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
In train scene with Egg, Poirot and Sir Charles, the reflection in the window as they go through the tunnel is not a true reflection, i.e. the back of her head, but the actual scene laid over the window i.e. NOT a reflection at all. See more »
I have been a huge of Agatha Christie Poirot for a while now, and while Three Act Tragedy is not the best of the series it was still very good. In all fairness, the book wasn't one of Christie's best either, it was a very good one with a very memorable character in Charles Cartwright and an interesting story, but due to some motives being I agree not as easy to follow as one would think it isn't a masterpiece like Murder of Roger Ackroyd(very disappointingly adapted might I say on a side-note).
The direction is occasionally a little flat though also with some inspired touches of over-theatricality and I was very disappointed that Jane Asher wasn't given as much to do as she deserves, yes her character is quite small but still.
What I did love about Three Act Tragedy were the production values. True, it has a glossier and more cinematic(dare I say) feel than some of the older episodes, but I thought the photography was very good and the scenery, costumes and lighting were breathtaking. The music is lovely too, haunting yet elegant and beautiful too. The dialogue is well-done, very poignant in the denouncement, and the pace while deliberately slow to start with(the book starts slow as well) is fine. The story still remains interesting and when it comes to the adapting it is fairly faithful and not as bland as the Peter Ustinov film, which still had its good points.
The acting is very good and the characters are written very well overall. David Suchet is outstanding, no surprise he always is, but it was Martin Shaw I enjoyed the most. His character was always one of the book's main merits and Shaw's performance was gleefully enjoyable with a commanding voice and well-judged mannerisms. He like the dialogue is very moving at the end. Overall, a solid episode in the twelfth series and an above decent adaptation. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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