Martin Edwards Haul

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin EdwardsThe Golden Age of Murder - Martin EdwardsSilent Night: Christmas Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin EdwardsMiraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various AuthorsCapital Crimes: London Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors

I swear, I really only opened my wishlist to order
“The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books” … (sigh).

Oh, wait, that would have been last year.  Now it’s more like



Original post:


The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season — Grand Finale and BLACKOUT!

Snow Globes: Reads

Bells: Activities

I intend to also read a book for the Kwanzaa square and try to get as many of my as-yet missing activities done (Holiday Down Under, Movie Ticket, and Holiday Party), but since completing either activities or reads qualifies for completing a square, as far as the game itself is concerned here’s hooray for blacking out my card!

Thanks to Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for hosting yet another great game – I had great fun with this one, never mind the hosting site’s performance issues. (I only wish those woes were over once and for all.) As with the bingo, I enjoyed following everybody else’ updates and comparing notes at least as much as completing my own card.

So, here’s for the grand finale:

Task the Second: The Silent Nights:

– Read a book set in one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and/or Denmark), where winter nights are long!

Inspired by Lillelara’s advice to Olga Godim, I changed plans on this one and revisited Babette’s Feast, Tania (Karen) Blixen‘s love letter to the culinary arts, set against the bleak background of (mostly) midwinter in a Pietist religious community in a remote Norwegian fjord. It’s an apt read not only for this square but also for the season, as the feast is Babette’s selfless gift to the two women who, suspicion against “papists” notwithstanding, have taken her into their home after she had lost her own. I’d read it for the first time after having seen the movie, with the sumptuous visuals of the feast (as contrasted by the dour setting of the protagonists’ lives) still freshly in my mind, and I loved it even better then; but I’m still happy I decided to reread it … and few can hold a candle to Blixen’s gift of setting the atmosphere of a story.


Task the Fourth: The Gift Card:

– Read a book that you either received as a gift or have given as a gift.

This task truly came in handy, as my birthday fell smack into the Halloween Bingo and I therefore haven’t made particularly great inroads with the many treasures I’d accumulated back in October.

So, always eager to find out what’s going on in the life of one DI (has-been) John Rebus of Police Scotland, I picked Ian Rankin’s Even Dogs in the Wild, which I absolutely loved … until it dawned on me that the back story of (and solution to) this entry in the series is VERY similar to that of Dead Souls, which happens to be one of my favorite Rebus books and which I therefore know inside and out. (And Rankin has also used the method of disposing of a dead body referenced at the beginning of this book before … not to mention bent cops, who more often than not seem to hail from Glasgow instead of Edinburgh.)

Bit of a bummer, that, and it knocked the book straight down from a five- to a four star read. Still, I loved the fact that part of the book was told from the perspective of “Big Ger” Cafferty, Rebus is as crotchety and unyielding a lonely wolf as ever, and I’m glad to see that Siobhan finally seems to be coming into her own well and truly, without finding it necessary to cling to anybody’s coat tails (particularly not those of her boss, DCI James Page). What with Darryll Christie resurfacing in a prominent role and the Glasgow underworld in play big time as well, I wonder if we’re headed for another gangland showdown along the likes of The Hanging Garden in one of the next books …? Now wouldn’t that be a treat. Also, is Rankin unsure where next to take Malcolm Fox — or why is Fox virtually surplus to requirements at the beginning of the book and wondering whether he should throw in his towel?


– Give a book to a friend and post a picture of the wrapped present.

My best friend’s birthday is on December 16, as a result of which I only get to go gift shopping for her in a major way once every year, and I typically only decide later, when I’m back home, which items she’s getting for Christmas and which ones for her birthday. This year, I decided it would be the books and a few assorted other items for her birthday … it’ll be a bath tub caddy and a set of goodies from one of our favorite local food (or more specifically spice, condiments and sauces) stores for Christmas. – The books are Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk and a cookbook based on the Harry Potter novels, which I hope she’ll love (and doesn’t own yet), being both an HP fan and a stellar and enthusiastic cook.


Task the Fifth: The Kwanzaa:

– Make a small donation to a charitable organization that operates in Africa.

I made a donation to a charity that my mom and I have been supporting for a long time – in fact, I remember my mom donating to them even when I was a small child: SOS Kinderdörfer (literally, “SOS Children’s Villages”), an organization that takes in and provides housing, schooling and, most importantly, a loving and supportive community, to orphans and children whose parents are too poor or otherwise unable to properly care for them, in different parts of the world. If you make your donation online you can specify the project you want your money to go to, and I picked their project in South Sudan, which has been particularly beleagured of late: as a result of the war, they were forced to abandon their facilities, casting the future of the project, and the children and their carers themselves, into great peril. They’ve only recently begun to slowly build towards a new home for their village and community.

(I’ve included links to their website, which however doesn’t seem to have an English version, unfortunately, so if you want to learn more you’ll have to copy and paste the contents into Google translator, I’m afraid.)


Task the Eighth: The Movie Ticket

– Read a book that has been adapted to a holiday movie.

It took me about three seconds to make up my mind about this one, and I never stopped to think twice – this just had to be one of my all-time favorite stories, which also happens to have been adapted into one of my all-time favorite holiday movies, never mind that the final scene actually isn’t even set at Christmas in the book: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy, whose screen adaptation starring Ricky Schroder and Alec Guinness has been an annual Christmas ritual on German TV for over 35 years now. So call me a sop – and I admit I’ve never actually tried revisiting this story at length outside the Christmas season (I might well find it a bit too tug-at-your-heartstrings-sentimental then – but as a feel good story about love, redemption, and the meaning (and effect) of unselfish generosity, this one is hard to beat … golden-haired cherub, saintly mother and friends to steal horses with all included.


And here’s my tally of completed reads and activities:

Task the First: The Winter Wonderland:

Read: A book that is set in a snowy place.

=> Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas in Wales (audio version, read by the author himself)

Activity: Take a walk outside and post a picture of something pretty you encountered on your way.

=> A Visit to Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market


Task the Second: The Silent Nights:

Read: A book set in one of the Nordic countries.

=> Tania (Karen) Blixen: Babette’s Feast (see above)

Activity: Hygge: Put on your fuzziest socks, light a candle, and spend some time (reading) in front of the fireplace or your coziest nook.

=> Hygge!


Task the Third: The Holiday Party:

Read: A book where a celebration is a big part of the action.

=> Rex Stout: And Four to Go

Activity: Make something that is considered party food where you are from, and post a picture of it on Booklikes.



Task the Fourth: The Gift Card:

Read: A book that you either received as a gift or have given as a gift.

=> Ian Rankin: Even Dogs in the Wild (see above).

Activity: Give a book to a friend and post a picture of the wrapped present.

=> Book gift, see above.


Task the Fifth: The Kwanzaa:

Read: A book written by an African-American author or set in an African country.

Activity: Make a donation to a charitable organization that operates in Africa.

=> SOS Kinderdörfer, South Sudan project (see above).



Task the Sixth: The Hanukkah:

Read: Let the dreidel choose a book for you

=> Arthur Conan Doyle: The Valley of Fear (audio version read by Simon Vance)

Activity: Make a traditional Hanukkah food like doughnuts or potato latkes.

=> Latkes (Kartoffelpuffer / Reibekuchen), courtesy of Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market


Task the Seventh: The Christmas:

Read: A book set during the Christmas holiday season.

=> Donna Andrews: The Nightingale Before Christmas

Activity: Set up a

=> Christmas bookstagram-style scene with favorite holiday reads, objects or decorations.


Task the Eighth: The Movie Ticket:

Reading: A book that has been adapted to a holiday movie:

=> Frances Hodgson Burnett – Little Lord Fauntleroy (see above)

Activity: Go see a new theater release this holiday season (this does not have to be a holiday movie).



Task the Ninth: The Happy New Year:

Read: (A coming of age novel or) any old favorite comfort read:

=> Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol (audio version performed by Patrick Stewart)

Activity: Post a holiday picture of yourself from your childhood or youth.
=> Task the Ninth, Part 2



Task the Tenth: The Holiday Down Under:

Read: A book set in Australia or by an Australian author.

=> Kerry Greenwood: Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates

Activity: Buy some Christmas crackers (or make your own) to add to your festivities and share some pictures.



Task the Eleventh: The Polar Express:

Read: A book that involves train travel.
=> Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express

Activity: Read a classic holiday book from your childhood, or tell a story about a childhood Christmas you’d like to share.
=> Hans Christian Andersen: The Snow Queen



Task the Twelfth: The Wassail Bowl:

Reading: A book set in the UK, preferably during the medieval or Victorian periods.

=> Mary Stewart: The Crystal Cave

Activity: Drink a festive, holiday beverage; take a picture of your drink, and post it to share – make it as festive as possible.
=> Mulled wine (Glühwein), courtesy of Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market









Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol (performed by Patrick Stewart)

 A Christmas Carol (Audiocd) - Patrick Stewart, Charles Dickens   A Christmas Carol

A “Christmas Carol” for the 21st Century

Part of my annual Christmas ritual – and since this year I’m indulging by way of Patrick Stewart’s splendid audio version and the TV adaptation it inspired, here’s my review of the latter … with the added note that my comments on Stewart’s performance in the movie also apply to his reading, where he also does a splendid job getting under the skin (or whatever it is that ghosts have) of all the story’s other characters.


Given the enormous potential for failure, it takes either a lot of guts or a big ego to remake a classic and step into a pair of shoes worn so well by the likes of George C. Scott and Alastair Sim — you don’t have to have grown up in an English speaking country to take those two names and their portrayal of Dickens’s miserly anti-hero for granted as part of your Christmas experience. And I suspect a good part of both guts and ego was at play in this production; but let’s face it: after years of bringing Scrooge to the stage in a much-acclaimed one man show and after also having recorded the audio book version of “A Christmas Carol,” a movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart was probably due to come out sooner or later. Yet, while it does sometimes have the feel of another huge star vehicle for Stewart (even without the self-congratulatory trailer and brief “behind the scenes” features included on the DVD), his experience and insight into the character of Scrooge allow him to pull off a remarkable performance, and to make the role his own without letting us forget who originally wrote the tale. From a “humbug” growled out from the very depth of his disdain and his audible desire to boil “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips” with his own pudding and bury them with a stake of holly through their heart, to the “splendid” and “most illustrious … father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs,” coughed up and spit out after years of having been out of practice, this is the Scrooge that Dickens described; and Stewart obviously has the time of his life playing him.

This made-for-TV production is sometimes criticized for its use of special effects; I don’t find those overly disturbing, though — in fact, they’re rather low-key and for the most part used to show nothing more than what Dickens actually described. (This is a ghost story, remember?) Scrooge really does see Marley’s face in his door knocker; we all know that Marley’s ghost does indeed walk through Scrooge’s doubly locked door … and last but not least Dickens himself describes the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as “shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand.” (Granted, no gleaming lights for eyes, though.) The script could have spared a modernism here and there, but again, mostly the lines are exactly those that Dickens himself wrote. Even where the characters don’t actually speak them, they are part of their reflections — such as Marley being buried and “dead as a door-nail” (which, after all, is the tale’s all-important premise) and Scrooge’s rather funny musings how the Ghost of Christmas Past might be deterred from taking him for a flight (where citing neither the weather nor the hour nor a head cold nor his inadequate dress would do). Richard E. Grant, known to TV audiences as Sir Percy Blakeney in the recent adaptations of “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” moves to the opposite end of the social spectrum in his portrayal of gaunt, downtrodden Bob Cratchit; and he is a very credible caring father and husband, albeit a bit too well-educated — unlike the rest of his family, who speak and come across as decidedly more cockney. Joel Grey, whose Master of Ceremonies in “Cabaret” stands out as one of those “one of a kind” performances that are few and far between in film history, is almost perfectly cast as the Ghost of Christmas Past, combining the spirit’s wisdom of an old man with his child-like innocence, frail stature and luminous appearance. A great supporting cast and solid cinematographic and directorial work round out an overall very well done production.

Many actors are remembered either for one career-making role or for a certain type they have cast. No doubt Patrick Stewart, who as a teenager had to face an ultimatum between a steady job and the theater and chose the latter, will go into film history as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Treck’s “Next Generation.” But I would not be surprised if the other major role he will always be remembered for will be that of Ebenezer Scrooge — on stage, in audio recordings and in this movie adaptation, which successfully brings Dickens’s timeless tale of bitterness, sorrow, redemption and the true meaning of Christmas to the 21st century, and which before long, I think, will attain the status of a classic in its own right. I know that I, for one, will be watching it again with renewed pleasure next Christmas.








BookRiot: Cracking the Names Behind A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Most of us have grown up with Scrooge’s Christmas Eve escapades. We know the plot, the catch phrases, the every “bah, humbugs!” like the back of our hands. The names Ebenezer, Jacob Marley and Bob Cratchit are now as deeply familiar to us as Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty. We know it all. Or do we? What is it about those Victorian names that haunt our yuletide imagination? What are they hiding about the characters we re-invite into our homes every year? And what, moreover, do they say about Dickens’ supposedly simple tale that may not be so simple after all?




Original posts:


BookRiot: Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!

The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffmann,Maurice Sendak,Ralph Manheim At this time each year, thousands of little Claras across the world pull their Victorian nightgowns over their heads, lace up their toe shoes, and prepare to take their place on stage in one of the most coveted roles for an aspiring ballet dancer. But the history of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet goes beyond twirling Sugar Plum Fairies and pirouetting Rat Kings.

The character we’ve come to know as Clara originally appeared in a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, by the name Marie Stahlbaum. At a holiday party thirty-odd years later, the legendary Alexandre Dumas told his own version of Marie’s surreal fever dream at a party after being tied to a chair by some of his daughter’s friends who demanded they be told a story. The resulting version of Hoffman’s fairy tale was less dark and more suited to a young audience. That was the version that Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky adapted nearly 50 years later for a performance at the Russian Imperial Theatre.

The original performance sold out on opening night (December 18, 1892) and a holiday season has not since passed without a curtain rising on a gorgeous Christmas tree, in the midst of being decorated by the Stahlbaum family and their friends.


Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!:


Original posts:



The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season — Task the Second: The Silent Nights; and Task the Third: The Holiday Party

Task the Second: The Silent Nights:
– Get your hygge on! Put on your fuzziest socks, light a candle, and spend some time (reading) in front of the fireplace or your coziest nook. Post a picture if you want!


Task the Third: The Holiday Party:
– Read a book where a celebration is a big part of the action.

Sofa, pillows, favorite blanket, favorite black velvet slippers, favorite childhood dinner and a mug of spicy chocolate tea, volume 3 of the audio collection of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey / Maturin cycle on my living room speakers, with Rex Stout’s And Four to Go (4 short stories, 3 of these involving holiday celebrations) to be finished later … I’d say that should count as two birds (tasks) with one, err, shot, shouldn’t it?

Final Bingo Square: Grave or Graveyard

Dracula - Bram Stoker,David Suchet,Tom Hiddleston  The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

Changed my mind (yet again) and switched books for my final bingo square, as I’m not sure I’ll be in much of a mind to finish my previous choice for “Grave or Graveyard,” Umberto Eco’s Cemetery of Prague.

So I switched to the 2016 BBC audio adaptation of Dracula, starring David Suchet in the title role and Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Harker; combined for good measure with Edgar Allan Poe’s Cask of Amontillado: Dracula for the crucial Whitby graveyard scenes (and the fact that Whitby Abbey actually inspired the whole novel, which has drawn the goth scene to the town, which in turn has given rise to plans for a mock Whitby graveyard so as to restore some respect to the real place); and The Cask of Amontillado for the fact that … well, one ironically-named Fortunato does end up in a grave of a very particular sort at the end of the kind of story only Poe could have come up with.

The Dracula adaptation is an abridged one; David Suchet makes for a great Dracula, but not all of the book’s profoundly somber atmosphere translates well here – I couldn’t help being reminded of some of the camp movie additions of yesteryear.

Poe’s Cask of Amontillado OTOH is one of my favorite short stories (by Poe, as well as overall); it’s a concise, perfectly-executed piece of mounting tension and dread, laced with irony and merciless resolve.

Anyway, so that concludes my bingo reads – wrap-up post coming separately.  Thanks to Moonlight Murder and Obsidian Blue … I’ve had a blast!


Whitby Abbey and Graveyard (photos mine)


“It’s not the jury’s judgment that worries me. It’s mine.”

“No more murder cases,” is the doctor’s strict prohibition upon reluctantly releasing renowned barrister and recent heart attack survivor Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton) from hospital. (Although even the word “release” seems to be a matter of some dispute here, because according to Sir Wilfrid’s nurse Miss Plimsoll [Elsa Lanchester], he was “expelled for conduct unbecoming a cardiac patient.” But let’s leave that aside for now.) And following the doctor’s orders, Sir Wilfrid’s staff have lined up an array of civil cases: a divorce, a tax appeal, and a marine insurance claim – surely those will satisfy their hard-to-please employer’s demands?

Err … not likely.

So, try as he might to be a good patient, Sir Wilfrid needs only little encouragement to accept the case of handsome drifter and small-time inventor Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), accused of murdering his rich benefactress Emily French (Norma Varden). Of course, the very circumstances that most disturb the famous barrister’s colleagues Mayhew and Brogan-Moore (Henry Daniell and John Williams) – Mrs. French’s infatuation with Vole, his visit to her on the night of the murder, the lack of an alternative suspect and his inheritance under her new will – just make the matter more interesting in Sir Wilfrid’s eyes. Most problematic, however, is Vole’s alibi, which depends entirely on the testimony of his German wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich), an actress he had met when stationed with the RAF in WWII-ravaged Hamburg. Troubling, insofar, isn’t only that Christine is her husband’s sole alibi witness and that – Sir Wilfrid explains – a devoted wife’s testimony doesn’t carry much weight anyway. The real problem is that Christine isn’t the loving, desperate wife one might expect: far from that, she is cool, calculating and surprisingly self-controlled; so much so that, worried because he cannot figure out her game, Sir Wilfrid decides not let her testify at all, rather than risk damaging his case. That, however, seems to have been one of his illustrious career’s few major miscalculations – because now he and his client suddenly have to face Christine as a witness for the prosecution. And her testimony on the stand is only one of several surprises that she has in store.

Witness for the Prosecution is based on a concept that Agatha Christie first realized as a four-person short story (published in the 1933 collection The Hound of Death) and subsequently adapted into what she herself would later call her best play, which opened in London in 1953 and in 1954 on Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle citation as Best Foreign Play. Throughout the adaptations the storyline was fleshed out more and more, the focus shifted from the work of solicitor Mayherne (whose name changed to Mayhew) to that of QC Sir Wilfrid Robarts, and the screenplay ingeniously added Miss Plimsoll’s character, utilizing the proven on-screen chemistry of real-life spouses Laughton and Lanchester, for whom this was an astonishing eleventh collaboration, and whose banter bristles with director / co-screenwriter Billy Wilder’s dry wit and the fireworks of the couple’s pricelessly deadpan delivery, timing and genuine joy of performing together.

Perhaps most importantly, the story’s ending changed: not entirely, but enough to give it a different and, albeit very dramatic, less cynical slant than the short story’s original conclusion. – To those of us who have grown up with Christie‘s works, those of her idol Conan Doyle and on a steady diet of Perry Mason, Rumpole of the Bailey and the many subsequent other fictional attorneys, the plot twists of Witness for the Prosecution (including its ending) may not come as a major surprise. At the moment of the movie’s release, however, the ending was a much-guarded secret; viewers were encouraged not to reveal it both in the movie’s trailer and at the beginning of the film itself; and even the Royal Family were sworn to silence before a private showing. Similarly, features such as the skillful, methodical unveiling of a seemingly upstanding, disinterested witness’s hidden bias in cross-examination have long become standard fare in both real and fictional courtrooms, and any mystery fan worth their salt has heard more than one celluloid attorney yell at a cornered witness: “Were you lying then or are you lying now?” (Not recommended in real-life trial practice, incidentally.) Yet, in these and other respects it was Witness for the Prosecution which laid the groundwork for many a courtroom drama to come; and herein lies much of its ongoing importance.

Moreover, this is simply an outstandingly-acted film; not only by Laughton, Lanchester and a perfectly-cast Marlene Dietrich but by every single actor, also including Torin Thatcher (prosecutor Mr. Myers), Francis Compton (the presiding Judge) and, most noteably, Una O’Connor (Mrs. French’s disgruntled housekeeper). This is true even if Tyrone Power’s emotional outbursts in court may be bewildering to today’s viewers – and even if one wonders why an American-born star was acceptable for an Englishman’s role without even having to bother trying to put on an English accent in the first place, whereas Dietrich and other non-native English speakers of the period, like Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, were routinely cast as foreigners. (Yes, yes, I know. Redford and Out of Africa come to mind somewhat more recently, too, but that’s a can of worms I won’t reopen here.)

Witness for the Prosecution won a Golden Globe for Elsa Lanchester, but unfortunately none of its six Oscar nominations (which undeservedly didn’t even include Marlene Dietrich), taking second seat to the year’s big winner Bridge on the River Kwai in the Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Alec Guinness) and Best Editing categories, and to Sayonara for Best Supporting Acress (Miyoshi Umeki) and Best Sound. No matter: with the noirish note resulting from its use of multiple levels of ambiguity – in noticeable contrast to Christie‘s Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries – it fits seamlessly next to such Billy Wilder masterpieces as Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity; and it has long since become a true classic, courtroom and otherwise.


Production Credits /
Cast and Crew

Production Credits
  • Studio: MGM / United Artists (1957)
  • Director: Billy Wilder
  • Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
  • Screenplay: Billy Wilder & Harry Kurnitz
  • Adaptation: Laurence B. “Larry” Marcus
  • Based on a play (and short story) by: Agatha Christie
  • Music: Matty Malneck
  • Cinematography / Director of Photography: Russell Harlan
  • Tyrone Power: Leonard Vole
  • Marlene Dietrich: Christine Vole
  • Charles Laughton: Sir Wilfrid Robarts
  • Elsa Lanchester: Miss Plimsoll
  •  Henry Daniell: Mayhew
  • John Williams: Brogan-Moore
  • Torin Thatcher: Mr. Myers
  • Francis Compton: Judge
  • Norma Varden: Mrs. Emily Jane French
  • Una O’Connor: Janet MacKenzie
  • Ian Wolfe: Carter
  • Philip Tonge: Inspector Hearne 


Major Awards and Honors

Golden Globes (1958)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Elsa Lanchester
American Film Institute (AFI)
  • 10 Top 10 (10 greatest US films in 10 classic genres) – Courtroom Drama: No. 6



Agatha Christie: The Thirteen Problems

The Thirteen Problems - Agatha ChristieThe Tuesday Club Puzzles

“Miss Marple insinuated herself so quickly into my life that I hardly noticed her arrival,” Agatha Christie wrote in her posthumously-published autobiography (1977) about the elderly lady who, next to Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot, quickly became one of her most beloved characters. Somewhat resembling Christie‘s own grandmother and her friends, although “far more fussy and spinsterish” and “not in any way a picture” of the author’s granny, like her, she had a certain gift for prophecy and, “though a cheerful person, she always expected the worst of everyone and everything, and was, with almost frightening accuracy, usually proved right.”

Although Christie herself considered Miss Marple her favorite creation – preferred even over the prim and proper Belgian with the many “little grey cells,” of whose exploits she occasionally tired and whom she brought back again and again chiefly because of her audience’s undying demand – there are only twelve Miss Marple novels and twenty short stories: while no small feat in any other author’s body of work, just over one tenth of the lifetime output of the writer justifiedly dubbed The Queen of Crime.

This compilation unites the twenty short stories revolving around St. Mary Mead’s elderly village sleuth, beginning with the canon of originally six and, after an expansion for republication in book form, later thirteen stories which, in addition to the novel A Murder at the Vicarage (1930) introduced Miss Marple to the world; a series of unsolved problems told by her guests one Tuesday night, to be followed by six further problems narrated during a similar gathering at the home of village squire Colonel Bantry and his wife Dolly, about a year later.

In attendance on those two nights are a number of people who make recurring appearances next to Miss Marple; first and foremost her doting nephew – thriller novelist Raymond West – and retired Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Henry Clithering, as well as village solicitor Petherick, and of course the Bantrys (who will move center stage, much to their embarrassment, in A Body in the Library, 1942); furthermore Raymond’s new flame, artist Joyce (later reincarnated as his wife Joan), a doctor, a clergyman, and a well-known actress. Of course, all the stories also feature Christie’s usual cast of other unique characters, many of whom could just as well figure in one of Miss Marple’s “village parallels,” those seemingly unimportant events summing up her knowledge of life, on which she unfailingly draws in unmasking even the cleverest killer.

Avid Christie readers will doubtlessly, moreover, recognize individual character types, plot snippets, settings and other features here and there; for Dame Agatha was known to draw repeatedly on devices she found to have worked before, and she tended to use her short stories as mini-laboratories for elements later expanded on in novels. Caveat, lector, of premature conclusions, however, for Christie was equally known to throw in a little extra twist in such cases: what is a real clue in one instance may well be a red herring in another and vice versa, and one story’s innocent bystander may easily be the next story’s murderer.

The following are the thirteen problems recounted in this collection:

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Tuesday Night Club: Sir Henry Clithering opens the evening with the case of a woman’s mysterious poisoning by arsenic.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Idol House of Astarte: A man inexplicably dies after a costume party’s nightly excursion to a pagan temple.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Ingots of Gold: Raymond West tells about a treasure hunt, sunken ships and murder on the Cornish coast.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Bloodstained Pavement: Joyce and the case of a drowned wife in a Cornish watering place called Rathole.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Motive vs. Opportunity: Mr. Petherick’s tale of a will that mysteriously vanishes from its sealed envelope.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Thumb Mark of St. Peter: Miss Marple’s story how she quashed rumors about the sudden death of her niece Mabel’s husband.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Blue Geranium: Opening the second round of mysteries, Colonel Bantry’s narration about a prophecy involving death and three uncharacteristically blue flowers.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Companion: Two English ladies go on a holiday in Tenerife, but only one returns home alive.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Four Suspects: Sir Henry Clithering’s account of the murder of a retired secret agent.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon A Christmas Tragedy: Having failed to prevent a murder, Miss Marple is all the more eager to unmask the murderer.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Herb of Death: Mrs. Bantry’s gifts as a storyteller, a serving of sage and foxglove, and a charming young girl’s unexpected death.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Affair at the Bungalow: Double-dealings, charades and mischief on stage and off, just outside of London.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Death by Drowning: A village girl “in trouble” finds a desperate solution – or does she?

Original post:



Poirot in Perfection

Hercule Poirot is one of the most famous detectives in literary history. Yet, strangely, except for his portrayal by Albert Finney in the star-studded 1974 movie version of Murder on the Orient Express, for a long time, there did not seem to be an actor who could convincingly bring to life the clever, dignified little Belgian with his unmistakable egg-shaped head, always perched a little on one side, his stiff, military, slightly upward-twisted moustache, and his excessively neat attire, which had reached the point that “a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet,” as Agatha Christie introduced him through his friend Captain Hastings’s voice in their and her own very first adventure, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). But leave it to British TV to finally find the perfect Poirot in David Suchet, who after having had the dubious honor of playing a rather dumbly arrogant version of Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Japp in some of the 1980s’ movies starring Peter Ustinov as Poirot, was now finally allowed to move center stage.

And the match is spot-on, not only physically but also, and most importantly, in terms of personality. Suchet shares Poirot’s inclination towards pedantry: “I like things to be symmetrical … If I put two things on the mantelpiece, they have to be exactly evenly spaced,” he once said in an interview, comparing his real-life persona to that of Poirot, but adding that unlike his on-screen alter ego, “I don’t need the same sized eggs for breakfast!” Although previously not interested in mysteries, his habitually meticulous research allowed him to quickly become intimately familiar with Christie‘s Belgian sleuth and the workings of his little gray cells – and to slip so much into Poirot’s skin that I, for one, can no longer pick up a Poirot book without instantly hearing Suchet‘s voice as that of the great little detective.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot ran a total of 14 years and, in 70 episodes, contains dramatizations of all but one of Poirot’s adventures (the sole exception being the play Black Coffee, which for copyright reasons could not be filmed, after having been novelized – though with the consent of Agatha Christie‘s estate – by novelist Charles Osborne).  The series began with three seasons of shorter episodes based on Poirot short stories (Seasons 2 and 3 each opening, however, with a feature-length movie based on a novel; that of Season 3 being, by way of a flashback as it were, the pre-war acquaintances Poirot and Hastings’s wartime reunion in The Mysterious Affair at Styles). A fouth season comprised solely of movie-length novel adaptations, a fifth season collecting the final set of shorter episodes based on short stories, and from Season 6 onwards, the remaining novels were again broadcast as movie-length feature films; including all of Poirot’s greatest cases: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, The A.B.C. Murders, Lord Edgeware Dies, Cards on the Table, and the “little grey cells'” somewhat involuntary holiday outing, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.* – The penultimate episode, The Labours of Hercules, is a movie-length conflation of the twelve interlinked short stories jointly published under that title, combined with elements of the story The Lemesurier Inheritance (from the 1974 compilation Poirot’s Early Cases), which had not been adapted separately in any of the previous seasons.

In the canon of shorter episodes, as well as in the majority of the initial movie adaptations of Poirot novels, Philip Jackson stars as a rather sturdy, down-to-earth incarnation of Chief Inspector Japp, Pauline Moran is Poirot’s epitome of a secretary, Miss Lemon (whose role, like Japp’s, is added into a number of stories not originally featuring them, thankfully without greatly disturbing the narrative flow and setting of Christie‘s originals); and Hugh Fraser takes on the role of Captain Hastings, whom the screenplays, unfortunately, make come across as a bit more of a well-educated but vacuous gentleman than do the novels narrated from his point of view, such as The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Lord Edgware Dies. (And this although ITV did so well in debumblifying Sherlock Holmes’s friend and chronicler Dr. Watson!)  The final feature-length movies include dramatizations of the seven mysteries in which Poirot is joined in his investigations by his novelist friend (and presumed Agatha Christie alter ego) Ariadne Oliver, who is portrayed in “to a T” perfection by Zoë Wanamaker – fuzzy hairdo, seemingly scatterbrained ways and love of apples included.  The final episodes’ recurring cast is rounded out by David Yelland as Poirot’s wonderfully unobtrusive, perfectly-trained, yet very observant butler George.

*Note: Brief reviews of the feature films comprising Seasons 7 and 8 (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Lord Edgware Dies, Evil Under the Sun, and Murder in Mesopotamia) are included in the episode descriptions below; reviews of the episodes The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The A.B.C. Murders, and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas are set out in separate posts.


The Shorter Episodes
Season 1

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of the Clapham Cook
Poirot probes the disappearance of a wealthy woman’s cook, and soon uncovers an elaborate plot to hide an ever darker crime.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Murder in the Mews
When a woman is found shot in her flat after Bonfire Night, Poirot is enlisted to decipher whether the victim died by her own hand, or by someone else’s.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly
Poirot tries to prevent the kidnapping of a country squire’s son. While his plan fails, all is not what it seems.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Four and Twenty Blackbirds
When a reclusive painter is found dead, Poirot finds the vital clue in the dead man’s last meal.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Third Floor Flat
Poirot investigates a murder that hits close to home after the new occupant of a flat two floors below his is found shot.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Triangle at Rhodes
An enchanting beauty is fatally poisoned while Poirot holidays on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Problem at Sea
Poirot’s Mediterranean cruise is disrupted when an unlikeable passenger is found murdered in her stateroom.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Incredible Theft
A wealthy industrialist’s plan to snare a Nazi sympathizer goes awry when the secret plans for a new fighter plane inexplicably go missing.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The King of Clubs
A deck with a missing card provides Poirot with the clue he needs to solve the murder of the tyrannical head of a movie studio.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Dream
A famous pie manufacturer tells Poirot that he has dreamt of his own suicide, then dies under the same circumstances he dreamt about the very next day.

Season 2

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Veiled Lady
Poirot becomes a criminal himself when he agrees to help a beautiful woman recover a letter written in her youth that is being used to blackmail her.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Lost Mine
When a Chinese businessman with a map to a long lost silver mine is found dead in Chinatown, Poirot must find the map and killer.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Cornish Mystery
Alice Pengelley visits Poirot in London, telling him she thinks she is being poisoned by her husband. When Poirot arrives in Cornwall the next day to investigate Mrs. Pengelley’s charges, he is too late, and finds her dead.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
Poirot wagers Chief Inspector Japp that he can solve the mystery of a missing banker without leaving his flat.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Double Sin
A young woman is delivering a set of antique Napoleon miniatures to an American collector when they are stolen from her suitcase. Captain Hastings, under Poirot’s guidance, sets out to find the thief.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
When U.S. Navy plans for a new submarine are stolen and the thief tracked to London, the FBI sends an agent to work with Inspector Japp to recover them.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Kidnapped Prime Minister
When the prime minister is kidnapped right before an important international arms summit, Poirot has just 32–and a quarter–hours to find the prime minister.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of the Western Star
After receiving threatening letters, an aristocrat is robbed of her famed diamond in front of Poirot’s eyes.

Season 3

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon How Does Your Garden Grow?
At a flower show, an older woman in a wheelchair approaches Poirot, gives him an empty seed packet, and asks him to visit her the next day. When Poirot arrives the next day, the woman is dead, murdered with poison.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
Poirot is entrusted with transferring $1 million in Liberty Bonds to America on the Queen Mary, but the bonds are cleverly stolen anyway.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Plymouth Express
A mining entrepreneur hires Poirot to solve the brutal murder of his daughter and the theft of her jewels aboard the express train to Plymouth

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Wasps’ Nest
Poirot realizes that a murder is being plotted, and with the help of Hastings’ latest hobby, he sets out to prevent it.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
Poirot is drawn into a case where a man is found dead on the grounds of his estate, apparently frightened to death by the spirits that haunt it.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Double Clue
Poirot helps Chief Inspector Japp try to find a jewel thief, but is sidetracked when a bewitching Russian countess arrives on the scene.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
Poirot is asked to protect a woman from her violent husband, but events take a turn when the husband soon becomes the victim of a gruesome murder.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Theft of the Royal Ruby
Poirot reluctantly agrees to help an Egyptian prince recover a valuable royal ruby that was brazenly stolen from him during the Christmas holidays.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Affair at the Victory Ball
Poirot and Hastings attend the Victory Ball, a popular costume party. During the festivities, one of the guests is found stabbed to death, and another succumbs to a drug overdose the next day.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
Poirot is taken ill during a weekend shooting party, which ends when the unpopular host is found murdered in his study.

Season 4

Feature films only (see below).

Season 5

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
Shortly after opening an ancient Egyptian tomb, members of an English-American museum expedition start dropping off like flies. Can it truly be the Pharaoh’s curse? Poirot travels to Egypt to unravel the mystery.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Underdog
Poirot investigates when the cruel CEO of a chemical company is bludgeoned to death in his home after the company’s formula for a revolutionary new synthetic rubber is targeted by a thief.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Yellow Iris
A man celebrates the two-year anniversary of his wife’s sudden death by cyanide while in Argentina – a death which Poirot himself had witnessed, but could not solve at the time.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Case of the Missing Will
A terminally ill man asks Poirot to be executor of his new will but is murdered before he can write it, and it is later discovered the old will has been stolen.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
Poirot investigates the murder of an Italian count who was also the employer of Miss Lemon’s new boyfriend. He soon learns that the victim was being targeted by a blackmailer.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Chocolate Box
While in Belgium, Poirot relates to Chief Inspector Japp a case from his early days in the Belgian police force that nearly eluded the brilliance of his ‘little grey cells.’

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Dead Man’s Mirror
An obnoxious man who outbid Poirot at an auction for an antique mirror is murdered after seeking Poirot’s assistance to look into the dealings of his business associate.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
While Poirot vacations in Brighton to boost his health, the beautiful pearl necklace of a theatre actress staying at his hotel is mysteriously stolen.

Seasons 6 – 13

Feature films only.



The Feature Films
Seasons 2 & 3

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Hastings renews his friendship with Poirot and involves him in the mysterious poisoning of the mistress of a manor house married to a man twenty years her junior.
Review here.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Peril at End House
While Poirot is staying at an exclusive Cornish resort, he meets a beautiful heiress whose life is in danger.

Season 4

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The A.B.C. Murders
Poirot receives taunting letters from a serial killer who appears to choose his victims and crime scenes alphabetically.
Review here.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Death in the Clouds
While Poirot sleeps on an airplane flight from Paris to London, a notorious French moneylender is murdered with a poisoned dart.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
After Poirot pays a routine visit to his dentist, the doctor apparently shoots himself to death a short time later. Chief Inspector Japp appropriately recruits the detective as both witness and consultant.

Season 6

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
The tyrannical patriarch of a dysfunctional but wealthy family summons his adult children for a Christmas reunion, but prior to the holiday his throat is slashed apparently by one of them.
Review here.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Hickory Dickory Dock
Miss Lemon persuades Poirot to investigate a series of apparently minor thefts in a university hostel, but simple kleptomania soon turns to baffling homicide.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Murder on the Links
While Poirot and Hastings are holidaying in France, a businessman tells Poirot that his life is in danger. The next day he is found stabbed to death on a nearby golf course.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Dumb Witness
An elderly woman confides to Poirot that she fears one of her relatives is trying to kill her for her money. He persuades her to disinherit her heirs, but she is murdered anyway.

Season 7

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
As the story’s title indicates, the case centers around Roger Ackroyd, an industrialist, the richest man in his home village of King’s Abbot and “more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire could really be,” as village doctor James Sheppard describes him in the novel. When he is found murdered, Poirot finds himself compelled to step out of  a rather prematurely-chosen retirement, to investigate Ackroyd’s death … as well as its connection to that of Ackroyd’s friend, the only recently-widowed Mrs. Ferrars.

For as it happens, only a short while before his industrialist friend Ackroyd’s death, Poirot had removed himself to the country, where he had resolved to, henceforth, devote his life to the singular pursuit of growing the perfect vegetable marrow. And the detective’s chosen place of retirement is the very village that Roger Ackroyd had called his home, too: King’s Abbot, an archetypal English village like those that would later become so crucial to Christie‘s Miss Marple mysteries, the first of which – Muder at the Vicarage – was published in 1930, four years after this particular novel; and Christie later said that both the setting of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and the character of Dr. Sheppard’s spinsterish sister were elements she had enjoyed writing so much that she had instantly resolved to explore them in greater depth in a separate book.

Story-wise, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of the most remarkable entries in all of Christie‘s canon, not least because of its completely unexpected turntable conclusion – which is, surprisingly enough, maintained extremely well in this adaptation, by means of a simple but very effective directorial slight of hand.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Lord Edgware Dies
Poirot is asked to intervene on behalf of beautiful young actress Jane Wilkinson, Lady Edgware by marriage, who now seeks her husband’s consent to a divorce. When shortly thereafter Lord Edgware is found murdered, Lady Edgware is Inspector Japp’s obvious suspect; never mind that she has a cast-iron alibi for the night of the crime. But is the inspector right after all? Poirot, somewhat dazzled by the Lady, is not sure – and unfortunately, his little gray cells do not work quickly enough to prevent a second murder, that of American actress and mimic Carlotta Adams, and even a third one, of a young playwright.

Season 8

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Evil Under the Sun
Poirot’s rehabilitative health retreat on an island resort becomes an even more stimulating mental exercise when a flirtatious film star is found strangled on a nearby beach.  This story, like the other Season 8 installment, Murder in Mesopotamia (see below), features a now classic pattern, in assembling Poirot and all suspects in a hotel on a small island off the English coast, with no possibility to leave until after the murder it solved. Christie herself had already employed such a setup two years prior to writing this present story, in 1939’s And Then There Were None, where the murderer kills one person after another in the style of the Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme, and she repeatedly returned to it; probably most famously in the 1965 Miss Marple story A Caribbean Mystery, which – tropical setting aside – is similar to Evil Under the Sun not only in its primary setup but also in its solution, and which I find the more successful of the two stories: If there are ever easily-detectable red herrings and obvious hints in an Agatha Christie mystery, Evil Under the Sun is it; and it is probably one of the few stories where at least those familiar with Christie‘s writings have a decent shot at solving all or part of the mystery before the famous final conclave.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Murder in Mesopotamia
This is one of several stories based on the impressions Christie gained while accompanying her second husband, archeologist Sir Max Mallowan, to the Middle East; and it features a classic “locked room” riddle: Poirot and Hastings are invited to visit an excavation site not far from Baghdad. During their visit, Louise, the beautiful wife of expedition leader Dr. Eric Leidner is found murdered – in her room, behind a closed door and closed window, and although nobody has been seen entering the courtyard and staircase leading to her room.

Season 9

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Five Little Pigs
Lucy Crale enlists Poirot to investigate the 14-year-old murder in which her mother was hanged for poisoning her artist father.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Sad Cypress
Elinor Carlisle seems to be the obvious murderer of her ailing aunt and the beautiful romantic rival who broke up her engagement, but Poirot uncovers darker motives.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Death on the Nile
A wealthy British heiress honeymooning on a Nile cruise ship is stalked by a former friend, whose boyfriend she had stolen before making him her new husband.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Hollow
Poirot stumbles on the murder scene of philandering Dr Christow in a country house as his wife standing next to him with a revolver in her hand.

Season 10

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Mystery of the Blue Train
Poirot investigates the brutal murder of an American heiress and the theft of a fabulous ruby on the Blue Train between Calais and Nice.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Cards on the Table
The enigmatic, sinister Mr. Shaitana, one of London’s richest men, invites 8 guests, 4 of them possible murderers and 4 ‘detectives’ to his opulent apartment.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon After the Funeral
When a man disinherits his sole beneficiary and bequeaths his wealth to others just prior to his death, Poirot is called in to investigate.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Taken at the Flood
A young widow is left in sole possession of her late husband’s fortune, and her brother refuses to share it with her in-laws – so they enlist Poirot to try to prove that the widow’s missing first husband might not be dead after all.

Season 11

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Mrs McGinty’s Dead
A pair of photographs are the only clues that Poirot has to solve the murder of a village charwoman, and to prove the innocence of the victim’s lodger.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Cat Among the Pigeons
A foreign revolution, a kidnapped princess, and a trove of priceless rubies are linked to a prestigious girls’ school, where staff members are brutally murdered.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Third Girl
After a seemingly neurotic young heiress tells Ariadne Oliver and Poirot that she thinks she may have killed someone, her ex-nanny is found with her wrists slashed.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Appointment with Death
Syria 1937. While accompanying her husband on an archaeological dig, the abusive and overbearing Lady Boynton is found stabbed to death.

Season 12

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Three Act Tragedy
Poirot attends a party at the great actor Sir Charles Cartwright’s Cornish mansion. A local reverend dies while drinking a cocktail, but no poison is found in his glass. Poirot and Cartwright decide to investigate when another victim is claimed in the same manner.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Hallowe’en Party
During a village’s Hallowe’en party, a young girl boasts of having witnessed a murder from years before. No one believes her tale until her body is found later on in the evening, drowned in the apple-bobbing bucket.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Murder on the Orient Express
Poirot investigates the murder of a shady American businessman stabbed in his compartment on the Orient Express when it is blocked by a blizzard in Croatia.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Clocks
Four clocks surround an unidentified corpse in a blind woman’s house, and a young typist is summoned to the crime scene. However, Poirot is convinced that the complicated setup is merely hiding a simpler solution.

Season 13

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Elephants Can Remember
Ariadne Oliver becomes an amateur sleuth when her goddaughter tasks her to find out the truth behind her parents’ mysterious deaths.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Big Four
As the threat of world war looms large, Poirot seeks the help of friends both old and new when he is pitted against a dangerous group of dissidents responsible for a series of violent murders.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Dead Man’s Folly
Mrs Oliver is asked to devise a murder hunt for a Devon fête, but her sense of foreboding summons Poirot to the scene. Her fears are realized when the girl playing murder victim winds up truly murdered.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon The Labours of Hercules
Poirot’s pursuit of an infamous art thief leads him to a snowbound hotel in the Swiss Alps, where he is met with a plethora of mysteries and the reappearance of a familiar face from the past.

Quill-Inkpot Review Icon Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case
An ailing Poirot returns to Styles with Hastings nearly three decades after solving their first mystery there in order to prevent a serial killer from claiming more victims.


 :  :


Production Credits /
Cast and Crew

Production Credits
  • Studios: Carnival Film & Television / London Weekend Television (LWT) / Picture Partnership Productions / ITV (1989 – 2013)
  • Directors: various
  • Producers: various
  • Screenplays: various writers
  • Based on books by: Agatha Christie
  • Music: Christopher Gunning / Christian Henson / Stephen McKeon
Recurring Cast
  • David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
  • Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
  • Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
  • Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
  • Zoë Wanamaker: Ariadne Oliver
  • David Yelland: George

 :  :  :  :  :     :