Monday, 22 August 2016

Lazy Sunday Murder Mystery

I do love a good murder mystery. There's something about settling down on a Sunday afternoon, with some freshly brewed tea or some fancy coffee to watch an episode of 'cosey crime' or what can be considered as 'cosey'. The murders may be brutal and hideous but these stories have a certain flare. Usually with an exciting or eccentric detective, private investigator or amateur detective at the helm. Complete with sidekicks, professionals, suspects and the occasionally 'down time' to just relax.

I can re-watch this genre over and over, even though I know who the murderer is, I still come back to these programmes and usually, its on Sundays.

Every fortnight I will write about an episode (or one off drama) from one of my favourite murder mystery series but don't worry, no spoilers. Don't worry I won't spoil anything, no murderer will be revealed in these posts but just a discussion. Starting off with one of the first Poirot episodes I was obsessed with;

Honestly, I cannot remember the exact first episode I watched from the Poirot series, but Death on the Nile was the first I became obsessed with. Poirot, the famous Detective is on holiday in Egypt, enjoying the sights and of course the food, when he becomes inconveniently involved with the other guests at his hotel. A wealthy American is on her honeymoon with her new husband who she actually stole from an old friend. Said friend has followed the happy couple to taunt them while also breaking her heart even further. With an assortment of odd guest, this makes the stay quite exciting. Things heat up further when they all go on a trip down the Nile. After a jaunt around the monuments, the murder takes place but not before there is a dramatic moment involving someone being shot in the leg. Poirot steps in and begins his investigation in his unique and brilliant way.

The guests/players:
  • James Fox as Colonel Race - an old friend of Poirot's who makes a surprise appearance. He plays the role of assisting in the investigation.
  • Emma Griffiths Malin as Jacqueline De Bellefort - Simon's jilted finance who has followed him and his wife, her old friend to make their trip hell.
  • JJ Feild as Simon Doyle - Land agent to Linnet until they fell in love
  • Emily Blunt as Linnet Ridgeway/Doyle - wealthy selfish woman who stole her friend's finance
  • Judy Parfitt as Miss Van Schuyler - American socialite, rude and irritating 
  • Daisy Donovan as Cornelia Robson - her younger cousin who is happy to travel abroad
  • Barbara Flynn as Mrs. Allerton 
  • Daniel Lapaine as Timothy Allerton - A friend of Linnet's who happens to be abroad too
  • David Soul as Andrew Pennington - Linnet's American Trustee
  • Frances de la Tour as Salome Otterbourne - washed up alcoholic author looking for inspiration
  • Zoe Telford as Rosalie Otterbourne - her put upon daughter
  • Alastair MacKenzie as Mr. Ferguson - aristocrat-turned-Marxist
  • Steve Pemberton as Dr. Bessner - an Austrian doctor on holiday
  • Félicité Du Jeu as Louise Bourget - Linnet's French maid 

Featuring Emily Blunt, before she was very famous, as the wealthy bitch who doesn't care about anyone (apart from her new husband), as she is the most hated among the players so as the rules dictate, she must be the first victim.

What's different with this murder mystery, there aren't that many suspects. The two prime suspects, Simon and Jacqueline are given alibi after the latter shoots the other is a dramatic scene preluding the discovery of Linnet's body the next day. The other guests on the boat all have their own little secrets and crimes they're trying to hide, except the Doctor who just seems to be helping out and enjoying his holiday, despite the murders.

But the lack of suspects doesn't take anything away from the story as most avid murder mystery watches look forward to is how the murder was committed then the why. The motive can be guessed the minute after the intro but that doesn't matter as most murders like this are committed for love/sex or money or revenge or all three. The intro which a slight backstory serves as a bittersweet set up and shows insight into some characters' motives and actions.

Poirot is not at the center. After Linnet tries to hire him to get rid of Jacqueline and later accuses him of telling her their plans, he says 'Madame I am on holiday'. Instead of going on holiday by mistake, he's ended up working by mistake. Of course once the murder takes place, he is called into action and unlike other episodes he seems rather reluctant to take part. He strikes up a sort of confidence with the heartbroken Jacqueline, sharing a few emotional moments. He understands what she's going through but urges her to move on which she cannot do. He also has a heart to heart with Rosalie Otterbourne about her mother and again offers advice, which is half taken.

Poirot on holiday, solving murders in unusual and exotic places is sometimes more enjoyable than back in the UK, where as Miss Marple works better the other way around. Poirot is never out of his element, he finds a way to be himself with his all his quirks and all and a boat along the Nile is no different, except that he does let something go as he believes it is the right thing to do.

Still one of my favourite Poirot stories, it could possibly be the location, as there are some spectacular views of the monuments and the Nile but it could just be a nostalgia thing.

If you want to who did it, how many murders there are and how it was done, you'll have watch or read Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.

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