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In the short story The Dream, Benedict Farley was an eccentric millionaire businessman and thought to be one of the world's richest men. Farley lived the life of a recluse and was very seldom seen in public. All that was known of him were bits and pieces. He had a beaked nose and a loud rasping voice. He was very miserly but had occasional bouts of incredible generosity. He often wore a patchwork dressing gown which was reputed to be twenty-eight years old. He invariably ate cabbage soup and caviare and he hated cats.

Farley was found dead in his office with witnesses attesting that from the time he was last seen alive to when his body was found, no one had entered his room.

Farley's body bore the signs of suicide, and this the police might have accepted, except for the fact that shortly before he died, he had written and summoned Poirot. During the meeting, he had told Poirot that he had this persistent dream in which he committed suicide. As Poirot remarked, "Where Hercule Poirot is concerned--immediately the suspicion of murder arises!"

Portrayals[]

Benedict Farley was played by Alan Howard in the film adaptation of The Dream in Series 1 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot drama series. Howard also played the part of Hugo Cornworthy, Farley's secretary, in the show. The original story is vague about the extent or core activities of Farley's business. In the adaptation, Farley was the owner of Farley's Pies, an enormous manufacturer of pork pies. As Poirot said, to say that Farley makes pies is to say that Wagner wrote semi-quavers.

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