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The Murder at the Vicarage 

No one seems surprised when Colonel Protheroe is found murdered in the local vicarage. Red herrings abound, especially when his widow and her lover both confess to the murder.


(as Charles Palmer)


(novel), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jana Carpenter ...
May Ainsworth
Siobhan Hayes ...


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

19 December 2004 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


DI Slack: The lady in the cottage with a view of the back here.
Rev Leonard Clement: Miss Marple?
DI Slack: I need to interview her. Would you tag along? These old maids tend to get nervous.
See more »


Remake of Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

The Writer Smiles
12 January 2008 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Wonderful, this is.

It is wonderful in part because it takes chances with the material and the presentation.

You have to appreciate a few facts. This was Agatha's first published book. It is before she hit her stride where she was comfortable enough with the genre that she started fooling with the rules of the genre in amazingly clever and modern ways. So it is just a typical complicated murder, planned by "evil" people. The murder itself is conventional for the period, like hundreds of other books of the period.

It introduces Miss Marple, so it is apt that the story lines include our introduction to the character, adding elements that are from Christie.

Another fact is that Christie during this period had unhappy romantic episodes and had some intrigue and mystery in her own life. She would in fact be very much like the young Marple we see here. And inserting the author in the story as the detective is precisely something she might do herself. (The adapter here also plays the coroner. Nice metafolding.)

If you are going to watch any of these, you should watch this one first to get the backstory on Jane, and to understand why she wistfully looks at an old photo.

As to the mystery story itself, it is background noise and poorly presented. But remember it is so in the book. On that we have famous actors doing their stuff. One of these is Jane Asher. She's not an amazing actress but she if often used as an amazing presence. And here it is so. She plays a character that if I recall is more prominent in the book, but less sassy and obviously significant than rendered here. She's one of the most remarkable unremarkable women in modern history because of her role in the Beatles and Alice.

Something along these lines may be done one day for theatrical release, and I expect similar notions of narrative folding and cinematic exaggeration. But we'll have more explicit recognition of what drives this story, and presumably the whole village: sex.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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