Saturday, 25 July 2015


[Spoiler-Free] Commissaire Laurence works in conjunction with Scotland Yard on a case of drug trafficking between England and France. He handles things more than personally. 

His secretary Marlène would like him to investigate some weird events which happened at the Pension Vanilos, a student hostel owned by her sister Solange, but Laurence doesn't care. Reporter Alice Avril agrees to infiltrate the place in exchange for information about the drug investigation.

« Il faut que je vous parle, commissaire .
- Non pas maintenant, Marlène. Vous voyez bien que j'enquête.
- Non, justement. Ca ne se voit pas. Où alors c'est une nouvelle méthode, hein? »

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie ("The little murders of Agatha Christie") is a French adaptation of novelist Agatha Christie's stories as a period crime comedy-drama 90-minute series focused on a trio of local sleuths instead of her detectives: Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe), Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) and Marlène (Élodie Frenck). Aired yesterday on Swiss channel RTS Un, ahead of French pubcaster France 2, Pension Vanilos is adapted from the Hercule Poirot novel Hickory Dickory Dock by scriptwriter Sylvie Simon and directed by Éric Woreth. 

« Dans Solange il y a "ange". »
Posing as a typist student, Avril meets Solange Vanilos, the stern sister of Marlène. Soon, one of the residents of the hostel is murdered. A stakeout ends badly, a stethoscope can be deadly and Swan speaks Chinese and Turkish fluently. A killer gives the commissaire and Alice the shock of their lives. Sylvie Simon's brilliant script is a classy and elegant roller coaster of mystery and suspense with nods to Poirot (Laurence's Scotland Yard contact is Inspector Japp) and to the French radio anthology Les Maîtres du Mystère. There's also a tribute to the Edgar Wallace films and the Giallo thrillers in the form of stylish sequences by Éric Woreth and director of photography Bertrand Mouly

« Je me souviens comme tu m'as défendue quand j'ai tué ce chat. Tu as réussi à convaincre papa .
- Mais c'était un accident, le chat. Hein?
Evidemment. Tu l'adorais. »
Élodie Frenck, who won Best Young Actress at the La Rochelle Festival of TV fiction in 2013 for her role, is astonishing. Samuel Labarthe experiments new aspects of his character. Blandine Bellavoir has the hairdo of French singer Sheila. Pension Vanilos is simply the best entry of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie for now. New episodes (including adaptations of A murder is announced and The adventure of Johnnie Waverly) were recently announced with amusing promos (1) but the big budget hit series is at risk of leaving its production base of Tourcoing, in the north of France (2).

« Il a un grain c'est sûr, j'ai cru qu'il allait m'étrangler.
Il n'a peut-être pas aimé votre nouvelle coiffure. On ne peut pas lui en vouloir. » 

Blanche Cluzet, Edouard Giard, Lucile Marquis, Sandrine Salyères, Nancy Tate and Charles Templon guest star in this episode. Dominique Thomas plays Commissaire divisionnaire Tricard. Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is produced by Sophie Révil for Escazal Films with Pictanovo (Witnesses), Conseil Régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the participation of France Télévisions, TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. The characters of Laurence, Avril and Marlène were created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. The music is composed by Stéphane Moucha.

« Redescendez sur Terre, Avril. Personne ne vous prendra jamais en stop avec ce... cette...
Je vous déteste. »

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