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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Telefilm > British > Marple – Series Four (2008 – 2009/Acorn DVD)

Marple – Series Four (2008 – 2009/Acorn DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: B-



After three impressive seasons with Geraldine McEwan, the surprisingly successful and high-quality revival of Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple switches actresses.  Just as I had grown to like McEwan in what was a series of fine performances, Julia McKenzie succeeds her for Series Four of Marple and I was amazed how good she was and as good as any actress I have seen in the role.


The classic novels adapted this time (with original year of book release) include:


A Pocket Full Of Rye (1953, adapted by Kevin Elyot) – A rich man named Rex Fortescue is found dead at his desk and the only clue is what the title refers to, so Marple shows up and tries to figure out just how he was done in.  Ken Campbell and Windy Richard co-star in this impressive debut for McKenzie.


Murder Is Easy (aka Easy To Kill, 1939, adapted by Stephen Churchett) – The book actually does not feature Marple, but many believe it is, so the makers took the book and added her thoroughly in as she joins the one-shot appearance of Detective Luke Fitzwilliam in trying to find out about a murder connected to a train Marple takes.


Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (aka Boomerang Clue, 1934, adapted by Patrick Barlow) – This too is a Christie book that does not feature Marple, but the writers have once again found a clever way to add her in, changing the original detective duo slightly as a man’s dying words become the only clue to his murder.  Not bad, but purists might be put off.


They Do It With Mirrors (aka Murder With Mirrors, 1952, adapted by Paul Rutman) – In the best episode of the four seasons and shades of the big feature film adaptations that began in 1976, Marple is called in to help and old friend Carrie Louise (Penelope Wilton) and simple trouble turns into much worse.  Good thing Carrie-Louise’s sister Ruth Van Rydock (Joan Collins) asked her out of worry something worse would happen.  Ian Ogilvy (Return Of The Saint) and Brian Cox round out the best TV cast for one of these TV Mystery adaptations in many years.


Let’s hope McKenzie is going to stay on with the show for a while because at this rate, this could be classic.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is very good with little motion blur, color richness and even depth that is some of the best on TV today.  The makers are serious about making this look first class and they deliver.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is very well-recorded and clean without being harsh, which is less common for TV of any kind of late than you might think.  Extras are sadly few and including text bios of Christie and McKenzie, text cast bios and photo gallery.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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