Both David Suchet and I are mourning the end of the immaculate DVD series of Poirot novels on which he has been working for 25 years. Not that we’re quite there in New Zealand yet– it has just screened in Britain to an audience of 5.2 million, but the DVDs are yet to arrive here.
Suchet’s depiction of Poirot has eclipsed all who came before and the stunning 1930s settings are models of architectural and design excellence. Beautifully directed and superbly acted, the production of this series could probably sell any mystery writer’s output. The fact that it is the writings of the queen of golden age crime is just the icing on the cake.
Its easy to dismiss Agatha Christie now, but despite some dated attitudes and the development of much more sophisticated crime novels in recent times, her work still stands up.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd topped a recent Crime Writers Association poll of crime writers to find the best crime novel of the last 60 years. Like all her books it confuses and bamboozles the reader to the very end, just as a mystery novel is meant to.
The thing that trips me up is the shocking anti-Semitism which frequently crops up in the books, making me realise how widespread and acceptable it was in British society before World War Two. I’m pretty sure you won’t see it rearing its ugly head in the DVDs – which is another thing in their favour.
So keep your eagle eyes open. The last – and possibly the best – if the reviews can be believed, will be arriving just as soon as we can get hold of it.