RogerBW's Blog

At Bertram's Hotel 27 June 2022

1995 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1965 mystery, in five 30-minute episodes.

Rather like the previous year's A Caribbean Mystery, this story strikes me as Christie complaining that all modern things and people are bad and wrong, and then wrapping a plot round it. One can't help noticing at the end of the story that all the interesting people are dead or arrested (shades of Don Giovanni). Also, the basic plot crumbles when one pokes at it.

That said, the cast do their best and it's pretty good. This is another June Whitfield Marple, and if the part doesn't stretch her at least she always takes it seriously. Maurice Denham does a suitably dotty Canon Pennyfather (perhaps a little overplayed as one does wonder slightly how he manages to remember to breathe), and Sian Phillips makes the most of a small part as Bess, while Tracy Wiles makes perhaps too much of a larger one as Elvira. There are a few audio effects, mostly squealing of car brakes, but it's never obstrusive, except at that unconvincing climax when someone has to be driving off at great speed and dying in a crash while also remaining in easy sight of the front door of this back-street hotel.

I wouldn't go out of my way to track this down but like most Bakewells it's a faithful and enjoyable rendition of the story.

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