Miss Marple is requested to help her old friend Carrie-Louise, the loving wife of benign philanthropist Lewis Serrocold. Carrie-Louise is slowly poisoned by an unknown hand,and her husband and her sister Ruth want absolutely to save her from this dark menace.Written by
Decent adaptation of one of Christie's lesser novels
The book was a good enough read but it is not among Agatha Christie's very best. I liked the story, if lacking the ingenuity that her books often does have though the final solution is great, but at first I do find it hard to get into. There are two previous adaptations of this particular book, the Helen Hayes film which is entertaining with a good cast if rather obvious and the better of the two the Joan Hickson version, though in regard to the latter it was my least favourite of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple adaptations due to some very sluggish pacing.
Back to this adaptation, as far as these Marples go which range from outstanding(The Blue Geranium) and surprisingly good(Murder is Announced) to truly disappointing(Nemesis) and terrible(At Bertram's Hotel), They do it with Mirrors is decent. It does have its problems, the script is weak at times in an attempt to cram a lot in and perhaps over-explain a tad, while the direction has its moments but there are times especially in the opening scene with Ruth and Miss Marple when it is rather poor. Joan Collins is not as bad as I was led to believe, she does have a fairly small role and performs with gusto but she does have an accent that wanders occasionally and that aforementioned opening did her no favours.
On a positive note, it does look fantastic. I do in general like the production values with these Marple adaptations but They do it with Mirrors with its crisp photography and beautiful scenery and costumes is especially impressively rendered. The music is a nice surprise, it isn't annoying and over bearing as it can be but feels more in tune with the atmosphere. The pace bounces along without feeling rushed or feeling as though it is going to drag, I admit I personally found this easier to get into than the book and the Joan Hickson version, also some of the characters especially Carrie Louise are somewhat more emphatic. The story may not be completely faithful in the details, character relationships are altered as is the means of crime, but in general it tries to stick to the book's spirit, and on its own terms it is still interesting and I didn't feel frustrated at the end like I did with Sleeping Murder or Body in the Library. The cast are great, Julia McKenzie is a very warm and engaging presence while Emma Malin is a strong Gina and Elliot Cowan is far better than he was in the Poirot episode he starred in(then I didn't like him or the episode itself for that matter). Penelope Wilton's Carrie Louise is very touching too, while Brian Cox is brilliant as Lewis Serrocold, different but interesting, I loved that.
Overall, a decent adaptation compared to what it could have been. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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