Poirot investigates the murder of Florence Carrington while traveling on the express train to Plymouth. Her father, mining entrepreneur Gordon Halliday, will spare no expense to have the crime solved. She had recently been approached by her estranged husband Rupert, asking for money and was seen having lunch with a one-time suitor, Armand de la Rochefort, of whom her father disapproves. However, the victim's jewelry was stolen and Poirot realizes that to find the murderer, they must first find the jewels. Written by
The story is set in the 1930s, yet the train carriages at Paddington station are of the BR MK1 type not built until 1951; and as the steam train pulls into Plymouth station, several 1980s-built diesel trains can clearly be seen in the background. See more »
Oddly enough, I had never noticed the connection between "The Plymouth Express" and "The Mystery of the Blue Train" until the writers of this episode brought my attention to it. Their deliberate use of characters with the same name and other details from the novel allowed me to see the similarity between the stories, despite the fact that the solution to the murder mystery is different in each case (somewhat similar, but still different). So kudos to them for that.
The thing that makes this episode stand out for me is that this is the only episode of the 15 year series (with the possible exception of "Curtain") in which the overall theme is that of unrelenting grief. This is one of the few episodes where the killer is shown cold-heartedly committing the murder, not just firing the gun or poisoning the coffee. The broken hearted father is shown in all his grief. And there is not one light-hearted moment to break up the tension and solemnity. I'm not sure if that makes it any better or worse than others. Quite frankly, the one and only episode so far that I've given a perfect 10/10 to ("The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim"), I liked for its delightful combination of comedy and clever detection. But I will say that this episode comes the closest to what an actual murder must be like for surviving family members. Not something I would want to watch every time, but an interesting change of pace.
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