RogerBW's Blog

Mrs McGinty's Dead 02 August 2021

2006 audio adaptation of Christie's 1952 mystery, in five half-hour episodes. The snoopy cleaning-woman was bashed on the head, supposedly by her lodger for a little cash; but a little earlier, she'd got excited over a tabloid article about "Women Victims of Bygone Tragedies", some of whom may have sinned more than been sinned against.

1950s Christie is often good, but sometimes feels as though all the ideas have been used, and baroque twists or extra complications are needed to keep things fresh. Here there's some explicit misdirection, basically the magician's technique: you're shown that the thing cannot have happened yet, and later shown that it has happened, but the trick, the substitution, the murder, actually happens before or after the point in time, or somewhere other than the point in space, to which your attention is drawn.

The adaptation makes a decent fist of it: John Moffatt had over twenty outings as Poirot under his belt when this was recorded, and he manages to keep the character both interesting and at least a bit sympathetic as he copes with an "amusingly" ghastly bed and breakfast as well as the actual murder. Poirot too easily becomes self-satisfied and pompous when his speeches have to be read out loud, but that's avoided here.

Also of course this is a story that includes my favourite of Christie's recurring characters, her self-projection Ariadne Oliver (here played by Julia MacKenzie); indeed, this is the one where she admits to the blow-pipe problem in Death in the Clouds, and tries to deal with having first written a character as thirty years old and then continued to write about him for the next thirty-five years. Those are in the adaptation; as usual with these Michael Bakewell versions of Christie, all the good bits of dialogue are kept, and what's excised is barely noticeable. (Indeed, the obligatory unconvincing romance works if anything somewhat better here than in the book.)

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1