John Moffatt stars as the famous Belgian detective in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of one of Christie's most popular novels.
Agatha Christie, the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime' (The Observer) was born in Torquay in 1890. During the First World War she worked as a hospital dispenser, and it was here that she gleaned the working knowledge of various poisons that was to prove so useful in her detective stories. Her first novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced Hercule Poirot to the world. This was published in 1920 (although in fact she had written it during the war) and was followed over the next six years by four more detective novels and a short story collection. However, it was not until the publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd that Agatha Christie's reputation was firmly established. This novel, with its complex plot and genuinely shocking conclusion, attracted considerable public attention and has since been acknowledged by many experts as a masterpiece. In 1930 the sharp-witted spinster sleuth Miss Marple made her first appearance in The Murder at the Vicarage. In all, Agatha Christie published over 80 novels and short story collections. The brilliance of Christie's plots, and her enduring appeal, have led to several dramatisations of her work on radio, television and film. In 1930 she was one of a number of crime writers asked to contribute a chapter to a mystery, Behind the Screen, that was broadcast on BBC radio on 21st June that year. More recently, June Whitfield portrayed Miss Marple on BBC Radio 4, whilst John Moffat starred as Hercule Poirot. On screen, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie have all memorably played Agatha Christie's famous sleuths. As her play The Mousetrap (the longest-running play in the history of theatre) testifies, Agatha Christie's detective stories are likely to appeal for a long time to come. Agatha Christie was awarded a CBE in 1956 and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1971. She died in 1976.
Linnett Ridgeway has almost everything: youth, beauty, brains, and money. Then her best friend Jackie brings her handsome fianc?, Simon Doyle, to visit and asks Linnett to give him a job. Now Linnett and Simon are on their honeymoon, a cruise up the Nile. When Linnett is killed, Jackie is the obvious suspect, but she couldn't have done it. It seems like an insolvable crime, until the famous detective Hercule Poirot starts to investigate. Death on the Nile deserves its reputation as one of Christie's best travel mysteries. This recording is capably read by another familiar name, David Suchet, who is well known among both mystery and public TV buffs as the actor who played the role of Poirot in a series of television adaptations of the author's stories. Expect the trio of Christie, Poirot, and Suchet to be a popular patron selection. St. Mary's Mead was always a quiet English village, at least until the body of Colonel Protheroe was found in the vicarage library. No one liked the murdered man. His first wife had abandoned him, and their teenage daughter kept out of his way. His much younger, second wife had recently fallen in love with a charming portrait painter. The list of possible suspects seems endless. Two different people confess to the murder. Did either do it? Enter Miss Marple, an elderly maiden lady whose gentle manners conceal an extensive knowledge of human depravity and exceptional deductive abilities. She flutters around, asks questions, and solves the crime. But it is the writing, not the plots, that keeps Christie fans coming back. James Saxon gives a clear, competent reading in Murder at the Vicarage, although initially his voice strikes one as brighter and sharper than one would expect from the gentle, scholarly rector. Eighty-odd years after her first book was published, Christie and her mysteries are more popular than ever. Both programs are recommended for all collections. I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.