Syria, 1937: Hercule Poirot is one of several people present at an archaeological dig to find the skull of St John the Baptist, led by the exuberant Lord Boynton and his loyal son Leonard. The enterprise has been financed by Boynton's rich, rude and overbearing American wife. She bullies her three adopted children, Carol, Jinny and Raymond, as well as the family's nanny. Sarah King, a young English doctor, falls for Raymond and would love to tear him from his mother's apron-strings, and another doctor, Dr Gerard, takes an interest in Jinny, as does a Polish nun, who, with Jinny, is subject to an attack - by white slavers, according to the independent travel-writer Dame Celia Westholme. A mysterious young American, Jefferson Cope, whose link to the Boyntons seems tenuous, completes the group. Only his Lordship has any love for his wife so that, when she is found stabbed to death one blisteringly hot afternoon, Poirot has more than his fair share of suspects to interrogate. Written by
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A 1945 West End theatrical adaptation of the original 1938 novel eliminated Poirot's character and changed the identity of the killer. It is notable that Joan Hickson, later to play Christie's Miss Marple, was in the cast. See more »
Where Lady Boynton is, the music of the spheres is curiosly like the nails down a blackboard.
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Several Certain Serial Syria Syringe Stabbers, Seriously
Syria, 1937: Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) joins his London friend Mr. Carbury (Paul Freeman) and his guide, Mahmoud (Zakaria Atifi), who arrange an Archaeological expedition from Damascus into Samara to search for the "head of John the Baptist, where a river meets a mountain."
But when a tomb becomes uncorked, a "Pandora's box of evils is unleashed," and the Hieroglyphics on the wall read that explorers face a certain death.
Lady Leonora Boynton (Cheryl Campbell), an overbearing wealthy matron, joins the tour with her devoted employee, the elderly Nanny Taylor (Angela Pleasence), and her three adopted children, Carol Boynton (Emma Cunniffe), Jinny Boynton (Zoe Boyle) and Raymond Boynton (Tom Riley).
When Lord Boynton (Tim Curry) joins the expedition with his son from his first marriage, Leonard Boynton (Mark Gatiss), Lady Boynton seems more than annoyed, for very few are able to bear her company with the exception of her loving husband.
Doctor Sarah King (Christina Cole), Doctor Gerard (John Hannah), Sister Agnieszka (Beth Goddard) and L.J. Cope (Christian McKay) each has a purpose of her or his own for joining the caravan of trucks, which is halted en route through the desert by one who unmasks herself as Dame Celia Westholme (Elizabeth McGovern).
Death does, indeed, visit the camp that afternoon, leaving one body discovered, with a waxy substance in tow. That evening, when screams are heard outside a tent, a second body is discovered bleeding from a stone beating. And the next day, a third body is discovered, a victim of drowning in a bathtub. But one of these three may survive.
Hercule Poirot prepares for his extensive showdown scene, finding the need to identify the perpetrator(s) 1. who plants the faux Archaeological treasure, 2. who attempts to kidnap a victim for White slavery, 3. who devaluates stock in the Pierce Holding Company, and 4. who commits the murders, with each event unmasking his suspects for a series of surprise twists.
The outcome makes Poirot himself seem somewhat culpable because Death makes an encore performance.
The cast is rounded out by Jawad Elalami as Labourer, Aizoun Abdelkader as Concierge, and Mansour Badri as Taxi Driver.
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