I am admittedly late to the game where Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries are concerned. But thanks to our library’s digital service Hoopla, this winter I started streaming “Agatha Christie’s Marple” and don’t know what I was waiting for. This British show is loosely based on the famous mystery writer’s novels and short stories, and ran for six series from 2004 to 2013. The role of Miss Marple is played by Geraldine McEwan from the first to the third series, followed by Julia McKenzie for its remainder. Both actors spectacularly portray Miss Jane Marple as a sweet older woman who could be anyone’s neighbor, who has a seemingly endless supply of nieces and nephews to assist her in collecting clues, and whose clever and feisty personality aid her in outwitting local police and catching the murderers herself. It checks all of my boxes for a great TV series –a smart crime to solve, a little bit of romance, and British period drama (1950s in this case). It is also fun to spot noteworthy guest-starring actors, including Julian Sands and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Because the show takes liberties with Miss Christie’s original novels, I thought I should experience a Marple novel as the author intended and I downloaded the e-book (from Libby, thanks again RRPL) Murder at the Vicarage to read. In this series first, a murder occurs in the sleepy village of St. Mary Mead, a hamlet where everyone knows each other’s business and the vicar, Leonard Clement, is everyone’s confidante. When Clement finds Colonel Lucius Protheroe murdered in his study, it is lucky for him that his neighbor is the witty Jane Marple. Miss Marple immediately has seven suspects, and while the police do not appreciate the nosy spinster getting their way, readers know that Miss Marple will solve the case and keep her village safe. How utterly delightful and reassuring!
It’s cold and snowy. Perhaps you too will want to get cozy with Agatha Christie and her charming Miss Marple this winter.