David Suchet is ending his 25+ year stint as Hercule Poirot. PBS MASTERPIECE THEATER is broadcasting The Big Four tonight and Dead Man’s Folly next week. The final three Poirots–Elephants Can Remember beginning August 11,
Labours of Hercules beginning August 18, and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case on August 25–will be available on Acorn TV. Thereafter all 70 episodes will be available to watch anytime ONLY on Acorn TV. Of course, the entire series can be had on DVD, too. I enjoyed the early Poirots better than the newer ones, but I’ll watch them all. Do you have a favorite Poirot?

12 thoughts on “THE BIG FOUR (PBS)

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    THE BIG FOUR was one of her early “master criminal” books I think, and not one of the more memorable Poirots, but then it’s been 40 years since I read it so don’t really remember the details. Any from the classic era of the 1930s and 1940s are worth checking out of course. I agree with you about the adaptations. The biggest problem is this: the novels have to be compressed too much and the shorter works have added subplots. But Suchet was the perfect Poirot and it would be hard to see anyone else in the role at this point.

    Some favorites (all from the 1930s):

    Peril at End House (the first one I figured out)
    Murder on the Orient Express
    Murder in Mesopotamia
    Death on the Nile
    Appointment With Death

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd knocked me out when I read it 50 years ago. It triggered an Agatha Christie binge where I read about 20 of her books in a row!

  2. Patti Abbott

    As the NYT review pointed out, watching him explain the solution of the mystery over the last 20 minutes wears thin after a while. A good story would allow you insights along the way making such a long explanation unnecessary. And the character wears thin too although Suchet does as much with him as you can. Yes, I loved the books as a young woman, read every one of them. But on the whole, she is not the equal of Tey, Millar, Rendell or even James for me if we are going to look at female contemporaries. Yes, I am feeling very cranky. Came home to no wireless. And must leave again before it gets fixed.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, sorry to hear about your wireless problems! Our clothes dryer wouldn’t heat up so I had to call a fix-it guy. He replaced the heating element and we were up and running again. Only cost $91.80 and $50 of that was the new part. Christie is plot driven. Most of her characters are cardboard. But many of Christie’s plots are astonishing!

  3. Deb

    I think you have to take Christie’s books on their own terms–including the frequently rather flat characters and the class snobbery–and enjoy the wonderfully sneaky plots and clever misdirection. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed how the TV series built up the parts of Hastings, Japp, and Miss Lemon (none of whom was particularly memorable in the books)–in fact, I’d go so far as to say that the episodes in which those characters do not appear are some of the weakest. I’ve been disappointed the last couple of seasons by the rather darker tone, misplaced emphasis on Poirot’s Catholicism, and major variance from the original storylines. Of course, I will watch the final episodes, but I’ll be going back to the earlier, more lighthearted episodes for repeat viewing.

    Favorite Poirot: Death in the Clouds, where the clue to the murderer’s identity is blantantly given halfway through the book, and, yet, it’s so lightly done you don’t even recognize it.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, like you I enjoy the early Poirot TV series episodes better than the darker more recent episodes. I love Christie’s sneaky plots, too! You’re also right about Hastings, Japp, and Miss Lemon.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    Deb, I was thinking of that book too, if only for Poirot’s horror when he realizes (WARNING SPOILER ALERT) that he could have been the random target himself (END WARNING).

  5. James Dahl

    Sounds like you people here don’t much like Christie. I’m surprised. Christie is one of the greats.

  6. Carl V. Anderson

    Loving that new Poirot’s are coming out. I fell in love with Christie’s work because of David Suchet and the various (more recent) Ms. Marples. We watch and sometimes rewatch these. Suchet is marvelous as Poirot. I’ve never actually “read” any of her work, although I’ve listened to several unabridged audio narrations of her work. Both Suchet and the actor who plays Col. Hastings are wonderful readers of the Poirot novels. As is Emilia Fox who narrates some of her stand alone works.

    Excited to hear about the Acorn TV ones coming up. My wife and I recently subscribed and are enjoying it.


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