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In the short story Problem at Sea, General Forbes was a passenger on board a Mediterranean cruise ship together with Hercule Poirot.

Well versed with the latest society gossip, Forbes supplied his fellow passengers with the background of Adeline Clapperton and how John Clapperton (whom he was dismissive of) had managed to marry her.


General Forbes was played by Roger Hume in the film adaptation of the story which was episode 7 of Series 1 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot drama series. His role is slightly enhanced compared with the original story. Here he has a long running love interest in her. "She was not always the silly woman she became," he told Poirot. He had known Adeline Clapperton since she was a little girl when he had served as her father's ADC. During the time of Adeline's murder, he had gone ashore for a short while but had then come back to the ship. He later told Poirot that he had come back hoping to have a talk with Adeline while her husband was away. He had knocked at her door, but getting no response, when to his cabin and had a nap.

In the film adaptation, General Forbes was addressed by Adeline Clapperton as "Dermot". This first name was used in the original story.