The supernatural provides an eerie undertone in this trio of episodes featuring Agatha Christie's most famous detective. Poirot's secretary Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) experiments with the Ouija board and tarot cards; she even hypnotizes a murder victim's widow (with some success) in "The Underdog." And is an ancient Egyptian curse responsible for the four untimely deaths in "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb"? Poirot braves the untidy desert sand to find out. Finally, in "Yellow Iris," friends and family gather for dinner to commemorate the second anniversary of a woman's death; the atmosphere at the table is so charged one almost expects the victim to come back from the dead.
As always, the fastidious habits of Poirot (played to perfection by David Suchet) and the charming naiveté of his assistant Hastings (Hugh Fraser) add just the right touch of levity to these grim tales. For this, one must credit the scriptwriters as much as the actors--their addition of witty exchanges and subplots make Christie's stories even more delightful onscreen than on the printed page. --Larisa Lomacky Moore