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 <email@example.com>
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 »
"This investigation is marching more slowly than I had expected"
Hercule Poirot receives a telegram from the Russian countess he had met in a previous adventure (see the episode "Double Clue" for more info) asking him to come to Bagdad to help her on an urgent matter. He does, but she is nowhere to be found. But the journey is not all for naught; pretty soon he gets caught up in the investigation of the murder of the wife of an esteemed archaeologist working in the area. The woman had been receiving threatening anonymous letters that seemed to have been written by her long considered dead first husband, and, much like an archaeologist, Poirot thinks that he must dig into the past in order to solve the mystery.
My one-line summary is a quote from Poirot himself, and it gives you an idea of the pacing of this episode. Not that it is bad, mind you; the production values are great (easily on par with the theatrically released Ustinov film "Appointment With Death"), and the killing method itself is haunting and cruelly ingenious. However, there is also a crucial timing inconsistency in this episode: not wanting to spoil anything, I'll just say that something that lasts about 10 seconds when it happens for the first time, lasts at least 30 seconds when Poirot's customary narration at the end replays it from another perspective. Comedic highlight: Poirot's battle with a mosquito in the middle of the night. (**1/2)
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