RogerBW's Blog

Five Little Pigs 30 March 2022

1994 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1942 mystery, in a single 90-minute episode. Amyas Crale's widow went to prison for poisoning him, and died there; now their daughter plans to marry, but worries about the possibility of a hereditary murderousness, and asks Poirot to investigate.

Digging up a past murder as a fictional frame is always frustrating: the wrong person has already been punished, and in this case getting the right person punished may well never happen. The implicit promise that justice will be done, whether by law or "natural justice", underpins the murder mystery, and when it's broken the thing feels incomplete.

Bakewell doesn't try to fix this minor problem, and makes only small rearrangements to the plot: for example we close with Poirot telling Carla about his plan to seek a posthumous pardon rather than Elsa walking away, but it's only a slight shift of mood. John Moffatt as Poirot effectively supplies narration, but sometimes seems to be treating the case more as an academic exercise than as a matter of wrongdoing, and his is the only voice that carries all the way through

With an adaptation like this which doesn't do anything remarkable in itself, any flaws in the original are highlighted; this is one I'd like to hand to Joy Wilkinson to see how she'd pep it up.

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