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13Sep/140

Telefilm Review: Three Act Tragedy

In Three Act Tragedy, Poirot attends a dinner party at the home of Sir Charles Cartwright where a harmless clergy men collapses and dies after cocktails. It’s thought just to be a natural death until a Doctor friend of Sir Charles dies in the same manner. Poirot and Sir Charles then team up to find out what’s the truth behind the deaths.

Overall, this is a beautiful production. It’s stocked with great characters, chief of which is Cartwright, who really plays a big role in the investigation. It doesn’t hurt that this is a simply marvelous story and the creative team were mostly faithful to it.

Comparing to the 1986 telefilm with Peter Ustinov and Tony Curtis, “Murder in Three Acts”, this one works better for being a faithful adaptation in the original time and setting of the book. However, I still have a warm place in my heart for the Ustinov version and what achieved in a modern setting and really taking advantage of lucious California landscapes. While Martin Shaw turns a good performance at Cartwright, it’s not near as strong as Curtis.

Overall 2010 telefilm is a great adaptation of one of Christie’s most interesting tales.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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12Sep/140

EP1363: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Wayward Truck Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny Investigates the disappearance of $10,000 of cargo and the truck that hauled it.

Original Air Date: May 26, 1957

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11Sep/141

EP1362: Nick Carter: Eight Records of Death

Lon Clark
A man who bought ten records that chronicled a murder contacts Nick to find out who was killed and who committed the murder.

Original Air Date: April 2, 1946

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10Sep/140

EP1361: Philip Marlowe: The Grim Hunters

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is lured to a party as a human item in a scavenger hunt. Things take a serious turn when he finds the woman who called him was murdered.

Original Air Date: March 12, 1949

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9Sep/140

EP1360: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The San Antonio Matter

Johnny investigates the death of a mobster and meets his enchanting daughter who only learned who her father was when she learned he died.

Original Air Date: April 28, 1953

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8Sep/140

EP1359: Pursuit: Pursuit of the Asiatic Killer

Ben Wright
When a dying man declares he was poisoned, an autopsy reveled he died of Asiatic cholera.

Original Air Date: March 11, 1952

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7Sep/140

EP1358s: Your Truly Johnny Dollar: The Chesapeake Fraud Matter Omnibus Edition

Bob Bailey

Original Air Dates: October 3-7, 1955

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6Sep/140

EP1358: Dranget: Production 6 (aka: The Red Light Bandit)

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero search for a brutal man who impersonates a police officer to beat and rob innocent citizens.

Original Air Date: July 14, 1949

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6Sep/140

Book Review: Murder in E Minor

After the death of Nero Wolfe creator Rex Stout, Robert Goldsborough took up the task of continuing on the Nero Wolfe series with the blessing of Stout's estate.

It's two years after the cataclysmic events of A Family Affair and Nero Wolfe, the world's greatest private detective is no longer practicing. However, when the niece of a man who once saved his life in Montenegro turns to Wolfe because her uncle is being threatened, Wolfe goes into action, but too late as quickly the uncle is killed.

The book is most enjoyable if read for its own merits rather than hoping it to continue the Stout legacy. Goldsborough tries a number of things that are ultimately unsuccessful which were hallmarks of the Stout books. First, is Wolfe himself who is re-reading Jane Eyre in an early chapter and discusses why third parties don't succeed in Presidential elections at the dinner table. Wolfe's interests both literary and conversational were far more erudite with Stout writing. The third party thing is kind of dumb and obvious. There's a visit from Kramer where he has a sincere heart-to-heart with Archie pleading for him and Wolfe to get off the case. That the Police would try and pressure Wolfe off at this point was incredible, and the heart-to-heart thing had been tried in the last Wolfe book by Stout. Perhaps the most egregious thing to happen was when Archie went to get a taxi, pick up a cashier's check, and arrange a simple visit from some suspects and got a "very satisfactory" from Wolfe. First of all, Archie made a big deal of it when this was merely his job and he should be ashamed for making a big dea of it. Secondly, Wolfe only handed out "very satisfactories" when Archie did something truly remarkable, not just doing something any low level employee could manage.

However, Goldsborough did a fair number of things right. The book's plot offers a few teases of Wolfe's past in Montenegro and that itself is sure to tantalize fans. And the appearance of a mysterious woman from the past who Wolfe was glad to see also added to it. When the solution became obvious, Goldsborough worked out the denoument pretty well and it felt almost Stoutian except for Wolfe explaining everyone's motives which seemed more Poirotish.

And of course, the mystery was clever, as clever if not more so. than the average Wolfe story under Stout, and Goldsborough does a great job with characters like Lily Rowan. Overall, this is a solid first novel. Of course, having a first time novelist take over this series was a dubious call at best and what can make it a frustrating read is the author does seem unsure of himself, leading to some scenes that are awkward.

Still overall, I'll rate it "Satisfactory."

 

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5Sep/141

EP1357: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Michael Meany Mirage Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny investigates the disappearance of $20,000 in ambergris.

Original Air Date: May 19, 1957

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