RogerBW's Blog

The Pale Horse 27 April 2020

1993 audio adaptation of Christie's 1961 mystery, in 90 minutes. People seem to be dying very… conveniently; do the village witches of Much Deeping have anything to do with it?

The novel is around 64,000 words, which read at a standard speaking rate would take about six hours, so some three-quarters of it must have been trimmed to make this. And yet all the bits I remember, having not read it for some years, are there: for example, Poppy saying "but there aren't any witches nowadays", the greasy lawyer saying "I'm a lawyer myself - disbarred, of course", and his argument that it would be bad taste to place a bet that someone one knew would die.

It helps that this isn't one of the "experimental" Christies, one where it turns out that nobody did it, or everybody did it, or the narrator did it; there's a problem to be solved with straightforward evaluation of evidence, not by playing tricks with the narrative.

Adaptation and audio production are solid, with no flashiness also but nothing to distract from the story: it's a decent period piece that cleaves closely to the original.

  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 02:53pm on 28 April 2020

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one, because the recent BBC one felt all experimental and not very engaging. I was having more fun location spotting ("Ooh, that's just round the corner from the pub we game in...") than I was with the plot.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:02pm on 28 April 2020

    It was hearing about the new one that reminded me of the existence of this old one.

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