Magdalene is described as "a slender creature". Her hair is platinum blonde, and she has "plucked eyebrows and a smooth egg-like face". Her face can sometimes look "quite blank and devoid of any expression whatever". Her eye colour is hazel.
Magdalene is reluctant to go to Gorston Hall for Christmas, as she says she is sure it will be grim. She tells George that sometimes the things his father says make her quite uncomfortable., that Alfred is dull, and that Lydia snubs her. She also mentions that Horbury gets on her nerves, because he sneaks around like a cat, and smirks.
After Simeon's death, Magdalene tells Poirot, Colonel Johnson, and Superintendent Sugden about how Simeon had called the family up to his room, and angry words had been exchanged. She mentions that Alfred and David were angry, but fails to tell them that George had also been angry when his father told him that he would have to decrease his allowance. Instead, she tells them that Simeon had not said anything to George
Magdalene says that she was telephoning in the study at the time of the murder, and that she had made a trunk call to Westeringham. However, George says that he was telephoning in the study at the time, and that Magdalene had not been in the room with him.
When Superintendent Sugden asks Magdalene again where she was and what she was doing at the time of the novel, she bursts into tears, saying that if anyone frightens her and thunders questions at her, she cannot remember anything.
Magdalene later admits that she had wanted to telephone to a man who is a friend of hers, and did not want George to know about it. She had gone to telephone after dinner, but heard him telephoning, so she hid in a recess behind the stairs.
Magdalene later tells Poirot that there is a story connected to Juan Estravados, who died shortly after his marriage to George's sister, Jennifer. She hints that it is something disgraceful, and says that the family should have been told more about Pilar's antecedents, especially if her father was a criminal. Magdalene also says that the manner of Simeon's death was "so very unEnglish", and tells Poirot that she thinks Pilar is a suspicious person. She mentions that Pilar furtively picked something up from the floor of Simeon's room on the evening of the murder.
Magdalene later discovers a parcel containing a purchase Poirot had made from the village. She is unable to resist opening it, and is puzzled when she sees that it is a false moustache.
It is later revealed that Magdalene was living with a Commander Jones before she married George. She passed as the commander's daughter, but she was not.
At the end of the novel, Magdalene suggests to Lydia that they all go to the Riviera or somewhere else for Christmas the following year, and be really gay.
Agatha Christie's Poirot
In the 1995 ITV adaptation of Hercule Poirot's Christmas, the character's name is changed slightly to Magdalena Lee and is portrayed by Andree Bernard.
The portrayal is fairly faithful to the original. Some embellishment is made to her backstory. Here she used to be Madeline Potts of Willesden. Like in the book she then lived with one Commander Jones using the name "Magdalene Jones" and "who passed her off as his daughter, only she wasn't." Subsequently she left the commander, taking his savings and "left debts all over Hampshire."