Friday, 2 September 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Marlène goes to the funfair in order to consult a fortune teller. A priest gives to commissaire Laurence a list with the names of five possible suspicious deaths. Soon the priest is murdered in his church.

Alice Avril tries to write a crime novel and befriends her new neighbour, a young woman who hates her stepmother.

The bottom line: Should we start to worry about Les petits meurtres?

Le cheval pâle is the thirteenth episode of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie ("The little murders of Agatha Christie") with the Laurence/Avril/Marlène detective trio. Helmed by new series director Olivier Panchot (De guerre lasse), it is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel The Pale Horse by scriptwriter Sylvie Simon. Samuel Labarthe is Commissaire Swan Laurence. Alice Avril is played by Blandine Bellavoir and Élodie Frenck plays Marlène, Laurence's devoted secretary. Natacha Lindinger is back as the sophisticated and sarcastic pathologist Docteur E. Maillol.

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie returned on August 26 on French pubcaster France 2 with the brilliant L'étrange enlèvement du petit Bruno. The episode, first aired in November 2015 on Swiss channel RTS Un, brought 4.169.000 viewers (21.1%) to France 2 and ranked #2 vs the French version of Survivor on TF1. Far from the usual fast-paced crime comedy which is one of the trademarks of the series since 2013, Le cheval pâle goes darker with a moderate dose of humour and some regrettable lack of dynamism. The last 30 minutes are interminable if not painful (Marlène with a "possessed" voice and the stakeout in the TUB Citroën).

On the positive side, the guest cast is excellent: Olivier Broche (Lucien Cornille), Thierry Hancisse of the Comédie Française (Eugène Dacosta), Valérie Dashwood as the aptly named SybilleÉmilie de Preissac (Francine Marchal), Anne-Sophie Girard (Lucille Marchal), Laëtitia Kandi (Irène), Bertrand Foly (Father François), etc. Dominique Thomas plays Commissaire divisionnaire Tricard. Production values and locations (the fun fair, the Marchal estate) are great, as always.

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. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. The music is composed by Stéphane Moucha. Unfortunately the next episode, L'affaire Protheroe (aired on RTS in August), doesn't remove our doubts. Let's hope the last couple of episodes of this 2016 batch (La mystérieuse affaire de Styles and Albert Major parlait trop) will arrange that. 

See also: (L'étrange enlèvement du petit Bruno)

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