Linnet Ridgeway is a young, beautiful, talented Anglo-American heiress
accustomed to getting everything she wants. When she wants her
best friend’s fiancé, Simon Doyle, she gets him.
The newly-wed Linnet and Simon Doyle set off on their honeymoon,
shadowed by the betrayed best friend, Jacqueline De Bellefort, who
still wants Simon but now also wants revenge. When the
honeymooners eventually make their way to Egypt they encounter, among
other travelers, the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who is on holiday
– and Jacqueline. In a desperate attempt to rid themselves of
Jacqueline, Linnet and Simon take an unscheduled trip on a steamer up
the Nile River and the deaths begin.
Jacqueline has somehow found her way aboard ship, but inevitably the
wealthy and ruthless Linnet has acquired other enemies and some of them
are also aboard. When she is found dead in her cabin one morning,
there are several possible suspects, but the most obvious of them –
Jacqueline – has a perfect alibi.
Aided by his old friend, Colonel Race, Poirot sets out to find the
killer. Was it the corrupt trustee whose fraud would inevitably
be discovered when Linnet returned to England? Was it Cornelia,
whose family was ruined by Linnet’s father? Or maybe the
terrorist Colonel Race is tracking. Or could it be the
kleptomaniac American dowager?
By the time Poirot untangles the plot, there are two more corpses on
board. The conclusion is surprising – only a sleuth of
Poirot’s brilliance could discover the truth – and tragic. In
this book, Agatha Christie has portrayed Hercule Poirot somewhat more
sympathetically than usual, and the reader cannot help but share his
disappointment at the outcome. Still, murder must be stopped and
punished, and Poirot believes in justice, so he sees it done. In
solving those murders, Colonel Race also finds his killer by the time
the ship returns down the Nile.