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  • Complete Monster: Mr. X (aka Stephen Norton) is a different sort of monster from most murder mystery villains. Deliberately modelling himself on Iago, Mr. X is a social predator who toys with people's fears, nudging them towards committing murder, while technically never breaking the law himself. Over the course of the novel, he convinces three different people, including Hercule Poirot's Watson, Captain Hastings, to commit murder, with Poirot only barely averting each at the last moment. When confronted by Poirot, X gloats that he will continue on this way forever, and that there is nothing the law can do to touch him, prompting Poirot to commit his only ever vigilante execution.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Towards the end of the novel, Poirot dies of a heart attack shortly after solving his last case. Nearly 25 years later, the same fate would befall another protagonist, Inspector Morse, towards the end of the thirteenth and final novel, The Remorseful Day.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • Quite a bittersweet one, but that's because Norton almost made a murderer of Hastings that Poirot decides to destroy X. He loves so much his dear friend he couldn't let live the man who almost ruined his companion.
    • At the end of the ITV series episode. The last lines of Poirot's letter to Hastings are read over a scene of the detective finishing his letter and then looking directly at the camera. So, instead of him laying dead on the bed, the last image of Poirot we see in the episode (and in the series as a whole) is that of the brilliant detective we have always seen.
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    • Poirot's last letter encourages Hastings to romantically pursue Elizabeth Cole, since she had a hard life, Hastings still is in pain over being a widower, and they could heal each other. Even in old age and death, Poirot plays The Matchmaker.
  • It Was His Sled: Anyone who's read the obituary in the August 6, 1975 edition of The New York Times will know the ending of Curtain, just like it happened back then.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The moment when Hastings resolves to murder Allerton. It's so chilling because this is Hastings - well-meaning, naive and sweet Hastings - plotting to kill a fellow human being. Poirot is so horrified by this he decides to become a vigilante - because X would have killed Hastings by proxy if Poirot had been less careful.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The death of Poirot, of course, but also the fact that he allowed himself to die as atonement for murder, leaving his judgment to God.
      • The reason why Poirot decided to take the law into his own hands was because Norton was such a Manipulative Bastard he almost drove Hastings to murder. If Poirot had been less vigilant, he would have been forced to see his beloved and most faithful companion convicted as a criminal and hanged.
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    • Hastings takes Poirot's death very hard.
    • When the novel opens, Hastings' beloved wife is revealed to be dead for a long time, and he still mourns her.
      • Worse, her death has strained Hastings' relationship with his daughter.
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