Agatha Christie's Marple: Season 2, Episode 3

By the Pricking of My Thumbs (19 Feb. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 799 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 2 critic

Miss Marple joins forces with Tommy and Tuppence Beresford to find the murderer of Tommy's Aunt Ada.



(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Chloe Pennington ...
Oliver Jordan ...
Tommy / Tommy Beresford
Miss Packard
Miriam Karlin ...
Marjorie Moody (as Majorie Moody)
June Whitfield ...
Mrs. Lancaster
Aunt Ada
Mr. Eccles
Patrick Barlow ...
Mr. Timothy
Chris Murphy (as O-T Fagbenle)
Jody Halse ...
Amos Perry
Dr. Joshua Waters


When Tommy and Tuppence visit an elderly aunt in her nursing home, Tuppence is concerned by the odd behavior of some staff and residents. So when Tuppence hears about Aunt Ada's sudden death and the disappearance of her friend Mrs Lancaster, she realizes her concerns were right. Tuppence meets Miss Marple and together they follow a path of clues that lead them to the Norfolk village of Farrell St Edmund, where they find a community guarding an array of secrets. Only by getting to the bottom of these secrets do they begin to unravel the truth about the mystery of Aunt Ada's death and Mrs Lancaster's disappearance. Written by Faaike

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Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

19 February 2006 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Miss Marple does not appear in Agatha Christie's original novel, which was an adventure featuring her other sleuths, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. In order to make the story part of the Marple series, the time period was moved from post-war to sometime near the end of the war. This conveniently places Tommy still in the military intelligence service abroad, and his part of the story was re-written for Miss Marple. See more »


This episode is set somewhere in the late 40s, early 50s (Polo mints were first made in 1948). Miss Marple requests the taxi driver to take them to "the train station". The expression "train station" has only been in common use in the last few years, it's certain Miss Marple would have said "railway station". See more »


Septimus Bligh: Why do you drink?
Tuppence Beresford: Why do you?
Septimus Bligh: [Bitterly] Because life is empty of meaning.
See more »


Version of By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

All a bit of a yawn!,
28 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

I had reservations about the combining of Tommy & Tuppence with Miss Marple, and wondered how it would be achieved. It was really rather clever at first. However the transformation of Tuppence Beresford into a bored housewife with a drink problem, is somewhat at odds with the character that Agatha Christie created. If anything Tuppence was always the brighter and more forthright of the married couple, and there was never ever a suggestion by Dame Agatha that such a weakness existed.

The Beresfords visit Tommy's Aunt Ada at the nursing home in which she is living, where they hear of a supposed murder of a child in bygone years. A week or so later Tuppence is told of said Auntie's sudden death and treats the news with suspicion. Then she learns that Ada's friend Mrs Lancaster (June Whitfield, the BBC radio Miss Marple) had suddenly disappeared that same evening. Whilst Tommy is away on MI6 business, Tuppence and Jane Marple (who had also been a-visiting at the home) join forces to solve the mystery.

I read this Tommy and Tuppence tale years ago, but it's storyline has faded from my memory, so I can't tell (apart from the fact that Jane Marple wasn't in the novel) how much this production has veered from the original. Plot-wise, "By the Pricking of my Thumbs" is not a bad whodunit, but the under-played performances from the top stars on display here were sadly lack-lustre. It was only a yawn or two that actually kept me awake. Overall this production is only slightly better than "Sleeping Murder" (which was nothing but utter carnage).

I just cannot understand why there is a pathological insistence, particularly in this series, of wanting to change something purely for the sake of change? Will there next be an attempt to have Poirot solving Marple mysteries, and vice-versa, or will Superintendent Battle solve the lot? And will someone then come up with the idea of the collecting together Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, Supt Battle, Parker Pyne, Mr Quinn, Tommy & Tuppence, and calling them "The Seven Scanner Eyes"? Why can't they leave Dame Agatha alone? Would they have the gall to treat Charles Dickens in such a scandalous way? Can I suggest Wilkins Micawber to solve "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"? I don't think that anyone can deny Dame Agatha Christie's place in classical literature, even if most of her works are "only" murder mysteries. (Let's face it, one of the founders of the "whodunits" genre was Wilkie Collins, a contemporary and close friend of Charles Dickens, and even the latter dabbled.) I'm sure Christie worked out her plots in precise detail, which is probably why they've stood the test of time, whereas lesser authors' works have been forgotten. Which is all the more reason why they should not be taken apart and tarted up. Especially by screen writers who couldn't hold a candle to her, and are not fit to hold her pen.

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