|To those of you who are not acquainted with any of Agatha Christie's captivating Hercule Poirot novels or you have not seen any of the movies/TV series on Poirot -- this page may have little meaning to you. I have compiled a character sketch of Christie's best character - the little, eccentric Belgian detective - Hercule Poirot. Perhaps this is a good way to 'get to know him' before delving into one of the books he appears in. However, those of you who are familiar with this little treasure, enjoy!
Hercule Poirot can be described as one of Agatha Christie's most-loved characters. And he is definitely my favourite, I will attest. The little Belgian detective, retired police officer turned private detective, appears in more than 30 Christie novels and short stories. His role is immaculately portrayed by David Suchet, on the A&E adaptation TV series of Christie's beloved detective.
Poirot relies mainly on the clever usage of his "little grey cells" and psychological examination of the suspects, even with the smallest clue, to solve the most baffling crimes (instead of the usual methods so many of his fellow detectives rely on). Much to the chagrin of Inspector Japp, Poirot is always out-thinking his colleagues, managing to solve the Inspector's cases for him. A quick solution to a puzzling murder mystery is standard operating procedure for him - as is his facile sense of humor.
He may be egocentric, full of little eccentricities, yet he's also extremely observant and trés intelligent. And one of the few things he has observed is the fact that he's the world's greatest detective...AND the most "humble!"
Understandably, you have to expect a little vanity in one who knows he has no peer, n'est-ce pas? Fortunately, Poirot brags with such innocence - with such a disarming absence of guile that everyone usually ends up being charmed...accept for the accused that is!
In appearance, Poirot is an exotic little figure - his unmistakable look - complete with luuxuriant (and suspiciously black) "moustaches", shining green eyes, and a curious egg-shaped head carried a little to one side. With his patent leather shoes, little bowler hat, dapper clothes, he waddles from one place to the next a little bit like a well-dressed penguin. Even so, he is quite a striking and somewhat amusing figure.
Hercules is sometimes seen gazing out of his tiny pince-nez when inspecting a clue, or sipping his favorite liquid concoctions such as "the tisane" (much to Capt. Hastings' disdain), sirop de cassis or creme de menthe. Those who frequent his company include: Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard (Philip Jackson), and his perfectionist secretary Miss Felicity Lemon (Pauline Moran).
Captain Hastings is Poirot's closest colleague and friend. Somewhat akin to Dr. Watson in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel, Hastings is warm-hearted, well-meaning, but occasionally awkward and blundering. Like Watson, often he tries to understand his genius and eccentric friend, yet usually fails. The Captain is an avid golfer, enjoys horse racing, and is somewhat of a sentimental romantic. Because of his good-natured naivety, he usually ends up trusting the wrong people, and never suspects who is the likely culprit in the crime, unlike Poirot. Hastings appeared in 11 Poirot novels and short story collections. Hugh Fraser plays a most loveable Captain Hastings!
Chief Inspector Japp (played by Philip Jackson) of Scotland Yard has been in Poirot acquaintance since Poirot was still working with the Belgian Police Force in 1904. (Japp was introduced in Christie's first Poirot novel: The Mysterious Affair at Styles.) Even though Japp and Poirot are like night and day with their crime solving techniques (Japp tending to me more haphazard, while Poirot is more orderly and methodical), they have managed to remain friends. On many occasions, Japp consults Poirot (if he is not already involved). It is not unusual to read of Japp arresting the wrong person, before all the investigating is followed through. His techniques are a bit rough around the edges and no doubt at times resents Poirot's seemingly effortless problem solving skills, however there is notably a deep respect and friendship between the both of them.