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He was the best of gentleman.
~ Masterman praising the late Colonel Armstrong

Edward Henry Masterman is is a major protagonist in Agatha Christie's 1934 Hercule Poirot novel, Murder on the Orient Express, and its adaptations. He is one of the twelve culprits of the story that killed Lanfranco Cassetti.

Originally, Masterman appeared as a butler to Cassetti/Samuel Ratchett alongside Hector MacQueen, but he was in fact a former batman and comrade-in-arms to the late Colonel Armstrong, alongside Col. John Arbuthnot, who is Colonel Armstong's best friend and one of the other culprits. He also served as a valet to the Armstrong family before the kidnap and murder of Daisy Armstrong.

He was portrayed by the late Sir John Gielgud in 1974, Hugh Bonneville in 2010, and Sir Derek Jacobi in 2017.

History

Past

Edward Masterman was the valet of Samuel Edward Ratchett during the events in the book. He was aged 39 and resided at 21 Friar Street, Clerkenwell in London. He had formerly been a soldier in the British Army and served as the batman of Colonel Armstrong in New York. Some time after the First World War, he joined Armstrong's household as his valet. He was probably in service at the time of the kidnapping of Colonel Armstrong's daughter, Dasiy Armstrong.

Thereafter, Masterman worked with Sir Henry Tomlinson in Grosvenor Square, a garden square in Mayfair, in the West End of London, England. Some time later, Tomlinson went to East Africa and no longer required Masterman's services.

Murder on the Oriend Express

After the kidnap and murder of Daisy Armstrong, the perpetrator Cassetti was arrested and tried but got off on a technicality because of his wealth and influence. Linda Arden, her grandmother, gathered a group of interested parties for the purpose of avenging the crime and bringing the criminal to justice. Masterman joined the group. As part of the plan (first proposed by fellow group member Antonio Foscarelli) Mastermind managed to gain employment as the valet to Cassetti, who by then had adopted the alias of Samuel Edward Ratchett.

Both Masterman and MacQueen served as double agents to fulfill their revenge plans to seek justice for Cassetti's victims. At the start of the story, Masterman and MacQueen already served under the servitude of Cassetti/Ratchett for nine months before prepertrating the latter's murder on the Oriend Express.

Masterman boarded the Orient Express with his employer at Istanbul. By this time, he had already been working for Ratchett for some 9 months. During the investigations into the murder of Cassetti on the Orient Express, Masterman at first told Poirot that he had never been to America. Later, he admitted his past to Poirot.

After the case's disclosure, Masterman was spared by Poirot alongside other culprits due to their sympathetic and righteous motives of killing a notorious criminal.

Trivia

  • In the 1974 film adaptation, Masterman's last name is changed to Beddoes.
  • In the 2017 movie, Masterman was terminally and died months after Cassetti's death, making him the only character in the novel so far that earned an adaptational death (albeit natural) in an adaptation.

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Hercule Poirot | Jane Marple
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Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Bobby Jones | Frances Derwent | Arthur Calgary | Reniseb | Charles Hayward | Mark Easterbrook

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Mary Debenham | Princess Natalia Dragomiroff | Hector MacQueen | Edward Masterman | Colonel John Arbuthnot | Linda Arden | Count Rudolph Andrenyi | Countess Helena Andrenyi | Greta Ohlsson | Pierre Michel | Antonio Foscarelli | Hildegarde Schmidt | Cyrus Hardman | Edith de Haviland | Hercule Poirot
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Captain Arthur Hastings | Inspector Japp | Felicity Lemon | Ariadne Oliver | George the Butler | Superintendent Spence | Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Countess Vera Rosakoff | Raymond West | Joyce Lemprière
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Alexander Bonaparte Cust | Miranda Butler | Mrs. Otterbourne | Pilar Estravados | Olga Seminoff
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Bella Duveen | Colonel Carbury | Dr. Stavros Constantine | Dr. Gerard | Dulcie Duveen | Ginerva Boynton | Hori | Judith Butler | Lydia Lee | Miss Bulstrode | Monsieur Bouc | Monsieur Giraud | Nadine Boynton | Rosalie Otterbourne | Sarah King | Sophia Leonides | Stephen Farr | Tim Allerton | Valerie Saintclair | Virginie Mesnard

Adaptational, Homage & Non-canonical
Knives Out (2019): Benoit Blanc | Marta Cabrera | Linda Drysdale