The first one, the Gatiss-written one I mention above, will air Sunday July 27 on our local PBS station. I don’t know if the schedule is exactly the same for where you live; Google “Masterpiece Mystery” to find their website and they’ll make sure the schedule is correct for your region.
By the way - if like me, you could watch Poirot over and over, you might be interested to know that you can also stream 10 of the previous 12 seasons on Amazon. Seasons 1-6 and 11 are free with Prime. For some reason, 9, 10, and 12 are surprisingly expensive: $9.00 an episode. And 7 and 8 can’t be had for love or money (streaming, anyway; they do have them on DVD).
It was good to see Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Chief Inspector Japp back again. They didn’t give the former two very much to do, though. Japp was as good as ever he was, working in tandem with Poirot to solve the mystery.
The mystery was of course very involved and improbable, Sherlock-style. That’s no wonder, as Mark Gatiss wrote it. In fact, I suspected him of making it up out of whole cloth. But a quick check of Wikipedia shows that there is indeed an Agatha Christie novel by the name of The Big Four, written very early on in her career.
I recognized the actor who played William Higgins (“Billy”) from the last episode of Sherlock.
What I read in the New York Times is that three of the episodes will only be available online. The article says, “The final episode, one of three that will not be shown on PBS but will be available exclusively online at acorn.tv, adapts ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case,’ in which Christie finally killed off the character she’d grown so tired of.”
I believe acorn.tv is a paid subscription service, much like Hulu Plus or Netflix. I’m not about to subscribe to yet another TV service just to watch those last few episodes. So I’ll just wait for the DVDs to become available on Netflix. (The old-fashioned DVD-by-mail Netflix service, which still is better than the streaming service in that most anything published on Region 1 DVD is available for rental.)
It’s been long enough since I read The Big Four that I don’t remember the details well, but it’s my recollection that it was actually a lot more complicated and implausible than this TV version.
The big twist in the TV version is that:“The Big Four” is not a real organization, it’s a conspiracy theory that “Dr. Quentin” invented to make himself seem important. He’s guilty of all the murders attributed to the organization.But in the book:The Big Four are real.Another difference is that in the book:Poirot not only fakes his own death, but disguises himself as his twin brother Achille.