The wealthy owner of a luxury hotel, 60-year-old Émilie Beauregard is poisoned and dies. Everyone suspects her young, attractive husband Adrien. But appearances can be deceptive and Captain Laurence finds this solution a little too obvious and too convenient.Written by
'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' is a very interesting and generally enjoyable series, as long as one doesn't mind that almost all the episodes are very loose adaptations and use her work as basic frameworks while never disgracing Christie. Mostly a good one too, though wasn't a fan of some of the episodes, none are terrible really. For instance the Laurence/Avril pairing started off very shakily and it took me time to warm to the pairing and to Laurence (liked Alice straight away).
The second adaptation (a loose one this time) of the book to introduce Hercule Poirot 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles', "La Mysterieuse Affaire de Styles" is an enjoyable and well made episode with much to like though is to be best enjoyed on its own terms. The first adaptation was the 1990 one as part of the ITV Poirot series with David Suchet, a great and much more faithful episode and adaptation. To me, forgetting for a moment fidelity to the book and talking about which is the better version on its own Suchet's would be my very easy pick.
Although "Les Mysterieuse Affaire de Styles" has a huge amount to recommend, the same problems that were there in some of the recent previous episodes are here. A tighter pace at times would have made things better as there were a few dull stretches in the middle. At times it could have been more suspenseful, and could have taken more risks.
Did think for a while that the mix of light-heartedness and mystery seemed much more balanced, while the mystery is diverting enough and there are amusing moments there are other moments where the light-heartedness wasn't needed and could have been done with more subtlety.
On the other hand, "La Mysterieuse Affaire de Styles" looks great. The period detail is the very meaning of sumptuous with vibrant colour and the stylish photography complements beautifully. The music continues to match the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone without any jarring. The writing thought provokes and intrigues, also on the most part entertaining.
Was not a fan of Laurence at first and it took a while for me to warm to him. Just found him obnoxious and stiff and that his chemistry with Alice (always a far more interesting and likeable character, who is consistently one of the bright spots of the series) didn't gel. He is now much more relaxed and has been since "Cartes Sur Table" and the series has started developing him well, while his chemistry with Alice, as ever a joy to watch, has much more spark. Really enjoy Marlene, warm, good natured and funny, and Elodie Frenck brings that out very well.
Even if the pace is not consistent and it is a touch conventional, he mystery does have enough compelling and twisty, which keeps one on their tones and guessing, parts and is respectful. The ending does shock. The supporting cast are solid with nobody overacting or underplaying, just doing what their roles ask of them to do.
In conclusion, good but not great, a slight disappointment when the Laurence/Avril season was starting to hugely improve. Another episode that is better than the rating here suggests. 7/10
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