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
Although Agatha Christie's original story took place in the 1950s, the setting is moved to the 1930s for continuity reasons. See more »
When Poirot and Japp are reading the newspaper at breakfast (an hour into the film), the back page of the section held by Poirot is clearly identical to the back page of the paper bought at a newsstand by Japp at the beginning (approx. 4 minutes in), even though a few days have passed in the story. See more »
Intriguing with some wonderfully funny byplay between Poirot and Japp
Hercule Poirot's secretary, Miss Lemon, has a sister, Florence Hubbard, who runs a university hostel in Hickory Road. During a visit, Mrs Hubbard informs Miss Lemon that there has a been a spate of robberies from the hostel of late. Miss Lemon suggests that Hercule Poirot investigate under the pretext of giving a talk to the students on crime solving. He does just that and uncovers some details. A few days later, Mrs Nicoletis, the owner of the hostel, is murdered. Poirot suspects that the robberies and the murder are linked. Aided by Chief Inspector Japp, he uncovers more than just robberies and a murder.
Quite intriguing, with a seemingly unrelated parallel story having a great bearing on the case. Some good twists and turns with the murderer not obvious until the end.
One of the standout features of this episode is the wonderful sub- plot involving Poirot and Japp and their culinary and cultural differences. Some quite funny scenes involving their rather diverse eating habits, and the contrast between the sophisticated Poirot and the more basic Japp.
Cast includes Damian Lewis, later of Band of Brothers and Homeland fame, in only his second screen role. If the actor who plays Nigel Chapman reminds you of Colin Firth, that's because it's his brother, Jonathan Firth.
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