Agatha Christie Wiki

Morven Christie as Kirsten Lindstrom

In the novel Ordeal by Innocence, Kirsten “Kirsty” Lindstrom is a nurse and masseuse from Sweden. She joined the Argyle household during the war when Rachel Argyle opened their home as a place for children age 2 to 7, safe from the bombing of the Second World War. She stays on as a housekeeper.

Kirsten is described as having a "flat homely face", which is "like a pancake". She is middle-aged, and has "frizzy yellowish grey hair". She speaks excellent English, but with a faint foreign intonation.

When Dr Calgary first comes to Sunny Point, Kirsten peers at him suspiciously. She reminds him of a lay-sister at a foreign convent, who peers at one suspiciously, before grudgingly taking one to the visiting parlour or the Reverend Mother. She later tells Dr Calgary that until he came, the family had been resigned, but now that they had heard that Jacko Argyle was innocent, they would suffer, and so it would have been better to "leave well alone".

Kirsten first came to Sunny Point in 1940. She stayed on after the war, and even after Mrs Argyle's death, because she loved the family. She wanted to look after them, keep the house clean and comfortable, and see that they got good food. She tells Dr Calgary that she loves all the family, and had also loved Jacko, even though he was no good.

Kirsten tells Hester Argyle that she should be on her guard against all the members of the household, warning her that even though she thinks she knows someone well and can trust them, she can never be sure. To illustrate the point that one can never know what someone else is thinking, Kirsten mentions a case of a woman who killed the friend she had lived with for years. She does not mention any names, but this could be the case of Hilda, which was mentioned in the novel Elephants Can Remember.

When Kirsten is alone in her "spotlessly kept bedroom", she worries about the case being reopened, because she knows that the police do not like foreigners. She does not consider herself a foreigner, because she has been in England so long, but she does not think the police will understand that.

She thinks of Jacko, and tells herself that justice had been done. In her opinion, he had always been a liar, and was wicked and cruel.

Kirsten is of the opinion that she knows more about the Argyle family than anyone could ever know, and that she knows more about the children than Mrs Argyle had ever done. This is because Kirsten saw the children as individuals, "with all their faults and virtues", whereas Mrs Argyle had always seen them as belonging to herself. Kirsten supposes that she might have been possessive of her own children, if she had ever had any. However, she is not pre-eminently a maternal woman, and her principal love would have been for her husband, if she had one.

Kirsten had once been full of affection and admiration for Mrs Argyle, but eventually began to dislike her for being so sure of herself, benevolent, and tyrannical. She could not remember exactly when this happened.

Kirsten tells Superintendent Huish that on the day of Mrs Argyle's death, she had let Jacko in, because he said he had lost his key. She also heard him shouting that he would come back, and that Mrs Argyle had better have the money ready for him, and then saw him leave. She then took some books to the Women's Institute. She returned at half past seven, went into Mrs Argyle's room, and found her dead.

After Jacko's arrest, Maureen Clegg went to Sunny Point, and Kirsten opened the door to her. Maureen explained that she was married to Jacko, and Kirsten could not believe it. She made Maureen say it twice, before going up to tell Mr Argyle.

After the case is reopened, Philip Durrant talks to Kirsten, because he thinks she knows something about it. She advises him not to ask questions, and to go home with Mary, to their own home. When Philip says that she knows who the murderer is, she tells him that what he is trying to do is dangerous.

Kirsten later finds Philip dead, when she is bringing him some coffee. She goes with Tina to tell Mr Argyle, and then goes to break the news to Mary.

It is revealed that Kirsten had been in love with Jacko, and he had made love to her, telling her that he had never cared for girls. Dr Calgary suggests that Jacko made her believe that he wanted to marry her, and after he had more control of his mother's money, they would go away together. He also suggests that Kirsten had given him all the money she had, from the annuity which Mrs Argyle had bought for her.

On the night of the murder, Jacko had met Kirsten outside the house, and had told her to get the money from Mrs Argyle's room for him. Then, Mrs Argyle was to be killed, and the drawers pulled out to make it look like a burglary. Kirsten was to do this between seven and seven thirty, so that Jacko could establish an alibi.

After Jacko's arrest, Kirsten found out that Jacko was already married when Maureen came to the house. She then saw that Jacko had lied to her, and she said nothing to save him from being imprisoned for life.

It is further revealed that Kirsten had stabbed Philip, and that she was actually coming out of the room after killing him, when Tina saw her. She also stabbed Tina when they were on their way to tell Mr Argyle about Philip's death. She later slipped the knife into Micky's pocket. She says that she could not help it, because they were all beginning to find out. She says that Philip was beginning to find out, and she thought that Tina had overheard Jacko talking to her on the evening of the murder.

Kirsten later walks out without looking at the family. Dr Calgary says that she is likely to go to the nearest station and take a train to London, but that she will not be able to get away, and will be traced and found.


In the 2007 Agatha Christie's Marple episode, Kirsten is portrayed by actress Alison Steadman. The portrayal is faithful to the original except that at the end, after the denouement, instead of simply walking off, Miss Marple persuades Kirsten to confess because she does geniunely love the children and this is the only way they can be set free from the mutual suspicion that was tearing the family apart. She agrees to do so and is taken away by the police.

In the 2018 BBC Ordeal by Innocence miniseries, the characters are mostly kept but the story is almost completely rewritten. The murderer of the case is changed from Jacko to Rachel's husband Leo. When the family realizes that Leo was the murderer of Rachel and Phillip (the attempted murder of Tina is not present here) Kirsten locks him in a safe room at Sunny Point. In this adaptation Kirsten was revealed to be the biological mother of Jacko. Kirsten is played by actress Morven Christie.