By John Phillpott

IT’S either a body in the bedroom, or someone lying lifeless in the lounge… yes, that’s how the plot usually pans out in your average Agatha Christie thriller.

After all, it’s certainly a tried and tested format. Once the dastardly deed has been done, a mixed group of individuals - all potential suspects, naturally – gather and mull the whole thing over until the guilty party is exposed.

However, this time there’s no freshly cooling corpse, rather a skeleton in the closet for Carla Le Marchant who’s just learnt that her mother died in prison after being convicted of poisoning her father.

Not only that, but the wretched wronged woman left a note professing her innocence. So without further ado, Carla sets out to clear her late mother’s name.

But how do we get the usual crowd assembled in the one room? Easy – she enlists the help of Justin Fogg (Ben Nealon) the son of her mother’s defence lawyer.

And he obligingly searches out all the players in the tragedy, bringing them back to the scene of the crime to unearth the truth.

This piece is yet another triumph for the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, now in its eighth year. There are strong performances from Sophie Ward as Le Marchant/alleged murderess Caroline Crale while Robert Duncan plays a rather jittery Philip Blake.

Meanwhile, director Joe Harmston harnesses the considerable talents of set designer Simon Scullion and lighting man Douglas Kuhrt to produce an atmospheric 1960s feel, adding to the period ambience with the reprised riff to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman.

The players quite obviously feel an intense affection for the great queen of mystery and intrigue, something that becomes apparent right from the word go.

It takes professionals at the top of their game to convincingly pull the threads of a Christie whodunit together and the company effortlessly does this as it nets then discards any number of red herrings until the truth is revealed.

Go Back for Murder runs until Saturday and – although being one of her later works – nevertheless still retains that old Christie magic and is therefore well worth checking out.