A Murder Is Announced, A murder is announced in the Chipping Cleghorne Gazette to take place on October 5th, 7 PM at Little Paddocks cottage. The people living there, retired secretary Miss Blacklock, her companion Miss Bunner, Miss Blacklock’s two distant cousins, Patrick and Julia and Mrs.Haymes, a gardener, have no idea what the ad is about. Several villagers arrive at the house under the false pretenses of “just walking by” or “Was in the neighborhood”. At exactly 7 PM, the lights go out, and a man enters the room, and shines a flashlight in everyone’s face. Then shots are heard. As the lights come back on, they find the man who entered the room has been shot. Miss Marple must unmask the killer but soon more murders turn up.
The book A Murder Is Announced is a brilliant book, one of my favourite Agatha Christies, intricately woven and quite complex. This adaptation is a million times better than the Geraldine McEwan version, and not only was it faithful to the book, but it almost surpassed it. The adaptation is lovingly photographed, with stunning locations and costumes. The music is beautiful, reminds me a bit of a day in the country, peaceful and relaxing. The script is well crafted, the plot is brilliantly constructed and like I’ve said already, the adaptation is very faithful to the book. The lights-going-off scene was very haunting, and gave me nightmares when I first saw this when I was 11, six years ago, just like in the book, that scene was underplayed in the Geraldine McEwan version. The acting was very, very good, Joan Hickson doesn’t just play Miss Marple, she IS Miss Marple. There was one scene with a sideways close up into Hickson’s face, and that moment in particular was extraordinary. Samantha Bond was lovely as Julia, and Ursula Howells was superb as Letitia Blacklock. Joan Sims also delights as Amy Murgatroyd, and before he did Inspector Morse Kevin Whately did this, and he is a breath of fresh air as Sergeant Fletcher. Everyone else was just as superb. In fact, I have no criticisms of this at all, the ending will have you completely by surprise if you haven’t read the book, the length was just right and everything about this was delightful.