While inspecting the contents of the victim's suitcase, Miss Marple finds flyers for a theatrical production of Agatha Christie's "Murder She Said": this is the title of the first movie in which Rutherford appeared as Miss Marple and is an in-joke as Christie wrote no such play. Some foreign-language prints give the play's title as "4.50 From Paddington", which similarly was never adapted for the stage.
The music playing at the opening of the hospital scene is a reference to the television show Dr. Kildare (1961), down to the shot of the doors to the ward. The score alludes to the theme music from the series, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight", composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
This was the penultimate production in the series of four films with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple. The last is Murder Ahoy (1964) (made the same year as Murder Most Foul (1964)), in which Inspector Craddock has been promoted to the rank Chief Inspector. After the series concluded Rutherford and her husband Stringer Davis reprised their roles of Miss Marple and Mr Stringer only once more, for a brief cameo appearance in The Alphabet Murders (1965).
Cosgood hopes for a play-run longer than "The Mousetrap" - Agatha Christie's famous stage-play, which has been in continuous performance since 1952, the same year that source novel "Mrs McGinty's Dead" was first published.
There are various references to the work of William Shakespeare: the title hails from "Hamlet" Act I, Scene V (lines 27-28) where the Ghost speaks: "Murder most foul, as in the best it is;/But this most foul, strange, and unnatural." A key phrase in the film hails from "Romeo and Juliet" ("What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet" (Act II, Scene II)). And Cosgood alludes to "Macbeth"'s line "Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care" (Act II, Scene II, lines 34-35).