Friday, August 17, 2018

Dead Man's Folly: Review

As I mentioned in my last review, I have been watching the last episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot with David Suchet. Several of the episodes (I am especially looking at you, The Labours of Hercules and The Big Four) were extraordinarily disappointing--straying far from the original material and making the stories much darker than Christie ever intended. Dead Man's Folly, however, was a more satisfying episode. And after reading the novel again for the first time since junior high school I was pleased to see that it is pretty faithful to the original story. There's a bit of fiddling at the end, but it doesn't change the central plot or the murderer. 

We still have Mrs. Ariadne Oliver devising clues for a Murder Hunt at the village fete to be held at Nasse Hall. While scoping out the grounds and thinking up clues and red herrings, she gets a sense of evil and believes that murder at Nasse Hall may wind up being not so very fictional after all. She calls upon her friend Hercule Poirot ostensibly to hand out the prizes for the Murder Hunt, but in actuality to help her discover if something really is amiss. Her intuition proves correct when the Girl Guide who had been cast as the Hunt's victim becomes a victim in reality and the Lady of Nasse Hall disappears from the grounds. Poirot does not immediately spot the killer (in fact, he returns to London, having failed to come up with the answer). But never fear; the little grey cells come through in the end.

I enjoyed this every bit as much as I did the first time I read it. The setting is perfect and the characters are distinct, interesting, and a bit exotic and/or eccentric. It was good to visit with Mrs. Oliver again and follow her slightly disjointed ways of thinking and speaking. Her personality is a bit much for the policemen who have to interview her after the murder and it was very amusing to watch their interactions. 

I would be interested to know whether I would have remembered whodunnit if I hadn't just watched the Suchet production. It's often the case that if I hadn't reread a Christie novel since that first time years ago then Dame Agatha manages to fool me again. But this time I was reading more for comparison to the televised version than to play detective myself. An enjoyable experience either way. ★★★★ 

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