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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Wonderful Poirot episode, beautiful visually, superbly directed and adeptly played
I think this is my personal favourite episode of the season, and I really liked all the episodes(even Appointment with Death, it was the weakest plot wise, but it was just as strong visually, musically and acting wise). One definite thing I liked was how faithful it was to the book. The book isn't an instant favourite of mine by any means but it was suspenseful and kept me guessing, as did the adaptation. There are one or two liberties, but I wasn't expecting it to be word from word, so that is in no way a flaw.
Mrs McGinty's Dead is very elegantly made, no surprises there saying as how well made all the Poirots are. The production values are first rate, with beautiful costumes, scenery and settings and I loved the film noir elements of the camera angles too. I loved the score as well, beautiful yet haunting and melancholic. Another definite plus is the direction, Ashley Pearce does a superb job directing, it is traditional, it is elegant and it does I agree have a cinematic feel to it.
The story is coherent, it seems simple but it isn't really, and the script has real sophistication and class. And all the actors play their parts adeptly. Amanda Root is probably the weakest of the lot, not because she was bad in any way, but there were times when I felt she wasn't quite right for her part and I do agree it was in some way to do with age, but that is my only minor problem with this adaptation. Joe Absolom is very good as the accused James Bentley, while Sarah Smart and Paul Rhys both do strong work, as does Eve Stockley. Predictably though, my favourite performances were from David Suchet and Zoe Wannamaker. Suchet is outstanding as Poirot, perfectly showing a balance between the comedic and serious Poirot, and Wannamaker was one of the bright spots of the pretty disappointing Cards on the Table but with dialogue that is both funny and sticks into the memory she is even better here.
Overall, really good and a faithful adaptation as well. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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