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Some crimes... God does not forgive.
~ Greta Ohlsson to Poirot (in the 2010 adaptation)
There is a justice higher than the rule of law, monseiur! (Poirot: THEN YOU LET GOD ADMINISTER IT, NOT YOU!) And when He doesn't? When He creates a Hell on Earth for those wronged? When priests who are supposed to act in His name forgive what must never be forgiven? Jesus said, "Let those without sin throw the first stone." (Poirot: Oui.) Well, we were without sin, monsieur. I was without sin.
~ Greta Ohlsson to Poirot (in the 2010 adaptation)

Greta Ohlsson is a major protagonist in Agatha Christie's 1934 Hercule Poirot novel, Murder on the Orient Express, and one of the twelve culprits of the story that killed Lanfranco Cassetti. She was originally a Swedish family nurse of the Armstrong family until the kidnap and murder of Daisy Armstrong, and she became a missionary afterwards.

Ohlsson has been portrayed on screen by various actresses, including the late Ingrid Bergman in 1974, Marie-Josée Croze in 2010, and Penélope Cruz in 2017 (where the character is renamed as Pilar Estravados and was presented as a Hispanic).

Overview

Greta Ohlsson was the family nurse of the Armstrong family. She was holding this position during the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong. The culprit, Lanfranco Cassetti, was arrested and tried, but was acquitted on a technicality because of his wealth and influence.

In retaliation, Linda Arden, the mother of Sonia Armstrong, gathered several relatives and related people to the Armstrong family for the purpose of avenging the family and bringing the criminal to justice; Greta joined this group.

On the Orient Express, Greta shared a second-class compartment with Mary Debenham, and occupied the lower berth, At the first night. After Poirot discovered the passengers' identities and their involvement to Ratchett/Cassetti's death, he accepted Monsieur Bouc's suggestion and allowed them to go free because they committed the crime as a last resort for justice.

Trivia

  • In the current events of the story, Greta is 49 years old, meaning that she was born in 1885.
  • Greta Ohlsson is not featured in the 2001 TV film which has a smaller cast.
  • Her name in the 2017 adaptation, Pilar Estravados, is a reference to one of the major protagonists in Hercule Poirot's Christmas with the same name.
  • Due to her performance of Greta Ohlsson in the 1974 film, Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar award for Best Supporting Actress.

Navigation

 
Agatha Christie's signature Heroes

Detectives
Main Detectives
Hercule Poirot | Jane Marple
Secondary Detectives
Parker Pyne | Mr. Quin | Tommy and Tuppence Bresford
Amateur Detectives
Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Bobby Jones | Frances Derwent | Arthur Calgary | Reniseb | Charles Hayward | Mark Easterbrook

Righteous Culprits
Novels
Mary Debenham | Princess Natalia Dragomiroff | Hector MacQueen | Edward Henry Masterman | Colonel John Arbuthnot | Linda Arden | Count Andrenyi | Countess Andrenyi | Greta Ohlsson | Pierre Michel | Antonio Foscarelli | Hildegarde Schmidt | Cyrus Hardman | Edith de Haviland | Hercule Poirot
Short Stories
Madame Déroulard | Ronnie Oglander

Supporters & Others
Recurring
Captain Arthur Hastings | Inspector Japp | Felicity Lemon | Ariadne Oliver | Superintendent Spence | Colonel Johnnie Race | Superintendent Battle | Countess Vera Rosakoff | Raymond West | Joyce Lemprière
Victims & Attempted Victims
Miranda Butler | Mrs. Otterbourne | Pilar Estravados | Olga Seminoff
Others
Colonel Carbury | Dr. Constantine | Dr. Gerard | Ginerva Boynton | Hori | Judith Butler | Lydia Lee | Miss Bulstrode | Monsieur Bouc | Nadine Boynton | Rosalie Otterbourne | Sarah King | Sophia Leonides | Stephen Farr | Tim Allerton | Valerie Saintclair | Virginie Mesnard

Adaptational, Homage & Non-canonical
Benoit Blanc | Marta Carbera | Linda Drysdale

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