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In the novel After the Funeral, Lanscombe is the butler at Enderby Hall. As someone who would knew Richard Abernethie well, Poirot used him as a resource on the history of the family, and in particular, what happened and who he met in the last few weeks before his death.

Christie used Lanscombe mainly as the vehicle to convey background information to the readers, through his observations and reflections on Enderby Hall and the individual members of the Abernethie family. She also used the character for commentary on the upheavals and changes to society after the Second World War where old families were breaking up and the once fine country estates being sold off. Lanscombe himself had been offered the use of the North Lodge at Enderby to stay in after his retirement, but with Richard's death, and the potential sale of the estate, this was not possible. Poirot observed that Lanscombe was "courteous but distant. Less resentful than Janet, he nevertheless regarded this upstart foreigner as the materialization of the "Writing on the Wall. This was What We are Coming To!"

Portrayals[]

Lanscombe is played by William Russell in the film adaptation of the book in Season 10 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot series. In the film, Lanscombe plays a larger role in the development of the story. He told Enthwistle and Poirot that the day before Richard Abernethie died, there had been a violent argument between the old man and George. Lanscombe also told them that he had been asked to witness Richard's will. His eyesight was not good but he didn't want his employer to know. So he pretended to glance through the will to the end of the page before signing. Enthwistle said the will he read out was more than a page long but Lanscombe insisted it was only one page. This led Entwhistle to examine his copy of the will more carefully and then he realised it was a fake.

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