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In the short story The King of Clubs, Valerie Saintclair (real name Oglander) was a dancer who was secretly engaged to marry Prince Paul of Maurania. After the impresario Henry Reedburn had been found dead, at his mansion Mon Désir at Streatham, Prince Paul request that Poirot look into the case as he feared Valerie might be involved in the death. Valerie had visited Reedburn on the night of his death and had fled from Mon Désir in shock and subsequently took refuge at the neighbouring Daisymead, the home of the Oglander family.

Valerie later told Poirot that Reedburn had been blackmailing her over some unspecified secret in her past.

According to Prince Paul, there were many romantic stories about Valerie's origins. One stated that she was the daughter of an Irish charwoman while another claimed that her mother was a Russian grand duchess.

The Prince believed the latter, but Poirot would later discover that Valerie was the estranged daughter of the Oglander family. The reason for their estrangement was not made clear but it could be linked to her occupation as a dancer. Poirot noted that the family was somewhat ashamed of her, and Valerie, who did not care for the bourgeoisie, was somewhat ashamed of them.

Portrayals[]

Valerie Saintclair was played by Niamh Cusack in the film adaptation of The King of Clubs in Series 1 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot. In the adaptation, she was not a dancer but a celebrity actress working for "Parade Studios" which was owned by Henry Reedburn. In the adaptation, she was also an estranged daughter of the Oglander family. Like in the original story, the reason for her estrangement was not specified but there was no sense of them being ashamed of each other. She was being blackmailed by Reedburn, and in the adaptation, the secret was related to the history of the Oglander family. The father had once been involved in a financial scandal.

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