23/08/2011

NO MYSTERY UNSOLVED: MISS MARPLE IS HERE!

Geraldine McEwan
Miss Marple is the amateur detective Agatha Christie featured in 12 of her  novels and 20 of her short stories. Though I find Christie's plots rather repetitive and her characters definitely stereotypical, I enjoy watching the TV adaptations of her works, especially the latest remakings because they star lots of our beloved British actors from other period and modern dramas. In the last two weeks I've managed to see several Miss Marple episodes  on one of the satellite channels we pay for and which I hardly ever watch. For once, on holiday and alone at home, I was master of ... the remote control!
Julia McKenzie
Miss Jane Marple is an elderly lady who lives in the little English village St. Mary Mead. She is always dressed neatly in tweed and is frequently seen knitting or pulling weeds in her garden. Miss Marple sometimes comes across as confused or weird, but when it comes to solving mysteries, she has a sharp logical mind, and an almost unmatched understanding of human nature with all its weaknesses, strengths, quirks and foibles. In the detective story tradition, she often embarrasses the local "professional" police by solving mysteries that have them stumped. On the screen she has been portrayed by Gracie FieldsMargaret RutherfordAngela LansburyDulcie GrayHelen HayesJoan HicksonGeraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie

Among the episodes I've seen in the last couple of weeks Nemesis (2007),  Toward Zero (2007),  Ordeal by Innocence (2007) Murder is Easy  (2008) and A Pocket Full of Rye (2008)  . In the 2007 TV movies Miss Marple is Geraldine McEwan while in the 2008 ones she is played by  Julia McKenzie. 


Dan Stevens in Nemesis (2007)

NEMESIS (2007) Jason Rafiel, an old friend of Miss Marple's, dies and leaves her an unusual legacy, to grant his final wish: she has to uncover a possible murder that may or may not have happened already. All she gets are two tickets to a mystery bus tour and the advice to invite someone trustworthy to the bus trip. The only thing she knows about the crime being a single word: 'nemesis'. Accompanied by her novelist nephew Raymond West, she finds herself on a bus filled with a strange assortment of people from all stations and walks of life - from debutantes to nuns and butlers to war heroes. More than one person will die before Miss Marple discovers the murderer.

Greg Wise in Toward Zero
TOWARD ZERO (2007)  Miss Marple is visiting an old school friend, Lady Camilla Tressilian, along with an eclectic group: tennis star Nevile Strange and his wife Kay, his former wife Audrey and her childhood friend and cousin Thomas Royde, Ted Latimer, who is something of a gigolo and very attracted to Kay Strange, and finally Freddie Treves, a retired solicitor. When Treves is found dead the day after a dinner party at Lady Tressilian's home and Lady Tressilian herself is found bludgeoned to 
death a short time later, Miss Marple must sort through the complex set  of relationships among all of the players and must determine what role a tale of a child's crime may have had to play in the deaths.



Richard Armitage as Philip Durrant
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE (2007)  Rachel Argyle, mother of five adopted children, is murdered and immediately, the rest of the family just assumes that Jacko, one of her sons, must be the murderer because he threatened to kill her earlier that same evening. Two years later, a man shows up at the Argyle's mansion and confirms what Jacko has told the police all along: he was hitchhiking at the time of the murder and in the company of that very man. Now, the Argyles have to deal not only with the loss of an innocent family member but also with the knowledge that someone else amongst them must have murdered Rachel Argyle. Fortunately, Miss Marple is on hand to find the guilty 
party, but it's not before the deaths of other innocent people that she can reveal the truth.


Benedict Cumberbatch - Murder is easy
MURDER IS EASY During a chance encounter on a train, the elderly Miss Pinkerton confides in Miss Marple that she is about to report a murderer who has already struck several times in the peaceful village of Wychwood-under-Ashe. When Miss Marple reads that Miss Pinkerton died in a tragic accident before making her report, she determines that it is now up to her to find out who the killer is. Charming her way into village life, Miss Marple is befriended by Luke Fitzwilliam, a handsome former policeman who is increasingly drawn to the mysterious and beautiful young American Bridget Conway. But when the sudden deaths of the belligerent local GP, Dr Humbleby and the maid of Honoria Waynflete leaves Reverend Wake busy with funeral services, Luke finds himself becoming Miss Marple's confidante and ally in the search for the truth. It's not long before the bereaved Jessie Humbleby loses her grip on reality. Meanwhile, a local General Election gathers pace as its two opponents pit their wits against one another. The nervous Constable Reed steps in, turning to Miss Marple for guidance in the murky waters of his first murder case. At last, Miss Marple prepares to reveal a secret so shocking the village will never be the same again…


M. MacFadyen - A Pocket Full of Rye
A POCKET FULL OF RYE  (2008) Wealthy businessman Rex Fortescue collapses and dies in his office. It is determined that he was poisoned, and a handful of rye is found in his pockets. No one seems too upset, as everyone agrees that Rex was a tyrant. Soon, however, Rex's young wife also ends up poisoned. The maid, Gladys, whom Miss Marple trained, writes to her asking for help. Miss Marple arrives too late, as Gladys' body is found strangled. Miss Marple senses a connection between the deaths and a well-known nursery rhyme, "Sing a Song of Sixpence". Now it is up to her to find the cold-blooded killer and to deliver justice.


Only having a look at the pictures you would have found several clues of the motivation, the "why " I love watching the Miss Marple series on TV.  Wouldn't you ? Dan Stevens, Greg Wise, Matthew MacFadyen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage! And did I tell you which is my favourite episode? No? Well, I bet you can guess having a look around at Fly High! Or ... you could ask Miss Marple for help. No mystery unsolved! 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi MG, I enjoy Miss Marple series, have read all books and watched it on Youtube. Besides a lot of lovely Brits, I like scenarios and costumes. It's interesting how writers almost always improve the plots.(Did you read "Ordeal by innocence"? Philip Durrant dies in the book!)
Poirot series has eye candy too, like Rupert Penry-Jones in "Sad Cypress".
About your favorite (and mine), no need of Miss Marple to solve this big mystery, it's quite obvious!;)
Fabi

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Fabi
Hello Fabi! You're an expert, I see. I'm not instead. I have never read Agatha Christie's books, not my cup of tea, as I said at the beginning of this post.But as a period drama lover, I like watching this series for its scenarios, costumes and stellar cast.
So you guessed which my favourite episode is! And ... my favourite is ... yours too? Great! Welcome on Fly High!