Agatha Christie Wiki
Emily arundell

Ann Morrish as Emily Arundell

In the novel Dumb Witness, Emily Harriet Laverton Arundell was a wealthy older woman who never married. She was the last survivor of five siblings; Matilda, Emily, Arabella, Thomas, and Agnes. She was the owner of Little Green House in Market Basing. She had lived in Market Basing since she was sixteen years old.

Miss Arundell had been delicate since childhood, and had "a lot to do with doctors all her life". However, she outlived all her siblings.

She died on May 1st 1936, after a short illness. She was "well over seventy", and "had been known to be in delicate health for many years", so people did not find her death surprising. Eighteen months before her last illness, she had suffered a similar attack, which nearly killed her.

Miss Arundell's will was made on April 21st, and her near relations had been staying with her just before that, over Easter Bank Holiday. When the will was read after her death, and her fortune was left entirely to her companion, Wilhelmina Lawson, everyone was surprised, and the townspeople all had their own theories about it.

Miss Arundell was in the habit of keeping her own counsel, and when she made the new will, she did not explain the motives underlying her action to her lawyer.

Miss Arundell was described as being "a typical product of her generation". She was autocratic and overbearing, but also warmhearted. Her tongue was sharp, but her actions were kind. She was sentimental, but also shrewd, and she bullied her companions but also treated them generously. She had "a great sense of family obligation".

In her youth, Miss Arundell had been "a handsome girl", and in her old age she was "a well-preserved handsome old lady with a straight back and a brisk manner". She had problems with her liver, which resulted in a "faint yellowness in her skin".

When Miss Arundell entered the shops in Market Basing, the proprietors would hurry forward to attend to her. They described her as "one of our oldest customers", and "one of the old school".

Miss Arundell had known Miss Caroline Peabody for more than fifty years. Both of them were upholders of "family dignity, family solidarity, and complete reticence on family matters".

In her later years, Miss Arundell found it increasingly difficult to sleep, but she refused Dr Grainger's suggestion of a sleeping draught, as she believed that sleeping draughts were for weakling. She would often get up and wander through the house, and would feel that the ghosts of her sisters Arabella, Matilda and Agnes, her brother Thomas, and her father General Charles Laverton Arundell, walked beside her.

On one occasion, while Miss Arundell was wandering around the house at night, she fell down the stairs. She was badly shaken and bruised, but suffered no broken bones. The fall was believed to have been the result of her tripping over Bob's ball.

Miss Arundell wrote a letter to Poirot, asking him to assist her in "a matter of a strictly private nature". However, she forgot to post the letter, and it was only found and posted after her death.

On the evening that Miss Arundell was taken ill, shortly before her death, Julia and Isabel Tripp were at Littlegreen House for dinner. They had a sitting, along with Miss Arundell and Miss Lawson. The Tripp sisters told Poirot that they had seen a "luminous haze" around Miss Arundell's head.

Poirot later explains that after her fall, Miss Arundell came to the conclusion that someone had deliberately tried to injure or kill her, and she suspected one of her relations. She then wrote to Poirot, and directed Mr Purvis to draw up a new will in favour of Miss Lawson. Poirot further explains that Miss Arundell's letter had stressed that the matter must be kept private as the honour of the family was involved. This suggested to Poirot that she suspected Charles, who bore the family name.

Poirot also explains that Miss Arundell's breath was phosphorescent on the night she was taken ill. This was the luminous haze which Miss Lawson and the Tripp sisters had seen. The murderer had opened one of the patent capsules that Miss Arundell took, placed phosphorus inside, and closed it again.


Emily Arundell was portrayed by Ann Morrish in the Agatha Christie's Poirot episode adaptation of the novel.

In Témoin muet, the France Televisions and Escazal Films adaptation which formed part of the Les Petits Meurtres d'Agatha Christie series, the parallel character is named Émilie Longuet.