Great Moments of Poirot's Moustache

Poirot’s moustache is his trademark. It’s often the first thing people notice about him, and it’s his pride and joy. Poirot takes great care with his appearance from the tip of his shoes to the top of his egg-shaped head, and his moustache is no exception. He believes he has both the finest moustache and the finest brain in Britain – a claim many of his fans around the world would no doubt agree with. Throughout the six decades that his mysteries were documented by Agatha Christie, Poirot’s moustache was described in a number of ways, and was often the focus defining his appearance…

“Stiff and Military” – The Mysterious Affair at Styles

In 1920 Poirot made his debut appearance in the literary world in Agatha Christie’s first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. In this his moustache was described as ‘very stiff and military.’ At this time, Poirot was a refugee, newly arrived from Belgium and nearly penniless, so had not much money to invest in grooming.

“A little man with enormous moustaches” – Murder on the Orient Express

The more Poirot became an established private detective, the bigger his trademark moustache became. By the early 1930s his famous facial hair had evolved from being stiff and military into a magnificent, luxurious asset which gained much comment from himself, narrators and other characters within each story. Throughout Christie’s stories, his moustache was described as ‘gigantic’, ‘immense’ and ‘amazing’, pointing to the importance of this physical asset. By 1934 Poirot himself was described as ‘a little man with enormous moustaches’ in Murder on the Orient Express. By this point and beyond it was clearly his greatest physical attribute, being described as ‘an immense moustache’ in The Labours of Hercules in 1947.

“There’s no doubt at all about what the man’s profession has been. He’s a retired hairdresser. Look at that moustache of his.” - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

One of the benefits of becoming a famous detective was that with every case, Poirot became more affluent. As the years went by, Poirot earnt a large fortune from his detective work; which he invested a significant portion into the care and maintenance of his favourite personal feature. In The ABC Murders, Poirot reveals that he frequently visits an expensive hairdresser and in Murder on the Orient Express we learn that he uses a little pair of curling tongs on his moustache to give it the ‘upward-curled’ shape. Poirot’s groomed moustache leads Dr. Sheppard to assume that he’s a retired hairdresser, exclaiming “look at that moustache of his” to his sister.

“If you must have a moustache, let it be a real moustache – a thing of beauty such as mine.” - Advice from Poirot to Hastings in Peril at End House

Poirot takes a lot of pride in his moustache, which often reflects his arrogance. He’s known to be merciless in his criticism of lesser moustaches, including describing Hastings ‘toothbrush’ moustache as a ‘horror’ in Lord Edgware Dies. In Peril at End House he gives advice to Hastings on growing a moustache, saying: “If you must have a moustache, let it be a real moustache – a thing of beauty such as mine.”

“The heat, it causes my moustaches to become limp – but limp!” – The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb

Poirot’s moustache is very sensitive to heat and cold. During the frigid London winters and during trips to snowy mountains in central Europe, Poirot keeps his moustache bundled up under an enormous muffler or scarf. In the sweltering heat of the Middle East, Poirot’s moustache has been known to droop and grow limp under the desert sun, as described in short story The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb.

Poirot ‘sat back with a sigh of satisfaction, wiping remnants of foaming cream from his moustache.’ – Third Girl

At times, Poirot’s moustache grows so large it becomes almost unwieldy. In Third Girl, when Poirot enjoys a cup of hot chocolate topped with foaming whipped cream, his moustache becomes festooned with cream. Likewise, in Murder on the Orient Express, he has some difficulty keeping his moustache out of the soup!

“Suspiciously black.” – Appointment with Death

Over the years, Poirot grows concerned about the state of his moustache, because decades of dying it has caused damage to it. While this is particularly worrisome in the last years of his career, it’s a problem as early as the 1930’s, when Dr. King considers Poirot’s moustache “suspiciously black” in Appointment with Death, and in Hercule Poirot’s Christmas he mourns that “However expensive the preparation… to restore the natural colour does somewhat impoverish the quality of the hair.” The older he gets, the more obvious it is that he dyes his moustache, and this deeply embarrasses him.

Find more great moments of Poirot’s moustache in Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories.

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