Curtain: Why does Poirot insist on Hastings sending Dr. Franklin to him?

Hastings wants Poirot to see a doctor. To Hastings' astonishment, Poirot finally accedes but insists on Dr. Franklin. Why? I do not recall whether the book (or episode) ever made it perfectly clear, but there could be multiple reasons.

My own assumption is that Poirot wants to tell Franklin somewhat of the truth of his wife's death: perhaps, merely the fact that she did not in fact commit suicide, or even that she attempted to murder him herself... but no other specific details.

In support of the theory: when speaking to Hastings immediately afterwards, Franklin seems at perfect ease to go off to Africa immediately, because he now knows he bears no personal guilt concerning his wife's "suicide." Poirot would want him to know, and do this, so that he and Judith could be happy together. Franklin tells Hastings he doesn't think his wife really committed suicide, but "doesn't want to know" the truth of the matter; if he's being honest here, he possibly suspects Judith of foul play but believes her to be somewhat justified, or at least wishes to overlook her action. It's just possible that Poirot did tell Franklin about Hastings' role in Mrs. Franklin's death, and Franklin's insistence to Hastings that he "doesn't know and doesn't want to know" the truth is a pointed lie to warn Hastings not to delve into the matter, since the truth would shock him too badly. Poirot may have sworn him to secrecy for the time being, as too much of the truth getting out would get in the way of the confrontation with Norton. Also, Dr. Franklin does seem to have done some sort of cursory examination of Poirot, but comes away from their meeting unusually impressed with his patient, as though he has learned something new about the man and his regard for humanity.

I've heard other interesting theories as to why Poirot asks Hastings to send for Franklin, such as...
  • He wanted the news of his certain imminent demise to come from a third party, as Hastings might have not believed Poirot's own words about his health. By asking for Franklin, he knew that Hastings would have interview with the man as well and might continue to glean more facts that would lead to his own understanding of the truth.
  • He figured that Hastings would be able to tell by conversing with the man that Franklin certainly did not kill his wife, which would make him more disposed towards Franklin as a partner for Judith. (Of course, Poirot also guesses that Hastings will have Judith in the back of his mind as a suspect for months to come, so I'm not too sure that this would really set Hastings' mind at rest about those two.)

What do you think? What are some natural explanations for Poirot sending for Franklin? Is there one particular reason?



  • I haven't read this one, as I don't want to know about poor Poirot dying. It does sound a fascinating puzzle which has been posed, however.
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States

    hotwater, I definitely think you're on the right track here.  We know that Poirot is a huge matchmaker, and Poirot clearly wanted the doctor and Judith to get together, as evidenced by his final letter to Hastings.  When he says that the doctor and Judith "know the truth," I rather doubt that they figured everything out themselves– Poirot told them, though probably not explicitly, they put the pieces together themselves afterwards.
  • GKCfan, that detail-- Poirot mentioning to Hastings that he thinks Franklin and Judith will have guessed the truth-- was another one I wanted to mention! Thanks for bringing it up!
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    edited March 2016
    You're welcome!
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