A millionaire strikes a deal on the seedier side of Paris and a priceless cache of rubies becomes destined for his beloved daughter, Rachel.
Two days later Rachel is dead - murdered on a train on her way to the Riviera to meet her scoundrel lover: a mysterious, dark man. The suspects line up... only master slueth Hercule Poirot can unravel the mystery and find the truth.
Maurice Denhham stars as the great Belgian detective in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation.
©1928 Agatha Christie Ltd (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I have become addicted to the dramatized Poirot stories in the past year or so. After listening to about 20 of them, I have noticed a few things. Some seem to follow a rather set pattern while others go along in a seemingly nonsensical way until -bam!- the solution appears.
This book is unique in that where it has many elements of other Agatha Christie tales (ex: a murder on a train, a romance that may or may not be a good idea, Poirot's ambiguity on certain moral issues) it stands apart in how the story plays out. As usual, there are suspects a-plenty, but every time you think you have the killer pegged, that's about the time a new prime suspect crops up. It should keep you engaged all the way through without the annoying "Oh, it's obvious that guy did it and now I have to listen to 2 more hours of an unnecessary story" syndrome.
There was one main difference in this dramatization from the majority (or even all) of the others available: Hercule Poirot is voiced by a different actor. I was really used to John Moffat in the role and as such, hearing Maurice Denham exercising his "little grey cells" was a little hard for me. It was a little like switching Darrens (or Beckys, depending on your generation) and that took me out of the story. But after listening to it 3 or 4 times (yes, it's good enough to do that), he grew on me. I still prefer John Moffat, but not to the point where I can't listen.
As for the rest of the main cast, I don't know all the names, but the voices for Mr Van Alden, Major Knighton, Katherine Grey and Derek Kettering seemed spot on. The voice for Mirelle was really shrill and grating, but that fit the character perfectly. Ruth Kettering sounded like she was the same actress as Louise from "Murder in Mesopotamia" and for some reason, I can't see her as either of those characters. Her voice has a slight lisp to it that doesn't fit with the image of a glamorous femme fatale, but that's my take. The voice of Ada Mason just drove me batty, but again, maybe that was the point for the character.
All in all, this is one of my favorite Poirot stories. I really recommend it if you enjoy Agatha Christie at all.
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