RogerBW's Blog

The Moving Finger 03 May 2021

2001 adaptation of Christie's 1942 mystery, in a single 90-minute episode. Someone's sending poison-pen letters in a little village, and one of the recipients has committed suicide as a result. Though Miss Marple is not so sure…

Miss Marple suffers here by being largely out of the action – as she is in the original, of course, being consulted by the narrator, but it seems like a bit of a waste when you've gone to the trouble of casting June Whitfield. The cast is inevitably shrunk a bit and minor incidents are excised, which mostly works well; but perhaps in an attempt to squeeze in more of the murdering, some other items, like the resolutions of other people's stories, are compressed or elided – which in the case of the romance, in the text a little more fully-developed than in many Christies, leaves it telescoped essentially into a single scene, thus removing anything particularly distinctive about it. No plot element is completely broken here, but I enjoy the part of the detective story that talks about what happened next, and it's specifically reduced in this adaptation.

That said, the voice acting is good, with Jerry (Nicholas Boulton) and Megan (Annabelle Dowler) getting most of the best lines and making a decent fist of them. Scene breaks are apparent without drifting away into long silence. Sound effects are minimal, and one late item apparently meant to be a motor car rather threw me.

A good, if somewhat uninspired, mounting of what to my mind is one of Christie's better books.

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