Home > TV and anime > Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Yellow Iris (1993)

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Yellow Iris (1993)

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Yellow Iris (1993) (Season V, Episode 3) continues the adaptation of short stories into one-hour episodes. This is somewhat ironic in the case of The Yellow Iris because Agatha Christie herself took the time and trouble to expand the story into the novel Sparkling Cyanide, albeit not featuring the original Hercule Poirot. This would never do, of course, when David Suchet is now synonymous with the role of Hercule Poirot. Better to stick with Poirot in the shorter version than to introduce Colonel Race. It would only confuse us. Indeed, when ITV did make Sparkling Cyanide, all confusion was avoided by naming a minor character Colonel Geoffrey Reece — long live Hercule Poirot!

Pauline Moran, David Suchet and Hugh Fraser admire the yellow iris

So The Yellow Iris is both good and bad. As we have come to expect from this series, the production values are first class. No expense is spared to reproduce Buenos Aires as one military government is due to replace another. We have soldiers in the streets with period tanks and troop carriers to lend authenticity to the whole. The inventiveness of the location finders and the way the scenes are set up is a delight to behold. However, nothing visual can cover up the thinness of the material. Essentially Hercule Poirot is supposed to be passing through Buenos Aires on the way to visit Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) but, before he can navigate through his stop-over, he’s a witness to a death in a French restaurant. Then, before you can say [whatever long word captures your imagination], he’s arrested and deported as a spy. The Argentine General’s threat to call in the French Consul is a nicely judged insult. This unhappy combination of events gives Hercule Poirot an unsolved crime (if such it be) in his resumé. This rankles so, when Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) brings him a yellow iris almost two years later, he’s immediately interested. There were yellow irises on the table when the first death occurred. Captain Hastings confirms a new French restaurant with the same name is due to open in London. Such a coincidence is not to be ignored and a quick visit confirms a table has been reserved on the opening night by the same group (less the dead woman, of course).

Death by yellow iris

The first scenes in the Argentinian version of the restaurant are well done although there’s a relentless padding to fill out the time. This involves a tango between two of the diners and a sultry song being sung. However, when the meal is rerun in London, it’s immediately obvious who the killer must be and how the murder was committed. Perhaps I’ve just read too many detective novels but, despite the best efforts of the scriptwriter, Anthony Horowitz, and the director Peter Barber-Fleming, to distract us, the last ten minutes are just treading water until our suspicions are confirmed. There’s actually a much better version of the same methodology in a Father Brown story where he solves the crime without ever leaving a room — it’s all in the footsteps he hears. Anyway, it’s always good to see David Troughton, in this case as the grieving husband, and the rest of the cast acquit themselves well despite the limited nature of the plot. It’s fairly good despite the threadbare story and, if you want to prove yourself as a superior armchair detective, this is a perfect opportunity for you to identify the killer early.

For reviews of other Agatha Christie stories and novels, see:

Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004) — the first three episodes
Agatha Christie’s Marple (2005) — the second set of three episodes
Agatha Christie’s Marple (2006) — the third set of three episodes
Agatha Christie’s Marple (2007) — the final set of three episodes
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Blue Geranium (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: A Caribbean Mystery (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Endless Night (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Greenshaw’s Folly (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Murder is Easy (2009)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye (2008)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Secret of Chimneys (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: They Do It with Mirrors (2009)
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (2009)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Big Four (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Case of the Missing Will (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Chocolate Box (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Clocks (2009)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain. Poirot’s Last Case (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Dead Man’s Folly (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Dead Man’s Mirror (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Elephants Can Remember (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Hallowe’en Party (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan (1993)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Labours of Hercules (2013)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (2010)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Three Act Tragedy (2011)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Underdog (1993)

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