Miss Marple (Joan Hickson)

Suggested by Brad Nelson • An elderly spinster living in the little village of St Mary Mead, Marple often stumbles upon murders which she helps solve. Considered a “nosy parker” by police, her reputation and unparalleled powers of observation eventually win them over.
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One Response to Miss Marple (Joan Hickson)

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    You can find the complete DVD set of this series for a fairly reasonable price of $49.00. As of this writing, all of the episodes are available on BritBox whose streaming service I accessed to watch this.

    I’ve been working my way through these, mostly from start to finish but I have jumped ahead here and there. Oddly, the very first episode, The Body in the Library, is one of the worst. The plot is convoluted and not all that much happens in 180 minutes. This was originally broad cast in 3 parts, 60 minutes each, and is presented as such on BritBox.

    Next is “The Moving Finger” which is another Christie plot that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But then Christie has always been about improbable, though creative, murders. But surely few would ever try to stage manage any of the murders as are typical in Christie’s works. Still, if you accept the premise, this as delightful two-part (120 minute) episode featuring poison pen letters that someone is sending out to stir up trouble. In this one, the cast and characters are strong and interesting. The plot, while incredible, is fun to follow.

    Next is “A Murder is Announced” which shares all the best and worst features of the previous episode. That anyone would try to murder someone in such a stage-managed way is improbable, if not nearly impossible. Still, the cast of characters is strong. John Castle debuts as Detective Inspector Craddock who, in his one and only later appearance in “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side”, is presented as a relative of Miss Marple. Inspector Craddock’s second is DS Fletcher, played by Kevin Whately (Inspector Lewis). Paola Dionisotti is particularly memorable as Miss Hinchcliffe. Inspector Craddock doesn’t immediately warm to Miss Marple but is soon asked by his superior to consult her because he wants the cased closed as an obvious suicide. But Craddock is stuck so his boss wishes to un-stick him via Marple. He’s soon sharing confidential info with Marple and is not hostile toward her as is Inspector Slack in other episodes. All in all, a fairly gritty set of murders and the murderer well hidden.

    The idea that senior citizens might know more than the vapid yutes who drift around on their every vanity probably will not resonate with today’s audience, although another Marple series did run from 2006 to 2014, so who knows? But this is a character- and dialog-driven mystery. That the plots are sometimes bonkers doesn’t always significantly detract from this aspect of it. And just the bizarreness of the plots, of course, produce their own type of interest.

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