Recurring characters in the Hercule Poirot stories
Captain Arthur Hastings
Hastings first meets Poirot during his years as a private detective in Europe. Almost immediately after they both arrive in England, he becomes Poirot's partner, and appears in many of the novels and stories. Poirot's view of Hastings was of a man with plenty of imagination but not a great deal of brains.
Hastings was capable of great bravery when the going got tough, facing death unflinchingly when confronted by the "Big Four" and showing unwavering loyalty towards Poirot. When forced to choose between Poirot and his wife in that novel, he chose Poirot.
The two were an airtight team until Hastings met and married Dulcie Duveen, a beautiful music hall performer half his age, which was not objectionable in the late Victorian and Edwardian world. They later emigrated to Argentina, leaving Poirot behind a "very unhappy old man".
Miss Felicity Lemon
Poirot's secretary, Miss Lemon, has few human weaknesses. The only two mistakes she is ever recorded making are a typing error in Hickory Dickory Dock and the mismailing of an electric bill. Poirot described her as "Unbelievably ugly and incredibly efficient. Anything that she mentioned as worth consideration usually was worth consideration." She is an expert on nearly everything and plans to create the perfect filing system. Interestingly, she once worked for the government agent-turned-philanthropist, Parker Pyne. Whether this was during one of Poirot's numerous retirements or before she entered his employ is unknown.
Chief Inspector James Harold Japp
Japp is an Inspector at Scotland Yard and appears in many of the stories, trying to solve the cases Poirot is working on. Japp is an outward-looking, loud and sometimes inconsiderate man, and his relationship with the bourgeois Belgian is one of the stranger aspects of Poirot's world. He first met Poirot in Belgium in 1904 during the Abercrombie Forgery, and later that year joined forces again to hunt down a criminal known as Baron Altara. They also meet in England, where Poirot often helps Japp solve cases and lets him take the credit in return for special favours. These favours usually entail being supplied with cases that would interest him.
George is the faithful valet of Hercule Poirot.
In addition to these regular characters, it is noteworthy that all the gentlemen in the novels have servants; Poirot's is the most incurable snob he could find. George is a classic English valet. He first entered Poirot's employ in 1923, and did not leave his side until the 1970s, shortly before Poirot's death. A competent, matter-of-fact man, with an extensive knowledge of the English aristocracy and absolutely no imagination, George provides a steady contrast to Hastings.
Race is a highly intelligent ex-Army Colonel who had a stint as a leader of the counter-intelligence division of the British spy agency MI5. He is immensely rich, having inherited the fortune of Sir Lawrence Eardsley. The Colonel starred as a detective in four of Christie's books, most notably as Hercule Poirot's good friend in Cards on the Table and Death on the Nile. He also appears in Sparkling Cyanide and The Man in the Brown Suit. He is known for his patience, composure, and ability to detect facts quickly without anyone else noticing. Although rather conventional in his deductive thought processes, he has an exceptionally open mind regarding possibilities and theories, and while he is amazed by some of the deductions Poirot makes, he never doubts nor discounts them (as, for instance, Japp initially might), no matter how fantastical. The Man in the Brown Suit is perhaps the only novel in which the emotional side of Colonel Race's nature has been given consideration. It gives a whole new depth to his personality.
In the 1978 film of Death on the Nile Colonel Race was played by David Niven. In the same book's 2004 TV adaptation for the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot, he was played by James Fox. As Fox was unavailable for the 2006 adaptation of Cards on the Table the character was replaced by the similar character "Colonel Hughes", played by Robert Pugh. In the BBC Radio 4 adaptations of Death on the Nile (1997) and Cards on the Table (2002), Race was played by Donald Sinden. ITV's adaptation of The Clocks makes the character of Colin Lamb, strongly implied in the book to be the son of Superintendent Battle, into the offspring of Colonel Race.
His first name is given as "Johnnie" by a minor character in Sparkling Cyanide. In the film of Death on the Nile, he is called "Johnny". The 2002 ITV adaptation of Sparkling Cyanide featured Oliver Ford Davies as "Colonel Geoffrey Reece".
Countess Vera Rossakoff
Countess Vera Rossakoff is the only woman with whom Hercule Poirot has ever admitted to being in love. The countess' true name is a mystery. She appears in only one novel, The Big Four, and two short stories, The Double Clue and The Capture of Cerberus (The Labours of Hercules series).
- "AgathaChristie.com's Ariadne Oliver Page". Retrieved 29 Mar 2015.
- Patricia D. Maida, Nicholas B. Spornick, Murder she wrote: a study of Agatha Christie's detective fiction, Popular Press, 1982, p.154.
- "AgathaChristie.com's Double Clue page.". Retrieved 29 Mar 2015.
- "Vera Rossakoff.". Retrieved 29 Mar 2015.