Death on the Nile sets an entire boatful of suspicious character afloat in Egypt, where Poirot's vacation is disrupted by a splash in the night, falling rock, missing pearls, three murders, and a boozing gargoyle named Salome Otterbourne. The plot is one of Christie's more preposterous, yet also one of her most popular. Sad Cypress opens with a murderess on trial, then flashes back to young lovers, a wealthy but stricken dowager, a spiteful anonymous letter, and a pretty young blonde. A wonderfully creepy dream haunts Poirot as he struggles to redeem the wrongly convicted killer. In The Hollow, Poirot's vacation in the English countryside gets disrupted by a philandering doctor apparently shot by his adoring wife, his blood trickling into a swimming pool clotted with leaves. But the best of the lot is Five Little Pigs, a story told almost entirely in flashback, as a young woman hires Poirot to clear her mother, who was convicted of murdering her father. Not only are the clues deftly planted and the solution cunningly worked out, it's one of the rare mysteries that inspires a genuine sorrow for its characters.
Scattered throughout are a wealth of recognizable faces, though not many recognizable names--among the better known are James Fox (The Remains of the Day), Edward Fox (The Day of the Jackal), Paul McGann (Withnail and I), Sarah Miles (White Mischief), Lysette Anthony (Husbands and Wives), and David Soul (Starsky & Hutch!). But it's David Suchet as Poirot who keeps everything in motion, his beady eyes glittering under heavy lids, constantly tending to one of the most ridiculous mustaches in literature. Poirot has been played by such stars as Peter Ustinov and Albert Finney, but Suchet has made the fastidious Belgian detective his own. He's simply magnifique. --Bret Fetzer
The stories are all well done. Specifically, The Hollow (89 minutes) and Sad Cypress (93 minutes) remind me more of the past Poirot series and are my personal favourites. They are good mysteries set in England.
Death on the Nile (97 minutes) will always be compared to the Peter Ustinov movie of 1977. And while this adaptation is very good, I will always enjoy the film version more.
My least favourite of the quartet is Five Little Pigs (93 minutes) due in large part to the filming style employed for a portion of the story (a sort of handycam effect to portray flash back sequences).
Viewers familiar with the Poirot series may be disappointed that Hastings, Japp and Lemon are not in these films. However, if you like Poirot and Agatha Christie mysteries, this box-set is worth a look.