When you’re snuffling and feeling a bit miserable with a cold there’s nothing better than settling down with some soup and a classic murder mystery. As I couldn’t concentrate enough to read, I put on a DVD of Murder She Said, based on Agatha Christie’s 4.50 from Paddington. This marvelous romp stars Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie’s genteel sleuth Miss Jane Marple. Rutherford is nothing like Christie’s character from the books, but who cares?
The 1961 MGM production was the first in a series of four and, I think, the best of them. Unfortunately they weren’t particularly successful at the box office, a fact that pleased Agatha Christie no end since she despised the movies. Although production began on a fifth movie, based on The Body in the Library, it didn’t make it to the screen. It’s a pity though, since MGM owned the rights to all the Christie stories there might have been a dozen more to enjoy.
Although in the book it’s Miss Marple’s friend Mrs McGillicuddy who witnesses the murder, in the movie its the sleuth herself who looks out of the window to see a woman being strangled in a passing train. When the police don’t believe her story she enlists the help of her gentleman friend – and librarian! – Mr Stringer to locate the body and prove that she’s not the dotty old bat the police seem to think she is. Miss Marple lands a post as an unlikely housemaid, arriving with a set of golf clubs at Ackenthorpe Hall where she sets out to find the body and where, two murders later, she unveils the murderer.
Jolly good fun.