Appointment with Death is the last new Hercule Poirot mystery to be shown on PBS for Season X. David Suchet and a sterling ensemble cast reenacted Agatha Christie’s tale in Syria – or did they?
Big changes were made to the original storyline, which Christie had originally set in Petra. Lord Boynton, a famous archeologist, now searches for the head of John the Baptist. The cast of characters differed from the novel, and when the murder was finally solved in a dramatic (and unbelievable) way, I could scarcely believe what I was watching.
Many readers feel that Appointment With Death was one of Christie’s weakest novels, and tinkering with the story has done little to improve the plot. There is an undercurrent of cruelty in this adaptation (Mrs. Boynton is a worse child abuser than Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park), which has not been adequately explained. And while Lady Westholme (Elizabeth McGovern) had much to lose, her role in this plot has changed it beyond recognition.
Oh, dear. This episode was not a good way to end the season. The only positive thing I can say is that once again the actors are superb. Tim Curry, Elizabeth McGovern, Christina Cole, Tom Riley, and Angela Pleasance make for a sterling cast.
Appointment With Death was filmed in the exotic locations of Casablanca and El Jadida in Morocco, and the UK.
Tim Curry….. Lord Boynton
Christina Cole….. Sarah King
Tom Riley….. Raymond Boynton
Cheryl Campbell….. Lady Boynton
Zoe Boyle….. Jinny Boynton
Emma Cunniffe….. Carol Boynton
Angela Pleasence….. Nanny
Paul Freeman….. Colonel Carbury
Beth Goddard….. Sister Agnieszka
Christian McKay….. Jefferson Cope
Mark Gatiss….. Leonard Boynton
John Hannah….. Dr. Gerard
Elisabeth McGovern….. Dame Celia Westholme