Save Big On Open-Box & Used Products: Buy "Agatha Christie Hour: Set One” from Amazon Open-Box & Used and save 84% off the $39.99 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all offers from Amazon Open-Box & Used.
Agatha Christie Hour: Set One
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Special offers and product promotions
As seen on PBS’s Mystery!
Tales of romance and danger in the glittering 1920s and ’30s
How can “happiness expert” Parker Pyne return a wayward husband’s affections to his wife? Will a chance encounter on a train transform the life of a jobless investment broker forever? And why does a vision in a mirror mean misery for a beautiful bride-to-be?
In these stories, lesser-known Christie heroes and heroines solve crimes of the heart as well as puzzling cases of larceny and murder. With just the right mix of danger and deception, romance and revenge, innocence and intrigue, these classic adaptations are Christie at her best, now on DVD for the first time.
The top-notch ensemble cast includes John Nettles (Midsomer Murders), James Grout (Inspector Morse), and William Gaunt (No Place Like Home) and features Maurice Denham (All Passion SpentTHE STORIES
The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife: A housewife enlists Parker Pyne to save her marriage.
In a Glass Darkly: A WWI officer has a vision of a young woman’s doom.
The Girl in the Train: An unemployed young man takes a fateful train journey.
The Fourth Man: Three learned men debate a strange case of self-inflicted death.
The Case of the Discontented Soldier: A bored army major seeks excitement with Parker Pyne’s help.
A quintet of short stories by the unparalleled mistress of crime fiction are turned into one-hour mysteries in The Agatha Christie Hour, Set 1. What's most interesting about these episodes is that none of them are murders (well, one of them might be…); instead, they range from intriguing character portraits to whimsical comedy in a P. G. Wodehouse vein. Two feature one of Christie's lesser-known recurring characters, Parker Pyne, a retired statistician who's turned his gift for finding patterns in data to solving the problem of unhappiness. Both cases involve folk whose lives have gone flat--one, a middle-aged wife who fears her husband has eyes for his young secretary, the other a retired military officer who finds civilian life bland and tedious. With the aid of his secretary Miss Lemon and the author Ariadne Oliver, both of whom went on to appear in some Hercule Poirot tales, Pyne orchestrates adventures for his clients.
The other three stories are one-off tales, all unusual in the Christie canon: In a Glass Darkly has an outright supernatural element, as a young man has a vision in a mirror of a strangling--but only after surviving World War I and marrying the woman in his vision is the truth revealed. The Girl in the Train is a sprightly comic pastiche, a spin on spy stories like The 39 Steps, in which a hapless young gentleman gets a small parcel from a mysterious young woman and ends up foiling smugglers. But the most intriguing episode of all is The Fourth Man; a troubled reporter (John Nettles of Midsomer Murders) tells a psychiatrist, a priest, and a lawyer the story of two girls whose personalities are intertwined in a strange, metaphysically sadomasochistic relationship. Christie fans in particular will find these fascinating side trips, but you don't have to be a mystery reader to enjoy these stories. --Bret Fetzer
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
This series was produced in the 1980s during a time when PBS was making a variety of the classic mysteries into hourly (Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries (The Lord Peter Wimsey-Harriet Vane Collection - Strong Poison / Have His Carcass / Gaudy Night),Campion - The Complete First Season ,The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Set 1 , etc. ) programs, some of which are in this set. While not all of these are murder mysteries, they are very intriguing nonetheless. I would be hard put to it to actually name my "favorite" since each was my "favorite" while I was watching it. I can only say that they are all worth watching again. The two Parker Pyne stories are quite entertaining--however improbable--and the spooky "In a Glass Darkly" and "The Forth Man" (starring John Nettles of Midsomer Murders - The Early Cases Collection) are each worth the price of the set.
For those used to the live and on-the-spot ambiance of modern TV and cinema, these dramatizations may seem "quaint" or "odd." They have a feeling of live stage rather than on camera presentation. If you're into day time soaps, you'll recognize the character. With both of these the audience is expected to suspend disbelief and take part in the events mentally. While they know there is nothing but a stage beyond the scenery, it would be considered unsportsmanlike to acknowledge it, so to speak. For those who've never seen live stage, this is a good opportunity to appreciate it.
The complaint that I have is with the marketing here in America. There were actually 10 dramatizations done for The Agatha Christie Hour. This set contains only five for, at this writing, $28.99. The British set contains all 10 stories and is labeled as "the complete set". It was released only about a month ago with the same cover art (a five disc set, two stories per disc), so it's not as if our American set is a re-release or a re-think. So, again as of this writing, the British set containing all 10 stories is available from Amazon.co.uk (in case the site name is deleted, it's this site's sister site in England) ~ at a price of $31.35 after conversion to dollars from pounds and adding shipping and handling.
Our American release is saying "Set 1". Let me tell you that Acorn, the distributor, is notorious for bringing out the first part of a series and never bringing out the rest. So, assuming that they do eventually bring out "Set 2", if it is priced like set one the total price for all 10 will be $57.98. That's a far cry from the $31.35 that the Brits are paying for their region 2 release.
This pricing practice seems to be the norm (I daresay that the Brits also pay a premium for our shows). If you love British fare, as I do, you are paying a high premium when you buy their discs in region 1 format ~ and unfortunately many of their tv shows and movies are never released in region 1. When the tv shows are released here in America they are often done piecemeal like this Agatha Christie Hour release. Quite often, only the first year or so is ever released.
If you feel as I do that this practice is unfair, do yourself a favor and purchase a region free dvd player. There are many available here at Amazon, some for under $60~ or just google and find one. It will pay for itself with just a few purchases of region 2 discs. I have not only saved a lot of money by purchasing region 2, but I am also able to buy dvds of shows that are not available here in America and I am often able to enjoy British shows at least a year before they are released here in the USA.
Amazon gave both of us a gift by offering this: my mother is enjoying the shows and I'm enjoying all the pleasure she's getting out of seeing them again.
What makes this series so good? There is a short answer to this: the screenplays. Their writers had the good sense not to tamper with the text; basically, they used the stories themselves as the source of the dialogue. These are some of Christie's best short stories--I have always loved Parker Pyne--and they are brought to life in this series. Clearly inexpensively produced, these episodes are nonetheless wonderful. The actors, most of whom devotees of British series will recognize, are also superb.
In short, a wonderful DVD set, and I hope for more!