Agatha Christie's Poirot came to an end last night with Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, and we were treated to a suitably dark production of Kevin Elyot's screenplay. I don't want to include any spoilers at all in this particular review, but suffice to say that David Suchet's performance as the great detective was one of his very best. What a brilliant actor he is, and how wonderfully he has interpreted Poirot, transforming him from a collection of unlikely idiosyncracies into a character we actually care about , and not just because of his little grey cells. I am full of admiration.
Curtain, as most people know, was written when Christie was at the height of her powers, even though it was not published until the Seventies. I read it shortly after it was published, and I thought then - and I still think - that it is one of her finest detective novels. This is not a view universally shared, I must admit, but some of the ideas in the book strike me as breathtaking. I think the culprit's modus operandi is absolutely fascinating, while the locked room scenario and the final startling revelation are classic devices.
It can't have been easy to adapt such an unorthodox story, but Kevn Elyot made an extremely good job of it. He dispensed with the detail of the explanation that Poirot gives, early in the book, for his decision to return to Styles Court, and some viewers may, I suppose, have found this one of the more perplexing stories in the series,but I felt Elyot struck a very good balance between giving clues and not giving the game away.
The cast as a whole was very good, with Hugh Fraser giving of his best as Hastings, and Philip Glenister, an actor of great versatility, playing a part as unlike Gene Hunt as could be imagined. The series has provided us with first class entertainment for a quarter of a century, and I've enjoyed it all the way.