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After the Funeral is the third episode of series 10 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot and featured David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. I was first broadcast on 26 March 2006. The feature-length episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and was directed by Maurice Phillips with screenplay by Philomena McDonagh.


The wealthy Richard Abernethie changes his will in a curious way and dies unexpectedly. A day after his funeral, his nosy sister Cora is found bludgeoned to death. Abernethie's solicitor enlists Poirot to investigate a possible forgery and willful murder.

The main premise of the story, how the murder is committed, and how Poirot unmasks the murderer closely follows the original novel. Like with other adaptations in this TV series, the timeframe has been transposed from postwar England to the mid 1930s. There are also some significant changes to characters and the addition of some side plots. These do not affect the main storyline but do act as misdirection for Poirot and the viewer alike.


Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

Changes to characters[]

Compared to the book, the backgrounds of some of the main characters have been adjusted. These changes are meant to simplify the Abernethie family tree and make it easier to follow the story. Agatha Christie included a chart of the family tree in the novel to help her readers because it was somewhat complicated. In the TV episode, the relationships are simpler. The family solicitor, Entwhistle, could outline it for Poirot in the opening scenes, where the two are on the train to Lychett St Mary.

  • Richard Abernethie dies without an heir. There is no mention of a son named Mortimer.
  • Helen is the widow of Richard's brother Leo; her son is George Abernethie (there is no Crossfield branch of the family). In the original, Helen had a son after her husband's death after an affair with a younger man. A son was born who she brought up in Cyprus. In this adaptation, Helen's adultery is with Richard and George is their son. Richard reveals to George shortly before he died and this led to tension between George and his father and his mother.
  • Rosamund and Susannah (Susan Banks in the original novel) are sisters, daughters of Richard's sister, Geraldine Abernethie. Rosamund is married to Michael Shane. Susannah is not married in the film; she is a missionary devoted to good works in Africa. Credits show her surname is Henderson, which means Geraldine's husband was Henderson, not Carson as in the novel. In the novel they are cousins with different parents.
  • There is no change to the characters of Richard's brother, Timothy, and his wife, Maude, except that in the novel everybody knew that Timothy's infirmity was exaggerated. Here Poirot reveals at the end that he can actually walk quite well.
  • Cora, Richard's youngest sister, is married to an Italian named Giovanni Galluccio not to a Frenchman Pierre Lansquenet as in the novel. Unlike Pierre, Giovanni is still alive, although estranged.
  • Entwhistle has a first name Gilbert, which is not given in the novel. His sister is not featured.
  • Miss Gilchrist, Cora's companion, had a teashop like in the original. Here it did not fail due to wartime rationing (since it's the 1930s). It failed because a competing Lyons shop had opened up nearby.
  • Minor characters such as Mr Goby are not featured.

Plot elements and themes[]

  • In the original, Entwhistle does much of the early investigation. In the film, Poirot is brought in earlier. Poirot does not use the cover name of Pontalier, a potential buyer of the Enderby estate. The whole family know he is there to investigate Cora's killing.
  • The theme of nuns, present in the original novel, is played up. Poirot encounters two nuns outside the Lychett St. Mary Cottage hospital. There is a nun character in Michael Shane's play. Nuns came to Enderby Hall and also to Cora's cottage to collect donations for charity. In London, Poirot spots Rosamund speaking to a nun and entering a convent.
  • Miss Gilchrist, does not go to work for Timothy and Maud. After the wedding cake incident, Poirot asks her to stay at Enderby Hall for her safety.
  • There is a side plot of a changed will.
    • The family expected George to inherit everything but the will read by Entwhistle, to his surprise, divides the estate among the surviving family with nothing for George.
    • Lanscombe, the respectable old butler, tells Poirot that the day before Richard died, he had a violent argument with George. Richard had also asked Lanscombe to witness his will. His eyesight is not good but he pretended to glance to the end of the page. Entwhistle however says the will was more than one page. On closer study, Entwhistle realises the will which disinherited George is a fake.
    • Towards the end of the episode, Rosamund finds the real will hidden in a doll house. George confesses to Poirot that he had switched the wills.
    • The day before he died, Richard had told George that he had committed adultery with Helen. He, not Leo, was George's real father. Richard wanted to leave the entire estate to him. There had then been the violent row which Lanscombe overheard. When Richard died, George switched the wills out of spite. The show ends with the real will restored, leaving everything to George.
  • There is another side plot where there is a break in to Entwhistle's office and the deeds to Enderby Hall are stolen. The deeds then reappear mysteriously. Poirot reveals that it is Timothy who had stolen them to delay the sale.
  • Entwhistle and the police discover that Susannah was at Lychett St Mary the day Cora was killed. She cannot explain this and finally confesses that she and George are in love. They had gone to see Cora but then spent the time together in the village inn.
  • The painting in the denouement is a Rembrandt instead of a Vemeer in the novel. Why the change is made is, again, a matter for conjecture.

Filming Locations[]

  • Putney Vale Crematorium - Richard's funeral and cremation (note the building is not shown in full view)
  • Sharpthorne Tunnel on the Bluebell Railway - Poirot and Enthwistle on a train to Lytchett St Mary
  • Rotherfield Park Hampshire - Enderby
  • Windsor End, Beaconsfield
    • The Old School House - Lychett St Mary Cottage Hospital
    • Outside 28-30 Windsor End - Poirot and Entwhistle talk after visiting Miss Gilchrist at Cora's house
  • Vann, Vann Lane, Hambledon, Godalming - Cora's house
  • Byfleet Manor, Surrey - Timothy's house
  • Normansfield Theatre and Langdon Down Museum - Susannah's lecture on Africa
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England, 38-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London - as London Academy of Arts
  • Portugal Street, goods entrance of the Royal College of Surgeons - stage entrance of Regency Theatre. Michael and Rosamund come up the steps to street level. Beyond them is a flight of steps going up 1 floor. They walk along Portugal Street and talk.
  • Serle Street, London - earlier, Poirot comes out of the Regency Theatre stage entrance and sees Rosamund talking to someone on Serle Street....
  • New Wimbledon Theatre - interiors of Regency Theatre
  • Lincoln's Inn - Poirot then follows Rosamund as she heads towards Lincoln's Inn....
  • Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, 10 Lincoln's Inn Fields - Rosamund then talks with a nun and enters this chapel.


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]