Hercule Poirot: The Case of the Careless Victim — Act 1: Scenes 1 & 2
Hercule Poirot is the famous French-speaking detective from Belgium. As the story opens, he has just moved to New York and is looking for an apartment. He’s told he’ll be lucky to find one, but Poirot doesn’t believe in luck. He believes in “employing the little gray cells” — that is to say, he believes in using his brain to solve problems.
While apartment hunting, he ends up helping a woman with her door. It is stuck. She cannot open it. Well, one thing leads to another, and he is soon involved in solving a murder.
Agatha Christie, the author
Poirot is the fictional detective created by Agatha Christie. She was fond of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings about Sherlock Holmes so she patterned her detective after his. There are many differences of course, but both are intellectuals who use their heads, not their muscles, to solve crimes. These are both good examples of the classical detective story genre.
Christie wrote 33 novels and 37 short stories about Poirot. The setting for most of these stories was in the mid- to late-1930s. Poirot moved from Belgium to England, but in the story that we are about to hear, ‘The Case of the Careless Victim’, he has just moved to the United States. This is the first of his American adventures.
Poirot is a language learner, too!
Poirot’s Belgian-French accent and grammar come through. He may not be the best model of English for you, but at the same time, it is important for you to be able to understand people who have different accents. English is such a global language that there are many different accents to get used to.
The interesting thing about Agatha Christie’s development of Poirot as a character is that his English did improve the longer he lived in England. That’s an encouragement for all of us as language learners!
We know Poirot is a foreigner because everyone stumbles over his name. In fact, no one seems to even care to pronounce his name correctly. It is a constant frustration to him.
Poirot and Miss Marple TV Series
Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories became a British TV series that ran for 24 years, from 1989-2013. Her Miss Marple stories also became a TV series. You can find many of these episodes on YouTube.
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Detective Hercule Poirot is new in town. When he comes across a crime scene in the hotel room where Miss Fletcher is living, he immediately suspects her of committing the crime. This puts her on the defensive, and their relationship is off to a bad start. He questions her quite thoroughly. So, what do you think? After the questioning, is she still on his suspect list, or not?
What is Poirot like? Can you describe your first impression of him? How about Miss Fletcher? What is her personality like?
Leave a comment below. It’s good English practice!