Dead Man’s Folly will be particularly poignant for Agatha Christie fans, as key scenes from the film were shot at the crime writer’s holiday home, Greenway, in Devon.
Award winning actress Zoë Wanamaker (My Family, My Week with Marilyn) will return as the detective’s unwitting sidekick, Ariadne Oliver. After being commissioned to stage a fictional murder, her intuition tells her a real one is about to happen, but Poirot is unable to stop it even after she warns him. He feels he has failed, but can he solve the mystery of the murder he was unable to prevent?
In an effort to beguile their Devonshire neighbours, wealthy financier Sir George Stubbs (Sean Pertwee) and his ‘subnormal’ wife Hattie (Stephanie Leonidas) prepare to stage a grand summer fête in the grounds of their new acquisition, Nasse House.
No expense is spared, and the lawn is soon bustling with visitors keen to have their fortune told, to compete in the fancy dress and to try their hand at the coconut shy. And then there is the ultimate challenge: a fiendishly complicated ‘murder hunt’ prepared by the famous mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver (Zoë Wanamaker).
But Ariadne is perturbed. Convinced that someone is ‘jockeying her along’, she insists on the presence of her old friend Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), who reluctantly agrees to apply his uniquely analytical mind to a crime that, as yet, only exists in Ariadne’s imagination.
The denizens and friends of Nasse are certainly an awkward and pernicious bunch: Poirot soon encounters the local Member of Parliament Captain Warburton (Martin Jarvis) and his imperious wife Mrs Warburton (Rosalind Ayres), squabbling holidaymakers Alec and Sally Legge (Daniel Weyman and Emma Hamilton), lecherous architect Michael Weyman (James Anderson), rambling ferryman John Merdell (Sam Kelly) and the fête’s uninvited guest, urbane foreigner Etienne De Souza (Elliot Barnes-Worrell). And then there is Amy Folliat (Sinead Cusack), once the proud owner of Nasse, and now Sir George’s pauperised lodger.
Any one of them could be the killer; any one of them could be the victim.
But what actually happens is utterly bewildering. Girl guide Marlene Tucker, volunteer actor in Ariadne’s murder hunt, is found strangled to death in the secluded boathouse. It seems like a motiveless act; but of course it is not.
As Poirot and Ariadne try to pick their way through Nasse’s web of secrets and lies, another mystery presents itself – the vanishing of vulnerable Hattie Stubbs.
Where is Hattie? Who killed Marlene? Who really authored Ariadne’s murder hunt? What is the significance of Sir George’s ghastly folly? And can it be true that this is a mystery the great Hercule Poirot cannot solve?
Hercule Poirot - David Suchet
Ariadne Oliver - Zoë Wanamaker
Hattie Stubbs - Stephanie Leonidas
Bickford - Chris Gordon
Sir George Stubbs - Sean Pertwee
D.I. Bland - Tom Ellis
Henden - Richard Dixon
Amy Folliat - Sinead Cusack
Miss Brewis - Rebecca Front
Captain Warburton - Martin Jarvis
Michael Weyman - James Anderson
John Merdell - Sam Kelly
Mrs Warburton - Rosalind Ayres
Alec Legge - Daniel Weyman
Sally Legge - Emma Hamilton
Marlene Tucker - Ella Geraghty
Etienne De Souza - Elliot Barnes-Worrell
Sergeant Hoskins - Nicholas Woodeson
Gertie - Angel Witney
Dutch Hiker - Francesca Zoutewelle