RogerBW's Blog

Cards on the Table 08 June 2022

2002 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1936 mystery, in one 90-minute episode. The sinister Mr Shaitana invites four detectives to a party with his "collection" of undetected murderers. By the end of the evening, he's been stabbed…

Shaitana of course is largely plot machinery to get things rolling, because this is a deliberate experiment by Christie: minimal evidence, and plenty of means, motive and opportunity all round, so the puzzle to be solved by the reader is the psychological one: which of the four would have committed murder? Which of them would have committed this murder?

This is another of John Moffatt's outings as Poirot, and if the part drifts into cliché it's at least a workable one. Donald Sinden returns from the 1997 production of Death on the Nile as Colonel Race, Stephanie Cole returns as Ariadne Oliver from Hallowe'en Party and The Pale Horse, and if Ioan Meredith is a bit lost as Superintendent Battle among all these old hands he still makes a decent fist of it. Helen Longworth is a little too much the dippy ingenue to make a convincing Anne Meredith, but Mary Wimbush (who was also in The Pale Horse, as Thyrza Grey) holds up her end splendidly as Mrs Lorrimer.

There are the usual small tweaks, but this is for the most part a faithful rendition of an effective and slightly unusual story.

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