|“||People say travel broadens the mind; mainly because, people like me insist in it in their books. But I have to say, I doubt that it is true. On the contrary, I suspect travel narrows the mind. One becomes so blase about the wonders of the world. The more I travel, the more clearly I understand that; all that ever matters is the people - not the places. Those Arabs telling stories over couscous in the camp, they fascinate me. This... it's pretty enough, but... show me the humans every time.||„|
|~ Lady Westholme in Agatha Christie's Poirot, indicating the vista she and Poirot are viewing|
Lady Westholme, also known as Dame Celia Westholme in Agatha Christie's Poirot, is the main antagonist of Agatha Christie's Appointment With Death featuring Hercule Poirot. She is the murderer of the tyrannical Lady Boynton, committing the murder in order to keep her true identity as a former criminal secret.
She was portrayed by the late Lauren Bacall (who also voiced Madame LaCroque and Witch of the Waste) in the novel's 1988 film adaptation, and later by Elizabeth McGovern in Agatha Christie's Poirot, of which it adapted the book in 2008.
In the original novel, Lady Westholme is a former criminal once imprisoned in the very same prison where Lady Boynton, the book's victim, served as its former prison warden. She later became Lady Boynton's secretary and attempted to reach for higher social status, but was threatened by Lady Boynton, who attempted to leek her secret identity if she did not submit to her. The threat made by Lady Boynton, detailing how she would never forget anything, was originally thought to be a threat to Sarah King, but it was revealed to be a threat to Lady Westholme instead.
Without any choice, Lady Westholme killed Lady Boynton to keep her social status unharmed. Disguised as an Arab servant, she had committed the murder via poisoning the victim with a syrince filled digitoxin, and then relied upon the suggestibility of Miss Pierce to lay two pieces of misdirection that had concealed her role in the murder.
During Poirot's relvelation of the truth, Lady Westholme eavesdropped all of it in an adjoining room. Realizing that her criminal history is about to be revealed to the world, Lady Westholme commited suicide.
In Agatha Christie's Poirot
In Agatha Christie's Poirot, however, the characterization of Lady Westholme comes much more sympathetic and caring than that of her novel counterpart. In the adaptation, she was renamed as Dame Celia Westholme, who was a professional writer. She served as a maid in the home of Lady Boynton (who was then Mrs. Pierce) before.
When she was younger, she had an affair with Dr. Gerard and gave birth to Jinny Boynton (an original character not seen in the novel), and was sent away to a nunnery in Ireland while Lady Boynton kept the baby. However, when Dame Celia and Dr. Gerard found out that Lady Boynton had abused all of the children that were in her care (including Jinny) even for a short while (like Mr. Cope), they decided to kill her in order to stop her abuse.
Before the murder occured, Westholme managed to paralyze Lady Boynton through the poison injection, before she and Dr. Gerard (who managed to infect himself with malaria for alibi) faked her apparent death under the exposed sun. When people discovered Lady Boynton's situation, Dame Westholme went up to Lady Boyton's bench and stabbed her in the abdomen, where Dr. Gerard placed a piece of wax covered with goat's blood, with it melt under the sun's scorch, seeping blood upon the victiom's body and pretending to be the victim's blood.
After being exposed to Poirot, both Dr. Gerard and Dame Westholme committed suicide after biding goodbye with their daughter. In the original novel, Dr. Gerard remained alive and had no participance to the murder.
- In the 1945 stage play version of the novel, also written by Agatha Christie, Lady Westholme had become a purely comic relief character as in this version, Lady Boynton took her own life to cause posthumous pressure and control over her children.
- Her actress in the 1988 film adaptation, the late Lauren Bacall, had previously portrayed Linda Arden in the 1974 film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express.