Jacqueline-de-Bellefort BY herself
When Linnet is found dead in her cabin, the obvious suspect is Jackie. However, she has a cast-iron alibi – at the time of Linnet’s murder, Jackie was in the cruise boat’s bar, shooting Simon in the leg. Hercule Poirot, who also happens to be on board, is faced with the investigation of a lifetime, especially when he discovers that there are plenty of other passengers who wanted to see Linnet dead.
Jacqueline de Bellefort is easily the strongest and most fascinating character of the book. What she wants, she manages to get. She introduced Simon to Linnet because Simon needed a job and Linnet had one to give. The fact that Linnet apparently manages to steal Simon away from Jackie is all an illusion, as readers of the book will find out. Instead, Jackie has the strength to sit back and relax while her lover seemingly plays the role of a newly married man in love. Their deception is so well done that no-one suspects the truth – it is quite possible that Jackie and Simon themselves are convinced of the roles that they are playing.
To outward appearances, Jackie seems to be vulnerable and quite possibly a little mentally deranged in her grief. There is little other explanation for her apparent desire to follow her ex-lover and his new wife throughout Egypt, while happy to explain to anyone who will listen exactly why she is doing so. She appears at random moments, frightening Linnet and annoying Simon. It seems as though Jackie has lost all sense of pride along with her lover. Yet when Linnet asks Poirot to help her get rid of Jackie, he cannot do anything because Jackie is not behaving illegally, nor is he willing to act because he feels sympathy for Jackie.
Jackie does, nevertheless, have moments of vulnerability, whether they are acted or not. She shows her genuinely deep feelings for Simon at least twice; once at the beginning of the book when she is explaining to Linnet just how she feels about Simon, and again when she is talking to Poirot about her behaviour. The depth of her feelings is shown once again at the end of the book when Poirot has worked out just how the crime was committed. For those who wonder how she knows that it is safe to continue to believe in Simon, he does give himself away once or twice, most notably in his determined protests that there is no way Jackie could have shot his wife.
Jacqueline de Bellefort is loyal to those who are important to her – in this case, Simon. However, once she has decided that a person no longer has a use for her, she is happy to discard him or her – as happens with Linnet. Although it seems as though it is Linnet who has cheated on Jackie and, as far as she (Linnet) is concerned, she has, it is actually Jackie who holds all the cards and is merely making Linnet dance to her tune. Nevertheless, the reader somehow wants Jackie to come out on top. Her combination of vulnerability and vivaciousness wins the reader’s heart, especially when compared to the very selfish Linnet, who has grown up with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Jackie has always had to struggle for what she wants. Her background is not as rich as Linnet’s, although they went to school together, and she has had to fight to get on in life. It is therefore tempting to believe that she is entitled to behave in the way that she does. Of course, this is not true – no-one deserves to die in the way that Linnet does – but it is testament to the strength of Jackie’s character that she is able to convince the reader to back her. Perhaps because Agatha Christie deliberately keeps Linnet as a rather distant character, the reader is not particularly shocked or upset when she is murdered, possibly even believing that she deserved it.
Agatha Christie came up with a number of excellent female characters, both recurring and one-off. However, Jacqueline de Bellefort has to be one of the best described characters that Agatha Christie created, purely because of her strength of character. The fact that one’s view of her changes during the course of the book is an added benefit. pls comment