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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 September 2000
I do love this magnificently spirited dramatisation of one of the novels from Agatha Christie's Early Loopy Period (such novels as The Mystery Of The Blue Train and The Secret Of Chimneys, and to be distinguished from her Late Loopy Period by its high level of joie de vivre... Christie's later loopiness seems to stem from a feeling that the world has gone so crazy she can write about *anything* and get away with it, see Destination Unknown or Passenger To Frankfurt for evidence...) which is enlivened by a superior performace by Janet Maw as the Poor-But-Honest-Companion-Turned-Fabulously-Wealthy-Heiress-Off-To-Seek-Adventure. (Look, if you don't like stereotypes, stay away from Agatha Christie. She was the *Shakespeare* of the stereotype.)
The Radio 4 team have made the sensible decision to avoid taking the book seriously, and what we have here is an immensely enjoyable hams' holiday with utterly hilarious Rich-Vulgar-Americans, Sly-French-Minxes, Noble-Long-Suffering-Brits, Not-Quite-So-Noble-Not-Very-Long-Suffering-Brits (Can you tell which is which? It's important!) and of course the elegantly presposterous Hercule Poirot all chasing the legendary rubies of Catherine The Great. Which are acted by their very own sound effect. Oh, I tell you it's just delicious... Bravo to the Beeb for this one, and I do hope they decide to to give the High NRG treatment to some other worthy examples of Agatha Christie at her goofiest. The Secret Of Chimneys or The Seven Dials Mystery would respond especially well to the camp treatment used here!
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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.
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on 26 February 2014
One of my fave BBC Radio Drama's/
When you're busy dusting, crafting, sewing, card making, drawing, painting..... It's bril to listen to a BBC Drama.
The BBC full cast dramas are different to what you see on the TV. This story is a little different to the David Suchet version but that's fine with me. Because when things 'try to be the same' it doesn't always work.
This is great.
I highly recommend.
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on 2 May 2012
Not one of Agatha Christie's best; a fairly good story plot but not particularly well written. The dramatisation is again, nothing special, with the French accents becoming a little tedious. All in all, not bad, but not very good either.
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on 5 October 2007
I own virtually all of this series of Hercule Poirot dramatisations and have thoroughly enjoyed all except this one. It has been the only disappointment. It is hard to put my finger on precisely why. A different actor plays Hercule Poirot - its not John Moffat - but it isn't just this. It seemed to drag on for ages before the murder and appearance of Hercule. It was difficult to follow - both I and my partner lost the plot. I suspect it's one of Agatha Christie's less celebrated stories. Suggest you pick others from the series in preference to this one.
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on 8 August 2013
I really enjoyed this BBC adaptation of the classic Christie novel - mostly very well acted and very entertaining (as ever).
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on 7 April 2011
I have recently discovered this series of BBC Radio shows and am enjoying all of the Agatha Christie stories. A full cast of stellar actors read from Christie's original works. If you are an Agatha Christie fan, you should give these audio books a listen.
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on 5 June 2016
Didn't realise HP was not played by John Moffat. Must have been released after JM died although recorded in 1985.
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on 11 December 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. It was up to the standard 'who done it' I expect from Agatha Christie
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on 9 August 2013
This is one of the best of the Agatha Christi plays in my collection of her books and I have a lot.
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