The normally friendly village of Lymston is plagued by vile anonymous letters. When a mother of three takes her own life, following such a letter, Ms. Marple is not at all convinced things are as they seem.
A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover.
While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.
A murder is announced in the Chipping Cleghorne Gazette to take place on October 5th, 7 PM at Little Paddocks cottage. The people living there, retired secretary Miss Blacklock, her companion Miss Bunner, Miss Blacklock's two distant cousins, Patrick and Julia and Mrs.Haymes, a gardener, have no idea what the ad is about. Several villagers arrive at the house under the false pretenses of "just walking by" or "Was in the neighborhood". At exactly 7 PM, the lights go out, and a man enters the room, and shines a flashlight in everyone's face. Then shots are heard. As the lights come back on, they find the man who entered the room has been shot. Miss Marple must unmask the killer but soon more murders turn up. Written by
Now that the campy ITV Marple series is well into its stride it is time to reflect on whether the BBC Miss Marple programmes were as good as we thought. Judged by this outing there is no contest.
Alan Plater's witty script, while faithful to Christie's convoluted plotting, adds colour and shading to the proceedings and clips along at a nice pace. The actors certainly rise to the occasion; Joan Hickson is on top form, her interpretation of an inquisitive old lady from a 1950s country village is totally believable; Renee Asherson's character is rather irritating and the actress reflects this in her performance; Ursula Howells is quite brilliant, making a complex personality convincing; and there is good support from Samantha Bond, Joan Sims, Ralph Michael and a somewhat underused Sylvia Syms.
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