Mrs Oliver is asked to devise a murder hunt for a Devon fête, but her sense of foreboding summons Poirot to the scene. Her fears are realized when the girl playing murder victim winds up truly murdered.
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With summer in the air, wealthy squire Sir George Stubbs and his fragile, childlike wife Hattie plan a grand fête for their Devonshire neighbors to celebrate their recent acquisition of Nasse House. Fancy dress, fortune telling, and a coconut shy are all scheduled, as well as a murder hunt designed by mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver. But Mrs Oliver is convinced something is amiss, and asks Hercule Poirot to attend the festivities as a means to put her mind at rest. Poirot scrutinizes the eclectic lot, which includes officious politicos, a put-upon secretary, a rakish architect, warring holidaymakers, a garrulous ferryman, an urbane foreigner, and Nasse's former matriarch, now content to be a humble lodger. They certainly have secrets to hide, but are any of them likely murderers? Or victims? When Mrs Oliver's fears are realized, however, the events are far from how she imagined them to unfold. A murder occurs as anticipated, but bizarrely, the victim is Marlene Tucker, a local Girl ... Written by
Hercule Poirot's crime-writer friend, Ariadne Oliver, asks Poirot to join her at a country estate in Devon. The estate, owned by Sir George Stubbs, is holding a garden fete and, due to her fame as a crime novelist, she has been asked to stage a murder hunt game. Ms Oliver feels that something is amiss and that a real murder is about to occur, hence her wanting Poirot to be there. Sure enough, on the day of the fete, the 14-year old girl who is playing the murder victim in the game is murdered, and the young wife of Sir George goes missing.
Quite intriguing. Good build-up - the murder doesn't occur until well into the movie. Some good twists and red herrings too.
On the down-side, it is impossible for the viewer to figure out in advance, or even have an inkling of who the murderer is. Much of the most useful information is only revealed when Poirot confronts the murderer.
Great work by David Suchet, as usual. Zoe Wanamaker provides the comic relief as Ariadne Oliver - wonderfully cynical and blunt delivery.
An interesting thing to note: the estate used to film the movie was that of Agatha Christie herself - Greenway in Devon. It now belongs to the National Trust.
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