Agatha Christie was a plot-maker with only the most superficial interest in human psychology and a great many offensively reactionary and snobbish opinions. So it need not necessarily be vexing that this series changes her stories so extensively, even if the ingenuity of the plotting is their chief virtue. After all, the movie of Chandler's "The Long Goodbye" greatly simplifies the plot and posits a new villain, whilst still improving on the book; and if fidelity to source were always a crucial factor, we'd have to prefer Michael Winner's version of "The Big Sleep" to the Bogart-Hawks classic. No, the real reason why this version is so excruciating is simply that it's so badly done on all levels. Kevin Elyot, who also scripted many "Poirot" episodes, is a really dreadful writer, whose new plot-twist is rubbish. One also has to say that several very distinguished actors give the worst performances of their careers, and so do Simon Callow and Jamie Theakston.
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