Poirot's Leica: The mysterious affair at Holborn
I didn't like to interrupt, but had I done so I would have told him the Monochrom is the finest Leica experience this side of the 60-year-old M3. I am sure he knows this and he will be as delighted with this oddball shooter as I am (my test of the MM was published last September). What I didn't realise on the day was that Mr.Suchet had part exchanged his lovingly preserved ten-year-old Leica MP film camera. Had I known, I would surely have bought it there and then.
David Suchet is a noted photography enthusiast and has been active in Leica circles for many years. His maternal grandfather, James Jarché, was a famous Fleet Street photographer responsible for the first pictures of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson; also for his shots of Louis Blériot in 1909 and the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911. Suchet became interested in photography when his grandfather gave him a Kodak camera as a present. While he has had many outstanding acting roles in his long career, he is often most remembered by British television audiences for his immaculate portrayal of the Belgian detective in the long-running dramatisation of Agatha Christie's crime novels in the 1990s.
The real point of this story is that last week I was chatting to another keen Leica enthusiast, my friend John Cartwright, who bold as brass announced that he had purchased the very same Suchet MP from Len Lyons at R.G.Lewis. Small world, as ever the case in Leicatown. The camera is in near-mint condition and looks magnificent in its silver chrome finish. What's more, this is one of the desirable early models that came with the optional 0.58 viewfinder instead of the standard 0.72.
John is delighted with his purchase and I am naturally exceedingly envious. M. Poirot even wrote a warm note of welcome for the new owner in which he hopes the camera will be in safe hands. I suspect this iconic MP could become a collectors' item and that John Cartwright has done a rare good deal.