Agatha Christie Wiki

In the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, Desmond Lee-Wortley was an individual known to the police for having been concerned with blackmail and other questionable transactions. He worked with a woman friend of his to steal the precious ruby of Prince Ali. After the woman had succeeded in getting hold of the jewel, Desmond brought her with him, under the pretext of being his sister, to a Christmas house party at Kings Lacey. There they hoped to lie low until it became safe to escape abroad.

Desmond's other purpose for coming to Kings Lacey was to spend time with Sarah Lacey whom he was romancing. The relationship was convenient although it is not clear how genuine his affection for her was. Desmond had his own aircraft. Sarah later admitted that Desmond had wanted her to elope with him and fly abroad. The elopement would serve as a smokescreen to smuggle the jewel out of the country.

The authorities suspected Desmond of the theft of the ruby but did not have any proof. They were also concerned with avoiding publicity and scandal. As such Mr Jesmond requested Poirot to spend Christmas at Kings Lacey in an attempt to recover the jewel.

By a coincidence involving a Christmas pudding, Poirot obtained the ruby. He then staged a death. This frightened Desmond into thinking he might become embroiled in a murder and caused him to flee after taking a paste copy of the jewel.


Desmond Lee-Wortley was played Nigel Le Vaillant in the film adaptation of the story in Series 3 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot. There, his background is changed slightly. Although he was undoubtedly interested in the monetary gain from the theft of the ruby, he was also working for the Wafd Party of Egypt which was against the monarchy. The theft of the ruby from Prince Farouk was intended to embarrass and destabilise the Egyptian crown. In the adaptation, Desmond Lee-Wortley also had an aircraft. The reason he did not fly abroad immediately was not to allow the hue and cry to die down but because it had been grounded for repairs.