Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 2

July 5, 2013 - Comment

As seen on the PBS Mystery! series Four all-new, full-length mysteries bring you a Miss Marple like no other. Geraldine McEwan (Vanity Fair, The Magdalene Sisters) returns as the spinster sleuth, as shrewd and sagacious as ever. Breathing new life into Agatha Christie’s novels, these intricately plotted and thoroughly engaging whodunits feature the richly detailed

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As seen on the PBS Mystery! series

Four all-new, full-length mysteries bring you a Miss Marple like no other. Geraldine McEwan (Vanity Fair, The Magdalene Sisters) returns as the spinster sleuth, as shrewd and sagacious as ever. Breathing new life into Agatha Christie’s novels, these intricately plotted and thoroughly engaging whodunits feature the richly detailed settings, lush cinematography, and imaginative screenplays that won Series 1 overwhelming critical acclaim and an Emmy® nomination.

McEwan imbues Miss Marple with a kindly sparkle and sly wit that prove “irresistible,” raves TV Guide. “Not your mother’s Miss Marple,” says the Associated Press. Sterling supporting casts that include Anthony Andrews, Michael Brandon, James D’Arcy, Geraldine Chaplin, Timothy Dalton, Frances de la Tour, Sophia Myles, Ken Russell, and Greta Scacchi further enrich this 21st century celebration of Agatha Christie’s most beloved heroine.Granada Television and the PBS Mystery! series’ Marple episodes continue to delight with such distinctive vitality, wit, and stylishness one may never again think of tea rooms in the English countryside as “quaint” settings. Geraldine McEwan (Vanity Fair) returns as Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple, elderly sleuth with a keenly discerning eye and sweet smile that takes the sting out of her blunt observations of friends and murder suspects alike. As with series 1, the quartet of mysteries in series 2, set shortly after World War II, are ensemble affairs filled out by such familiar faces as Timothy Dalton, Charles Dance, Greta Scacchi, Anthony Andrews, Patricia Hodge, and Imogen Stubbs. Rather than pound out a certain visual and tonal sameness over all four stories, each 90-minute episode seems to be approached as a stand-alone affair, giving writers, directors, and production teams a lot of leeway to give each story a unique stamp.

“Sleeping Murder” stars Sophia Myles as Gwenda Halliday, a young woman haunted by flashbacks of the memory of a killing she observed as a little girl in a stately British house. Problem is, Gwenda has only recently moved to Britain for the first time in her life, after growing up in India. Dawn French, Martin Kemp, and Geraldine Chaplin also star in the tale, which involves an old troupe of actors, a jewelry theft, and a very surprising conclusion. “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” concerns the disappearance of a doddering old woman who leaves behind a strange, spooky painting of a cottage in the woods, an unnerving figure lurking in the structure’s window. Miss Marple is on the trail, but she allows the lonely, alcoholic wife (Scacchi) of a government investigator (Andrews) to take the lead—a boost to the younger woman’s self-esteem.

The ambitious “The Moving Finger” is the most singular episode in sries 2, a cheeky–almost subversive–vision of a rosy, picture-postcard village whose tranquility is undone by a series of hateful letters mailed to individuals in the community. Miss Marple, observing the tragic effects of these missives on relationships and reputations, is practically in the background in this story, watching closely as a nihilistic young man (James D’Arcy) comes out of his cynical, alcohol-laced haze to investigate the source of so much misery. (Bonus: director Ken Russell appears as the local, red-cheeked vicar.) Finally, “The Sittaford Mystery” finds Timothy Dalton playing a likely prospect to become prime minister, until he’s stabbed to death following a séance. Set in a rundown hotel during a severe winter storm, the episode co-stars James Murray, Rita Tushingham, and comic-actor-director Mel Smith, the latter as the late, great man’s touchingly loyal, right-hand man. –Tom Keogh

Comments

Price Grisham says:

Great acting, ghastly scripts Sleeping Murder seems to refer mostly to what was done to the original book. Obviously considering Christie’s mysteries too mannerly, the scriptwriters invented a troupe of actors who sleep around with each other, then changed the step-sister in the plot to a real sister so some incest could be added; by the time the heroine breaks off her engagement to her fiance, it is a mild denoument, but at least consistent.In By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Miss Marple is injected into a plot…

Matthew Gladney says:

A Mixed Bag of Mystery The accomplished actress Geraldine McEwan stars as the spinster sleuth Jane Marple, who lives in the picturesque little village of St. Mary Mead. Pleasant and full of life, Ms. Marple often becomes interested if murder or mayhem rears its ugly head in her vicinity. She’s come to earn the respect of many in Scotland Yard, and makes friends easier than you can snap your fingers. With these new productions, its a pleasure to watch her solve the crimes.This new series of Marple stories…

Joyce says:

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL NEW VERSION OF OUR BELOVED MISS MARPLE I’ve been a Christie fan since childhood and loved the early movies in spite of Rutherford’s handling of the character. I loved Joan Hickson’s portrayal of Miss Marple and never thought anyone else could “be” Miss Marple for me. Therefore I expected to be disappointed with these new releases. I AM NOT DISAPPOINTED, I LOVE THIS NEW VERSION! After I cautiously viewed the first episode I came to fully appreciate Geraldine McEwan in the role. She is subtle, confident and highly adroit and I…

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