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The Mystery of the Blue Train is the first episode of series ten of Agatha Christie's Poirot, broadcast on 1 January 2006. The feature-length episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. It was written by Guy Andrews and directed by Hettie Macdonald.


While travelling on the Blue Train between Calais and Nice, Poirot gets mixed up in the investigation of the brutal murder of American heiress Ruth Kettering, and the disappearance of her fabulous ruby, the 'Heart of Fire'. Who is the culprit? Poirot interviews the girl's father, her maid, her estranged husband, her eccentric cousins, and a raft of other strange passengers, as he pieces together the tragic story.

Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

Spoiler warning: A spoiler is announced! The following section contains details about The Mystery of the Blue Train novel and its adaptation.
  • The events are much more telescoped than in the original novel. The preliminaries which occupy most of the early chapters of the book are omitted. Many minor characters are omitted and the names of some of the main characters are modified. Many more of the main characters are on the same train, which increases the range of plausible suspects.
    • The characters of Boris Ivanovitch and Olga Demiroff are omitted. Van Aldin receives the jewel in the street from some unknown person. He then has the scene where he fights off some apaches. This scene is part of the opening credits and seen without dialogue or context and would not be understood by anyone who has not read the book.
    • Monsieur Papopolous and related characters are all omitted and play no part in the adaptation.
    • The events in St. Mary Mead and how Katherine Grey gets her inheritance are all omitted. The adaptation begins with her already having received her inheritance. She appears at the Park Lane Hotel in London to spend a few days before boarding the Blue Train.
  • Poirot appears earlier. Here he meets and befriend Katherine Grey at the hotel. He also meets Van Aldin and Ruth at the hotel. She persuades to attend her birthday party. In the book he doesn't meet her at all.
  • The scene where Lady Tamplin and co scheme to invite Katherine Grey for the purpose of getting some money from her is depicted. The whole family are also on the train--somehow they had travelled up from Nice to board the correct train--at London or Paris. How this is achieved is not explained. On the train, Lady Tamplin assigns Lenox the specific task of cultivating Katherine Grey. The cultivation efforts are depicted in greater detail and shown to be more deliberate and contrived than in the book. In the book Lenox just happened to befriend Katherine although she did not support Lady Tamplin's scheming.
  • Comte de la Rochefour (the name for La Roche) is also on board the train, which does not happen in the book. In fact La Roche, during the time of the murder, played cards with Derek Kettering and Corky (the name for Charles Evans in this adaptation).
  • In fact, here there is collusion here between la Rochefour and Kettering. In the book, it is not even known if la Rochefour and Kettering actually met or knew each other. Here, Kettering owes la Rochefour money. Kettering assists la Rochefour's scheme to steal the Heart of Fire in exchange for cancellation of the debts. Kettering said later that he listened while Ruth opened the safe in her compartment--he could deduce the numbers by listening to the sounds (a habit from counting cards). La Rochefour wanted these numbers to open the safe and substitute a fake jewel. However he found Ruth dead. He threw the fake jewel out of the train and then he and Kettering decided to alibi each other--that they played cards the whole night.
  • Like in the book Mirelle is also on the train. Here she has a different plot role. She is not Kettering's lover but Van Aldin's. Van Aldin sent her to compromise Kettering to get grounds for divorce but he resists. Like in the book she also went to Ruth's compartment (she says she a just wanted to look at her things--perhaps a weak excuse for planning to steal the Heart of Fire). Unique to this adaptation, she left a cigarette lighter in the compartment which betrayed her presence. In this adaptation she is also involved in a side plot concerning Ruth's mother. See here for details.
  • The clue of the cigarette case with the letter "K" is not present in the adaptation. Poirot does find a hair in this adaptation but this relates to the conclusion later that someone was wearing a wig. In the book the hair was from Ruth and he concluded that the body had been rolled up in a rug and therefore she might have been killed much earlier than was thought.
  • Corky (Charles Evans) has only a small role in the plot (in the novel he has almost none). Here he is on board the train but unlike Lenox, Lady Tamplin doesn't assign any task to him--she tells him to go amuse himself. He plays cards with Kettering and the Count. Later he picks up a jewel from the ground while the train is at Marseilles--it is the fake ruby thrown out by the Count. Corky gives this to Lady Tamplin, and this serves to implicate both of them as plausible suspects in the murder but not to a great extent--Poirot doesn't spend much time on them.
  • The clue about the newspaper cutting describing the robbery at Lady Tamplin's house in Nice is depicted. However in this case, Poirot reads the cutting which had been framed and was on display at the Villa Marguerite. In the book, a more convoluted route was taken--Miss Viner had a cutting which she showed Katherine Grey towards the end of the story. Katherine met Poirot in London (he travels back and forth more than in the adaptation) and she tells him about it.
  • In this adaptation, Ruth asks Katherine Grey to switch compartments with her (because it is "closer" to someone she wanted to meet). This later raises the possibility that Katherine Grey might have been the intended murder victim and not Ruth.
  • Just like in the original novel, Richard Knighton falls in love with Katherine Grey. However, Ada Mason is jealous so she tries to kill Katherine. She is later stopped by Lenox Tamplin. While this happened, Derek Kettering was in prison; this makes Poirot know that Derek wasn't the culprit of Ruth's murder.
  • In the original novel, Mirelle is Derek Kettering's lover. In the episode, Mirelle is renamed Mirelle Milesi. Her character is kept loosely; here she is a dancer at Parthenon (as in the original novel) but she is Rufus Van Aldin's lover. This gives Mirelle a further motive for killing Ruth Kettering.
  • In the novel, Major Knighton is exposed as the murderer. Only Rufus Van Aldin is there to hear Poirot's evidence that Knighton is the culprit; while the episode's ending features all the classical denouement where Poirot gathers all the suspects in the carriage of the Train Bleu. Poirot exposes Ada Mason first, then accuses Knighton as Ada's accomplice. In this adaptation, Knighton kidnaps Katherine Grey but commits suicide by stepping in front of a moving train after Poirot convinces him to let her go. In the book, the Heart of Fire was not returned, it ended up being purchased by a Greek ex-minister who gave it to Mirelle to wear. In the adaptation, Knighton hands the jewel to Katherine Grey just before committing suicide.
Spoilers end here.


Uncredited actors[]

  • Andy Callaghan as Champagne Waiter
  • Gareth McChlery as Dancer
  • Russell Lotten as Waiter

Tropes and themes[]

Filming Locations[]

  • Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London - as the Park Lane Hotel, preliminaries before departure on the train
  • Villa Maria Serena, 21 Promenade Reine Astrid, 06500 Menton, France - Villa Marguerite
  • Mill Road Bridge, Nene Valley Railway
  • Paris-Gare-de-Lyon, Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012 Paris
  • Viaduct of Chamborigaud, France
  • Nene Valley Railway (Wansford, Station), Wansford Station, Stibbington, Peterborough - Gare de Nice
  • Fine Arts Museum / Carnolès Palace, 3 Av. de la Madone, Menton, France
  • Rue de Bréa, Menton, France
  • Basilica of Saint Michael Archangel, Place de l'Eglise, Menton, France
  • Circe Restaurant Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 2 Av. Fernand Dunan, 06310 Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]