Poirot attends a party at the great actor Sir Charles Cartwright's Cornish mansion. A local reverend dies while drinking a cocktail, but no poison is found in his glass. Poirot and Cartwright decide to investigate when another victim is claimed in the same manner.
The inoffensive Reverend Babbington chokes to death at a cocktail party he is attending with his wife at the home of famous actor Sir Charles Cartwright. Some time later Sir Bartholomew Strange, an eminent doctor and friend of Cartwright, also dies of poisoning at a dinner party he is giving miles away. There appears to be no link between the two deaths but Poirot, assisted by Cartwright, offers to help Superintendent Crossfield in the investigation and discovers that a mysterious butler with a birthmark on his wrist was hired for the night and appeared to share a joke with the dead doctor. This man has now vanished and would seem to the killer. A third death, that of a sanatorium patient who has written to Poirot, would appear to link to the doctor's murder and there is certainly a secret which somebody will go to any lengths to conceal - but who would gain from the death of a harmless old vicar? Written by
don @ minifie-1
It is hard to say anything bad about the Poirot/Suchet films/episodes, since in my opinion they represent TV at its best. Well-produced, well-played and a deep respect for the original work by Mrs Christie. This episode however is not among the best in the series. It strangely fails to exploit the fine scenery and environments and instead has a sort of staged indoor quality to it. Compared to e.g. Death on the Nile it seems almost low-budget. The acting is mostly top quality although the usually brilliant Suchet himself seems a bit uninspired sometimes. The first half is a bit dull, but it gets better. The story itself is perhaps a bit artificial and not among Christies best, and therefore you can't blame it all on the cast and crew.
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