When a series of apparently minor thefts plagues a university hostelry run by Miss Lemon's sister, Poirot is recruited to investigate. Celia Austin, a pharmacological major, confesses that she is a kleptomaniac and responsible for most of the thefts but denies stealing several objects including a stethoscope, light bulbs, and a student rucksack. Furthermore, she claims to know the other thief and vows to help return the missing items. Unfortunately someone substitutes an overdose of morphine for one of her sleeping powders, and she takes the identity of the thief to the grave. Japp connects the murderer's m.o. with a cold case he had investigated ten years earlier, but the prime suspect in that crime, a powerful statesman, now lies dying in a local hospital. Despite numerous obstacles, Poirot is able to link the killing to an international diamond smuggling ring but not before the murderer claims more victims.Written by
These Suchet-led adaptations of Poirot are frustratingly uneven because the producers brought in a different creative team for each one. Sometimes they understand the strength of the source material, and other times they go off on some unrelated direction that they graft onto the plot.
They already start with a disadvantage. Suchet produces an entertaining character for sure. But the foibles of Christie's detective were all found to be assets in how he approached a problem. It was almost as if he were from some alien world where people thought differently and so could "see" things we could not.
In this case, he's just a comic man who incidentally solves mysteries as if that were another eccentricity.
So instead of the puzzle and his attempts to unwind it, we get:
-- a bunch of buffoonery about Poirot's and Japp's eating habits
-- some excessive cinematic nonsense about a mouse who appears through the story
-- in an unrelated insertion, we have the chanting of a nursery rhyme every time something bad is happening
This is the worst of a bad lot. Please avoid it.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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