RogerBW's Blog

Murder at the Vicarage 05 September 2022

1993 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1930 mystery, in five 30-minute episodes.

This was the first Miss Marple novel, though the character had been introduced in short stories, and a particular trick perhaps seemed less hoary in 1930 than it does now – but it would be fair to argue that that's my fault for remembering it.

As well as June Whitfield as Miss Marple, we get Imelda Staunton in a sadly small part as the vicar's flighty wife, and a variety of other ladies whose voices alas rather blend into each other; at times it's really quite hard to tell who's meant to be admitting to what and with whom. (I suspect that drama schools may teach everyone to speak in the same way, which is fine on film or TV…) On the male side, John Baddeley does his best with a thankless part as Inspector Slack, while Nigel Davenport has a good turn as a somewhat toned-down Dr Haydock. (Quite surprisingly for a Bakewell adaptation, which are usually very close to the original text, most of his stuff about crime being a disease which will one day be understood and cured is cut here – perhaps because in 1993 it was felt that there needn't be as much excuse for his being opposed to the death penalty.)

Nothing outstanding, but a good solid adaptation.

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