I was amazed, the other day, to chance upon a repeat on ITV3 of an episode of Poirot from 1990 that I hadn’t seen before, and which was set in the Lake District. I couldn’t remember an Agatha Christie story set in the Lakes – despite the fact that she knew Cheshire through her visits to Abney Hall and Marple, I am pretty sure that she wrote fewer stories set in the north of England than in the Middle East.
The story in question was based on ‘Double Sin’, which (in the UK) appears in the posthumous collection entitled Poirot’s Early Cases. The literary Lakes mystery was easily solved – in the original version, the story is set on the south coast of England, with which Dame Agatha was very familiar indeed.
The televised adaptation – written by the late Clive Exton, a first class screenwriter whose work was consistently reliable – benefited considerably from the scenic backdrop. The mystery was slight, involving a scam concerning the sale of valuable Victorian miniatures, but the interplay between Poirot, Hastings, Miss Lemon and Japp was done so agreeably that an hour passed by very enjoyably.
As a postscript to this Lake District post, I want to add how shocked and saddened I have been to see the television pictures showing the devastation wrought by floods in parts of Cumbria, including Cockermouth, where Wordsworth lived, and Keswick, where I stayed just a month ago. My heart goes out to those whose lives have been so dreadfully affected.