Elinor Carlisle and Roddy Winter are happily engaged. Elinor's aunt is Laura Welman, wealthy but ailing and bed-ridden. Elinor receives an anonymous letter warning her that someone will try to gain favour with Mrs Welman at her expense. Her aunt's doctor, Dr Peter Lord, contacts Hercule Poirot to investigate. Mrs Welman dies with no will and Elinor, as her next-of-kin, receives everything. Shortly before Mrs Welman's death, Mary Gerrard, an old friend of the family, reappears after a long absence. Roddy falls for her and this ends his engagement to Elinor. Elinor is openly resentful of Mary ending her relationship with Roddy and says she wished Mary was dead. One afternoon, Mary stops by for tea and sandwiches with Elinor and a short while later is found dead, poisoned. After a thorough investigation, which Poirot assisted in, Elinor is charged with and ultimately found guilty of the murders of Mary and Mrs Welman. She is sentenced to hang. Doctor Lord insists that Elinor is innocent ...Written by
This is one of Agatha Christie's very finest novels, and the producers have brought it to the screen with sensitivity. Unlike previous episodes, the writers made comparatively minor changes to the plot, mostly for dramatic effect (the only one I didn't like was making Mary Gerrard less of a sympathetic character.) But this is more than made up for by the performances.
Suchet is compelling to watch as usual, but it is Elizabeth Dermot Walsh's performance as Elinor Carlisle that you'll remember. In what must surely be regarded as one of the very best guest-star turns in the entire series, Ms. Dermot Walsh perfectly captures the character of Elinor from the novel, bringing a luminous, quiet and sorrowful beauty to the episode.
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