Lady Chatterton asks for Poirot's assistance when she comes to fear for the safety of her friend, Marguerite Clayton. Specifically, she is convinced that Marguerite's husband Edward Clayton, known for his violent temper, will kill her. Poirot is invited to a party in order to meet Clayton, but he never shows up. The next day, Poirot finds himself being interviewed by Inspector Japp when Edward Clayton's body is found hidden in an elaborate Spanish chest located in the same room as the party the previous evening. When Marguerite's friend Major Rich is arrested for the murder, Poirot correctly deduces the true nature of the crime and the identity of the culprit. Written by
Hastings & Poirot pass a portrait when leaving the Military Club after meeting Colonel Curtis - the camera actually moves in on it - and again later, when Poirot visits the club a second time. This same portrait is used to represent General John Laverton Arundell in Agatha Christie: Poirot: Dumb Witness (1996). See more »
You think it is wrong, Hastings, to enjoy the compliments, or the 'buttering,' as you say?
No, but, uh, do you have to show it quite so much? Not English.
Perhaps it is Belgian. Hastings, why should I be the hypocrite, to blush when I am praised, and to say like you, "It is nothing." Hmph! I have the order, the method, and the psychology. There, I admit it. I am the best. I am Hercule Poirot.
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"The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" is from 1991 and is a wonderful entry into the Poirot series.
Someone Poirot has previously met, Lady Chatterton, approaches Poirot and requests his help - she believes a friend of hers, Marguerite Clayton (Caroline Langrishe) is in danger of being murdered by her husband Edward (Malcolm Sinclair). Apparently he has quite a temper.
Poirot is invited to a party so that he can meet Clayton. Clayton never arrives. The next day, Inspector Japp shows up and informs Poirot that he was the unknowing witness to a murder. Edward Clayton's body was found in a Spanish chest, which was in the same room as the party.
A Major Rich is arrested -- he is a friend of Marguerite's and a suspected love interest of hers. Poirot believes in Rich's innocent, and ultimately figures out who did it and how it was done.
This was a particularly gruesome murder in a story that has an atmosphere of sophistication, as so many of the Poirot episodes do, and a real feeling of the '30s. Poirot, immaculately portrayed by David Suchet, is in rare form, admitting to Hastings that he cannot act when complimented by blushing, muttering thank you, or dropping his eyes. He is the best! Why pretend? Hastings thinks he could dial it back a little.
It was a joy to see the lovely Caroline Langrishe as Marguerite. I remember her so fondly from Lovejoy and Clive Owen's big break, Chancer.
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