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Blu-ray Review: Poirot – Series 3

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Acorn Media releases another wonderful Blu-ray of Poirot, featuring David Suchet as Agatha Christie’s inimitable Belgian detective. Suchet recently announced that he will be filming the remaining Christie Hercule Poirot novels and short stories. It has certainly been the role-of-a-lifetime for the British actor, and his Poirot is fussy, pompous, flawless, and brilliant — everything fans of the sleuth could hope for him to be.

Poirot, Series 3 also stars Hugh Fraser as the Poirot’s faithful sidekick Captain Arthur Hastings, Philip Jackson as his Scotland Yard connection Chief Inspector Japp, and Pauline Moran as his proper secretary Miss Lemon.

[Poirot confronts a wax figure of himself in "The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor"] 

The three-disc set includes 11 mysteries, with a total running time of 628 minutes. First aired in 1990-91, they appear in this collection in their original U.K. broadcast order. Scene selection and SDH subtitles are available on each disc.

What the Blu-ray set lacks in extras it makes up for in clarity. The fabulous period settings and costumes are sharp and colorful, especially when seen on a high-definition television screen, with 1080p video resolution and an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The dialogue comes through crisp and clear, with LPCM 2.0 sound.

Disc 1:

“The Mysterious Affair at Styles” — Based on Christie’s post-WW1 novel that introduced Hercule Poirot, this feature-length mystery has Poirot and Hastings on their first case together. Beatie Edney guest stars.

“How Does Your Garden Grow?” — Poirot receives a cry for help from an elderly woman, but when he investigates, he is too late; she is already dead. Can he find her murderer with clues found in her well-appointed garden?

“The Million Dollar Bond Robbery” — Poirot and a seasick Hastings travel on the Queen Mary to try to solve — and prevent — an international robbery.

Disc 2:

“The Plymouth Express” — A heartbroken father enlists Poirot’s help to solve the especially ruthless murder of a young woman — his daughter — on a train.

“Wasps’ Nest” — A love triangle (Martin Turner, Peter Capaldi, and Melanie Jessup) and a wasp’s nest both provide clues for Poirot to prevent a potential murder.

“The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor” — Poirot investigates a ghostly shooting at a spooky English manor house.

“The Double Clue” — A jewel robbery is a distraction for Poirot, who finds romance with a Russian countess-in-exile (Kika Markham).

[Hercule Poirot and Countess Vera Rossakoff enjoy a picnic.]

Disc 3:

“The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” — A particularly daring criminal commits a grisly murder during a dinner party where Poirot is the guest. Caroline Langrishe guest stars.

“The Theft of the Royal Ruby” — In a lighter-hearted mystery, Poirot must sacrifice his Christmas holiday to help determine who stole a valuable ruby from a young and extremely annoying Egyptian prince.

“The Affair at the Victory Ball” — Italian Commedia dell’arte costumes provide a clue to the identity of a murderer. Nathaniel Parker guest stars.

“The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge” — Poirot is under the weather, so Hastings must be his eyes and ears when investigating a shooting at a local hunting lodge.

Poirot travels in the rarified circes of the rich and famous, but his cases aways involves both the upstairs and downstairs members of English society. Poirot, Series 3, is impeccably filmed, and provides a glimpse into a lost way of life; not just of manor houses and travels on the Queen Mary, but strict class separations that could be (temporarily) equalized by an event like a murder.

With the release of the Poirot series on Blu-ray, viewers can watch not only a wonderful depiction of 1920s and 1930s England, but also the definitive version of Agatha Christie’s most famous character, Hercule Poirot.

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