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|“||No, no... NO! NO! IT IS YOU WHO I SHOULD HAVE DROWNED, YOU FILTHY LITTLE BEAST! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU! And you never had him, never! I'm the only one he ever wanted! Ever loved! Tell them it isn't so, Michael! Please! PLEEEEEASE!||„|
|~ Mrs. Drake's Breakdown|
|“||I bet you half a crown you can't get that last apple out of the bucket.||„|
|~ Mrs. Drake as she prepared to drown Joyce|
Mrs. Rowena Drake is the secondary antagonist in Agatha Christie's 1969 Hercule Poirot novel Hallowe'en Party, and the direct killer of its primary victim, Joyce Reynolds. It is revealed that Mrs. Drake does this alongside Michael Garfield, her lover out of marriage, after a long string of manipulation and serial murder to gain her aunt's house and fortune.
She was portrayed by Deborah Findlay in ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot.
Mrs. Rowena Drake is the niece of the rich widow, the late Mrs. Llewelyn-Smythe, whom she joined years ago in Woodleigh Common alongside her disabled husband and children.
However, Mrs. Drake is revealed to be a woman with sexual desire and cannot find any comfort upon her cripple husband. That drove her into a love affair with the gardener Michael Garfield, whom she was impressed by his handsome look. Together, Mrs. Drake and Garfield went into a love affair and presumably killed her husband.
Nevertheless, the news of their love affair soon came to Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe, who added a codicil to her last will and testement that she will disinheritage her family and leave everything to Olga Seminoff, her au-pair maid that was always kind and honest to her. However, Mrs. Drake worked with Leslie Ferrier to work out another intentionally clumsy piece of forgery that was meant to be obviously fake, before substituting that with the original codicil. They framed Olga to be a gold-digger and secretly killed her.
Mrs. Drake and Michael set out to throw Olga's corpse into her garden's well, but unbeknowest to them, Miranda Butler was in the garden and witnessed everything. Though she was convinced by Michael that it was "sacrifice", Miranda shared the story to her best friend, Joyce Reynolds, though she was never intent to tell Joyce who was the murderer.
Two years later, Joyce appropriated the story and claimed she witnessed a murder once on a Halloween party held on the house of Mrs. Drake. Horrified, Mrs. Drake lured Joyce in her library and drowned her within an apple-bobbing game bucket full of water. However, after murdering Joyce, Mrs. Drake discovered she was soaking wet, and thus she broke a vase intentionally in front of one of her guests to conceal the murder.
However, after investigated about the vase, Poirot immediately deduced that Mrs. Drake was responsible for the death of Joyce since anyone who drowned Joyce must get wet. In the meantime, Mrs. Drake was blackmailed by Joyce's brother, Leopold Reynolds, who saw his sister being killed but chose to blackmail the killer instead. Mrs. Drake and Garfield later killed Leopold to silence him. Soon after, Mrs. Drake visited Poirot to divert suspicions upon Leopold.
By the end of the story, Mrs. Drake was presumably arrested offscreen after Miranda testified against her.
- The novel ends with a few questions unanswered, including whether Mr. Drake's death was an accident, and if the police took Mrs. Drake to trial.
- In the novel, it is unknown if Mrs. Drake is responsible for the deaths of her husband and aunt, since neither of their deaths are explained. In the TV series adaptation, however, it is explicitly stated that she and Michael Garfield killed them.
- In the novel, it remained unknown how Mrs. Drake's love affair was exposed to Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe, but in the TV series, it was Olga who informed Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe about the news. It was also Mrs. Drake who directly killed Olga as shown in TV series.
- In the TV series, Mrs. Drake is shown by the end of the Hallowe'en Party episode that she was arrested alongside Michael Garfield.
- Although Mrs. Drake is the direct murderer of Joyce and thus the kick-starter of the plot, Michael Garfield should be considered as the main antagonist since he has much bigger plans and his actions had influenced many other people besides Mrs. Drake.