The six discs feature 5 Marple and 6 Poirot cases. In an unusual bit of casting, Miss Marple is played in 3 of the episodes by Geraldine McEwan, and in 2 of them by the "new" Miss Marple, Julia McKenzie. Poirot is portrayed by the inimitable David Suchet. I wonder if in real life he's a bit of a slob, since he has to be so persnickety as Poirot? There are also plenty of familiar faces popping up in the various episodes, including Joanna Lumley, Peter Davison, Derek Jacobi and Hugh Bonneville.
|Miss Marple's cottage|
- The Murder at the Vicarage (2004)
- A Murder is Announced (2005)
- At Bertram's Hotel (2007)
- A Pocket Full of Rye (2008)
- The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (2010)
It's been a while since I read any of the Agatha Christie mystery stories, but even though these mysteries seem to be true to their time period in terms of setting and costumes (and frequent references to "the war" -- meaning either the first or second world war, depending on the year events take place), I can't help but think these episodes have been "spiced up" a bit for modern viewers. There's a presumably lesbian couple, a vaguely predatory homosexual theatrical-type, and a few energetic sex scenes (although not among same-sex couples -- Dame Agatha would have never even implied that, I'm sure!). For some reason, in these episodes, I preferred Geraldine McEwan's performances. Her Miss Marple was very sweet and kindly, wearing soft pastels and radiating gentleness. Julia McKenzie's Miss Marple dresses more business-like and seems a bit more sharp. Both Marples manage to get the job done, however!
The Hercule Poirot collection includes:
- Murder on the Orient Express (2010)
- Hercule Poirot's Christmas (1995)
- The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1990)
- The ABC Murders (1992)
- The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb (1993)
- Four and Twenty Blackbirds (1989)
|Poirot's detection kit|
In all the episodes, there are no shortage of possible killers, and very few of them make a convincing case for their innocence until they are eliminated by the sleuth in charge. We have a single person killed with many possible suspects, many people killed with lots of motivated relatives, killers working together and people being framed. You'll never see the solutions coming -- at least I never did!
This set also includes a small booklet, "Delicious Death" which contains a scrumptious looking recipe for a cake of the same name, which is mentioned in "A Murder is Announced." I haven't attempted to make the recipe yet, but the ingredients and accompanying photo do indeed look delicious!
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites from Acorn Media in exchange for this review
Final Verdict for Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites: Four Gherkins, for being a wonderful look at the art of detection from the Queen of Crime!