This beautifully packaged A&E set marks the return of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in two feature films. Although the films are based on two early Christie novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
and Lord Edgware Dies
, the stories have been rewritten to take place after previously filmed episodes in the Agatha Christie's Poirot
series, thus accounting for the slightly older-looking cast.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd opens with a retired Poirot cursing at vegetable marrows in his country garden. When his old friend is found stabbed in the neck, Poirot begins an investigation that reunites him with Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and uncovers a chain of furtive phone calls and secret romances. Unfortunately, the restructuring necessary to adapt the story from text to film takes away some of the shock value of Christie's original ending, which caused quite a controversy when the book was first published in 1926.
Lord Edgware Dies finds Poirot reopening his London office with the help of Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) and Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser). As they celebrate their reunion, Japp quips that there's "only one thing missing... the body." Right on cue, a corpse turns up just moments later. Most of the suspects are actors by profession, but Poirot's "little gray cells" are able to penetrate the murderer's disguise--though only after two more victims heighten the suspense.
The acting is impeccable and the sets are as lavish as ever in both of these adaptations. The main characters' delight in being reunited is sure to be matched only by the delight of Agatha Christie fans who now have two more episodes to add to their collection. --Larisa Lomacky Moore