Agatha Christie's Poirot: Appointment with Death
September 14, 2022 8:20 AM - Season 11, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The wealthy wife of an eccentric British aristocrat is found murdered while with her family on an archaeological hunt in Syria. A holidaying Poirot is soon drawn into the mystery, and discovers that there is no shortage of suspects, from the dead woman's family to an unusual party of travellers which includes a witty psychiatrist, a beautiful doctor and an unconventional travel writer.
posted by Carillon (4 comments total)
There's a lot going on in this one. I admit to thinking it's maybe too much, and adding in the nurse further causes plot confusion. It's all quite elaborate and seems like the John Hannah character could have done everything himself? Plus the backstories are pretty brutal, and given that Poirot sometimes will let people off for less, I'm surprised he didn't here.

What a great cast though, Tim Curry, John Hannah, Elizabeth McGovern, I definitely enjoyed the performances even if it was all a bit much.
posted by Carillon at 8:24 AM on September 14, 2022

I've noticed in these more recent stories that the intro and opening credits scenes are beautifully shot. This production has a gorgeous location as well. So, this is one of Christie's more famous books, I actually remembered parts of the story...which was changed for tv...but I still caught the murder set up (finally!!) when it happened. What was fun about the book as I remember it, was that all the children made a pilgrimage one by one up to the terrace where she was sitting, discovered she was dead, but thinking that her previous visitor/sibling was responsible, pretended to have a conversation with her to give them an alibi.

The white slavery angle was whoa, not a good idea to include that racist trope. The child abuse plot was disturbing--all those kids who were "sent away", I thought they'd been murdered. The dead woman being some kind of Wall St financial wizard was ludicrous. The blond doctor deciding on the spot that monosyllabic Raymond was a catch worth pursuing? The best character (the best entrance!) was Elizabeth McGovern, a Gertrude Bell type. Would've been interesting to get more of her character's story but, oh well. (I wish the daughter had been played by a better actress.) Her exit and Dr Gerard's was moving; the nun in the desert, karma. Poirot's religious speech at the end was... a choice.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:13 PM on September 14, 2022

Oh also, how absolutely silly is it that he's looking for the head of John the Baptist, and then thinks he finds it. Every time I forget that plot point because it's so ludicrous, I think I must have made that up, but no! It's there in the show! It's bonkers and I still can't believe it.
posted by Carillon at 8:23 PM on September 14, 2022

I know! It’s like the writers said, how do we explain the nun being there? Because the nun is important for the white slavery plot. What better albeit obvious disguise than a nun? I was disappointed that Poirot didn’t observe that she was counting her rosary beads wrong or messed up a Latin prayer.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:11 AM on September 16, 2022

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