After spending a bit of a holiday in Paris, Poirot finds himself on a flight to London with an odd assortment of people, some of whom he had met during his stay. When one of the passengers, Madame Gisele, is murdered during the flight by a poisoned dart, Poirot is asked by Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard to assist with the investigation. Gisele was a well-known moneylender with penchant towards blackmail. When Lady Horbury denies knowing the dead woman - which Poirot knows is false - the police clearly have their prime suspect. Poirot however, sees a far more complex plot to gain access to the victims money. Written by
Philip Jackson, who played Japp in this version, also played Japp in a BBC Radio 4 production of Death in the Clouds. Poirot was played by John Moffatt See more »
The story is set in the summer of 1935 and much of it takes place on board a Douglas DC-3. But the Douglas DC-3 had its maiden flight shortly before Christmas that year and it was not introduced into service until 1936. See more »
Typically absorbing, deliberately paced Agatha Christie murder mystery
Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of an old woman which happened during a flight from France to England - a flight on which he was also on board! The victim seems to have been killed by a poisoned dart shot on her neck, and Poirot's investigation takes him (along with Inspector Japp) to Paris, where the woman lived.
Before seeing "Death in the Clouds" and without having read the book, I was under the impression that the action would be almost entirely confined inside the plane, but no - the murder happens there, but most of the action takes place on land (and most of it in Paris). There is ingenuity in the way the murder is carried out, but some of the coincidences revealed by Poirot at the end to explain the motive seem a bit strained. The pacing is also quite deliberate (this is a feature-length episode). Nevertheless, the production (including the Paris location shooting) is up to the usual high standards, and the cast is well-chosen; in the absence of Captain Hastings, Inspector Japp gets a lot of screen time and has some good moments, and Sarah Woodward, as an air stewardess who was also on board the same flight, makes a very likable sidekick for Poirot. (***)
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