Like a box of gourmet chocolates, this three-episode collector's set of Agatha Christie's Poirot--eighth in a series of 12--contains scrumptious delights for the connoisseur of British mysteries. And if one of these episodes were to be wrapped in gold foil, it would have to be "The Chocolate Box," in which Hercule Poirot revisits a 20-year-old case that was never officially solved. Having perfected the mannerisms of an older, fussier Poirot, here David Suchet has the opportunity to reveal a young, eager junior detective on the Brussels police force, who longs to solve the case not only for the sake of the truth, but also for the sake of the young woman who begged for his help. Both intriguing and bittersweet, this episode is the dark chocolate truffle of the set.
By comparison, "The Case of the Missing Will" and "The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman" are lighter confections, but with murder at their tart center. In the first, Poirot must execute the final wishes of an old friend who is killed on the eve of drafting his will; several red herrings and a surprising solution enliven this classic murder-mystery scenario. Hastings's acquisition of an Italian roadster and Miss Lemon's new gentleman friend turn out to have an unexpected connection with each other and with the murdered man in "The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman," which culminates in a car chase that claims more than one victim. Of course, the best thing about this set is that unlike a box of chocolates, viewers can savor its contents again and again. --Larisa Lomacky Moore