A simple plot: a the body of a young woman is found in the library of a manor house in Kent. She can be traced to a sea-side hotel, and the list of suspects is endless. The police are baffled. So, who do you call in? Scotland Yard? The FBI? No. Just call Miss Marple, the elderly sleuth from St Mary Mead. She may look innocent, but her mind has plummeted the deaths of human inequity, and is as sharp as a meat cleaver.
This is the first of the twelve adaptations made by the BBC between 1984 and 1992, all featuring the late, great Joan Hickosn, who is regarded as the definitive Miss Marple. Hickson truly shines as Miss Marple, able to convey a sense of depth in the character, and to really capture Miss Marple as Christie described her: on the outside, seemingly dotty - a fluffy, gentle old lady more concerned with knitting than murder; but on the inside, a detective genius, but very modest, also.
The supporting cast are really quite good, too. Gwen Watford is delightful as Mrs Bantry, in whose library the body is found. Her dependence on Miss Marple, and the way that she acts as though Miss Marple were her nanny, always asking questions in a sweet, child-like way is quite charming. Moray Watson (whom you may recognise from the Darling Buds of May) is also very good as the proud, military man Colonel Bantry, who appears very strong, but, as Miss Marple says, like most military men, is unusually sensitive. The rest of the cast are good too, particularly, David Horovitch as Chief Inspector Slack, the zealous police officer who is always trying to outdo Miss Marple in detective skills, but rarely succeeds, much to his own chagrin!
The period detail is also excellent, and really recreates a Britsoh sea-side resort in the years directly after WWII, with people gradually starting to enjoy themselves again, and really getting into the swing of leisure, dinner and dancing. The costumes are realistic, as are the characters. The eventual solution will surprise you!
This adaptation far surpasses the new ITV series featuring Geraldine McEwan, who, in my opinion, is far too racy nd modern to play Miss Marple. If you want a more wholesome, realistic Miss Marple, who is more like the Miss Marple of the books, I highly recommend that you watch this.
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