The Little Murders of Agatha Christie DVD Review: Old Stories Get a French Twist

Numerous classic Christie stories get a new telling for French television.
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The Little Murders of Agatha Christie (Les Petit Meurtres d’Agatha Christie) is a French television series that began in 2009.  The MHZ network has picked it up for English-speaking audiences and now the first season is available on DVD in the U.S.  

The most interesting thing about the series is that while it adapts stories featuring both of Christie’s most famous sleuths (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple), the main investigators in the show are entirely new inventions.  For those of you who are not familiar with Christie’s writing, Poirot is an eccentric Belgian detective who is often hired by Scotland Yard to solve impossible mysteries.  Miss Marple is a sweet little old lady who solves murders with her beguiling wits.  By removing both of these very different and distinct characters from the stories and inserting in brand new detectives, the show feels invigorated.

The two detectives in question are Commissaire Larosière (Antoine Duléry), a brilliant, egotistical and demanding boss, and Inspecteur Émile Lampion (Marius Colucci), his highly capable right-hand man.  The two have something of a father-son relationship and while they often argue, they ultimately work together to solve the case.  Whereas with the Poirot stories, his sidekick in any given episode essentially works as an audience surrogate asking questions so that Poirot can explain to the audience how he solved the crime, here the two policemen help each other out in equal ways.

This set includes 11 episodes.  Each episode runs approximately an hour and a half so its like getting 11 short movies in one package.  They are each loosely based upon a Christie novel.  I’ve only read a few of her books and none of the ones that were adapted for this series, but it's easy to see that quite a few liberties were taken.

The series leans towards the humorous side though there are enough thrills to keep the plot moving.  Much like Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the BBC series that worked its way through all of Christie’s Poirot novels, The Little Murders of Agatha Christie is enjoyable enough television though I wouldn’t place it in the must-see category.  It's something light to put on after a long day that you can sink into your couch watching while letting all your worries slip to the back of your mind.

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