|“||She has taken everything from me, Monsieur Poirot, and I want to hurt her; to put my gun against her head, and gently pull the trigger.||„|
|~ Jacqueline to Poirot.|
|“||Nice try Simon, but just a little wide of the mark. The sphinx was, in fact, a monster from Greek mythology, with a woman's head... see? And a lionesses' body. And it said - oh, don't you want to know? It said riddles for travelers... and killed those who got them wrong.||„|
|~ Jacqueline to Simon.|
Jacqueline "Jackie" de Bellefort is the main antagonist of Agatha Christie's famous 1937 Hercule Poirot novel, Death on the Nile, and its later adaptations, including its 1978 film adaptation, its 2004 TV episode adaptation in Agatha Christie's Poirot and its upcoming 2021 film adaptation.
She planned to murder her former best friend, Linnet Doyle, alongside Linnet's husband and Jacqueline's former fiancee, Simon Doyle, who in fact loved Jacqueline but was forced to marry Linnet after she stole him from his true love. Their true motive is to steal Linnet's money and to spite her for her attempt to steal her best friend's fiance. In spite of being suspected to be the direct killer, it was revealed that Jacqueline is the plotter while Simon is the direct murderer who follows Jacqueline's plan.
The combination of Linnet trying to steal Simon from Jaqueline, Jaqueline's willingness to let Simon go if that was what he really wanted, and the fact that she only got involved to protect Simon, makes Jackie one of the most sympathetic murderers in Agatha Christie's works. In the end, Poirot allows Jacqueline to kill herself and avoid the gallows.
- Jacquelin was portrayed by the legendary actress Mia Farrow in the 1978 film adaptation, who is famous for portaying Rosemary Woodhouse in Rosemary's Baby.
- In the 2004 TV episodic adaptation featured in Agatha Christie's Poirot, Jacquelin was portrayed by Emma Griffiths Malin.
- In the upcoming 2021 film adaptation, she will be portrayed by Emma Mackey in her first cinematic role.
Jacqueline was the daughter of a French count and a woman from southern United States. Her father left the family for another woman, and her mother lost all of her money in the Wall Street crash. At an unknown point of her life, Jacqueline and Linnet Ridgeway had met at a convent school in Paris and became best friends. She was engaged to Simon Doyle, until he left her for Linnet after the latter seduced him.
Death on the Nile
Jacqueline was first mentioned in the book by her former friend, Linnet Doyle, as the latter met Poirot during his trip in Cairo. Jacqueline requested Poirot to protect her from her former friend, who she claimed to be jealous of her. Poirot later found Jacqueline, and he tried to stop her. However, she not only denied the request but also showed Poirot her gun as well as her wish to seek revenge.
Simon and Linnet secretly board the steamer Karnak, set to tour along the Nile, to escape Jacqueline, but find she had learned of their plans and boarded ahead of them. Apart from them, Poirot travels on the steamer. While visiting an ancient temple, Linnet narrowly avoids being crushed by a falling rock. Jacqueline is initially suspected, but she is found to have been aboard the steamer at the time of the incident. During the return voyage, Poirot finds his friend Colonel Race has joined the steamer. He reveals to him that he seeks a murderer amongst the passengers. Later that night in the steamer's lounge, driven by her resentment of Linnet, Jacqueline shot Simon in the leg with a pistol she possesses. She is taken back to her cabin by those who witness this, where she is confined, while Simon is treated for his injury; in that time, Jacqueline's pistol, which she dropped, disappears.
The following morning, Linnet is found dead, having been shot in the head, while her valuable string of pearls has disappeared. No one in the cabins on the opposite side heard or saw anything. Poirot notes two bottles of nail polish in the victim's room, one of which intrigues him. Jacqueline's pistol is later recovered from the Nile; it is found wrapped in a stole belonging to Miss Van Schuyler, which was stolen the previous day, and which had been fired through.
When interviewing the maid Louise Bourget in the cabin in which Simon is resting, Poirot notes an oddness in the words she uses, as Louise kept saying something like "if I saw..." as if she tried to hide away something she knew all along. Soon afterward, Louise is found stabbed in her cabin. Mrs. Otterbourne later meets with Poirot and Race in Simon's cabin, claiming she saw who killed the maid; Simon declares loudly his surprise at this. Before she can reveal who it is, she is shot dead from outside the cabin.
Poirot soon confronts Pennington over his attempted murder of Linnet at the temple - he came to Egypt upon learning of her marriage to Simon, to trick her into signing documents that would exonerate him of embezzling her inheritance. However, he did not murder Linnet on the steamer, despite his gun having been used in Mrs. Otterbourne's murder. Pennington then accused Simon to be the real suspect and left in a rage.
Later, Colonel Race arrests Richetti, the man he sought. Poirot recovers the missing pearls from Tim, who substituted an imitation string of pearls for the real ones. The imitation pearls were later stolen by Miss Van Schuyler, a kleptomaniac, and returned by Miss Bowers.
When alone with Simon, Poirot reveals him to be his wife's killer. The murder was not his plan, but Jacqueline's; the pair were still lovers. Their scheme was to steal Linnet's money - the pair staged their break-up, whereupon Simon married Linnet. On the night of the murder, Jacqueline deliberately missed Simon, who faked his injury with red ink. While everyone in the lounge was distracted by Jacqueline, he took her gun that she had deliberately discarded, went to Linnet's cabin, and shot her. He then returned to the lounge and shot his own leg, to give himself a genuine injury.
Poirot reveals what led him to his theory: the ink was contained in a bottle of nail polish he noticed in Linnet's cabin; Simon reloaded the gun with two spare cartridges before he disposed of it, as Poirot realized that three shots were fired that night; the stole was used to silence the gun when Simon shot his own leg; Poirot suspected pre-meditation for the murder, because he slept deeply through that night's events - he had been drugged through his wine that evening.
Jacqueline eventually confessed everything to Poirot, revealing that Simon was still in love with Jacqueline and was forced to marry Linnet. He plotted the murder with Jacqueline out of resentment against Linnet. Their plan should have been succeeded and gone unnoticed, but they were blackmailed by Louise who saw the crime, and Jacqueline had to kill her to hide the crime. Soon afterward. Mrs. Otterbourne was murdered by Jacqueline as well because she witnessed Jacqueline entering Louise's cabin before stabbing her. In front of Poirot, Jacqueline eventually admitted defeat peacefully.
As the steamer arrives back in Cairo and the passengers disembark, with all hope being lost, Jacqueline shot Simon dead with a hidden gun after bidding him goodbye and claiming they had lost the game. Then, she gave a sad smile to Poirot and began her suicidal attempt. Before Colonel Race could stop her, Jacqueline shot herself in the chest, killing herself. When pressed, Poirot reveals he had known she had a second gun but had sympathetically chosen to allow her to take her own life.
- To date, Jacqueline is considered to be one of the most sympathetic murderers in all of Agatha Christie's stories alongside Lady Edgware (at least in TV Adaptation) and the twelve killers who killed Samuel Ratchett on The Murder on the Orient Express. She is also one of the few murderers who chose to die with honor instead of trying to weasel their crime.
- However, while Poirot let the Orient Killers go as he sympathized with them, he had intended to turn Jacqueline in as he didn't sympathize with her.