Poirot decides to go to Paris and refuses to be accompanied by Hastings.
It is during his absence that another body is found in the Arnaulds’ shed, and Giraud and the others conclude that the man has been murdered when they find the same knife that went missing from the shed stuck in his back. It is known that the man didn’t die in the shed but was dragged there by two people, one of whom Giraud thinks was a woman because of a black hair found on the hilt of the knife. The paperknife went missing the previous morning, and what throws them is when later the doctor says that the man has been died for forty-eight hours.
When Poirot returns from Paris, he examines the body and concludes that the man wasn’t murdered, but died of an epileptic fit. Then for some reason someone stabbed him in the back and made it look like murder. The doctor agrees that Poirot is right.
When Poirot and Hastings are alone, the detective tells him about what he discovered in Paris. He produces an article with a photograph of Mme Daubreuil in connection with a case which was very popular at the time. Mme Daubreuil was called Beroldy at the time. She and her husband arrived in Paris; her husband was the junior partner of a firm of wine merchants, and there were rumours that she might have been the illegitimate daughter of a Russian or Austrian Grand-Duke. Then she met a young lawyer, Georges Canneau, and then they had an affair. At the same time she also made the acquaintance of a very rich American, someone called Hiram P Trapp.
Then one day Mme Beroldy was found bound in hands and feet, and her husband was dead in the bed. She claimed that in the middle of the night two individuals who she thought were Russian had tied and gagged her and they demanded Mr Beroldy tell them his secret. As the man refused, they stabbed him. For a while the woman was believed, but then she was arrested and charged with the murder of her husband. During the trial she was accused of inventing those rumours about her origins or the political schemes that apparently her husband was involved in. Her motive is that she wanted to become Trapp’s wife. The prosecution accused her and Georges Conneau, the young lawyer. Conneau fled and then sent a letter, confessing to the crime which he committed at Mrs Beroldy’s instigation. He claimed that he felt betrayed because he had loved her but all the time what she had wanted was to become a rich man’s wife.
Mrs Beroldy denied the accusations, claiming that she had kept quiet about Conneau’s guilt because the man had threatened to harm his daughter if she spoke. The woman was so convincing in her defence that she was acquitted. She and her daughter left Paris, and Conneau was never found.
So now Mrs Beroldy is found in this little French town going by the name of Mme Daubreuil. The crime that ended up with Mr Renauld’s death is an almost exact copy of what Mrs Beroldy claimed had happened when her husband had died. I have the hunch that Renauld might be Conneau, and somehow he and his wife wanted to take revenge on Mme Daubreuil, but how? Poirot thinks that the tale Mrs Renauld told the police is a fabrication, and I think for some reason she and her husband had planned something, but the plan went wrong when Renauld died. I can’t think what this couple intended to do, feeding the police with this tale. I imagine that Mme Daubreuil recognized Conneau when she first saw Renauld, and that was why she was blackmailing him. Conneau is a confessed murderer, so Mme Daubreuil could go to the police about the whereabouts of this fugitive. After all, even though she also went into hiding, she had been acquitted. What I still need to figure out is what the Renaulds intended and who killed Mr Renauld.
Poirot is also investigating young Jack Renauld as he was in town the night that his father was killed. He claims that he came to see his girlfriend and then left for Cherbourg again. Poirot thinks that this young man is also lying, and I think he’s sent him to check something for him in a station, but I think it must be a way to prove his guilt or innocence. I don’t think young Jack Renauld is the killer, but if it is not him, I have no idea who the murderer is.
And what about Cinderella? Is she involved? Hastings has found out that it was a lie when she told him where she was staying. No woman of her characteristics has stayed in that hotel in the last few days, so she lied to him. Was the lie intended to get him off her back, or does this woman hide something?