Category Archives: The Belgian Detective Guide

Murder on the Orient Express – twice!

I’ve just submitted version 2.3 of my Belgian Detective Guide to Apple. This update adds a couple of movies to the catalogue, namely two iterations of the classic MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Here in the US, we’re all getting ready for Kenneth Branagh’s iteration of the story, which is supposed to hit cinemas on November 10th. The movie stars Branagh as Poirot himself, and he’s supported by a huge cast – namely Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Dame Judy Dench and Michelle Pfeiffer to name a few.

The movie is apparently a lot darker than the 1974 version starring Albert Finney, as well as the David Suchet version from 2010. Check out this trailer for a taste of the goods:

Turns out there was another version of the movie hiding in the archives

Doing some research however, I also came across another version of the movie that I hadn’t heard of before: a 2001 direct-to-DVD release in which Alfred Molina plays Poirot. Who would have thought, ey?

I thought it was funny to see German TV star Fritz Wepper in the cast lineup. He’s best known for being Derrick’s side-kick on the long running German TV show produced by the ZDF. I used to watch that as a kid. Apparently it’s one of best selling TV exports Germany has ever produced.

Now we get all four versions in the Belgian Detective Guide, plus the book of course. Have you watched and read them all? See what happens if you do 🙂

What’s next?

I’ve already started working on the next Poirot update, which will bring presentation improvements for the upcoming iPhone X. It’s just a graphic tweak to make use of the larger screen, and bring back the colourful splash screen when the app loads. I’ll also see if I can get any performance enhancements related to iOS 11 with the new development tools (Xcode 9). Watch out for that next!

In the meantime, an update to the MONK Episode Guide has been stuck in App Review Hell for the last two years, which added a book to the catalogue, however the update never got released. I’ll see if I can take care of that one as well.

Until then, happy sleuthing 🙂

Bundle Me Crazy

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 23.24.39

Great news for iOS 7 and iOS 8 users: you can now buy all our Episode Guide apps in one handy bundle, thanks to the App Store’s new feature – freshly released for your convenience earlier today.

Included are all seven apps, from Poirot to Frasier – with everything in between. You can also “complete your bundle” and only pay the difference for apps you don’t already own. It’s very swish.

There has never been a better time to complete your collection – head over to the App Store now and grab that crazy Episodes Guides Bundle now.


Poirot comes to iPad and iOS 8 – Version 2.2

I’ve just submitted The Belgian Detective Guide, Version 2.2 to the App Store. This update brings the following super exciting features to this little app:

  • added iPad support – the app is now universal
  • added Sophie Hannah’s novel The Monogram Murders
  • ready for iOS 8
  • and still working on iOS 5 devices

I’ve taken the same approach to adding an iPad interface as on previous apps I’ve converted. While not a totally new experience, the app now shows up when you’re searching from an iPad, and has the added benefit of an integrated web view for both Wikipedia and IMDb data. This means less tapping. Here’s a quick preview:


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I took care to still support iOS 5 – not an easy task when everything is looking at “the new thing” such as iOS 8 and iPhone 6.

The new development tools (Xcode 6) are not bad, with a huge plethora of new features -which usually comes at the expense of things that used to work rather well. Thankfully most of those are still in the same place as they were before.

In other news: we’ve shut down the dedicated website for this app and are in the process of integrating it into this one, so we have one place for support, feedback and announcements (and because we’re not allowed to ever speak the P word again, otherwise The Enforcer from that tree company comes down hard on us again).

The new version should be live within the next few days.

Poirot is back on iPad 1

Poirot Icon 512x512Rejoice, iPad 1 users: Today we’ve submitted Version 2.1 to the App Store, a small patch that will bring back The Belgian Detective Guide to your old devices!

We’ve received feedback from several users who said the app stopped working since the latest update on the iPad 1. That is very unfortunate, since at the time we had an iPhone 4s running iOS 5.1.1 which ran the app fine. We did not have access to an iPad 1, and Apple took away the iOS 5 simulators from our development tools. This left us without a chance to investigate.

But at the back of my mind I was always thinking: if ever I get an iPad 1, this is the first thing I’ll investigate.

Yesterday we received one from our friends at Oxford iPad Rentals at a superb price and in fantastic condition and went to work right away. And sure enough: Poirot didn’t work in iPad 1 with version 2.0. A puzzle!

Turns out the culprit was the way iOS now handles Storyboards and translations: under iOS 5 each translated view needed its own Storyboard (that’s a graphic file which lays out the flow of an app). iOS 6 introduced an option to translate several aspects of a storyboard, and when you try to run that on iOS 5 the app crashes.

This is all fixed in Poirot Version 2.1 – thank you for your patience, and I’m really sorry it took us so long to fix it. The new version should be live in a matter of days.