While Poirot is on holiday in Iraq, the wife of the head scientist at an archaeological dig confides to him that she is the target of threatening letters.



(based on the novel by), (dramatized by)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Leidner
Barbara Barnes ...
Dinah Stabb ...
Anne Johnson
Georgina Sowerby ...
Amy Leatheran
Jeremy Turner-Welch ...
Bill Coleman
Sheila Maitland
Christopher Hunter ...
Father Lavigny
Christopher Bowen ...
Richard Carey
Iain Mitchell ...
Superintendent Maitland
Alexi Kaye Campbell ...
Joseph Mercado
Deborah Poplett ...
Mrs. Mercado
Kamel Touati ...
Squat Man
Hichem Rostom ...
Hotel Receptionist (as Hichem Rostrom)


While accompanying his friend Hastings to a dig in Iraq, Hercule Poirot becomes involved in the murder of an archaeologist's wife. The victim, Mrs. Leidner, had been receiving threatening letters signed by her first husband, who was known to have been killed in a train wreck. Did he survive? Was it his younger brother who was avenging his memory? Did Miss Johnson get rid of her rival for her employer's affections? Did Richard Carey kill the woman he publically announces that he hates? Is the French priest really who he pretends to be? And how many deaths will occur before Poirot unmasks the murderer? Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

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Release Date:

8 July 2001 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (14 episodes)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When in the Bagdad hotel Superintendent Maitland and Poirot enter the room with the "dead" body of Joseph Mercado, you can see the actor of Mercado just open his left eye preparing the subsequent close shot of his face. See more »


Hastings: But why would she write threatening letters to herself?
Hercule Poirot: O, I think that would be an assumption too great to make, Hastings, on the grounds of the similarity of the handwritings. But if it were so, it would not be an occurence unheard-of.
Hastings: Pretty ruddy silly if you ask me.
Hercule Poirot: Ah, well, if only people would ask you, Hastings, they would refrain from the ruddy silliness.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the Archeological Site of Oudhna. See more »

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User Reviews

Finally on screen!!
6 November 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

It's a mystery worth being solved by Poirot himself why one of the VERY greatest novels Agatha Christie ever wrote had never been filmed before

  • but the magnificent TV series starring David Suchet, which 'took

care' of literally EVERY one of Poirot's cases, finally fixed that in 2001. And the result - as was almost to be expected, considering the great expertise that everyone involved in the series had already acquired at that point - is a most STUNNING piece of TV art (which can easily compete with even the most expensive and most successful movies of its era), equally suspenseful as the novel (and that IS saying something...), with a wonderful performance, as always, by David Suchet, the undeniably BEST Poirot in film and TV history, and literally a LOVE for every little detail to be authentic 30s' style.

The settings are exotic once more here: an archaeological dig in Mesopotamia (due to the political circumstances at the time, the episode was shot in Tunisia, but actually at a REAL dig), with an expedition team consisting of various nationalities - and, of course, also all the human weaknesses that show so very clearly when a group of people is living so close together: passion, jealousy, hatred, drugs, theft... And together they all lead inevitably to - murder...

And once again, Poirot 'happens' to be at the scene of the crime; he came to Bagdad at the request of a Baroness, an 'old flame' of his (we're getting to know entirely new things about him!), and visits the dig with his friend Hastings, whose nephew happens to work there... Of course, all this wasn't in the book, but never mind - all the rest WAS; and it simply COULDN'T have been brought to the screen in a more clever, more stylish, and even more entertaining way! And in a way that lets us guess literally until the last moment about the identity of the murderer...

So, of course, we mustn't spoil anything for those who haven't seen it yet - the only thing I believe I can state with certainty is that this is one of the VERY best episodes of the whole series (which ran for 25 years!); a REAL treat for every fan of Agatha Christie, of Hercule Poirot, and of murder mysteries in general!

3 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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