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Marc warren as meredith blake

Actor Marc Warren as Meredith Blake in Agatha Christie's Poirot

In the novel Five Little Pigs, Meredith Blake is Philip's elder brother, a reclusive one-time amateur herbalist who owns Handcross Manor, the property adjacent to Alderbury. In his laboratory he had the coniine that was used to poison Amyas Crale.

Mr Blake appears to be an acquaintance of Lady Mary Lytton Gore, who writes a letter of introduction for Poirot. He and Poirot also have another mutal acquaintance, Admiral Cronshaw.

Meredith is described as resembling "superficially every other English country gentleman of straitened means and outdoor tastes". He has a "weather-beaten, pleasant, middle-aged face with somewhat faded blue eyes", and a "weak mouth, half hidden by a rather straggly moustache".

Poirot finds Meredith to be very different from his brother, because he has a "hesitating manner", and his mental processes are "obviously leisurely", as if "his tempo had slowed down with the years", while his brother's had gotten faster.

Meredith tells Poirot that he and Amyas had been old friends, and that their families had been friends for generations. According to him, when Amyas was painting, he "was like a man in a dream", and was completely obsessed with painting, so that nothing else mattered.

Meredith also tells Poirot that he had always been very fond of Caroline, and had once hoped to marry her, but that was "soon nipped in the bud". However, he remained devoted "to her service". Poirot is of the opinion that Meredith is the kind of man who would "devote himself readily to a romantic and honourable devotion".

Meredith tells Poirot that he resented Amyas' attitude towards his affair, on Caroline's behalf, and that he talked with Amyas about it, on the day before the murder. He had tried to make Amyas see that the situation was not fair to either Caroline or Elsa.

Meredith takes Poirot to Alderbury, so that he can see the place where the murder happened, including the Battery garden, where Amyas was when he died. He also shows Poirot the painting that Amyas had done of Elsa, which he bought after Amyas' death, because he did not want it to be sold for publicity value.

On the day before the murder, Amyas, Caroline, Elsa, Philip, and Angela Warren went to Handcross Manor for tea. Meredith showed them around his laboratory, and told them about substances such as valerian, belladonna, and atropine. He pointed out the bottle of coniine, and took his guests to the library to read them a passage describing Socrates' death.

The next morning, Meredith discovered that the bottle of coniine, which had been nearly full, was now almost empty. He called Philip to get his advice on what to do, and went to Alderbury to consult with him. He and Philip later overheard a disagreement between Caroline and Amyas, and he thought that it was about Angela.

Meredith sat on a bench overlooking the Battery garden, from where he could see Elsa posing, and Amyas painting her. At lunch time, he went down to the Battery garden, and Elsa joined him. They went up to the house, leaving Amyas in the Battery garden Meredith noticed a "kind of malevolent glare" on Amyas' face, but thought that it was because the painting was not going as Amyas wanted it to.

After Amyas was found dead, Meredith met Miss Williams coming up from the Battery garden, and she asked him to call a doctor.

After Amyas' death, Meredith abandoned his laboratory. He was concerned that the whole thing could be said to be his fault, and felt that he could not go on with his hobby.

After the trial, Meredith asked Elsa to marry him. He had wanted to look after her, and thought that the trial must have been a terrible ordeal for her. However, she turned him down.

Portrayals[]

In Agatha Christie's Poirot (Five Little Pigs episode), Meredith was portrayed by Marc Warren.

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