Peter Ustinov began his long association with the Hercule Poirot character of murder mystery novelist Agatha Christie with this lavish but financially disappointing follow-up to the popular Murder on the Orient Express (1974). During a luxurious pleasure cruise down the Nile aboard a lavish vessel populated with wealthy passengers, widely despised heiress and home wrecker Linnet Ridgeway (Lois Chiles) is murdered. Also aboard is famed Belgian detective Poirot (Ustinov) and his taciturn traveling companion, Colonel Race (David Niven). Poirot undertakes an investigation into Ridgeway's killing. Among the colorful suspects are Salome (Angela Lansbury) and Rosalie Otterbourne (Olivia Hussey), Doctor Bessner (Jack Warden), Mrs. Van Schuyler (Bette Davis), Miss Bowers (Maggie Smith), and Jacqueline De Bellefort (Mia Farrow). As more bodies pile up, however, it appears that nearly everyone aboard has a motive. The script for Death on the Nile (1978) was adapted by Anthony Shaffer, the writer of Sleuth (1972) and the identical twin brother of Amadeus (1984) author Peter Shaffer.