Poirot v7 Egyptian Tomb, Underdog, Yellow Iris
Excavators die from a royal burial chamber curse, or is the motive money or career? From giant white museum statues to camels, palms, fly-whisks, campfires in the sand. 3000 year-old jasmine - mm - achoo. "Rome rose and fell .. wars and catastrophes .. this king forgotten".
Fine that Poirot pours his poisoned tea into a lab analysis bottle, but why also fake attack and send Hastings for help? Classic finale with all suspects gathered in one room (tent).
At Yale University, Dr Ames was appointed heir to his chum Rupert. He kills his pal's billionaire uncle, their dig funder, and misdiagnoses Rupert's exczema for leprosy, triggering unexpected suicide just before marriage would introduce another heir.
Opens with exciting fight in lab and fire - a new chemical formula for synthetic rubber at stake, worth a fortune to Germany in upcoming war. Profit-hungry company owner Sir Reuben Astwell (Denis Lill) fires his wife (Ann Bell) Nancy's secretary Lily (Adie Allen), gets clobbered, his son Charles (Jonathan Phillips) suspect.
Again, a worried mother hires Poirot, already guest on the spot, angry at his "obnoxious" host. I cannot remember if in the book Poirot retrieves a fabric scrab from a bush and dabs on house-maid Gladys' blood from his hanky, to fool the dress owner, but the whole folderol seems over-the-top.
The burglar was Humphrey Naylor (Andrew Seear), tussling with his lab supervisor. How does one stuntman (Simon Crane) do both parts? or did he just supervise? Horace Trefusis (Bill Wallis) stole Naylor's formula to make a fortune using his German contacts. Lily altered her handwritten (no more) reference from "Naylor" to "Marsden", and sought proof of the swindle. I'd forgotten much of the buildup, but not the killer, Trefusis, hidden behind a handy curtain while the other suspects came and went.
Soft cream colors tint scene while Poirot narrates flashback to Buenos Aires, where heiress Iris, married to Barton Russell, drinks cyanide. Powder found in her bag, case is closed as suicide. Next morning, a military coup general deports the detective "third-class", before solution.
Now a London restaurant reunion gathers the suspects again, and threatens the surviving Weatherby sister Pauline, one month short of age 21, to get trust funds, and marriage imminent. Poirot plans pretense to lure out killer. Based on "Sprinkling Cyanide" featuring Colonel Race. (Seen many times before, I tire of theme song.)
Pauline pretends to die; in servant uniform, she then serves drinks to all suspects. At meal before, Barton, guardian who stole Weatherby trust fund, pretended to be waiter, serving drinks and planting potassium cyanide.
1 David Suchet: 5pg "painstaking research" for every role, read "every description", not "loner" but "same eye for order"
2 Agatha Christie: Bio 4pg = Marple DVD, 3pg Poirot books: 1920 Styles-1975 Curtain
3 Filmographies (works to 2003): 9 - David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Anna Cropper, Rolf Saxon (Mission Impossible 1996), Denis Lill (Rumpole of the Bailey TV 1983-92), Ann Bell, David Troughton, Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter's mother Lily)