Thursday, January 20, 2011


MAY: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Lord Edgware Dies seems to follow this episode. However, Mr. Ackroyd says of Poirot’s visit to the factory: “I can’t understand why you haven’t come here before. You’ve been here nearly a year now”. So it can’t possibly take place in 1936, his busiest year in the TV chronology. I’ve chosen to ignore the subtle retirement references in Lord Edgware Dies and place it here. This makes it possible for Poirot to be retired from July 1932 to May 1933, almost a year.

All the letters Poirot recieve are dated in August 1936, and the murders cover a period from 21st August – 9th September.  The problem with a 1936 setting is that Hastings returns from a holiday in the Amazon on the 22nd (The ABC Murders), and if he was with Poirot throughout Evil Under The Sun, he’ll have had four days to get out there, bag a cayman and get back (see 1936 post and 'Hastings Storyline'). There is also a rather curious incident taking place between Hastings and Poirot in the taxi:
Hastings: "How have you been these last six months? Busy?"
Poirot: "No. The little grey cells, I fear, they grow the rust. When the day approached for your return, I said to myself: NOW something will arise! We will hunt together, we two."
Considering that 1936 must have been TV-Poirot's busiest year ever, a 1936 setting is quite simply impossible. Also, Hastings can't possibly have been away for six months (see 1936 post). And dare I say, if the producers really were serious about placing all the episodes in 1936, how could they allow such a reference? Sigh.

The solution is to place it in August 1933, following Poirot's retirement in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (see 'Poirot Timeline'). This would also make the dialogue above seem somewhat less out of place, if we imagine that it's been about six months since Poirot and Hastings saw each other last (and considering his retirement, that is more than likely). The fact that he complains of a lack of cases can hardly be taken literally, as Poirot is always complaining that he has too much leisure time.

OCTOBER: The Kidnapped Prime Minister
The spy plot in the original short story is replaced by an Irish independence storyline (‘Erin go bragh’). The Treaty of Versailles (Paris) in the original short story is replaced by a League of Nations Disarmament Conference (supposedly still in Paris – the historical event of the conference actually took place in Geneva). The PM needs to be present to stop Germany from rearming. Since Hitler withdrew Germany from the League in October 1933, this story could supposedly be set then. 

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