Agatha Christie Wiki

In the novel Hickory Dickory Dock Valerie Hobhouse is a lodger at the hostel at Hickory Road owned by Christina Nicoletis. At the time of the events in the book, she had lived there for almost three years and is one of residents who had been there for the longest time. Unlike many other lodgers she is not a student but in commercial business. She is the co-owner of Sabrina Fair, a beauty salon. Besides cosmetics, the salon also has many other sidelines such as novelty items from Paris. Valerie's main function is to act as the buyer for the salon and in this role she makes frequent trips to France and the continent.

Valerie's frequent travel also suited her for the smuggling racket which she ran with Nigel Chapman. Towards the end of the book, a police search of her office revealed a large number of false passports for women aged between 25 and 40, all for Valerie who managed to change her appearance skilfully for each passport. Investigations into her financial background also showed that Valerie had managed to cover her tracks very well, with bank accounts in countries ranging from Eire to Algiers. She also laundered the money she made from the smuggling by gambling at a club in London. However she told police at the end that murder was never part of her plan and that she had been forced into it by Nigel Chapman. She had told Nigel for example, that she could deal with the incriminating things which Celia Austin thought she had seen (for example, either one of her own or Nigel's forged passports) but Nigel had been too impatient to wait. She agreed to cooperate fully to see that Nigel would not get away. Part of the reason for this commitment, as Poirot had already surmised, was because Mrs Nicoletis was her mother.


In the 1995 ITV TV film adaptation, Valerie Hobhouse is portrayed by Elinor Morriston. She describes herself as "studying fashion and creating it". She interns as work experience at Sabrina Fair as part of her course. In this adaptation, Sabrina Fair is not a beauty salon but a fashion house. It was not used as a base for the smuggling network.

In Pension Vanilos, the TV film adaptation of the novel by France Télévisions, the parallel character is Rose who similarly runs a beauty salon.