Characters: The Doctor/Agatha Christie
Spoilers: 4.07, 'The Unicorn and the Wasp'
Word Count: 1,726
Author's Notes: I can't get enough Agatha.
Previous Parts: Part One
I imagine that it was only natural for the Scotland Yard detective to ask me for my assistance. I have been well-known for my writing for years and many have thought I would make a superior detective if given the chance. I made certain the Doctor was aware that I possessed no technical knowledge, merely the nonsense of a woman who knows how to use her little grey cells.
"Yes, but it's the best sort of nonsense," the Doctor replied, his most charming eventually winning me over.
He told me the plucky young woman who usually assisted him on his investigations had taken a holiday with her Grandfather and he would need all of the assistance he could get.
"Naturally," I said, the tiniest of smirks appearing on my lip. "Behind every brilliant man----"
"There's a brilliant woman pointing him in the right direction?" the Doctor smiled another of those disarming smiles and led me to the murder scene. It should've struck me as odd, his familiarity with me from the moment of our meeting, but it did not. He was simply the Doctor and I felt I had no reason to be concerned.
"Scene of the crime," the Doctor said, crouching on his heels as he examined the deceased and the area around her. "The single best source for conclusive physical evidence."
I raised an eyebrow. "That's rather astute. Is that what you're taught while training to become a detective?"
"Remington Steele," he replied. I am certain that in some universe that made sense. Still, I was only just starting to learn how odd the Doctor could be. He asked me to take down the information that we discovered and I couldn't help but feel as though he and I had been in this situation before. Perhaps I had simply written too many detective stories that one murder seemed to pool into the next, even though I have never truly been involved before.
I picked up a scrap of notepaper from where I had been writing and the two of us began to list out the facts..
Victim: Cynthia Hynes, 34, banker. Engaged to be married 24 December 1928 to a Mr. John Rohlmes (see suspects). Arriving from northern India due for arrival in Paris in several days' time. Found in a white dressing gown, shoeless at 7:24 pm by M. Christie and D. Constantine
Method of murder: Six stab wounds across upper and middle back from kitchen knife, found at scene. Lips blue. Dark puncture wound upon upper forehead, covered by make up and powder, perhaps from several days earlier (possibly suggesting domestic abuse?).
Last seen: By M. Jessica Grey (see suspects) in room alive, many hours prior to initial scream.
"I should also take note of the type of knife we found at the scene, and that blood-splattered glove," I said, jotting them down along the side of the notes.
"Mmmm," the Doctor nodded, looking over my shoulder appraisingly. "Is this how you plot out your novels?"
Ah, a question I have been asked many times before but always loathe to answer. How do I discover my own internal killer? How do I help my detective, loathsome though he had become, find the killer?
"I would never give away my secrets, Doctor," I said, pointing at him with the end of my pen. "Otherwise you might run off and write your very own story of a murder on this train and lose me my readers."
The Doctor smirked that devilish little grin. "Oh, murder on the Orient Express is all yours. Wouldn't steal it for the world."
Next, we listed the suspects, each of which would have to be questioned in turn.
Mr. John Rohlmes, 41. Businessman. Dark hair, blue eyes, slim build. Engaged to the victim as of 20 September 1927.
Mr. Rohlmes had been crying. If I had been a more emotional woman (though I doubt I have ever been) I might've been comforting him during his plight. His eyes were bright red, the blue looking shocking and somewhat demonic behind his dark eyebrows and long eyelashes. Had he not sounded so pitiful, I might've thought him a demon in disguise. He stepped into the dinner boxcar (where the Doctor and I had set up our interviewing room) looking every bit a lost little boy and not the infamous entrepreneur I knew him to be.
"Where were you at approximately 7:24 this evening?" the Doctor asked. His voice was cold and very nearly detached. I could only imagine that he had given this sort of interview many times before.
"I wasn't where I was supposed to be," he said. "I could've protected her. I should've known something was wrong when she didn't answer my call for tea at 4. I should've expected this." His voice practically oozed grief and he blew his nose into a monogrammed handkerchief.
The interview was brief and for that I was grateful. So much emotion in one boxcar was enough to make me nearly feel ill. And then I did feel disgusted with myself, I had become like my detective from Belgium: cold-hearted.
Miss Jessica Grey, 33. Waitress. Best friend of the deceased, last to see the victim alive at aprox 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Petite woman, extraordinarily slim build. Brown hair, brown eyes.
Miss Grey appeared to be more calm than the previous interviewee. She padded into the boxcar barefoot despite the chill in the air and took her seat slowly and carefully. Very restrained, that was the right way to describe Miss Grey. A woman so bound by who she is (or rather who she isn't as I believe she has no money or contacts apart from her deceased best friend) that she doesn't so much move from place to place as shuffles.
"Where were you at 7:24 pm?"
Miss Grey pursed her lips and kept her voice very neatly under control. "I had just returned from a massage," she said. "I had forgotten my robe and left the parlor to fetch it from my room. I was back within moments, you can ask the masseurs."
The Doctor nodded, rather curtly. "We will, thanks."
Baron Crusier, 65. Accountant. Grotesquely obese, thinning blonde hair, greasy complexion. Uncle to the deceased.
Mr. Crusier was a disgusting man to look at. Overweight, sweaty, and red-faced, he appeared to wriggle like a bowl of gelatin as the Doctor questioned him. The Doctor, for all his professionalism, appeared to enjoy watching Mr. Crusier squirm.
"7:24, come on, it can't be that hard to remember!"
"I'm trying, Inspector Doctor! The night was rather a blur!"
"A blur of what? A moving train or a slamming boxcar door? What are you hiding?"
"Please, I would never hurt my own niece!"
"Then you've got nothing to worry about, answer the question!"
"Doctor," I interjected. "I think we should allow the Baron to go back to his quarters." I gave the disgusting man a polite smile. "But if you remember anything, you will come and find us, won't you?"
The Baron agreed quite eagerly and left. I was quite certain he was heading to his room to cry, and part of me reveled in that.
"Good cop, bad cop," the Doctor grinned at me. "Works every time."
Mrs. Elanor Morose, 23. Party hostess. Neighbor to the deceased. Slim build, long ginger hair, green eyes.
"And where were you at 7:24?"
"I had taken an early supper in the dining car." The woman spoke with an airy, breathy voice that reminded me of the poets in Paris who had indulged in too much absinthe.
"Did anyone see you?"
"Well, there certainly wasn't anyone there but me. And absolutely no Cynthia."
Mr. Jason Morose, 25. Championship archer. Neighbor to the---
"Does it strike you as odd," the Doctor asked me, moving to sit next to me. "That all of the other passengers---you and I excluded of course---are related to Miss Hynes?"
The thought had, honestly, not occurred to me until then. But the facts were there. Both of the Moroses, the Baron, her fiancé and her best friend. All on the same car with no other passengers. Oh, there was staff and they would have to be questioned, but such a situation could not merely be coincidence. What it meant, however, I could not say.
"Do you think they're all involved somehow?" I inquired. "A sort of joint murder, each taking their turn at stabbing the victim?"
This question, while I considered it to be perfectly valid, seemed to amuse the Doctor to no end, and that annoying little smirk returned. Annoying because it felt almost as if I were being mocked by it, a smirk without a cause. Where I attempting wit, I imagine the smirk would be a welcome sight. Though, honestly, with the Doctor's aspect it was not an entirely unwelcome sight as it was---though that was again my foolishness breaking through where I needed to remain professional.
"It's a brilliant idea, Agatha, but not for this situation," the Doctor said. He patted my arm with his hand as he stood and I was startled by how incredibly cold his touch was. It was not painful or sharp, but merely startling. Not unlike touching a milk bottle. Anemic, perhaps? All I did know was that a man with skin that cold must have some sort of illness and I could only wonder what he had that did not weigh down his features or rob him of his energy.
"Whyever not?" I asked.
The Doctor stepped over to the door to Cynthia's room and slid it open. "Because the knife wasn't the murder weapon."
I stood immediately, following him to the doorway. The room was exactly as we had left it, and I could not understand how he determined such a thing.
"The dress," he prompted.
I looked at the dress, its antique white shining up at me despite the many holes through its fabric. Shining…
"There's no blood on the wounds," I said. "Which means they were made after Miss Hynes was murdered."
The Doctor nodded. A professor and student, it appeared. I wondered if I should be insulted but found that I could not be.
"You see, whoever did this wants us to believe that the victim was stabbed to death," he said. He grinned. "And I know who we need to interrogate next."