Day 233 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

Geoff and I watched a Miss Marple murder mystery on TV last night and it got me thinking on how we could all learn something from Miss Marple (created by Agatha Christie) who appears in books and now in movie length television series.

She is such a lovely old dear, approachable and sweet, but underneath that gentle exterior is an investigator extraordinaire who solves every murder she comes across.  And believe me, she comes across an awful lot of murders! If I went somewhere on holidays and Miss Marple appeared, I would run a mile  because there would be a murder somewhere for sure.

Now why am I writing all this? We can actually thank Geoff for it because he continually falls asleep in every murder mystery that we watch and misses the end. Oh we do love our murder mysteries! Consequently, I usually tape them and replay the end the next day for him to find out what happens.

This usually means that I pick up a little more detail than most as I keep watching the end of the movie more than once. It is quite hilarious folks … yet I don’t mind because I enjoy finding the detail in things. This is the detail I discovered today.

Miss Marple had just solved the murder of some old lady and saved a younger woman named Audrey  from taking the blame and thus being hung. As the movie was ending, Audrey was congratulating Miss Marple on identifying the killer (and saving her bacon). She said:

“Oh Miss Marple,  I somehow think you are very good at this.” Miss Marple smiled and with a delightfully smug look on her face, replied: “Well … yes …  I do believe I am my dear.”

Geraldine McKewan my favourite Miss Marple

How precious! Wouldn’t it be good if we could all be so confident about ourselves in this way? As you know, I have been writing about finding out what you are good at doing. So here was Miss Marple – totally content – knowing exactly what she was good at doing: solving murders.

No pride. It is humility really when you realise “yes I am good at this.”

And that my friends is how you learn from watching a Miss Marple movie!

At this stage some of you may be asking: who in the name of goodness is Miss Marple? I should not take it for granted that EVERYONE knows about Miss Marple so I thought a little explanation would not go astray (if you have never encountered her get hold of the series on DVD and have a look).

Jane Marple, usually referred to as Miss Marple, is a fictional character in twelve of Agatha Christie”s s crime novels and in twenty short stories. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster who lives in the village of St. Mary Mead and acts as an amateur detective”

It seems that Miss Marple’s first appearance was in a short story published in The Sketch magazine in 1926. Her first appearance in a full-length novel was in The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930.  It seems likely that the character of Miss  Marple is based on Christie’s grandmother and her friends.

I first read Agatha Christie’s books when I was a teenager and I came to love both Miss Marple and her other famous character ‘Poirot’ who also graces the small screen from time to time. But, as much as you might read the books, watching various series of Miss Marple  over the years on TV,  reveals a succession of different actresses which can be confusing.

However my favourite now – but this was not so in the beginning –  is Geraldine McEwan who is delightful in the role. McEwan’s Marple emerges as “sprightly, mischievous, and perhaps more experienced in romance than many fans may have suspected”.

Julia McKenzie the latest Miss Marple

The other Miss Marple’s are definitely more matronly such as Margaret Rutherford, Angela Lansbury, Joan Hickson, Gracie Fields and Helen Hayes. Geraldine McEwan is not the latest Miss Marple and recently another one appeared on our screens: Julia McKenzie who is quite credible also.

Still my favourite remains Geraldine McEwan.It is because she is definitely more mischievous and animated than the others. However, one thing remains the same with all the Miss Marple characters – they all knit! Yep, when the murder investigation is getting really tough, there is Jane Marple knitting away as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do!

And so as I conclude my blog today I thank you for letting me indulge in a discussion of one of my favourite characters in a murder mystery: Jane Marple. I also love the period of the early fifties that Miss Marple is set in. It just adds to the charm of the whole thing.

Do you think that watching murder mysteries is too gruesome? For me the murders never get me down because I don’t take them seriously and I just love the cut and thrust of trying to solve the murder and figure out “who done it?”

Who else ‘out there’ in the blogosphere loves murder mysteries like I do? Oh how I love the pure escapism of a good murder mystery …