HERCULE Poirot doesn’t half get around. One minute he is in Istanbul, the next Egypt. Now he’s off to Venice.

That these destinations are each a long way further south than the majority of Agatha Christie’s original novels can only be a bonus for star Kenneth Branagh, who returns to that iconic moustache at the box office this week.

Though some way less iconic in the role than David Suchet, Branagh clearly relishes playing Poirot. A Haunting in Venice is the thesp’s third go with the little grey cells and once again sees him in the director’s chair. Michael Green returns, too, to pen an ever so slightly braver script than before.

If you’ve not heard of A Haunting in Venice before, it’s because no such book exists in the Christie canon. The film is, instead, Branagh’s rather loose take on the 1969 novel Hallowe'en Party. The book was set in Sussex and featured apple-bobbing. The film is- and does not. Then again, there was a lot less psychic energy in Christie’s text.

Having shot his first two adaptations in the haze of lush visual spectacle, A Haunting in Venice sees Branagh close in for a tighter and more claustrophobic affair.

The ingredients for a classic whodunnit remain but there are flavours of horror in both script and direction. This is most evident in a chilling performance from Michelle Yeoh, starring fresh off the back of her Oscar-winning turn in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Yeoh plays Joyce Reynolds, a medium operating in mid-century Venice. Joyce has been employed by grieving mother Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly) to preside over a séance, which will be attended also by the great Poirot himself. Poirot is there on the behest of Tina Fey’s Ariadne Oliver, who believes even he will be stumped by Joyce’s abilities.

Of course, one should never invite Poirot to a party you want everyone to leave alive. Sure enough, as the séance concludes, so does a life - this one impaled on a nearby statue. Delightful.

Branagh’s third Poirot won’t convince anyone not blown away by his first and second. Slow pacing and severe tone remain a concern. Those who have, however, embraced his vision and extraordinary facial attachment can rest assured. A Haunting in Venice is Branagh’s most interesting and exhilarating take on Christie to date. There’ll be more.