Murder on the Orient Express - On board the Orient Express, an unsavory traveler (Toby Jones) is stabbed to death, and Poirot searches for the killer on the snowbound train. Also stars Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville, and Dame Eileen Atkins.
Third Girl - Poirot collaborates with crime novelist Ariadne Oliver (ZoÃ« Wanamaker) to help a young heiress who thinks she may have committed a murder. Peter Bowles and James Wilby guest star.
Appointment with Death - Hercule Poirot is visiting an archaeological dig in the Syrian Desert when the reviled wife of Lord Boynton (Tim Curry) is murdered, leaving no shortage of suspects. John Hannah and Elizabeth McGover guest star.
I have already posted my general comments about this series on the webpages for the first four sets, so let me cut to the chase.
"The Tragedy of Marsdon Manor" begins comically enough with a would-be mystery writer of an inn owner summoning Poirot to solve a baffling case that happens to be fictional. Naturally a real death takes place under what seems to be supernatural circumstances; and the production does indeed create a wonderfully English country manor spooky-ness that makes this worth watching. Never mind that the solution involves all sorts of twists that verge on the incredible; but to invert the aphorism in "Sleuth," this is Inspector Fiction, not Inspector Fact.
"The Double Clue" is exceptional in that it shows Poirot emotionally involved with a suspect, a fascinating (at least to him) Russian countess who might or might not be involved in a series of jewel thefts. Japp is honestly in fear of losing his job unless the thefts are stopped, while Miss Lemon and Hastings do their own sleuthing as Poirot spends time with the countess. "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" has a plot within the plot, so to speak, rather far-fetched. However, the presence of actor John McEnery and the opening surreally filmed dueling sequence more than make up for any storyline inconsistencies.
Again, it is always instructive to compare these dramatizations with the originals; but the former stand up very nicely on their own.
Too bad that the first espisode is to short, but beside that this is a excellent box set to get !!!. Read more