RogerBW's Blog

Murder in Mesopotamia 09 May 2023

1994 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1936 mystery, in five 30-minute episodes. The flashy unsuitable wife of the famous archaeologist thinks someone is out to get her; everyone but her husband assume's she's just seeking attention, until she's killed.

As usual I shan't spoil the story here, but I do think that this is another Christie which rests on a relatively slender core concept that's not really up to carrying the weight of the eventual explanation. That puts more of a burden onto the actors, who mostly bear up; John Hartley's Father Lavigny is a bit too Obviously French Accented to be taken seriously, and David Jarvis plays Coleman as a stock idiotic young man, but everyone else manages well.

Production works well, though outdoor scenes are a bit too clearly recorded in a studio; voices are sufficiently distinct to let one keep track of the quite large cast. An early scene with Coleman running down the list of who's who is, alas, retained as a near-monologue, but Bakewell's style of adaptation is always to stick closely to the source even when it doesn't suit the new medium.

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