No one seems surprised when Colonel Lucius Protheroe, the most disliked person in St. Mary Mead, is found murdered in the local vicarage. Red herrings abound, especially when his widow and her lover both confess to the murder.
The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are summoned by a newspaper notice to the house of Letitia Blacklock, anticipating an evening of murder games. But things become all too real when an intruder is shot dead.
A wealthy woman holds a party at her Devon estate for family and friends, including old schoolmate Miss Marple. When a solicitor and the hostess herself are both murdered, Miss Marple tries to find a clever killer with a devious plan.
Colonel Lucius Protheroe is probably the least-liked individual in St Mary Mead. All resent his superior and demanding attitude. So, when he is found dead in the vicarage study, there is no end of suspects. His wife Ann was having an affair with a local artist, Lawrence Redding. His daughter Lettice bridled under his strict rule. There is also the vicar and his assistant, whom Protheroe suspected of stealing church funds. Finally, there is the mysterious Mrs. Lester with whom he clearly had some previous connection. Jane Marple, recuperating at home from a sprained ankle, had a bird's eye view of all the comings and goings at the vicarage around the time of the murder and she gladly assists Inspector Slack in solving the crime. Written by
Miss Marple is shown reading Raymond Chandler's short story anthology "The Simple Art of Murder", which also contains his titular essay on the detective novel. In the essay, Chandler argues that, in real life, the most unsolvable murders are the simplest, and criticizes, among other writers, Agatha Christie for creating implausible, over-elaborate murder plots for her novels. See more »
In the beginning of the film, when Miss Marple is ready to go to church, you can see a calendar on the table showing August 1951. On the calendar, the month begins with a Tuesday. In fact, the 1st of August 1951 was a Wednesday. See more »
So the vicar's called away with a bogus message. Murderer comes in through the garden. Victim writing note with back turned.
[mimes shooting the dead Colonel Protheroe at the desk]
That's how and when; just why and who.
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Hickson, McEwan, McKenzie - they each brought their own take on the Miss Marple character and I like all three actors in the role. McEwan's is the most edgy and worldly of the portrayals. From the costumes to the sets to the music, the production values of this show are marvelous and, with the exception of those playing the young adults, the cast is outstanding especially Janet McTeer. When I first saw this show I had no idea who McTeer was but since her amazing performance in the Albert Nobbs movie, I have gained an appreciation for her considerable acting talent and she shines in this episode. Derek Jacobi plays Colonel Protheroe - a blowhard, nasty and arrogant character who is just begging to be murdered as indeed he is. Although I recalled the solution having read the book, the mystery was still riveting and the ending was quite shocking. The one jarring bit to the story was the revelation of Miss Marple's youthful affair during WW I; the love affair itself seemed possible and believable but that it was with a married man seems way too unlikely and added nothing to the story. Even so, this show was a winner.
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