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Reuben Astwell is an evil man. He is hated by his nephew, his wife, his employees, his brother, his female assistant, and Poirot himself after he meets the man. So when Astwell is found dead shortly after Poirot visits to have dinner with Astwell and view the man's collection of Belgian miniatures, Poirot has many suspects from which to choose. Written by
Hans Meyer [letter]:
My dear Horace; We were all disappointed not to see you at our conference in Berlin. England is in danger of becoming isolated, you know. Many interesting developments were discussed, in particular Sir Reuben Astwell's new Astoprene compound. It's rumoured that Farben's over here will manufacture it under license. But then, you know what gossips scientists can be.
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I have been a fan of Agatha Christie and of the Poirot series for several years now. The Underdog is not one of my favourites, but it still has plenty that I love about the series on display. It is very well made, with some scenes having a nice autumnal feel to them, and the scenery, costumes and photography are splendid, complete with an evocative atmosphere. Right from the iconic theme tune to the haunting under-scoring, the music adds much to the mood of the episode without being over-bearing. The script still has its perfect blend of humour, thoughtfulness and tension, and the story is always interesting with the hypnosis parts a nice touch and the final solution satisfying if not entirely unexpected. The victim himself is such an obnoxious bully, perhaps the most unpleasant and most deserving victim of the series, that you are actually glad when he is done in and you feel sympathy for the murderer. The acting is its usual reliable itself, with the four leads outstanding especially David Suchet, who as far as I'm concerned hasn't given a single bad performance in this role. All in all, well made, entertaining and well acted. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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