When Prince Farouq of Egypt foolishly lets a tart wear a fabulously valuable royal ruby, she simply walks away with it. With Hastings away in Scotland for the Christmas holidays, Poirot finds himself spending Christmas with the Lacey family. Colonel Lacey, a well-known Egyptologist, was one of the few people who knew the ruby was in England. As Poirot investigates, he learns that the Colonel is having financial difficulties and also that one of the house guests, Desmond Lee-Wortley, may not be of the soundest character. With the help of the children in the household, Poirot sets a trap for the thief.Written by
The house where Poirot stays for Christmas has been used in other stories such as "The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim." See more »
The cook had prepared two plum puddings, a large one for Christmas and a smaller one for New Years. The larger one was dropped while being cooked and it was stated that the smaller one was served at Christmas but during the meal it was obviously the larger pudding served. See more »
Two things are out of the ordinary in this episode of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. It is one of the very few in which Poirot is all alone. That is, that none of his usual three other cohorts are in the story. It's Christmas time, and Captain Hastings is off to Scotland, while Miss Lemon is visiting her sister in Torquay on the English Channel Coast. Chief Inspector Japp never gets a call at Scotland Yard to help solve this mystery.
The second unusual aspect is the inclusion of children who have a nice part in the story. Christie might have had some more such stories, because the rapport and comfort Poirot's character has around these young teenagers is quite good and pleasant.
Poirot was looking forward to a quiet Christmas all alone with his reading, some music and imported exquisite chocolates he has just picked up. Two official looking men intercept him and coax him into their limo - the Home Secretary urgently needs to see him.
As a result, Poirot goes for the Christmas holidays to the Lacey's home where he is most welcome, and seems to enjoy the festive time. But this is all related to the theft of a gargantuan ruby from the prince heir to the throne in Egypt. There is some connection, but the plot is spotty about how the ruby appears in a plum pudding. Fortunately, Poirot has one of those gatherings toward the end when he explains things - otherwise we viewers might permanently be left in the dark.
One other thing to note about this episode is Poirot's respectful and overly polite treatment of the Lacey servants. Fans are used to the sometime pompous or arrogant demeanor of Poirot - especially when around his associates, the peerage and upper classes of England. But, he is noticeably different in his deference to and kindly treatment of the working classes. It's a nice extra attribute of his character. David Suchet plays Poirot superbly in this manner as in all ways.
And, one thing must be said about Prince Farouk. The actor, Tariq Alibai plays the part well as the snobbish, arrogant, poor-mannered and spoiled brat 19-year old prince. We all dislike him immensely. Bravo for that performance, Mr. Alibai. The overall tenor of the plot and people is delightful, and the intrigue and Christmas holiday airs add up to make this a very enjoyable film.
Here's a favorite line from the film. Mrs. Lacey, "Never good telling a young girl that a man has a bad reputation, is it?" Hercule Poirot, "It is often, I believe, an added attraction."
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