To celebrate the release of Poirot and Me by David Suchet, and the end of the Sunday-evening telly fave, Orion editor Jemima Forrester looks back at 24 years of the famous Belgian detective.
I really can’t tell you how old I was when I read my first Agatha Christie novel. Eleven? Twelve, maybe? But I do know which one it was: Murder on the Orient Express. And I LOVED it! Since then I have devoured more of Christie’s books than I can count.
While I love the Miss Marple mysteries, it was Hercule Poirot, the fastidious Belgian detective with his ‘little grey cells’, whom I really fell for.
Stout, impeccably well groomed and with the finest moustache in Europe, Poirot is easily the most recognisable fictional detective of all time. And it’s hard to deny that much of that is owed to his inimitable portrayal by David Suchet, a man who manages to be even more Poirot than Poirot himself.
A little bit of googling reveals that over the years there have been five small-screen Miss Marples, eleven Dr Whos and more Sherlock Holmeses than you can shake a stick at – but there has only ever been one Poirot.
For an impressive 24 years, Suchet has been playing the part of the super-sleuth with such flair and panache, it’s almost impossible to think of the one without the other. Suchet is Poirot, and vice versa. When he puts down his cane and doffs his spats this autumn, Suchet will have starred in adaptations of all seventy Poirot novels.
It is arguably the role that has defined his career and he should, by rights, be incredibly proud of his achievement.
Last week saw Suchet’s Poirot return to our screens in all his pouting, pince-nez adjusting, moustache-smoothing glory. The Big Four reunites characters from the early episodes – Miss Lemon, Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp – as Hercule investigates the suspicious death of a Russian chess master. The cast is impeccable, the plot is delightfully far-fetched and the resolution is everything a die-hard Poirot fan like me could ask for.
With only a couple of weeks left until the final episode airs (and knowing my need for a regular Poirot fix), I will definitely be putting the complete Poirot box set and David Suchet’s new book, Poirot and Me, at the top of my Christmas list!
Poirot and Me is out now in hardback and ebook from our friends at Headline.
For more great crime classics explore our Detective section in The Murder Room.