Farewell to Poirot

I read with abject sadness this BBC article last week.  I know that Downton Abbey has been all the rage for small-screen Anglophiles of late, but I’ve especially loved Agatha Christie’s Poirot for years.

The series was an unabashed love letter to the period settings, with little bombast and constantly restrained dignity from all characters.  Watching these subdued murder mysteries always felt, oddly enough, calming in their quiet culture.

David Suchet’s portrayal of the cool, mincing Belgian genius who loves exercising his “little gray cells” was masterful.  Suchet truly loved the character, and it showed.  Such acting is rare, and a treat to enjoy.

Over 25 years, Suchet has made several dozen Poirot episodes and films–now encompassing everything Christie ever wrote about the detective.  I didn’t realize there were so many.  I think I’ve only seen about fifteen.  I’ll catch up on the rest before the final episodes air here in the States next year.

My favorite Poirot memory: a few years ago when they made Murder on the Orient Express.  My eldest son and I watched it, including a charming documentary about it beforehand.  We were both very impressed.  It was a delightful evening.




Very Highly Recommended: Watch Murder On the Orient Express This Sunday

Three days from now, PBS will air the first new episode of their long-running series based on Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries about Detective Hercule Poirot.  Murder On the Orient Express, perhaps Christie’s best and most famous work, has been filmed multiple times, including as a star-studded extravaganza from the 70’s.  Check your local listings, but here in Las Vegas the new version will air on channel 10 from 9:00-10:30 PM this Sunday night, July 11. 

I just found out about it this morning when I was reviewing the history of the book online this morning, in preparation for a challenge I just gave my daughter.  A few months ago, I promised her a hot fudge sundae if she could figure out who the killer was in Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, before his identity was revealed.  She read it, solved it, and got her treat.  I just offered her another test: catch the killer in the ultimate mystery classic, Murder On the Orient Express, before Poirot, this time with a banana split at stake. 

When I read this in college, I couldn’t put it down until I’d burned through the whole thing, thrilled by an outrageous twist ending that did occur to me while reading, but which I never considered seriously until Christie actually did it.  The ending was even more clever than the twist at the end of Roger Ackroyd

I’ve loved the Poirot series on PBS for years, though I’ve only ever mentioned it once on here (it’s #47 on this list).  If you enjoy quality film and acting, British murder mysteries, classics, or anything new and worthy, definitely check it out.

What are the odds that this new show would air just days after I’d brought it up with my own children?  Whatever the circumstances of this serendipitous situation, one thing’s for sure: my daughter definitely doesn’t get to see this movie until after she reads the book and tries to solve the murder herself.  No cheating!