A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation starring Peter Sallis as the great Belgian detective. Tyrannical millionaire Simeon Lee has been estranged from most of his family for years. But now, on Christmas Eve, the old man calls them all together once more. Unable to disobey, the children gather uneasily and wonder what their father’s intentions are. Does he want to clear up past misunderstandings or cause fresh mischief?
Before they can find out, a deafening crash is heard overhead. Rushing upstairs, they discover a shocking sight: Simeon Lee is lying in a pool of blood, his throat cut. But it is the strangest thing - the door has been locked from the inside and there is no trace of the murderer.
With so many possible suspects, it is lucky for Superintendent Sugden that the Chief Constable has his old friend Hercule Poirot staying with him. It seems to be an impossible case. But, as Poirot knows only too well, things aren’t always as they seem.
©1938 Agatha Christie Ltd (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This production is so badly done for so many reasons that I hardly know where to start with this review. I'll try using highlights:
1. Hercule Poirot speaks with an English accent. The performer makes a poor attempt to mimic a French accent but fails utterly.
2. One performer does produce a believable French accent. The only problem is that the character speaking that accent is from Spain!
3. The abridgment is careless and sloppy. Audio fades are used during critical conversations and events, disrupting the continuity. The arrivals and departures of key characters have been removed in several places, making it impossible to know who is and isn't present at the start of any scene.
4. Hercule Poirot is a minor player. He does nothing but say things like "Yes, curious" and "No, curious" for most of the production. His presence in England is never explained satisfactorily. No time at all is given to his thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Even at the end, when he manufactures his solution, he states facts and evidence he's never discussed or seen in this butchered production.
If you are a fan of Agatha Christie and/or Hercule Poirot, avoid this half-baked BBC attempt to milk the Christie cash cow. The milk is sour.
Peter Sallies is unfortunately a very poor Poirot. His accent is a joke. Disastrous performance. Ruins an otherwise excellent Christie.
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