiful heiress, honeymooning with her husband Simon Doyle. Doyle was engaged to Linnet’s best friend, Jacqueline de Bellefort, before he met Linnet, and broke it off. Heartbroken and wanting revenge on her former friend for stealing her fiancé, Jacqueline started following them everywhere they go. When Linnet gets killed, Jacqueline is the obvious suspect. But is that really the case?The story was adapted for the screen twice, as a 1978 film and as a 2004 episode of the television series Poirot. It was also adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 1997, with John Moffatt playing Poirot.
This book and its adaptions provide examples of:
A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: If Simon had just let the rock fall on Linnet, he and Jackie would have lived happily ever after. But he reacted under instinct and pulled Linnet away. For what it is worth, this would have kept the maid Louise and Mrs. Otterbourne alive, and Pennington would have gotten Simon to sign papers to fix his crooked accounting.
Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed with Simon Doyle in the 1978 film version, but only in small details that do not change the plot in any way. For example, he is initially reluctant to go through with the killing of Louise, preferring to pay her, and in the final summation he is presented a bit more sympathetically than his counterpart in the book.
Asshole Victim: Linnet isn't one of the worst Christie examples, but stealing her best friend's fiancé makes her easy to dislike.
In the beginning of the book, she mentions to Jackie that she's having a number of houses on her property knocked down and the people moved, because they make her property look unsightly. It's slightly zigzagged in that she says that she's having new and better houses built for them, and that most of the people agreed, but she mentions too that some of the residents don't want to move, and she just can't fathom why.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Jacqueline to Simon. At least, that's the act she puts on. Linnet is actually the one Simon viewed as fitting this trope in regards to him.
Composite Character: Rosalie Otterbourne in the 1978 film is a composite of three separate characters from the book: Rosalie, Cornelia Robson, and Tim Allerton. However, Ms Bowers is given Cornelia's backstory regarding her history with the Ridgeways.
The 2004 version combines the roles of Cornelia Robson and Miss Bowers.
Both versions remove the character of Fanthorp, having Mr. Ferguson take over the role he played the night of the murder. The 1978 film also makes Ferguson into Rosalie's love interest since Tim Allerton does not appear.
Linnet's maids, Marie and Louise, are combined into the same character in both film versions.
Couldn't Find a Pen: The murder victim uses her own blood to trace a letter on the wall, presumably the first of her assassin's name. It later turns out that the killer wrote the letter. In a double-twist on this trope, it was written to implicate one of the people actually directly involved in the murder, in an attempt to make it look like another party was trying to frame her.
Dead Man Writing: Subverted: The initial written by Linnet in her own blood is quickly discovered to actually have been written by the murderer (Linnet died instantly, leaving no time to write a message), seemingly to throw suspicion on Jackie. It later turns out that Jackie was actively involved in the planning of the murder and the message served to direct suspicion away from her.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: A man ambitiously decides to commit murder for power and wealth, and his significant other aids him by planning how to carry it out. He pretends to be a loving protector of the victim (who is threatened by other enemies) and then kills them in their sleep, leaving a bloody mark to direct suspicion away from himself and his partner in crime. The plan starts to go wrong and the pair commit more murders to try (unsuccessfully) to get away with the first one. Macbeth, anyone?
Dying Clue: The J written in blood on the wall would seem to be Linnet's way of naming Jackie as the killer. However, Jackie didn't kill Linnet - Simon did the J to make it look like someone was trying to frame her.
Exotic Backdrop Setting: The murder could have taken place on a ship in England, for all that native Egyptians or Egyptian culture affect the plot.
No Guy Wants To Be Chased: Simon Doyle claims this as the reason that he broke off his relationship with his fiancee Jacqueline and married Jackie's best friend Linnet. He said he was put off by the fact that Jackie loved him more than he loved her, and that "a man wants to own his woman. He doesn't want to feel that she owns him." Simon was being honest about his feelings about possessive women, but it was Linnet he thought was trying to own him, not Jackie.
Obfuscating Disability: Simon Doyle is ruled out because he had just been shot in the foot a few minutes before the murder and in no way could have limped all the way from the room he was in to the murder scene and back in the time he was left unwatched. In fact, he faked being shot, rushed off to kill the victim and ran back, then shot his own foot for real to keep up the ruse.
Also Ferguson and Dr. Bessner for Cornelia Robinson. Though in something of a twist, it turns out that Dr. Bessner was the poor one, at least as compared to Ferguson a.k.a. Lord Dawlish.
Rustproof Blood: Poirot finds the murder weapon (which has been chucked into the titular river) wrapped inside a cloth. The mysterious pink stain on the cloth leads Poirot to suspect that one of the passengers faked a bloody injury (using red ink hidden in a nail polish bottle) in order to create an alibi for himself.
Scenery Porn: Oh dear God, yes. Legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff and Egypt are a match made in heaven.
Shout Out: The 2004 version films Jackie stabbing Louise as a homage to Psycho complete with screeching violin music.
Staged Shooting: Jackie fakes shooting Simon to give him an alibi for Linnet's murder.
Stalker with a Crush: Jacqueline on Simon. Turns out she was pretending, and actually in cahoots with Simon.
Stealing From The Till: Andrew Pennington has been doing this to Linnet, which is what provides his motive for her murder.
Summation Gathering: In the 1978 film (but not in the book), all the suspects were present at this, making for a suspenseful show-down scene.
Sympathetic Murderer: The combination of Linnet trying to steal Simon from Jaqueline, Jaqueline's willingness to let Simon go if that was what he really wanted, and the fact that she only got involved to protect Simon, makes Jackie an extremely sympathetic figure to Poirot, Race, the other characters on the boat, and the reader. Poirot allows her to kill herself.
Triang Relations: Type 4. A = Jacqueline, B = Simon, C = Linnet Actually, this is an act, and the real triangle is A = Linnet, B = Simon, C = Jacqueline, but Linnet does not know this.
Woman Scorned: Jacqueline or at least that's what she wanted everyone to believe.
You Watch Too Much X: When they find an initial over the bed written in the victim's blood, Poirot points out that this has been done so often as to be a Dead Horse Trope and essentially says that the murderer has been watching too many old-fashioned melodramas.