James Bentley is tried for the murder of Abigail McGinty, the charwoman of Broadhinny who also took in Bentley as her lodger. The evidence is overwhelming, and soon after he is sentenced to hang. Superintendent Spence is not convinced of the man's guilt, and so he visits Poirot, asking him to look into the case. Poirot then heads off to the village, where he becomes the paying guest of Maureen and Major Johnnie Summerhayes. Ariadne Oliver, Poirot's novelist friend, has also come to Broadhinny to collaborate on a stage adaptation of one of her novels with dramatist Robin Upward. With the clue of a bottle of ink purchased by the dead woman shortly before her death, Poirot searches Mrs. McGinty's belongings and finds an edition of The Sunday Comet newspaper, where an article concerning two women connected with famous murders has been cut out. With the story are two photographs of the women. Poirot discovers that Mrs. McGinty had seen one of the photographs before, and knew to whom it ... Written by
James Gordon Bentley, you have been tried for murder. Abigail McGinty was found by the baker on the floor of the sitting-room with extensive wounds to the head. The house in Broadhinny evinced no sign of forced entry. All the police surgeon was able to ascertain was that she'd been hit with a sharp, heavy implement, probably some time the night before. You, Bentley, were suspected from the very beginning. You knew where she kept her money; you had recently lost your employment, and...
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This episode is in my view the worst in the Poirot series that I have seen. Other reviewers rave about how accurate the story is and this may be so, but I am deeply disturbed by the cinematography of this and a few other episodes. The producers of the series have expressed their desire to make the movie-length episodes more gloomy than the shorts from the 1990s. They have succeeded so well that I find it hard to enjoy Mrs McGinty's Dead and some of these other ones. Scene changes give me headaches, camera angles pain my eyes, the background music seems slapped on without too much care. All to show how avant-garde the director is, I suppose. A little less artsy-fartsy cinematography would make the episode no less gloomy and disturbing but would keep it watchable. The episode only scores a 5 because David Suchet is an old friend as Poirot.
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