Four clocks surround an unidentified corpse in a blind woman's house, and a young typist is summoned to the crime scene. However, Poirot is convinced that the complicated setup is merely hiding a simpler solution.
Investigating a spy-ring, Lt. Colin Race comes to Wilbraham Crescent, where he literally bumps into agency typist Sheila Webb, as she comes flying out of number 19, the home of blind receptionist Millicent Pebmarsh. Sheila has discovered the body of a man whose identity proves hard to confirm, surrounded by four clocks, stopped at the same time. Miss Pebmarsh does not know the man and did not ask for the services of Sheila, who is the initial chief suspect. However, as Poirot is brought in to assist Inspector Hardcastle in the case, and the murderer strikes again, Poirot comes to realize that the man was killed elsewhere and brought to Miss Pebmarsh's house. The neighbors claim to have seen nothing but Poirot believes one of them may have had a secret which was worth killing for and sets out to unmask them, as well as explaining the significance, if any, of the clocks. At the same time, Colin solves his investigation with Poirot's help. Written by
don @ minifie-1
"The Clocks" premiered in America on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery tonight, June 26, 2011, two years after its filming and release in the U.K. in 2009, and I must say that it was a thrill to watch.
David Suchet dons the role of famed Belgium detective Hercule Poirot once again, and we are treated to amazing revelations regarding spies, national stakes for England before WWII, and a classic murder mystery set in the English seaside town of Dover.
The adaptation by Stuart Harcourt, whom I previously berated for his foolish perversion of Hercule Poirot in "Murder on the Orient Express" (2010) into a devout Catholic, is much better two years earlier. The detours from the original Christie novel heighten the stakes of the story well, especially changing one of the main characters, Lt. Colin Cray, into the son of Colonel Race, a Poirot associate from "Cards on the Table" (2004) and the Christie novel "Death on the Nile".
Another logical change made by Harcourt was the inclusion of Poirot in the interviewing of the witnesses and visitation to the scene of the crime. In the novel, Lt. Colin Cray performs most of the investigation.
"The Clocks" novel may stand as one of Christie's greatest works for mixing facts with red herrings. The number and complexity of the clues are handled well in this adaptation.
David Suchet is again magnificent in the role of his career -- meticulous, eccentric and insightful.
These later editions of Poirot are void of humor and are filmed as dramatic thrillers, and have long lost the charm of the early episodes. However, watching Poirot is still as exciting to me as they were when it premiered in 1989.
I find it hard to believe that Mr. Suchet has been playing Monsieur Poirot for over 20 years, but I hope he does it for as long as he can.
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