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Donning the trademark tweeds as if they were made for her, the marvelous Julia McKenzie (Cranford, Notes on a Scandal) assumes the Marple mantle in four gripping new adaptations of Christie mysteries. With her ladylike manners and modest appearance, Dame Agatha’s spinster sleuth blends into the background of fashionable society. However, her razor-sharp mind and no-nonsense view of human nature make her a formidable foe to evildoers, cracking the cases that even the professionals can’t solve.
Picturesque English scenery, grand estates, witty scripts, and lavish post-WWII period detail provide the perfect frame for "frighteningly fun mysteries" (Entertainment Weekly). The stellar supporting cast includes Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Anna Chancellor, Jemma Redgrave, Helen Baxendale, Brian Cox, Prunella Scales, Warren Clarke, Natalie Dormer, Rafe Spall, Kenneth Cranham, Samantha Bond, and Joan Collins. "Totally, unexpectedly fun" --E! Online.
A Pocket Full of Rye
Murder Is Easy
They Do It with Mirrors
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
Julia MacKenzie's Jane Marple is refreshingly self-assured in her nosiness, and as always, opportunistically capitalizes on how "people love talking to old ladies." While the viewer does catch Marple, on occasion, knitting or enjoying tea, for the most part she's hard at work afield, in her proper tweed suits. Because of this, each episode moves quickly. The plots are so thick that one can hardly keep track of what Marple is learning as she makes discoveries. In episode one, "A Pocket full of Rye," Rex Fortescue, a president of an investment firm, dies with a strange "cereal" in his pocket. Inspector Neele (Matthew MacFadyen) sets out to Yewtree Lodge, the family estate, where he suspects the poisonous Yew seeds came from. Marple gets in on the action, unearthing family secrets about Fortescue's troubled children, Percyval (Ben Miles), Elaine (Hattie Morahan), and Lancelot (Rupert Graves), who has been living in Africa. Which kid did it, one often asks in this series? In most episodes, clues given by housekeepers and chambermaids--in this case, Gladys (Rose Heiney)--help solve the case.
Similarly complicated episodes follow, each involving their own family or village. In "Murder Is Easy," Marple meets by train a kind-hearted Samaritan, Lavinia Pinkerton (Sylvia Syms), on her way to Scotland Yard to reveal crimes that have been occurring in her town. When Marple takes the next train to Lavinia's village to pay respects at her funeral, she teams up with detective Luke Fitzwilliam (Benedict Cumberhatch), to discover that practically everyone in town has a motive for the multiple killings taking place. "They Do It with Mirrors," set at Stoneygates estate, concerns the philanthropic Carrie Louise (Penelope Wilton), who is being slowly poisoned in her own home. We have no idea whether it is her husband, Lewis Serrocold (Brian Cox), daughters Gina (Emma Griffiths Malin) and Mildred (Sarah Smart), or sister Ruth (Joan Collins), who is attempting her murder until the very end. "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" starring Bobby Attfield (Sean Biggerstaff) and his girlfriend, Frankie Derwent (Georgia Moffett), who take interest in a dying man they find on a cliff, is so incredibly plot-thick that one hangs onto each clue, swayed multiple times before making a real discovery. Indeed, not until the last five minutes of each episode does one grasp what has just happened. While this could be frustrating for those trying to beat Marple's sleuthing, it does establish an almost mystical respect for her ability to figure out what's going on. --Trinie Dalton
Miss Marple's adventures are always fun to watch. She is a great sleuth.Published 1 month ago by JA ROWLAND
Julia McKenzie is a decent second to Joan Hickson, but no one can really top Hickson as Miss Marple. I have her entire Marple series. Read morePublished 1 month ago by NavyGirl
Julia is my favorite Marple. DVDs don't compress as is done on television programming, and these have subtitles. Shipped and received as promised.Published 1 month ago by Joseph L. Bartram
These are for people who never read Agatha Christie. Anyone who has read the original stories will be understandably offended, both by the horrible portrayal of Miss Marple and by... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P
Julia McKenzie gives an underwhelming performance in a rather superficial series. If it's Miss Marple you want, buy the Joan Hickson
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Is This The New Marple after McEwan?||
I think it's funny that people were used to Geraldine McEwen when those of us who remember the Joan Hickson series had a hard time with that new one! She was not "dotty" enough, in my view, but since the production values were so good I enjoyed them as mysteries, even if she wasn't... Read More
Jun 25, 2009 by Elizabeth L. Hay | See all 12 posts
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