Adaptation Review: Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection

Few detectives of the fiction world can admit to quite as much fame and success as Agatha Christie’s two most enduring characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. For mystery enthusiasts, each is a household name. Millions of fans have enjoyed following along as Poirot and Miss Marple use their unique brands of intellect, wit, and sensibility to solve some of the most challenging cases; their stories have been illuminated for decades on the screen, and none so perfectly than on Masterpiece Mystery!. Agatha Christie’s Poirot is celebrating its twenty-fourth year since it debuted in 1989 while the younger, equally classic Agatha Christie’s Marple will enjoy its ninth year in 2013. As they've worked to solve their crimes, Poirot and Marple have garnered legions of fans for these adaptations, and in the Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites collection it’s the fans who've taken the spotlight. The eleven-episode collection features the absolute best of Poirot and Marple as voted by the people who love them best: the viewers. First comes Agatha Christie’s Poirot, which stars the utterly incomparable David Suchet as Christie’s beloved, finicky, brilliant, and conceited Belgian mastermind. Suchet’s ability to capture the eccentricities and genius of Hercule Poirot has made him synonymous with the detective, and his twenty-three years portraying the character have garnered him much deserving praise. Poirot was my introduction to Christie’s work when I was quite young, and as a fan it’s a joy to see him brought so skillfully to life. Among the six episodes featured in this set are 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), and Four and Twenty Blackbirds (1989). Murder on the Orient Express is likely the most recognizable and widely-adapted of Poirot’s eighty-plus stories, and this adaptation could certainly be the best of them all. Suchet goes beyond the Poirot we all know to explore the depth of his personal life, from his religious beliefs to his own moral code. Guest stars include Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Chastain, David Morrissey, Barbara Hershey, and Dame Eileen Atkins, among others in the collection of episodes.

Next is Agatha Christie’s Marple, which starred the wonderful Geraldine McEwan for the first five years of its production before Julie McKenzie assumed the role thereafter. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite portrayal of Miss Marple, as McEwan and McKenzie both bring such a lovely and unique charm to the character. The show brilliantly captures life in the English countryside, with views that could easily distract the viewer if not for the stunning capability of writers and cast. I've always admired Miss Marple for being such a well-rounded character; a sweet, simplistic lady on the surface and a whip-smart sleuth underneath. There are five fan-selected episodes in the collection, including The Murder at the Vicarage (2004), A Murder Is Announced (2005), At Bertram's Hotel (2007), A Pocket Full of Rye (2008), and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (2010). Guest stars on the selection include Derek Jacobi, Francesca Annis, Matthe Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Hugh Bonneville, and more.

For fans of Christie’s iconic mystery and intellect, this collection certainly boasts the best of the best, making it easy for enthusiasts to own a piece of two enduring productions. Each selection of episodes beautifully captures the essence of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and conveys their stories in a way that will continue to enchant viewers, whether they're watching for the first time or all over again.

Title: Agatha Christie's Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Based on: The Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie Genre: mystery, period drama Distributor: Acorn Online Format: DVD Release date: January 29, 2013 Provided by: Acorn Media (C/O) Buy the DVD: Acorn Online | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this adaptation from the distributor for the purpose of review.