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Art of Sleuthing

  • Date Submitted: 05/06/2014 08:21 PM
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The Art of Sleuthing

    One definition of a sleuth according to urban dictionary is someone who needs to be intelligent, witty, and always a few steps ahead of others. He should never reveal all his discoveries or conclusions. His wisdom is his greatest asset and he needs to hide that wisdom. This definition accurately describes the character Hercule Poirot from the novel The Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Throughout the book there are three main points to sleuthing that Poirot demonstrates: gathering concrete evidence, interrogations, and analyzing information.
    The first step to sleuthing demonstrated by the book is collecting hard evidence. Concrete evidence is the foundation of the case. The concrete evidence gathered from the crime scene includes the stab marks on the body, finding the pipe cleaner, the dented watch, the button, and the handkerchief. An example of collecting hard evidence is when detective Poirot examines the body. “How many wounds are there exactly? I make it twelve. One or two are so light as to be practically scratches. On the other hand, at least three would be capable of causing death." (1.7.19-20) The pipe cleaner and handkerchief, even though they were concrete evidence, made Poirot question the authenticity of the crime scene. Collecting concrete evidence is crucial to solving the case.
    The second step of sleuthing the novel demonstrates is interrogations. Interrogations help the sleuth determine how the concrete evidence is connected to the case. Detective Poirot relies on people’s expressions, manipulates conversations, and uses his intuition when interrogating people to determine the truth and gain information. An example of how Poirot manipulates the conversation is by telling Michel that he had found the button from his tunic, which is evidence found at the crime scene. ‘“Here is a button from your tunic. It was found in the American lady’s compartment. What have you to say for yourself about it?’...


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