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By the Pricking of My Thumbs 

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
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


Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit their aunt Ada in a nursing home. Aida cryptically mentions to Tuppence about a murdered child. The next day Ada is found dead in her bed. Causes appear to be natural but Tuppence's suspicions are aroused when a note from Ada mentions that fellow-nursing home dweller Mrs Lancaster is not safe. Coincidentally, Mrs Lancaster has just checked out, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Johnson. While pondering all this at the nursing home, Tuppence runs into someone who is intrigued by her musings - Miss Marple. Together, and aided by a painting, they set off to find the Johnsons and Mrs Lancaster, as they are sure they are key to a mystery and potentially a murder, or two. Written by grantss

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

19 February 2006 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Although the exact date of the setting of the episode is not given the scenes at the film presentation clearly show signs that celebrate the Festival of Britain which took place in 1951. See more »


Judging by the presence of the USAF, the story is supposed to take place at the end of WWII. However Steven Berkoff's lawyer character Mr Eccles mentions that he shouldn't be pronouncing the country as "Keen-ya" but "Kenya". This was the case from 1963 onwards when Kenya gained independence and changed the pronunciation. This is anachronistic unless Mr Eccles is meant to be better informed and more sensitive to Kenyan sensibilities than the general British populace was back then. 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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