Parker Pyne and a disparate group of adventurers set out from Damascus for Baghdad. They go through the infamous Gate of Baghdad, once known as the Gate of Death. Legend has it that at least one member of a caravan passing through the portal will fail to arrive at the destination.
Comparison with original story
The dramatisation is fairly faithful to the original story with just a few minor modifications to the storyline.
- The characters of Flight Lieutenant Williamson and the Pentemians are not featured.
- The murder takes place on the way to Rutbah and not just after.
- Miss Pryce and Nett are on a round the world trip. Miss Pryce receives a telegram while in Damascus from her brother. She is told that her bank has failed because Samuel Long the banker has defrauded the money. She is left without funds and has to terminate their trip.
- Parker Pyne advises Miss Pryce to carry on until Baghdad since she has already paid for the tickets.
- After Parker Pyne unveils the murderer, he gives Samuel Long's emeralds to Miss Pryce. This would compensate her for the money she has lost and she can then continue with her world tour.
- There are some additional clues.
- Parker Pyne had noticed that Smethurst's collar and tie were loose at the beginning of the journey yet they had been tightened up when his body was found. He loosened them again and found the stab wound in the back of the neck. The murderer must have tightened the collar and tie to conceal the wound.
- Parker Pyne said the blood on the wound was dry but the sand in the sock was still wet, suggesting that the murderer had just added the sand recently to implicate Hensley. In the original story, Parker Pyne had examined the sock earlier and found no sand in it, proving that it had been added by the murderer later.
- Samuel Long's bribe to Dr Loftus was only 500 pounds. The doctor disappeared into Africa thereafter. Miss Pryce speculated that the doctor was disaffected with a Baghdad posting and wanted to desert from the R.A.F. Long confirmed this. The bribery scene is dramatised.
- Patricia Routledge as Miss Pryce
- Richard Griffiths as Mr Parker Pyne
- Paul Freeman as Dr Loftus
- Saeed Jaffrey as General Poli
- Toby Longworth as Captain O’Rourke
- David Bannerman as Captain Smethurst
- Rupert Degas as Captain Hensley
- Alexis Zegerman as Netta
An Above the Title Production for BBC Radio 4, first broadcast 21 January 2002 and released on Audio Cd and Audible 2010
The narrator calls the story "The Gate of Baghdad". The sleeve of the audio cd however has the title "The Gates of Baghdad".