RogerBW's Blog

Sad Cypress 30 October 2022

1992 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1940 mystery, in five 30-minute episodes. The old woman had a young protégé, and now they're both dead, the protégé certainly poisoned.

This is a very frustrating story from the mystery-game point of view: key evidence is not even hinted at to the reader (gur ynpx bs n pncvgny yrggre ba gur ynory, n pbvapvqrapr bs anzrf), or is so obscure as to be meaningless (gur gubeayrff inevrgl bs ebfr). What can Bakewell do to improve it?

Well, not much, really. Although it's a Poirot story, he doesn't turn up until part 3 (much as in the book), and the early performances fall largely to Susannah Corbett (as the protégé) and Emma Fielding (as the suspected murderess), both doing a fine job early in their careers. Although their characters' internal lives are necessarily cut from what fits in the book, they do a good job of keeping things interesting, as does John Moffatt when he eventually takes the stage.

The only really major change from the book is an added scene at the end, so that we close with Poirot being sententious. Other than that, I found this an encouraging production of a relatively weak story. (With an odd and out-of-period, but not unpleasant, bluesy interpretation of "Come Away, Death" used as the title music.)

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