I have just finished watching the last season of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” mysteries starring the brilliant David Suchet. I wanted this week’s list to be a tribute to this ending, but how to do it? By the Poirot books? I went through these many years ago and most have blurred together. All Christie books? Some of my favorites were not Poirot, although he was by far my favorite. By the “Poirot” series? All Poirot adaptations? In the end, I couldn’t choose.
Top Agatha Christie Mysteries:
1. Five Little Pigs
-This one was by far my favorite. With the crime in the past there was nothing to get in the way of the psychological study.
2. And Then There Were None
-This is the first Christie book I read and one of the few books ever that I kindof wish had been withheld from me til I was a few years older…it still plays vividly in my mind, compelling, brilliant, and incredibly creepy.
3. Crooked House
-The tone and ending of this book just stay with you.
4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
-Seeing the crime through the villain’s notebook while still not knowing who it is….thrilling. The adaptation of this was one of my only true letdowns-no cinema can do it properly.
5. The Man in the Brown Suit
-This is a novel where I actually remember the characters more fondly than the mystery-it’s great fun and my favorite of Christie’s matchmaking moves.
6. Dead Man’s Mirror
-Another Poirot mystery I found particularly clever and memorable.
Top Suchet “Poirot” adaptations:
1. Five Little Pigs
-I was surprised at how faithful they managed to keep it. Love it!
2. Evil Under the Sun
-They managed to add humor and suspects with more depth without losing the tone of the original.
3. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
5. The Chocolate Box
-All of these are just delightful to watch….I’m sure this list will change often, but David Suchet’s Poirot just shines.
Top non-Suchet Cinema Adaptations:
1. Thirteen for Dinner
-This Peter Ustinov one just has more time to flesh out the characters and what I found to be a more believable Lady Edgeware. Plus, Suchet does appear…as Japp!
2. Witness for the Prosecution
-This Hitchcock film feels like a real Agatha Christie, and is well acted!
3. Death on the Nile
-This one I include because, although I feel the Ustinov version and the Suchet version are both excellent shows, I prefer the Ustinov one simply because it has more time to develop various motives and has a memorable montage showing how practically everyone could have committed the crime…On the other hand, I prefer Suchet’s Poirot here, as usual, and find his portrayal much closer to the books. Still, whichever way you go, I recommend it.
Poirot would hate these mini-lists for being uneven and a hodgepodge of preferences rather than one, orderly list…I know, shall blame it on my need for gastronomic nurturing and plead that I have not yet eaten. What about you, mes amis, which novels, episodes, or crimes do your little grey cells prefer?