Reviews & Ratings for
"Agatha Christie's Poirot" Cat Among the Pigeons (2008)

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26 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Very well done....

Author: musicmike702 from United States
1 December 2008

I don't think I've seen ANY of the Poirot series with David Suchet that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed, although some of them early on that were only an hour long left something to be desired in regards to production values and truncated stories. They were still fun to watch and Suchet's portrayal of Poirot is one of my favorites of all time.

I liked this one a lot...mostly faithful to the book which I have to admit I haven't read in years. The photography and set design were outstanding and it was great to see Harriet Walter again, and especially Susan Wooldridge, a favorite of mine since "Jewel in the Crown." I do admit that I miss Capt. Hasting, Miss Lemon and inspector Japp.

I sincerely hope that the rumors I hear of this series ending have no basis in truth.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly well done adaptation of one of Christie's middling books

Author: granola357 from United States
23 January 2010

I was fully expecting Cat Among the Pigeons to be dreadful, given that the source material is not one of Christie's stronger novels. Imagine my surprise when I watched this stylish, fun adaptation, done with tongue firmly in cheek. For some reason, the campy parts of the book actually translated well to screen (even the "orientalist" flashbacks to the Middle East), and the novel's plot was already so far-fetched that for once the screenwriters didn't change very much (the deletion of one minor character changes very little). Harriet Walter is a delight to watch, as always, and the rest of the casting was also spot on. The ending, which sees Poirot trying to find a way to thank one of the students for her assistance, was actually rather touching, and was a distinct improvement on the novel's.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best of the recent Poirot adaptations, and featuring more humor and wit than many of the others, which have become quite a lot darker than was the original television series.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Poirot goes from strength to strength

Author: docmav from United Kingdom
25 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite the disappointment that this series is only three episodes (for some reason Appointment With Death - due to be in this set - isn't likely to reach the screen yet) I can only praise the high production values of this ongoing series and the standards of the cast and crew continue to reach the best possible level. David Suchet has oft been quoted as hoping to film all the Poirot stories and this brings him ever closer to his aim.

Where the earliest entries were shot more wide angle and with much more humour, these later entries are darker and more tightly framed. I have to admit I sometimes find the close- ups a bit too close but I am getting used to them now.

A coup in India and a girls school in Britain form the intro to the story and the action all takes place (near enough) in the school itself. Poirot is just visiting but becomes embroiled in a dangerous situation as one of the teachers is murdered and it becomes clear that someone is searching the school for something they are sure must be there! Kidnapping and more murder occurs as Poirot finds himself trying to uncover the identity of the murderer and save the reputation of the school.

Suchet is a tour de force as Poirot despite the newer films seeing him without Hastings and Miss Lemon. Praise, too, for all the young school girls who played their parts so well. The cast of lady teachers and the Inspector and groundsman all gave solid performances and it was quite hard to figure out whodunnit, even though I only read the book earlier this year. Mrs McGinty's Dead was so good and this, for me and my wife, was even better. Now we look forward to Third Girl and the return of Ariadne Oliver. Hopefully Appointment With Death won't be too far behind these three magnificent period mystery dramas.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

As Poirot would say, "Merveilleux!!!"

Author: tml_pohlak_13 from Canada
25 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've been very pessimistic about "Cat Among the Pigeons", episode 2 in the newest Poirot series. Having just watched it I must admit, my pessimism was proved completely wrong!

When the writer in an interview said he'd treated the story with care adapting it, I scoffed. I criticized this statement, and came up with prophecies that CATP would be another "Cards on the Table". Now that I've seen the movie, I must admit I was completely wrong. The screenwriter has, indeed, taken great care in adapting the story for TV.


I was disappointed at the deletion of Miss Vansittart. Her murder is still in the adaptation, only Eileen Rich is used instead. It makes sense, actually, to have changed this, because 3 rivals for one position as headmistress may have been to much to capture in 90 minutes.

I was also pleased that Katie Leung's character, Hsui Tai Wan, is extremely minor, and almost of no importance to the plot.

Another thing I really liked was the ending. Miss Chadwick jumping into the way of the revolver to protect Miss Bulstrode was one of my favourite bits in the entire novel, and this scene was filmed very well.


All in all, I am very pleased at the second installment of the 11th season of "Poirot". "Cat Among the Pigeons", one of my favourite books by Agatha Christie, has not been destroyed like I'd foreseen!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A happy version of one of my favourite Christies!

Author: Iain-215 from United Kingdom
19 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Cat Among The Pigeons' is one of my favourite Christie novels. I'm not sure exactly why as I admit that Poirot does little actual detection and the murderer is revealed more through luck than anything else. The characterisation is very strong however and I love the girls' school setting juxtaposed against the Middle Eastern subplot. I was a bit apprehensive then about this TV adaptation - would they destroy one of my favourites? Well, no they didn't. They made one or two minor changes (particularly around the second murder) but these worked and overall I was very pleased. As always, these Poirot films are set in the late thirties; the book was written in the late fifties but the girls' school setting is timeless and so the change in period made no difference at all. Poirot's early insertion into the story (to try and help Miss Bulstrode decide on her successor) did not entirely convince me but fans would not have been happy if Suchet had not made his first appearance till halfway through (as happens in the book). Those (like me) who were concerned that Katie Leung's character might steal the glory away from schoolgirls Julia and Jennifer had no cause to worry and the J's retained their important place in the story.

Miss Bulstrode is a formidable character to portray but I think Harriet Walter pulled her off convincingly. Susan Wooldridge was just excellent as Miss Chadwick and Elizabeth Berrington was just right as the nasty Miss Springer but, for me, the real star performance came from Natasha Little as Ann Shapland - I couldn't imagine the role better played. All the schoolgirls were terrific and (unlike 'Mrs McGinty') there was a real feeling of lightness to the piece. Highly recommended.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Very well done adaptation

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
19 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a lover of Agatha Christie:Poirot and of the book, I watched Cat Among the Pigeons and was really impressed. Yes things are changed such as the deletion of Miss Vansittart and the means of Miss Springer being murdered is changed(killed by a javelin instead of a gun), but it is a very well done adaptation that sticks to the book's spirit, and while there are some really sinister atmospheric moments I liked the lightness of the adaptation as well. As I have said, I love the book, it is beautifully done and suspenseful, though I will say like my cover of Murder in Mesopotamia I was once afraid to look at the cover because it has a very evil cat on it as though it had just eaten a pigeon. Back on target, Cat Among the Pigeons looks stunning, with beautiful scenery, photography and a wonderful building for the school. The music is also really nice, and the script has a lot of nice touches. And I loved the acting, David Suchet is outstanding of course and so is Harriet Walter as the formidable Miss Bulstrode and Natasha Little as Ann Shapland. The part when Miss Chadwick saves Miss Bulstrode and gets herself shot was really tense and the scene at her deathbed was really poignant. Even the schoolgirls were terrific, in fact I don't think there was a bad performance whatsoever, and even if there were some liberties taken the plot is at least coherent. Overall, a solid adaptation of a great book. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Really good

Author: blanche-2 from United States
31 August 2014

"Cat Among the Pigeons" is one of the best of this series. It's faithful to the book, which has a strong story, and is filled with great production values and atmosphere, and the acting -- absolutely wonderful.

Poirot is asked by a friend, Miss Bulstrode, to present a sports prize at her girls' school, Meadowbank. Then she asks him to stay on, as she wants to retire and choose a successor and would like his opinion. The obvious one for the job, Miss Chadwick (Susan Wooldridge) is a little too conservative for Miss Bulstrode.

Things turn chaotic. The country of Ramat, overrun by anti-monarchy revolutionaries, has caused the only surviving heir to the throne, Princess Shaista, to get out. She is sent to Meadowbank and believes people are trying to kill her. Miss Springer, the gym teacher, is a sadistic piece of work who enjoys finding out peoples' secrets. She is later found stabbed with a javelin.

Each of the rest of the staff seems to be hiding something. There is another murder of another teacher, an attack on a teacher, and the princess is kidnapped.

Tennis rackets, rubies, revolution, fakes, and undercover work all figure in as Poirot attempts to find the culprit - the cat among the pigeons.

Terrific, with Suchet the perfect Poirot as ever, and with brilliant performances by Walter and Wooldridge, both very accomplished actresses. Endeavor fans may recognize Anton Lesser as the investigator helped by Poirot.

Well worth viewing.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Atmospheric, well-made mystery

Author: gridoon2016
26 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hercule Poirot is asked by Miss Bulstrode, an old friend of his, to stay for a while at the prestigious girls' boarding school which she runs and determine which member of the staff is more suitable to become her successor when she retires. But when teachers at the school start getting murdered and a young exiled Middle Eastern princess who's also a student there gets kidnapped, Miss Bulstrode asks Poirot to work along with the English inspector assigned to the case to save the residents and the reputation of the school.

"Cat Among The Pigeons" demands your full attention or you will be lost quickly, at least on the first viewing. The (many) characters are introduced right away in overlapping style, and the setting is unusual for a Poirot mystery (the only slightly similar one that comes to my mind right now is "Hickory Dickory Dock"). The plot hangs together very well, though it seems that Poirot identifies "The Angel" more through intuition than detection, and I didn't really like the gimmick of the witness who would be able to clear almost everything up but cannot be located until the last minute. The direction, settings, music, etc. are all properly atmospheric and pull you in. The cast is very good, and the actress who plays the killer (I'm not spoiling much here, all the suspects are women) gives a terrific performance especially AFTER she has been revealed, making her character the coldest, hottest femme fatale in the series since Jane Wilkinson of "Lord Edgeware Dies". A solid *** out of 4.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It beats the book. Really liked this one.

Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
24 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poirot attends a presentation at Meadowbank, a prestige school run by his friend Miss Bulstrode. Prior to his visit, an uprising occurred in Rahman, Prince Ali was killed, priceless rubies were stolen. One of Medowbank's pupils 'Jennifer' was out visiting family at the time, and new pupil the 'Princess Shaista' was engaged to the Prince. Miss Bulstrode is looking to step down, she asks Poirot to stay on to help her choose a successor. Whilst there the cruel gym Mistress Miss Springer announces to her fellow teachers that she'd unearthed scandals, later that night she is found brutally murdered.

Cat among the Pigeons is not one of my favourite novels, it's one of the very few I find hard to get through, it's a little bit on the flat side. The changes they make to the TV adaptation benefit the story.

The quality of direction and the brilliance of the cast make a pretty average book into a thoroughly enjoyable drama. Harriet Walter is tremendously good as Miss Bulstrode. My favourite performance comes from Elizabeth Berrington, she is superb, so often cast as lovable, funny, sympathetic, it's great to see her cast against type, and be smarmy and devious, she's wonderful, and that fantastic hair style. Amanda Abbington is almost unrecognisable as Miss Blake, but she's great too.

Very enjoyable, 8/10

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Interesting story takes place in a British girl's school in the late '30s...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
21 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Agatha Christie was awfully good at cluttering up her stories with lots of characters, some of whom aren't who they're supposed to be and this one is no exception. As usual, there's the princess who isn't a princess, a woman who isn't dead as supposed by a key witness, and various other red herrings that somehow never fail to fool Hercule Poirot (DAVID SUCHET). I read the novel so long ago that I don't know how faithful this adaptation is.

The teaching staff is under the supervision of the very able Miss Bulstrode (HARRIET WALTER), the most imposing member of the female cast whom I selected as the least likely among the suspects. Of course, my assumption was wrong and I failed to catch any of the main clues as to the murderer's identity.

ADAM CROASDELL does a nice job as the young gardener who isn't who he's supposed to be--and so it goes.

Tidy Agatha Christie mystery, but I missed the exclusion of Miss Lemmon and other usual Poirot associates.

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