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Literature / Appointment With Death

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A detective novel by Agatha Christie published in 1938

The novel has been adapted multiple times. Christie herself made a stage play in 1945 that removed Poirot from the story and changed the ending. A movie adaptation was released in 1988 featuring an All-Star Cast, including Peter Ustinov, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud and Piper Laurie. In 1992 it was adapted for radio by BBC Radio 4 with John Moffat as Poirot.

It has also been adapted by ITV's Poirot as part of the 11th season, starring David Suchet as Poirot. Like many other episodes, the TV adaptation features many changes to the plot and characters. Tropes for the TV adaptation can be found on the page for the series.


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Appointment with Death contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Lady Boyinton, whose only amusement in life comes from controlling and terrorising her children.
  • Asshole Victim: The victim is established as an unpleasant and tyrranical towards her children. They finally gain their Happy Ending at the end of the novel, which probably would not have been possible with her still alive.
  • Blackmail Backfire: While the victim never actually gets that far, it's her unspoken threat to reaveal the murderer's secret that gets her killed. Poirot speculates that she wanted someone to control and toy with, and would have eventually revealed the truth anyway.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: After the case is solved, most of the innocent charracters are paired up in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • Dark Secret: The murderer has one. Lady Celia Westeholme was previously an incarcerated criminal, something her wealthy husband doesn't know about. She's willing to commit murder to keep it hidden.
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  • He Knows Too Much: Lady Boynton was planning on exploiting the murderer's criminal past and presumably reveal it. Thus, she had to go.
  • Hiding in a Hijab: The murder plot involves cobbling together a disguise of an Arab servant in order to steal the poison, commit the murder and create a fake suspect.
  • Internal Retcon: The epilogue shows a newspaper article reporting the murderer's suicide as an accident.
  • Not His Sled: The stage play adaptation changes the solution to the murder: Rather than being murdered by Lady Westholme, Lady Boyinton commits suicide in order to instill fear and paranoia over her children, intending to make her iron grip on their lives last even in death.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: A very typical example. Lady Boynton is so despised that everyone in her family discover her body and fail to report it, each believing that someone else in the family did it.


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