Stylish Television: Agatha And The Curse Of Ishtar

Agatha Christie, her books and their TV and film adaptations, are a not so secret passion of mine. I have written about the 1970s adaptations of ‘Death on the Nile’ and ‘Evil under the Sun’ before, and I am currently downloading the David Suchet versions of Poirot and the sumptuous Miss Marple series that starred Geraldine Fitzgerald and Julia Mackenzie as the elderly amateur sleuth. Yes, my name is Emma and I am an addict!

Last year Channel 5 produced an Agatha Christie style murder mystery that actually featured Agatha at the heart of a murder mystery, turning detective to find a killer. It was a success, so they have repeated the format this Christmas with ‘Agatha and the curse of Ishtar’, placing the author in Iraq in the late 1920s, with murders occurring around an archaeological dig site. There is also a romance, with Agatha meeting the man who was to become her real life second husband. Lyndsey Marshal plays Agatha.

Even though this wasn’t an actual new adaptation of a real Christie novel, there was much to enjoy, not least the fact that the trip back in time to the 1920s meant for some gorgeous period costumes. The 1920s has had a real revival in recent times, mainly due to the phenomenon that is Peaky Blinders, and beaded flapper dresses, jewelled headbands and long strings of pearls and beads are now almost as popular as they were in their original heyday. All are on lovely display in this adaptation.

In addition, the daytime looks are just gorgeous, with Agatha rarely without a hat as she visits catacombs and the archaeological dig sites. The twenties was the decade when true modern fashion begins, so most of the looks on display are eminently wearable, even though we are now almost 100 years away. In particular, Agatha’s almost safari styles in cream, and the mannish striped blazer seen in the still below, are brilliantly modern.

If you missed ‘Agatha and the curse of Ishtar’ it is well worth a catch up on Five On Demand. Give yourself over to a luxurious slice of 20s murder mystery this Christmas.


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