A Father Christmas is murdered one night at a Christmas market. Six year old Louison witnesses the murder while running away from the orphanage where she lives with her brother, and her life is now in danger. Despite his aversion to children, Commissaire Laurence becomes their bodyguard, and his secretary Marlène delights at playing mother. The solution to the mystery appears to center around Louison's strange orphanage, an institution well known to journalist Alice Avril, who spent her childhood there.
This is the first episode in the series to be a fully original story, rather than one based on Agatha Christie's books. This was done with the blessings of Christie's heirs, her great-grandson even visiting the set. See more »
Love Agatha Christie, and would see any adaptation of any of her work, with adoration for most of it, without hesitation. Love detective and mystery literature, films and series and that has been the case for a long time, the Joan Hickson Miss Marple and David Suchet Poirot adaptations oddly enough being the mysteries that started that love. Have a lot of high appreciation too for anything in foreign languages too, and there are some classic non-British/US detective/mystery series about.
Despite being part of the inconsistent but very well made and enjoyable 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie', "Le Crime de Noel" stands out among the rest. In that it is the first and only episode to actually be an independent/original story and not an adaptation of any of Christie's work, so there is nothing really to compare it against and it is easier to judge it as a standalone perhaps. "Le Crime de Noel" does very well as an independent episode and in a way that doesn't jar, so in keeping with the tone of the series and with a mystery worthy of a Christie short story that it was a surprise actually finding out that it was not based on any existing material by the Queen of Crime. Not a great episode, a perfect one or one of the best ones of the series, but a good one.
There are a lot of good things with "Le Crime de Noel" is a sumptuous looking episode. The colours are both vibrant and atmospheric and the photography is stylish. The music continues to match the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone without any jarring. The writing is thought-provoking and intriguing, the mix of comedy and mystery well-judged in how they are balanced and how they fare on their own.
A vast majority of the time, the story is compelling and has enough to keep one guessing. It didn't feel predictable, while there are suspenseful elements and comedic elements that didn't come over as overdone. Have really liked for a while now that Laurence is much more relaxed and has some of the best moments here, likewise with the ever charming Marlene. This is a rare case of Alice's material not being quite as strong, when usually she is the one that brightens things up, but she is still a joy.
No stiffness can be seen with Samuel Labarthe and Elodie Frenck and Blandine Bellavoir are delightful. Cyril Guei proves to be one of the better things about the Swan/Avril era of the series and of the solid supporting cast Christiane Millet is particularly memorable as a character one doesn't want to get on the wrong side of.
However, "Le Crime de Noel" could have been a little better. Dominique Thomas has very little to do and could easily have been written out of the episode. The pace could have been a touch tighter in the middle.
Have said many times that Alice is a bright spot in every episode, but did feel that her orphanage encounter veered too much on the unlikely.
In conclusion, solid original episode for the series. 7/10
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