'Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 3'
(David Suchet, Philip Jackson, Hugh Frasier, et al / 3-Disc / Not Rated / (1991) 2012 / Acorn Media)
Overview: The impeccable Hercule Poirot is back on the case in these 11 mysteries from the hit series. David Suchet is wonderful as ever in portraying Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian with intelligence and bone-dry wit. Brimming with beguiling 1930s period details, these lavish adaptations look better than ever in this remastered edition.
DVD Verdict: Set in the summer of 1917, 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' is the first of the 11 episodes in this box-set. A slightly out of place episode, as Hastings and Poirot have only met the once years back, and yet all the subsequent episodes have the duo set up in a London detective agency as partners. Anyhoo, the war-wounded Hastings (Hugh Fraser) is asked to dinner in Styles St. Mary by an old friend of his, John Cavendish. The episode is longer than the ones to follow, and more methodical, but when the lady of the household is poisoned; and Hercule Poirot "happens" upon the village per chance, well, the case is opened. In 'How Does Your Garden Grow?' and now located in London with Miss Lemon and Inspector Japp at his beck and call, Poirot has a Pink Rose named after him at a festival - and a woman who speaks to him at the event is later found poisoned. In 'The Million Dollar Bond Robbery,' a banker is araid that his $1,000,000 in banker bonds is going to be stolen on a trip to the US - and he turns out to be correct. And yet, Poirot and Hastings were on board! Weirdly, this is the third episode in a row that features a poisoning by Strychnine!
In 'The Plymouth Express,' a business tycoon asks Poirot to 'run his eye over' his daughter who has many suitors, some he thinks are bad. Poirot doesn't like the idea but agrees, but then she takes a train ride - and is found dead at the end of it. In 'Wasps' Nest,' Poirot smells a tragedy about to happen at a fete and sets out to stop it in its tracks! Hastings has a new camera and can't stop using it! This episode features a great twist ending. In 'The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor,' Poirot is called to a small country town on false pretenses, but ends up knee deep in another murder! A tale of ghosts and styled whodunnit. In 'The Double Clue,' a string of diamond robberies has Japp's job on the line so he calls in Poirot. But, as he is spending a lot of personal time with a new lady friend, and a possible suspect, it's down to Hastings and Miss Lemon to tie the loose ends together.
In 'The Mystery of the Spanish Chest,' a woman tells Poirot that she fears her friends husband will kill her soon, and so invites him to a dinner party - one in which later it is revealed said husband was dead all along in the huge Spanish chest in the front room. This one was the easiest of the episodes to figure out, that's for sure. In 'The Theft of the Royal Ruby,' a young Egyptian Prince loses a cherished family ruby diamond to a woman and the British government hires a reluctant Poirot - for the sake of the Kingdom. In 'The Affair at the Victory Ball,' at a lavish masquerade costume ball one of the main characters is murdered. Mixing the event with an evening radio show, Poirot is in his element with regard the secondary element. And in the final episode, 'The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge,' even when he's under the weather after a pheasant shoot Poirot must find a murderer among the members of a quarrelsome hunting party. A good whodunni this one, a great one to go out in style with, but the so-called tricky whodunnit was something that I worked out as it happened quite easily. Maybe you will to?! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1:66.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.