When a series of apparently minor thefts plagues a university hostelry run by Miss Lemon's sister, Poirot is recruited to investigate. Celia Austin, a pharmacological major, confesses that she is a kleptomaniac and responsible for most of the thefts but denies stealing several objects including a stethoscope, light bulbs, and a student rucksack. Furthermore, she claims to know the other thief and vows to help return the missing items. Unfortunately someone substitutes an overdose of morphine for one of her sleeping powders, and she takes the identity of the thief to the grave. Japp connects the murderer's m.o. with a cold case he had investigated ten years earlier, but the prime suspect in that crime, a powerful statesman, now lies dying in a local hospital. Despite numerous obstacles, Poirot is able to link the killing to an international diamond smuggling ring but not before the murderer claims more victims. Written by
The adaptation fails portrays the youth hostel as a multicultral hub for both students and travellers, which is how Christie presented things in the original novel. Understandably several racially stereotyped characters were removed, these include Chandra Lal an Indian student, Achmed Ali from Egypt, and Akibombo an African man with a "black woolly head". See more »
Sally Finch's cover story is that she was a student on a Fulbright scholarship in 1936. The Fulbright program did not begin until 1946. See more »
The original book of this was set in the 1950s but that won't do for the TV series because most people watch for the 1930s style. Ironically the tube train near the end was a 1950s train painted to look like a 1930s train so the Underground can play at that game too. Hanging the storyline on a plot about the Jarrow March was feeble but the 50s version had students who were beginning to think about the world around them so I suppose making them think about the poverty of the marchers is much the same thing. All the stuff about Japp having to cater for himself was weak too but they had to put something in to fill the time. This would have made a decent half hour show or they could have filmed the book and made it a better long show. It is obvious this episode is a victim of style over content.
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