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In the novel At Bertram's Hotel, Ladislaus Malinowski is a race car driver in his late 20s who works with Lady Sedgwick and with whom her daughter Elvira has fallen in love.

Ladislaus had been world champion for two years running. One year before the events of the novel, he had a bad crash, and broke a lot of bones. By the time of the events of the novel, he has recovered, and is believed to be driving again.

During the events of the novel, Ladislaus drives a white Mercedes-Otto racing model.

Ladislaus is half French, half Polish. He is described as having a "lean hawklike face". Miss Marple observes a "predatory toughness" and "strong, virile attraction" about him.

Ladislaus reminds Miss Marple of Harry Russell, who was never up to any good, and never did any woman who had anything to do with him any good either. Ladislaus similarly has a "bad reputation where women are concerned", according to Chief Inspector Davy.

Ladislaus is known to spend money freely, both in England and abroad, although his source of income is doubtful. He is also known to frequently travel between England and the European continent. He owns an automatic pistol, which he keeps in the pocket of his car, and a revolver, which he keeps in a drawer in his flat.

After the death of Micky Gorman, Chief Inspector Davy questions Ladislaus, because his car had been seen near Bertram's Hotel on the night in question, and his automatic pistol had been used to shoot Gorman. When Chief Inspector Davy tells him that the shots were meant for Elvira, Ladislaus questions why he would want to shoot the girl he is going to marry. He later says that he and Bess Sedgwick are lovers, and that he had only suggested that he was engaged to Elvira because that sounded "very English and proper".

It is revealed that Ladislaus is part of the gang conducting large-scale robberies, which uses Bertram's Hotel as a front.

Elvira was in love with Ladislaus, and she knew that she would have a better change of marrying him with the money she inherited from her father. It is revealed that this is actually the motive to the murder of Micky Gorman, because Elvira feared that if it was discovered that her parents' marriage was not valid (Gorman was Lady Sedgwick's legal husband) she would have no right to her inheritance, and therefore lose Malinowski. Ironically she ended up casting suspicion on him, since she used his gun for the murder, and the murder was pointless, because her father's will named her by name, securing her inheritance.

Portrayals[]

In the BBC 1987 adaptation of the novel, Malinowski is portrayed Robert Reynolds. This portrayal is fairly faithful to the original novel. The car he drives, however, is not a white Mercedes Otto but a red Jaguar.

In the ITV 2007 adaptation of the novel, Malinowski is portrayed by Ed Stoppard in a manner which diverges sharply from the original. The one similarity is that he is also a racing car driver and Elvira is also interested in him. The difference is that once he discovers that Elvira is Bess Sedgwick's daughter, he keeps his distance. This leads Elvira to confront her mother about him. Other than this, his backstory and role in the story is completely different. In the early part of the show, some effort is made to build Malinowski up as a plausible suspect. He is somewhat of a mystery person. He carries a wallet with a Nazi emblem. And he lives at 123 Via Seloria in Milan. 123 is a recurring motif in the show--the murdered Tilly Rice had a diary entry mentioning "123" and "money received". Later, Tilly's mother also mentioned that her daughter seemed to be receiving money from Malinowski, thinking perhaps he was her boyfriend. Later still, a sniper fired from room 123 and killed Mickey Gorman. It is only towards the end of the show that it is revealed that Malinowski is actually a Nazi hunter on the trail of a Nazi fugitive named Herman Koch who is staying at the hotel. He had been paying Tilly Rice, but this was because he was using her as an informant to learn about the "Blake guests" who were using the hotel as part of an escape route (see the article on Herman Koch for details). In this adaptation, Bess Sedgwick is also helping him with this mission and with her help and that of Mr Mutti, a German hatmaker, they finally pin down and apprehend Koch who was posing as Canon Pennyfather. During the final confrontation scene, a tattooed number can be seen on Malinowski's wrist, suggesting that he was a concentration camp inmate.

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