Lethal Affairs

Of Agatha Christie, murders, and plot twists

Poirot series, Part three

Here is another review on Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, in addition to my two previous posts. This time, I decided to watch Christie’s short story adaptations instead of the major titles which she is so well-known for, because anything with Hercule Poirot is bound to be enjoyable, right?

1. The Yellow Iris

Season 5, Episode 3. Original air date: 31 January 1993.

One cannot help but to compare this title to its more famous counterpart, Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death). Sparkling Cyanide is an expansion of Yellow Iris, where it was written as a full novel with more characters involved, a different motive for crime, and a much more elaborate plot (and necessarily, more bodies!). Asked which one would I prefer, I cannot give an answer to that; both titles are so similar yet so different in their own ways.

Two years ago, while travelling to Argentine Poirot got himself involved in a murder-suicide case in a famous restaurant. A dinner for six on a table turned into a nightmare when one of them, the beautiful Iris Russell, drank a champagne laced with potassium cyanide and died on the spot. A vial of the poison was found in her purse so the official verdict given was suicide; however, the family members were dissatisfied and insisted it was murder. Poirot was prevented from investigating the case when he was arrested by the local police during a coup d’etat, accused of espionage and subsequently “deported from the country like a common criminal!”.

Poirot gets another chance two years later in England when the same scenario happens again. A dinner for six is planned at the newly opened local restaurant on Friday night, with the exact settings as two years ago. Poirot received a yellow iris at his doorstep, as a “call for help”. And thus Poirot attends the dinner party to prevent a similar tragedy from happening, and the case is solved with a little help from Captain Hastings.

Altogether, a thoroughly enjoyable show with some humour, lots of actions, and as usual, clever deductions from Poirot. In the second half of the story the motive becomes quite clear and it was easy to figure out who the culprit is, but the method in which the poison was administered remains a mystery until the end of the story. Highly recommended.

My rating: 4.5/5.0

2. The Cornish Mystery

Season 2, Episode 4. Original air date: 28 January, 1990.

I must admit that I have never heard of this title before I watched this; a shame, considering I have read Poirot’s Early Cases twice. This story is constantly overshadowed by other outstanding cases in the book, such as The Affair at the Victory Ball and The Plymouth Express. In other words, The Cornish Mystery is an easily forgettable story, among the many Poirot’s great cases.

An elderly lady by the name of Pengelley visits Poirot, convinced that her dentist husband is poisoning her. Poirot asked her to return home and he promised to visit tomorrow morning, only to find out it was too late and Mrs Pengelley has died of “gastritis”. However, matters get complicated when the victim’s niece, Freda and her fiance, Radnor, seems to be involved in the case somehow. When the victim’s husband, Pengelley, announced his engagement to his secretary weeks after his wife’s death, he was arrested for murder as damning evidence provided by Radnor and the housemaid starts to emerge.

Poirot returns to the village in time to rescue Pengelley, whom Poirot believed to be innocent. I would say this movie is just average, since there is no solid evidence whatsoever to link the culprit to the case. All Poirot had was a signed confession from the murderer which was obtained by threatening him. The story ends with Inspector Japp shouting and shaking his fists at Poirot while eating a local pastry, much to the delight of Japp’s fans, I am sure.

My rating: 3.0/5.0

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October 16, 2011 - Posted by | Books, Crime Fiction | , , , , ,

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