Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Rather camp and highly enjoyable
on 25 February 2010
No-one could pretend that 'Blue Train' is one of Agatha Christie's best novels. It's quite an early work and it is said that Christie herself was dissatisfied with it. It is full of stereotypes and doggedly cardboard characters who refuse to come to life and is a curious mix of murder mystery and the kind of high spirited adventure tale that the author seemed to favour around this time (usually with a spunky young heroine in a leading role). There are famous and fabulous jewels, wealthy heiresses, attractive cads, bright young things on the Cote d'Azur, a mysterious villain known only as 'The Marquis', an exotic dancer and, of course, Hercule Poirot. It is a far cry from the rather more down-to-earth later novels - no-one from 'A Murder Is Announced' or 'Mrs McGinty's Dead' would have a hope of fitting in here!
All that said, I think BBC Radio have done a terrific job of dramatising the novel. This was one of their earliest adaptations and Poirot is performed by veteran British actor Maurice Denham. I enjoyed his turn as the Belgian sleuth but I do much prefer John Moffat who went on to star in most of the other plays. The rest of the cast are really very good and all seem to throw themselves into the spirit of the piece which, as another reviewer has stated, does not take itself at all seriously. It's all wonderfully 'jolly hockeysticks'. I particularly enjoyed Judy Buxton's performance as a gloriously over the top Mirelle (the exotic dancer) complete with 'Allo Allo' French accent and ever-jangling bracelets and also Pauline Letts as the 'aiver so polite' lady's maid Mason. Avril Clark is also fun, sounding like Joan Crawford, as Ruth Kettering.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and found that the 2hrs 35mins fairly whizzed by.