In the first movie Poirot is pulled into an investigation by an old friend who stumbled upon a terrified woman who encountered a dead body. The woman, Sheila Webb (Jaime Winstone), is from a typist pool and she was booked to meet a blind woman and help her with a task. When she arrived she found the body of a dead man. The truly odd thing is that the man was surrounded by four different clocks and they were all stopped at the same time. Poirot’s friend, Lt. Colin Race (Tom Burke), brings the detective into the case as a favor and Poirot is quickly intrigued by the truly odd circumstances.
This was an excellent episode that captures the pre-war mood of the era (this episode is set in the 1930’s although the book it was based on is set in the 60’s) and adds some espionage to the mystery element. David Suchet, as usual, is excellent as Poirot, his every foible and manner carefully demonstrated as he works through the case. The supporting cast is also very strong in support of this stellar episode. Subplots and nuances abound but are never overwhelming or distracting from the main plot.
In this tale Poirot is called in by crime novelist Ariadne Oliver (Zoë Wanamaker) to investigate the murder of a young girl at a children’s costume party. The deceased girl, Joyce (Macy Nyman), had boasted early on in the party that she had seen a murder years before, no one paid her much mind but hours later she was found dead. At the party were numerous children and some assorted villagers from the sleepy town of Woodleigh Common. Poirot immediately senses there is much more to the situation than meets the eye and is determined to find out what happened with this murder and and in turn discover the truth about the one Joyce alluded to at the party.
I found this to be the weakest of the three movies in this collection. The story itself is not as engaging or far reaching as the other two tales and some of the principal characters push past uninteresting to nearly annoying. Poirot is still an engaging character and his methodical and unorthodox methods at uncovering the guilty as always interesting but it was not enough for this tale to match the others. Regardless this is a competent episode and still better than many other mystery movies/shows made and worth watching.