Death on the Nile
A murderer strikes on board the luxury Nile steamer Karnak-and Hercule Poirot faces his most baffling case.
As Hercule Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board. Can Poirot identify the killer before the ship reaches the end of its journey?
The film begins with a meeting between wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Lois Chiles) and her close friend Jacqueline de Bellefort (Mia Farrow). Jackie wants her fiancé, Simon Doyle (Simon MacCorkindale), to work for Linnet, but he and Linnet have a whirlwind affair and end up marrying. While honeymooning in Egypt, they are continually hounded by the jilted Jackie. In an attempt to get away, the Doyles pretend to go to the Cairo Railway Station before backtracking to board their booked cruise on a Nile paddle steamer, the S.S. Karnak.
When the passengers venture on-shore to examine a nearby temple, a large stone is pushed off a pillar and narrowly misses Simon and Linnet. They again encounter Jackie, who boards the ship having ignored the warnings of detective Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) to stay away and having revealed that she carries a small automatic pistol.
That night, Jackie confronts Simon in a drunken rage and shoots him in the leg. The next morning, Linnet is found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. A “J” written in blood on the wall above her bed appears to implicate Jackie, but she has a solid alibi as Miss Bowers sedated and stayed with her all night. Taking it upon themselves to investigate, Poirot and his friend Colonel Race discover that the other passengers had a reason for wanting to kill Linnet: Louise Bourget, Linnet’s maid, was bitter due to her mistress’ refusal to grant her a promised dowry; Andrew Pennington, Linnet’s American trustee, was anxious to prevent her from discovering that he embezzled from the Ridgeway estate; Mrs. van Schuyler, an elderly American socialite suffering from kleptomania, displayed a great interest in Linnet’s pearl necklace; Miss Bowers, Mrs. van Schuyler’s nurse and traveling companion, blamed Linnet’s family for forcing her father into financial ruin and condemning her to a life of servitude; Salome Otterbourne, an eccentric romance novelist, was being sued for libel due to a likeness between Linnet and one of her characters; Rosalie Otterbourne, Mrs. Otterbourne’s daughter, was anxious to protect her mother from financial ruin; James Ferguson, an outspoken Communist traveller, resented Linnet’s vast wealth and affluent lifestyle; Ludwig Bessner, a Swiss psychiatrist, faced exposure by Linnet concerning his unorthodox methods.
Soon a bundle is found in the Nile. The missing pistol is wrapped in Mrs. van Schuyler’s stole, which had a small bullet hole in it. A handkerchief was also included, stained with blood. Linnet’s pearls are also discovered to be missing. When interrogated, Mrs. van Schuyler denies ever having touched them. Shortly after this, the pearls are found on Linnet’s body, so Poirot deduces Mrs van Schuyler has put them there…