At a flower show, an older woman in a wheelchair approaches Poirot, gives him an empty seed packet, and asks him to visit her the next day. When Poirot arrives the next day, the woman is dead, murdered with poison.
Poirot and Miss Lemon travel to Surrey to visit Miss Amelia Barrowby but arrive to learn that she has died during the night. Poirot had an odd encounter with her the previous day at a flower show when she made the odd gesture of giving him an empty seed packet. Upon returning home, he finds that she has written him seeking his assistance. Poirot suspects foul play and the pathologist confirms that the woman was poisoned with strychnine. Initial suspects are Miss Barrowby's niece and her husband, but when the dead woman's Russian companion runs away, Inspector Japp thinks he has the culprit. Poirot thinks otherwise. Written by
Before the credits even roll, there is a scene at the embassy of the USSR. The brass plate at the entrance to the embassy reads, "Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic," although the correct form is "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." See more »
Once again, the story that the episode is based on is rather a thin one. An old woman communicates with Poirot and hints that she is concerned that someone in her household might mean her harm, but refuses to give further details. When Poirot visits her home, he is told that the woman died the night before. Later it is discovered that the woman was poisoned by strychnine. The woman's Russian companion is suspected and charged; she inherited the woman's money and knew that beforehand. But did she really do it? And if she didn't, can Poirot prove who did? And once again, what makes this episode better than average are the extra details that the writers have padded the show with. Specifically, the various references to roses. It seems that Poirot is being honored with having a new pink rose named after him. The writers have found a clever way to tie together Poirot's preparations for the garden show where the new rose is being revealed, Hastings' foolish behavior when he is left alone in the office, Miss Lemon's reaction to that foolish behavior, and the resolution of the story with a crazed confession from the murderer. There have been other episodes where the extra details feel forced into the story, but in this one they are so well placed that I was rather sorry that Christie hadn't invented them herself. And the look Suchet has on his face at the very end is the crowning touch on a sweet episode.
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