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Series / Miss Marple (1984)

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"There she sits, an elderly spinster. Sweet, placid - so you'd think. Yet her mind has plumbed the depths of human iniquity, and taken it all in a day's work."
Sir Henry Clithering, The Body in the Library (part 2)

Miss Marple (styled as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple for title sequences and covers) is a British detective series produced by The BBC, based on Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels.

The titular Miss Marple, played by Joan Hickson, is an elderly lady who's drawn into various investigations as an amateur sleuth, using the wisdom accumulated from a quiet village life to understand the murderers and criminals who cross her path. Miss Marple takes the view that there's little that's unique about such cases - the things that drive killers are the same things seen elsewhere in normal life, part of human nature, but now writ large. Examples from village life act as analogies to the murder's motive and approach, allowing her to uncover them.

Miss Marple is the only regular character, but there are a few recurring characters as well. Inspector Slack and Sergeant Lake get involved in multiple investigations, millionaire Jason Rafiel is key to two stories, and Dolly Bantry, Inspector Craddock and Miss Marple's nephew Raymond West all make return appearances.

The BBC produced 21 episodes, adapting all 12 of Christie's Miss Marple novels (but not her short stories).

Books were initially serialised in 2-3 parts, but the series ended with a quartet of Made-for-TV Movie adaptations, each of which covered a whole book.

The serialised stories were later edited together into Compilation Movie format for some repeats and exports. Conversely, the Made-for-TV Movies were eventually split and serialised for other repeats and exports.

The first episode aired December 26, 1984. The final TV movie aired December 27, 1992.

List of episodes and adaptations

    Season one ( 10 episodes, 1984-1985) 
All stories were split into hour-long episodes and serialised.
    Season two ( 7 episodes, 1986-1987) 
All stories were filmed as hour-long episodes, with two episodes for each adaptation. However, the first story was then edited into a single extra-long episode to launch the season.
    TV movies ( 4 episodes, 1987-1992) 
All episodes were filmed in the Made-for-TV Movie format, with a complete story in each one, not serialised. Episodes were released at Christmas.

Miss Marple contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In the original novel Nemesis, Michael Rafiel was jailed for Verity Hunt's murder, and is still in prison at the start of the story. In the series he was never convicted and is now living on the streets of London - and working as an advocate for the homeless.
    • In the original A Pocket Full of Rye Mary Dove is an opportunistic blackmailer who also plots to rob her former employer's' houses. Whereas in the show's "A Pocketful of Rye", Dove calmly tells Inspector Neele she's skimming money from household expenses - stating that she'll repay it if she has to - but doesn't seem to be guilty of anything worse.
    • In the novel The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, Marina Gregg's butler Giuseppe gets himself killed in a Blackmail Backfire after trying to profit from the murder. In the show, he's simply an efficient, professional butler.
  • Adaptational Karma: In the novel At Bertram's Hotel, the murderer is not apprehended, although Chief Inspector Davy vows to go after her. In the show's adaptation, Miss Marple finds that the killer kept an incriminating diary, which is sufficient evidence for an arrest.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: Miss Marple's nephew, the crime writer Raymond West, appears in the very first Miss Marple short stories, The Thirteen Problems. However, as the series doesn't adapt the short stories at all, and doesn't adapt the novels in sequence, he's completely absent from season one. He's also Adapted Out of season two's first arc, "Murder at the Vicarage", eventually appearing in "Sleeping Murder".
  • Adaptational Location Change: The novel A Caribbean Mystery is set on the fictional island of St Honoré. The adaptation changes the setting to Bermuda.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • In "A Murder is Announced", the foreign housekeeper at Little Paddocks, who plays an important part in the story, is named Hannah. Her counterpart in the book is Mitzi.
    • There's a very minor name change in "Murder at the Vicarage", with the book's Anne Protheroe becoming Ann for the show.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • In the book ''4:50 from Paddington", every adult male in Rutherford Hall hits on Lucy Eyelesbarrow. The adaptation confines this to her two main suitors, Cedric Crackenthorpe and Bryan Eastley.
    • In the books, Miss Marple's friend Sir Henry Clithering is godfather to Inspector Craddock. In the show, Sir Henry is broadly Demoted to Extra, only appearing in "The Body in the Library". After Craddock debuts in "A Murder is Announced", that connection is never mentioned (although Miss Marple recognises Craddock for some reason, which seems to surprise him). Eventually, a Retcon makes Craddock Miss Marple's nephew instead.
  • Adaptation Title Change: The novel A Pocket Full of Rye is slightly retitled for the series, becoming "A Pocketful of Rye".
  • Adapted Out:
    • Miss Marple's old friend Sir Henry Clithering, introduced in "The Body in the Library", appears in some of the other novels, but plays no part in their adaptations. His connection to Inspector Craddock, his godson in the books, is also omitted.
    • Rex Fortescue's daughter Elaine, the only child who actively mourns him when he's murdered, exists in the book A Pocket Full of Rye, but not in the adaptation. In the show, Fortescue's only children are his two sons, Lance and Percival. Elaine's boyfriend Gerald is also entirely adapted out. There's also a downplayed example in Mrs MacKenzie, widow of Rex Fortescue's business partner. She appears in the original book, but becomes The Ghost in the adaptation, with Miss Marple visiting her offscreen.
    • Multiple characters are adapted out of "Murder at the Vicarage". Melchett, who appeared in "The Body in the Library" is in the novel The Murder at the Vicarage as well, but not in the adaptation. Archaeologist Dr. Stone and his assistant Miss Cram are adapted out, as is the vicar's nephew Dennis, narrowing the range of suspects. Miss Marple's own nephew Raymond West is also in the book, but not the adaptation, which would have been his debut in the series.
    • In 4:50 from Paddington, recurring character Inspector Craddock is the lead detective. In the "4:50 From Paddington" made-for-TV movie, he's nowhere to be seen, with Inspector Slack returning instead, accompanied by Canon Foreigner Inspector Duckham of CID.
    • In They Do It With Mirrors, the police investigation is led by Inspector Curry. In the adaptation, returning characters Chief Inspector Slack and Sergeant Lake lead the investigation.
  • Age Lift: In the book of Nemesis, Miss Barrow and Miss Cooke are said to be "middle-aged". In the adaptation they're bikers aged around thirty.
  • All There in the Script: In "Sleeping Murder", Inspector Last is only named in the credits. In "At Bertram's Hotel", this happens with Chief Inspector Davy. Dialogue in both stories only ever refers to them by their rank.
  • Always Murder: As with the original novels, every story arc involves at least one murder (and usually more). In many cases, it's the murder that starts Miss Marple's investigation and gets the police involved. "The Moving Finger" and "At Bertram's Hotel" are notable exceptions, with other criminal activities getting Miss Marple's attention long before anyone dies. At the other end of the scale, "Nemesis" and "Sleeping Murder" are investigations into unsolved murders from years ago (although both lead to new killings when the murderers attempt to silence people they fear may Know Too Much).
  • Anachronic Order: The books are adapted out of sequence and, although the series is largely episodic, there are cases where it becomes clear that they're out of order. Most notably, Jason Rafiel's death launches the plot of "Nemesis", but he's introduced as a younger man in "A Caribbean Mystery", two stories later.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: In "A Murder is Announced", the titular ad is placed in a newspaper and villagers gather at Letitia Blacklock's house expecting some sort of performance, even though Letitia tells them the ad is a hoax. At the appointed time, the lights go out, a masked man bursts in shouting "Stick 'em up!" and real shots are fired, leaving Letitia injured and the masked man dead. Everyone is extremely shocked. The dead man, Rudi Scherz, was simply hired to play a part, not realising he was being lured to his own murder.
  • Animated Credits Opening: A very subtle version. The credits use paintings of idyllic English village life (for the first season; it's almost entirely in black and white, with just a faint hint of colour), zooming in to show a hidden corpse and malicious expressions. It's only at the end that it's animated, with curtains moving and a garden seen through a gate shifting as the camera pans past.
  • The Bait: Schemes to Bluff the Murderer often involve someone acting as bait, but it also happens in other scenarios.
    • In "The Body in the Library", Conway Jefferson announces that he's going to change his will, which would cause the whole Inheritance Murder scheme to unravel. The killer tries to murder him in his sleep, only to discover that Jefferson's awake, armed and supported by armed police.
    • In "The Moving Finger", Megan agrees to try to blackmail the killer, who initially pays up, but later tries to kill her. The blackmail attempt was a sham, and the police are waiting to intervene before the murderer can kill a drugged and unconscious Megan.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Hannah interrupts Inspector Craddock's Summation to accuse someone else of the killings. Craddock's accused the innocent Edmund Swettenham, whereas Hannah names the real killer - but Craddock dismisses her theory as nonsense. The panicked killer then tries to drown Hannah as She Knows Too Much, only to find that Craddock, Miss Marple, Hannah and Swettenham are working together, and the police are waiting.
    • In "The Murder at the Vicarage", Christopher Hawes is poisoned in an attempt to frame him for Colonel Protheroe’s murder and to make it look as if he attempted suicide out of guilt. After he is rushed to hospital, his landlady Mrs Salisbury telephones the murderer and innocently informs him that she saw him visit Mr Hawes that evening and has not told the police. The murderer visits her house that night and tries to gas her to death, only to find Inspector Slack and Sergeant Lake waiting to catch him in the act, on Miss Marple’s advice.
    • There's a particularly harsh example in season two's "Sleeping Murder". There's no deliberate attempt at Bluffing the Murderer, but he tries to silence Gwenda before she gets too close to the truth. Gwenda genuinely believes she's alone at night in a large, isolated house when she's attacked, only to find Miss Marple and the police anticipated the murder attempt and have been quietly waiting for the killer.
    • In "Nemesis", Miss Marple herself is the bait. She waits in her room for the murderer, who believes Miss Marple's been poisoned, to visit and confirm that she's succumbed. When they arrive to find Marple alive and well, they're about to strangle her - until her hidden helpers step in and foil them.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed:
    • In the second season, in "Murder at the Vicarage" the murderer, Ann Protheroe, kills herself before the police can arrest her. The suicide note states it was out of remorse. Miss Marple suspects it was partly to protect her accomplice Mr Redding.
    • In the second season story "Nemesis", the killer's attempt to silence Miss Marple fails and they take the poison they'd originally intended for her. Miss Marple doesn't stop them. Nor does she stop them leaving the room to die in solitude.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", the killer seemingly takes a lethal overdose as the police start to close in. Subverted at the end, when Miss Marple theorises that it was actually a Mercy Kill by her husband. He doesn't deny it; Miss Marple doesn't tell the police.
  • Blackmail Backfire:
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Miss Marple speculates that the first victim, Rudi Scherz, was shot dead after trying to blackmail the murderer.
    • In "The Moving Finger", Miss Marple's plan invokes a predictable blackmail backfire, with Megan's demand for money Bluffing the Murderer into trying to silence her. Megan hadn't actually seen anything, and the police are lying in wait.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Lily, who once worked for the Halliday family, sees a newspaper ad seeking information on the long-vanished Helen Halliday, and asks Helen's half-brother Dr Kennedy if she should respond. Miss Marple believes that Kennedy, who'd secretly murdered his sister, misinterpreted a sincere question as confirmation that Lily knew too much and wanted to blackmail him, so he silenced her.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", Ella reacts to Heather Badcock's murder by anonymously phoning the most likely suspects and claiming she knows they're guilty, hoping to start a blackmail scheme if they believe her. The killer, who recognises her voice, simply poisons her instead.
  • The Bluebeard: In "A Caribbean Mystery", Major Palgrave mentions two deaths where a wife's suicide seemed suspicious, and saw a photo connecting one person to both cases. The major believes the photo reveals a killer, but doesn't show it to anyone before he's murdered and it's stolen. The initial assumption is that a murderous husband was killing his wives, but the Major's reference to Lucrezia Borgia makes Miss Marple wonder if the killer was a woman. That turns out to be a Red Herring, as the killer is Tim Kendal, who's now planning to kill his latest wife Molly and then marry Esther Walters, a woman who stands to inherit a significant amount of money.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: One of Miss Marple's favourite tactics is to pressure the murderer into trying to kill The Bait to stop their scheme unravelling.
    • In "The Body in the Library", the murderer is tricked into attempting to kill Conway Jefferson while he sleeps, believing that he's about to change his will and leave his money to charity, in memory of his murdered friend Ruby. Jefferson, who's wide awake, is waiting for the killer - accompanied by armed police.
    • In "The Moving Finger", Miss Marple persuades Megan to blackmail the murderer and claim she has evidence of their guilt. When this leads to a predictable Blackmail Backfire and an attempt to kill Megan, the killer finds the police are waiting.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Hannah the housekeeper disrupts Inspector Craddock's summation to dispute his theory and accuse the real murderer, claiming to have seen what happened when Rudi was killed. Craddock dismisses her out of hand, but the panicked murderer tries to drown Hannah shortly afterwards - only to find that Hannah's outburst was scripted, and Miss Marple and Sergeant Fletcher are lying in wait.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Dolly Bantry returns in the final made-for-TV movie, "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", having been absent since the first season's "The Body in the Library" (although she is mentioned a couple of times during her absence).
    • Inspector Craddock, introduced in the first season's "A Murder is Announced", returns in the final made-for-TV movie, "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side". His return's accompanied by a retcon, establishing that he's actually Miss Marple's nephew.
  • Bus Crash: Arthur and Dolly Bantry appear in the very first story, "The Body in the Library". The second season's "Murder at the Vicarage" mentions that they've moved away, and when Dolly returns in the final made-for-TV movie, it's mentioned that Arthur has died.
  • Call-Forward: At the start of "Nemesis", a dying Jason Rafiel talks about the titular Greek goddess of retribution, then mentions that he last saw her wearing a pink woolly shawl. At the end of later episode "A Caribbean Mystery", effectively a prequel due to the show's Anachronic Order, Miss Marple herself speaks of Nemesis before she goes to intercept the killer. She is, of course, wearing the pink shawl.
  • Can Always Spot a Cop: In "At Bertram's Hotel", Miss Marple immediately registers that one of the men regularly taking tea in the hotel is a plain clothes policeman. He turns out to be Chief Inspector Davy, who's unofficially following up on his suspicions, and he's very surprised that Miss Marple identified him as police. It's never clarified whether others had also worked it out.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Miss Marple's godson Lionel Peel is staying with her at the start of "Nemesis", having been thrown out by his wife. Lionel accompanies Miss Marple throughout the story and helps with the investigation. No such character appears in Nemesis or any of the other books.
    • In "4:50 From Paddington", Inspector Duckham is an old acquaintance of Miss Marple, a jovial CID detective with an upper class accent who's sent to assist the local police. Duckham doesn't exist in 4:50 from Paddington, where recurring character Inspector Craddock fills the same role, or in any of the other books.
  • Compilation Movie: "Murder in the Vicarage" was filmed as two separate episodes but then edited into a Made-for-TV Movie format before its first broadcast, so that it could be screened at Christmas as a single special. Other stories from the first two seasons were subsequently edited together the same way for some repeats and exports.
  • Composite Character:
    • In the adaptation of The Moving Finger, Beatrice is a combination of Agnes the parlourmaid and the book's version of Beatrice the maid. This also means she takes Agnes' place as the second murder victim.
    • In the adaptation of Sleeping Murder, the two significant police roles, Inspector Last and Detective Inspector Primer, are combined into a single character. He's only referred to by rank onscreen, but is identified as Inspector Last in the credits.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Inspector Slack returns in "Murder at the Vicarage", Miss Marple mentions that she met him when investigating a nasty business ("The Body In the Library") before Arthur and Dolly Bantry moved away.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Miss Marple arranges to meet Mrs Fane for tea via their mutual friend Dolly Bantry (who appeared in "The Body In the Library").
    • In "A Caribbean Mystery", Victoria mentions a woman in her village who, her aunty says, is a devil, wearing her hair long to hide the horns. Miss Marple responds that her own village has a counterpart in Mrs Price-Ridley, a character who appeared in "Murder at the Vicarage".
    • In "A Caribbean Mystery", Inspector Weston studied under Miss Marple's old friend Sir Henry Clithering. He's heard a lot of stories about her skills before he ever meets her.
  • Cultural Translation: When "A Murder is Announced" was first dubbed into Hungarian, Hungary was still part of the Soviet-influenced Eastern Bloc. Edmund Swettenham's affinity for communism, depicted as an idle rich man's ridiculous hobby, was replaced with anarchism for the dub.
  • Dead Guy on Display: In "A Pocketful of Rye", the killer leaves Gladys's body standing in the garden, eyes wide open, held up by the washing line twisted around her. They even leave a clothes peg on her nose, as a reference to the nursery rhyme theme of the killings. All of which makes Miss Marple very angry indeed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In "A Murder is Announced", which is set in an affluent and picturesque English village, Bunny mentions that Edmund Swettenham is a communist, to which Miss Marple mutters into her cup, "Well, he must be quite lonely in Chipping Cleghorn."
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In the original novel of The Murder at the Vicarage, the murderer, Ann Protheroe, and her accomplice are both arrested. In the show's "Murder at the Vicarage", Ann dies by suicide before she can be arrested, leaving a note that expresses remorse. Miss Marple suspects this was partly an (unsuccessful) attempt to shield her accomplice.
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", murderer Lance becomes a Self-Disposing Villain, panicking when the police follow his car and dying in a crash. In the original book A Pocket Full of Rye, he survives, and is unaware that he's about to be arrested when the book ends.
  • Death Faked for You:
    • The first season has a variation in "The Body in the Library". Josie Turner identifies the titular body as her cousin, Ruby Keene, but it's actually murdered teenager Pamela Reeve, disguised as Ruby. By this point Ruby's dead as well - but the timing of "Ruby"'s death, combined with the real Ruby's movements, gives Josie and her accomplice a cast-iron alibi.
    • In the second season's "Nemesis", Clotilde Bradbury-Scott identified the battered and decomposed body of her murdered ward, Verity Hunt. However, the corpse, which was then buried in Verity's grave, was actually Verity's friend Norah Brent. Clothilde did this deliberately, as she'd murdered Norah herself. She'd also murdered Verity, but didn't want the police to find her body.
  • Death by Looking Up:
    • In "Nemesis", Miss Temple is looking at a museum exhibit when a stone bust of Shakespeare is toppled from the balcony above. Naturally, she hears the noise and looks up a moment too late...
    • In "They Do It with Mirrors", Ernie's murdered in the theatre - he looks up just in time to see a stage weight falling towards him.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit:
    • In "Murder at the Vicarage", the real killers try to stage a suicide for Mr Hawes, including a suicide note that would end the murder investigation by claiming he killed Colonel Protheroe.
    • There's a variation in "Sleeping Murder". Helen Halliday's death is only suspected almost 20 years after her disappearance, as people assumed she'd left her husband to run away with another man. By that point her husband is also long dead, Driven to Suicide by the murderer's Gaslighting campaign. His suicide was because he wrongly believed that he'd killed his own wife, and his diary makes him the obvious suspect for anyone re-examining what happened to Helen.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: In "4:50 From Paddington", Alfred Crackenthorpe has a terminal illness which Dr Quimper didn't diagnose until it was too late for treatment. Alfred initially assumed this was incompetence, but it's later suggested as Murder by Inaction, part of Quimper's Inheritance Plot scheme.
  • Die Laughing: In the second season story "At Bertram's Hotel", Bess Sedgwick is revealed as a villain and tries to escape by car. Speeding through cramped London streets, she finds her path blocked and no way to brake or swerve. She laughs at the situation just before her car crashes.
  • Dies Wide Open:
    • In "The Moving Finger", the second victim, Beatrice, is found slumped in a corner, eyes wide open and a splash of blood across her face.
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", Gladys' corpse is left standing, entangled in the washing line, with her eyes still open. Her murderer, Lance, is also shown with his eyes wide open after his fatal car crash at the end of the story.
    • In "At Bertram's Hotel", Lady Bess Sedgwick's body is seen in the wreckage of her car, eyes still wide open.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In "The Moving Finger", Mrs Symmington seemingly kills herself after receiving a poison pen letter. The inquest agrees, but Miss Marple is sure it was murder. She's right, of course.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Gwenda's father Major Halliday killed himself in a nursing home, convinced that he'd murdered his wife. He was actually the victim of prolonged gaslighting by his brother-in-law Dr Kennedy, the real murderer.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: In the first part of "A Pocketful of Rye", Hay is so obviously distracted by Miss Grosvenor that, as soon as she leaves the room, Inspector Neele tells him to keep his libido to himself.
  • False Confession:
    • In "Murder at the Vicarage", Ann Protheroe and Lawrence Redding, who are having an affair, independently confess to murdering Ann's husband Colonel Protheroe. It swiftly becomes clear that neither story can be true and each has confessed to protect the other, believing their lover risks arrest for killing the Colonel. After alibis establish that neither is a plausible suspect, they retract the confessions. All of which is a double-bluff, as they'd worked together to kill the Colonel, using a plan far sneakier than anything in the confessions.
    • In the second season story "At Bertram's Hotel", Bess Sedgwick confesses to running a criminal gang from the titular hotel, confesses to murdering Micky Gorman, and then makes a daring escape across the rooftops. It's mostly true, but she's also putting on a Large Ham performance to protect her daughter Elvira, Gorman's true killer.
  • Famed In-Story: In "The Body in the Library", retired detective Sir Henry Clithering is summoned to help find the killer. When he spots Miss Marple in the hotel foyer, he explains that "one of the most formidable criminologists in England" is already in the building and doubtless already involved. In "A Caribbean Mystery", Bermuda's detective Inspector Weston studied with Clithering, and is also well aware of Miss Marple's reputation, much to Jason Rafiel's surprise.
  • Finally Found the Body:
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Helen Halliday's been missing for many years and, until her stepdaughter Gwenda starts investigating, the evidence suggests she simply left her husband for another man. Once Gwenda starts renovating the old family home, her body's found buried under a flowerbed in the garden.
    • In "Nemesis", Verity Hunt's body was found years ago, months after her death, but her friend Norah Brent's body was never located. Or so it seems - the body identified and buried as Verity was actually Norah, and Verity's body was buried under the ruined greenhouse in the Bradbury-Scotts' gardens.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: In "A Caribbean Mystery", Rafiel's attendant Mr Jackson sneaks into Molly's bathroom and tests some of the medication by tasting a fingertip sample.
  • Flashback: Different stories take different approaches to flashbacks, if they're used at all.
    • In the first season, "The Body in the Library" makes heavy use of flashbacks to dramatise answers whenever the police ask about previous events.
    • "A Pocketful of Rye" includes a couple of flashbacks as part of the police interviews, and uses a horizontal wipe effect to cut between present events and flashback.
    • "Murder at the Vicarage" uses flashbacks when the police interview a witness - and this time the witness is Miss Marple herself.
    • "Sleeping Murder" uses a dissolve effect to begin a flashback to 20 years before.
  • Forged Message:
    • In the second season story "Sleeping Murder", the missing Helen Halliday sent two letters home after leaving her husband and vanishing. They were compared to samples of her handwriting, provided by her brother, and deemed to be genuine. Helen was actually murdered by her brother, and didn't write the letters. The handwriting matched because he'd also forged the document used for comparison.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "They Do It with Mirrors", the typewritten note found with Christian Gulbrandsen's body is tampered with by his killer. It claims that there's a plot to poison Carrie Louise, which is an invention to throw the police off the track - Christian was killed because He Knows Too Much, but about an entirely different crime.
  • Frame-Up: In "The Body in the Library", the titular body was dumped in Basil Blake's house, and clues and hints to implicate Blake had been arranged beforehand. A drunken Blake promptly moved the corpse to the Bantrys' house instead - mostly hoping to avoid prosecution, rather than in an attempt to frame them - but is still arrested when the police follow the evidence back to him.
  • Genre Savvy: Near the start of "The Body in the Library", Dolly Bantry reassures the police that she's read enough mystery novels to know that she should leave the body untouched.
  • The Ghost: In "A Pocketful of Rye", Mrs MacKenzie, widow of Rex Fortescue's dead business partner, never appears on screen. She's not fully Adapted Out though, and her family's desire for vengeance is important to the plot. At one point Inspector Neele's about to visit her for an interview - but then Miss Marple reveals (to the audience as well as the inspector) that she's already done so herself, and that Neele won't learn anything of use.
  • Gilligan Cut: In "The Body In The Library", Dolly Bantry is woken by a maid rushing into the bedroom to babble about a body in the library, then rushing out. Mrs Bantry nudges her husband awake and insists that he goes downstairs to check. A grumpy, half-asleep Colonel Bantry insists she dreamt the whole thing and he's not going downstairs to do something so obviously silly...
    Colonel Bantry: I am not going downstairs to ask if there is a body in my library.
    [Cut to Colonel Bantry stomping down the stairs]
  • Hand of Death: At the climax of "The Body In The Library", the murderer is only seen as a black-gloved hand until the moment they are apprehended.
  • Hide the Evidence: In "Sleeping Murder", Lily fails to arrive at a meeting with Dr Kennedy and the Reeds. After her body is found, it's discovered that she disembarked at a different train station, and was several hours ahead of schedule. Kennedy's letter inviting her to the meeting is found on her corpse, and nobody knows why she didn't follow those instructions. Kennedy is actually the murderer and had swapped his letter for a different version after killing Lily.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In "A Murder is Announced", Hinch and Murgatroyd are two women living together, but there's no direct statement that the arrangement's not platonic. However, Hinch is played as a butch, down-to-earth woman with no time for men, and is both utterly devastated and murderously vengeful when Murgatroyd is killed.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: In the last part of "A Murder is Announced", a scene shows Murgatroyd and Hinch at home, discussing the first murder. Murgatroyd is trying to remember who wasn't accounted for when it happened, and the scene's shown from the perspective of an unseen prowler outside their window. A little later, after Hinch is called away, it's reprised as a Murderer P.O.V., as the killer realises that Murgatroyd Knows Too Much.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The series is officially Miss Marple, but it's Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the opening credits and on DVD covers, a reminder that every story is a direct adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's Marple books.
  • Incest Subtext: In the second season's "Sleeping Murder", the killer is Dr Kennedy, half-brother of the murdered Helen Halliday. It's implied that he limited her social life, sabotaged her health and hobbies and had inappropriate feelings towards her. After she married and seemed likely to finally break free of him, he strangled her.
  • Inheritance Murder: Several of the stories use inheritance as a motive or Red Herring.
    • In the first season's "The Body in the Library", the police decide that Ruby Keene was probably murdered because Conway Jefferson, who'd outlived his own children, planned to leave her his wealth. They're right - but identifying the culprit is trickier. In the end, Conway acts as The Bait, claiming he's changing his will to leave his riches to charity, and Bluffing the Murderer into trying to kill him first.
    • In the first season's "A Murder is Announced", Leticia Blacklock stands to inherit Randall Goedler's wealth if she outlives his widow Belle, who's terminally ill and likely to die within weeks. When attempts on Leticia's life injure her and leave others dead, the first theory is that someone in the Goedler family is trying to kill her, knowing that Belle will inherit and they'll get a share of the inheritance when she dies. The truth is that Letitia died years ago, her sister Charlotte assumed her identity and is now panicking that she'll be uncovered, killing possible threats while playing the victim.
    • In the second season's "At Bertram's Hotel", Elvira Blake discovers that her parents weren't legally married, as her mother had never divorced her first husband, Micky Gorman. When Micky reappears and it looks as if he might make this public, Elvira kills him in case it prevents her receiving the money she's about to inherit from her late father.
  • Internal Reveal: In "A Caribbean Mystery", Jason Rafiel relays Miss Marple's theories to the Bermuda police, on the basis that they might pay more attention to him than to a little old lady. However, Inspector Weston studied under Marple's old friend Sir Henry Clithering - when hears her name, he explains to Rafiel just who the little old lady is.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: The opening of the first part of "At Bertram's Hotel" cuts back and forth between Miss Marple and the glamorous Lady Sedgwick, both travelling to the titular hotel. Miss Marple knits as she travels on a old-fashioned steam train, then takes a taxi. Lady Sedgwick arrives by jet plane, greeted by fans and reporters, then drives across London recklessly fast in an expensive car. The two sequences converge when Miss Marple's taxi stops at a pedestrian zebra crossing, whereas Sedgwick's car fails to stop and drives straight through.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: As with the book it's based on, the murders in "A Pocketful of Rye" follow the theme of "Sing a Song of Sixpence". The series uses the song as an unsettling theme at several points. "Pop Goes the Weasel" also makes an appearance, sung by schoolchildren - which wouldn't be creepy if not for the wider context.
  • Jumped at the Call: Dolly Bantry is a mystery novel fan and a little unimpressed when her husband insists she shouldn't be enjoying the discovery of a body in their library. One of her first actions is to collect Miss Marple so that she can start looking at the case before the police arrive. Subverted when her husband's pulled into the investigation and it becomes less exciting and more stressful.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: "The Body in the Library" is serialised, and Dolly Bantry helpfully recaps the plot to Miss Marple at the start of the second episode, commenting on how bizarre it all seems.
    Dolly Bantry: Here I am, sleuthing like mad, trying to clear my poor husband's name. I mean, it's potty - look around you! Would anyone think that, twenty-four hours ago, a perfectly strange young girl was found dead in our library? And now here I am, with you, tracking down suspects at a five-star seaside hotel.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies:
    • In "A Murder is Announced", the locals gather after seeing the titular ad in a local paper. At the appointed hour the lights suddenly go out and there are gunshots. When the lights come back on, someone's dead.
    • In "They Do It with Mirrors", the household are mostly gathered to watch a film. A fuse blows, the house lights go out, and someone in another room is shot dead before the lights come back on.
  • Little Old Lady Investigates: As in the original Miss Marple books, Miss Marple is an exceedingly competent amateur sleuth, using examples from village life to understand the murderer's motives and schemes.
  • Mama Bear: In "At Bertram's Hotel", Bess Sedgwick is determined that her daughter Elvira must be protected, even if that means pushing her away in the belief that Elvira's better off without her. Later in the story, she also threatens Elvira's criminal lover at gunpoint and, eventually, makes a False Confession to shield Elvira from murder charges.
  • Makeover Montage: In the second part of "The Moving Finger", Megan's London trip and makeover are shown via a montage of sepia photographs.
  • Media Scrum:
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", a crowd of journalists forms outside Yew Tree Lodge after Rex Fortescue's murder, with the police keeping them away from the house. Miss Marple's taxi gets caught up in it when she arrives, and is initially unable to enter.
    • A downplayed example at the start of "At Bertram's Hotel", when a group of journalists are waiting for Bess Sedgwick at the airport when she first lands in London. She's not physically obstructed, they're just taking photos and trying to get her attention.
  • Medication Tampering:
    • In "The Moving Finger", the murderer spikes Mrs Symington's sedatives with cyanide, staging the scene to look as if she overdosed and was Driven to Suicide.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Bunny is fatally poisoned after taking some of Letitia's painkillers, which have been tampered with.
  • Mood Dissonance: In the final part of "A Murder is Announced", scenes of Hinch driving off to collect a dog, singing the upbeat "I Got the Sun in the Morning" (from Annie Get Your Gun) are intercut with Killer POV scenes of her housemate Amy Murgatroyd being strangled in the rain.
  • Murder by Inaction: In "4:50 from Paddington", Alfred Crackenthorpe is terminally ill, and it's suggested that Dr Quimper deliberately made a Delayed Diagnosis to ensure Alfred couldn't be treated. Until Quimper's revealed as the murderer, Alfred angrily assumes it was simply incompetence.
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • In the first season's "A Murder is Announced", Bunny is poisoned after taking some of Letitia's painkillers. The situation is inverted by the reveal that Letitia is the killer, Bunny was the intended target, and she'd arranged it to throw the police off the scent.
    • In the second season's "At Bertram's Hotel", the gunman trying to kill Elvira Blake only succeeds in killing Micky Gorman, who intervened to save the target's life. Or at least that's what Elvira claims. It's eventually revealed that she shot him herself and invented the story.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "A Caribbean Mystery", the third victim, Lucky Dyson, is murdered by drowning after the killer initially mistakes her for their intended victim, Molly Kendal, due to the dark. Once she's seen the killer, She Knows Too Much.
  • Mystery Magnet: As a respected criminologist, Miss Marple doesn't always rely on complete coincidences to draw her into a case, as people sometimes reach out to her for assistance. However, there are exceptions.
    • In "A Murder is Announced" Miss Marple already encountered Myrna and Rudi in the Spa Hotel before the murder is announced and Rudi is killed.
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", the Fortescues' maid Gladys happens to be Miss Marple's previous maid, and tries to contact her as soon as Rex Fortescue is murdered.
    • The titular "Murder at the Vicarage" takes place in Miss Marple's home village, St Mary Mead, and she already knows most of the people involved. She's already at the murder scene before the police arrive. On the other hand, the murderers also seem to be aware of her skills - and are actively using Miss Marple to confirm their alibi.
    • "Sleeping Murder" centres around Gwenda and Giles Reed, who start to investigate the disappearance and possible murder of Gwenda's stepmother many years ago. Giles' cousin is the wife of Miss Marple's nephew, Raymond West, so she already knows them before Gwenda's investigation gets underway.
    • In the second season's "At Bertram's Hotel", not only is the titular hotel, which Miss Marple loved in her youth, now a well-established front for a criminal gang, but her stay coincides with the point that the whole thing spirals into murder due to a particular combination of people.
    • In "A Caribbean Mystery", Miss Marple even gets drawn into a murder case while on holiday. Although that's at least partly because Major Palgrave likes rambling about old cases from his days in the police, and Miss Marple is the only person who seems prepared to listen to them.
    • In "4:50 from Paddington", the titular murder on a train is witnessed by someone who just happens to be on her way to visit Miss Marple.
    • In "The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side", the murders are in St Mary Mead. Even so, a coincidence ensures that Miss Marple runs into the first victim socially just before they're killed.
  • Mythology Gag: Whenever Miss Marple gets a local taxi she addresses the driver as Inch. This refers to the original stories, in which the taxi firm's changed name and ownership several times, but was originally owned by Mr Inch, so is still referred to as "Inch's" by locals. "A Murder at the Vicarage" mentions that the local garage is also named Inch's.
  • Never One Murder: Author Agatha Christie was very fond of adding a second murder midway through the plot, and the series is generally a faithful adaptation.
    • In "The Body in the Library", the titular murder is the focus - until a second body is found in a burnt-out car.
    • In "The Moving Finger", the first death is widely believed to be suicide (Miss Marple disagrees). The second victim saw too much and had to be silenced, but was obviously murdered.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", the first victim is shot dead. The second, who was present at the shooting, is poisoned some days later, after a party. The third victim suddenly remembered who was out of sight during the first murder, so had to be silenced.
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", Rex Fortescue is poisoned in the first few minutes. His widow Adele is later poisoned as well, and their maid Gladys becomes the third victim.
    • In "Murder at the Vicarage", Colonel Protheroe's death initially drives the plot. A second murder, staged as a suicide, is intended to close the investigation by framing the victim, who's already a suspect - but is actually unsuccessful. Miss Marple and the police briefly claim it succeeded, using it to lure the murderer into a trap.
    • "Sleeping Murder" centres around the investigation of an unreported murder many years ago. However, when the dead woman's stepdaughter Gwenda Reed starts investigating what actually happened, the murderer also kills Lily, who was once the victim's maid, fearing that she knows more about events than they'd previously assumed.
    • "Nemesis" leads Miss Marple to investigate an unsolved murder from years before. However, it's actually one of two linked murders that happened at that time - and a third, in the present day, follows when the murderer worries that the truth may be revealed.
    • "4:50 From Paddington" starts with a woman being strangled on the train, but there's also the supposed hunting accident that kills Harold Crackenthorpe. Harold's brother Alfred survives the story, but he's now terminally ill, dying due to a Delayed Diagnosis that's implied to be a Murder by Inaction plot by the killer.
  • Never Suicide: Given that the show's focus is on murder, it's unsurprising that some of the supposed suicides are nothing of the sort. Despite that, the series also has some genuine cases of suicide.
    • Early in "The Moving Finger", Mrs Symmington seemingly poisons herself after receiving a 'poison pen' letter. The coroner declares it suicide but Miss Marple, leaving the inquest, immediately disagrees and claims it was murder. She is, of course, correct.
    • At the very end of "The Moving Finger", the killer tries to stage a suicide for Megan, drugging her after her Blackmail Backfire and then placing her unconscious body with her head in a gas oven... only to find that she's been Bluffing the Murderer all along, and the police are waiting to save Megan and arrest them.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Gwenda's father supposedly killed himself in a nursing home, convinced that he'd murdered his wife. In this case it really was a suicide - but only because he'd been Driven to Suicide by the real killer's gaslighting campaign.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: Inspector Slack is loud, abrasive and blunt. A competent by-the-book cop who doesn't much care about offending people. When he reappears as Chief Inspector in "They Do It With Mirrors", it's unexpectedly revealed that he's also an amateur stage magician, and seemingly a competitive and talented one. It's not until the end that Miss Marple herself discovers his hobby, leading to a Title Drop and the final clue to the mystery.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • In "The Body in the Library" the police are so focused on the murder case that they miss two important reports. When Slack interviews George Bartlett about the murder, he mentions that his car's been stolen, but Slack's uninterested. Meanwhile, Malcolm reports a body to PC Palk, who assumes Malcolm's learning disability means he's reported the crime they're already aware of. Malcolm's actually found a second body - in the burnt wreckage of Bartlett's car.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Gwenda Reed puts a classified ad in the paper to ask about her stepmother Helen, who vanished many years ago. Lily, Gwenda's parents' maid at the time, sees the ad and writes to someone she trusts, Helen's brother Dr Kennedy, to ask if she should come forward. Kennedy, who murdered Helen, seems to misinterpret the letter as confirmation that She Knows Too Much and is hoping to blackmail him, so kills her.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • In "The Body in the Library", murder victim Ruby Keene is already dead when the story starts, but is developed via flashbacks and other characters' recollections of her. To a lesser degree, this is also true of Pamela Reeve, the teenager who really became the titular corpse.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Rudi Scherz is seen leaving the Spa Hotel at the start of the story, then reappears to shout "Stick 'em up!" and be shot dead. His character and background is uncovered via the police investigation. The more shocking example is Letitia Blacklock, who's at the heart of the investigation and believed to be the killer's real target - but is then revealed to have died years ago, with her sister Charlotte assuming her identity.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", Gwenda Reed starts investigating the disappearance and possible murder of her stepmother, Helen Halliday, who vanished many years sgo. Helen's history and personality are slowly revealed via interviews with the people who knew her. There's not so much focus on Gwenda's father, who also plays a key role and died many years before the story starts, but his diary reveals a lot about his state of mind.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the original books, Inspector Craddock is the godson of Miss Marple's old friend Sir Henry Clithering. However, that's not mentioned when he first appears in "A Murder is Announced" and a Retcon in "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" confirms Craddock as Miss Marple's nephew, with Raymond West also referring to Craddock as "cousin Dermot".
  • Right Behind Me: In "They Do It With Mirrors". Chief Inspector Slack almost seems to be expecting Miss Marple to turn up. He mentions that he keeps thinking of "that old busybody from St Mary Mead" — and promptly hears her polite "Good morning, Chief Inspector" from behind him. His expression borders on Oh, Crap!.
  • Self-Disposing Villain:
    • In the first season's "A Pocketful of Rye", Lance Fortescue intends to return to Africa after three successful murders, taking his new riches with him. He's gone before Miss Marple delivers The Summation - but she's already warned Inspector Neele, so a police car is following him. After Lance spots the police car he panics and his car eventually hits an oncoming van. He doesn't survive the crash.
      Miss Marple: Men like Lance, you know, always prove their own hangman.
    • In the second season's "Murder at the Vicarage", Ann Protheroe dies by suicide before the police can arrest her. The suicide note claims she killed herself out of remorse, but Miss Marple suspects it was also an attempt to shield her accomplice, who was her lover.
    • In the second season's "At Bertram's Hotel", Bess Sedgwick confesses her crimes, escapes the building, and drives away at high speed through the narrow London streets. She's killed in a car crash before she gets too far.
    • In the second season's final story, "Nemesis", the murderer tries to kill Miss Marple by poisoning her drink, only to realise that Miss Marple was The Bait. After a conversation with Miss Marple, they choose to drink their own poison, and walk away to die.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "The Body in the Library", Ray Starr dismissively refers to Inspector Slack as Lestrade, the name of the detective who always failed to keep up in Sherlock Holmes.
    • In "The Body in the Library", young Peter Carmody eagerly tells Inspector Slack that he's a mystery fan, with autographs from Dorothy Sayers, Dickson Carr and H.C. Bailey. Slack, in the middle of a murder investigation, is unimpressed.
    • In "The Body in the Library", Miss Marple gets Susanna's aria from The Marriage of Figaro stuck in her head, representing a clue she's not yet consciously understood.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", Craddock quotes Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din" to Sergeant Fletcher when they're considering how a murderer might arrange for a fuse to trip at 7pm precisely.
    • In "A Murder is Announced", when Miss Marple talks about visiting the rest of the village and her niece says it's very small, Miss Marple replies by quoting Hamlet. Her niece doesn't get the reference.
      Miss Marple: There are more things in Chipping Cleghorn, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    • In a "Murder is Announced", Hinch sings "I Got the Sun in the Morning", from Annie Get Your Gun, while driving off to collect a new dog. It's played for Mood Dissonance, intercut with Killer POV scenes of her housemate Amy Murgatroyd being strangled in the rain.
    • In "Sleeping Murder", The Archers is playing on the radio when Gwenda visits Edith Pagett.
  • The Show of the Books: The series is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels, and generally a very faithful one.
  • Sounding It Out: Towards the end of the first part of "A Pocketful of Rye", Mrs Brogan brings Miss Marple a newspaper with the updated story of the Fortescue murder, reading it aloud. Even after she leaves, Miss Marple continues reading it out aloud.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In the novel 4:50 from Paddington, Alfred Crackenthorpe is poisoned and dies midway through the story. In the adaptation, there's no such poisoning and he survives. However, he's apparently terminally ill, and may not live much longer. This is believed to be a Murder by Inaction, with the killer arranging a Delayed Diagnosis until it was too late for treatment.
    • In the novel They Do It With Mirrors, Alexis Restarick and Ernie are both killed by falling weights in the theatre. In the show, Ernie's death is the same, but Alexis is attacked separately, before Ernie arrives at the theatre, leaving him unconscious and badly injured. Alexis survives, but spends the rest of the story in hospital and plays no further part in the plot.
    • In the novel The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, Marina Gregg's butler Giuseppe is killed after he tries to blackmail Marina. In the show, he's not part of the blackmail plot and the police are only investigating two murders. However, he plays no further part in the story after gathering the household when the police arrive after the second murder.
  • Start to Corpse:
    • Mary the maid discovers the titular corpse less than three minutes into the very first episode, the first part of "The Body in the Library". Miss Marple herself hasn't been introduced at that point.
    • Mr Fortescue is poisoned less than four minutes into the first part of "A Pocketful of Rye".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Inspector Duckham for Inspector Craddock in "4:50 From Paddington".
  • Take That!: The series was produced by The BBC and, in "At Bertram's Hotel", Elvira takes a swipe at the quality of the other British TV channel of the time, ITV.
    Elvira Blake: I'd rather watch television. I'm dying to see ITV. I hear it's ghastly.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • In "The Moving Finger", Megan's evening drink is dosed with sedatives. It's not a lethal dose, but that's only because the killer wants to stage her death to look like suicide. Unfortunately for the murderer, Megan is The Bait and the police are waiting.
    • In "A Pocketful of Rye", Rex Fortescue is poisoned via his breakfast marmalade, although the killer believed she was actually adding a Truth Serum, not a poison. His widow Adele is later poisoned with cyanide in her tea.
    • In "Nemesis", the killer attempts to murder Miss Marple by poisoning her drink. When the plan fails and they discover she was actually The Bait, they drink it themselves. Miss Marple believes they originally killed Verity Hunt, their first victim, in the same way.
    • In "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", Heather Badcock is killed by a poisoned cocktail after swapping drinks with film star Marina Gregg.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Miss Marple and Inspector Slack don't have a great working relationship, although each has some respect for the other's abilities. Marple considers Slack skilled and intelligent, but also compares him to a diesel engine at one point, efficient but unpleasant. For his part, Slack describes her as an "old biddy" and adopts a This Is Gonna Suck expression whenever Marple's involved in a case, but is prepared to organise an initial two day search for a body in "4:50 From Paddington" based solely on Marple vouching for a witness. By the midpoint of penultimate story "They Do It With Mirrors", they're cooperating effectively, and the story ends with Slack pausing to sincerely thank Miss Marple, who thanks him in turn.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Inspector Slack has some respect for Miss Marple's skills, but in his return appearances he really doesn't enjoy working with her.
    • In "Murder at the Vicarage", Slack thinks he's cleared and secured a murder scene St Mary Mead (Miss Marple's home village) when she steps out behind him and greets him by name. Slack doesn't even look round, but his expression and weary tone of voice make it very clear that he now knows how this case is going to go.
      Miss Marple: [appearing behind Slack] Good evening, Inspector.
      Inspector Slack: [exasperated, not turning around] St Mary Mead. Of course. Miss Marple.
    • In "4:50 From Paddington", Slack calls off the initial search for a body after two days, deciding that this time Miss Marple's wrong, and pointedly tells her so. Not only does she locate the body he couldn't find, but Scotland Yard's Inspector Duckham, who's then sent to assist with the case, proves to be an old friend of hers. Duckham also insists that Miss Marple is involved at every step along the way. Slack's drained expression and "...right." signal just how much he's not looking forward to that. Despite that, they're finally on good terms by the end of the story - Slack sincerely thanks her and, in his next appearance, tells Inspector Craddock he should actively seek her out for help.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: The series has several cases where someone is suspected of murdering their spouse, often in connection with an Inheritance Murder. Sometimes it's a Red Herring, and sometimes it's not...
    • In the first season's "The Moving Finger", the campaign of poison pen letters is planned to misdirect the police when Mr Symmington murders his wife and fakes her suicide.
    • In the first season's "A Pocketful of Rye", Adele Fortescue is an early suspect in her husband's murder, with inheritance as her likely motive. The murderer later poisons her as well, though, ending that line of inquiry.
    • In the second season's "At Bertram's Hotel", Lady Bess Sedgwick seems to have murdered her first husband, Micky Gorman (who's still legally her husband, rendering her later marriages bigamous). It's actually a False Confession to protect the real culprit, though.
    • In the second season's "Murder at the Vicarage", Ann Protheroe seems a very likely suspect for her loathed husband's murder. Her lover even makes a False Confession to protect her (and Ann, in turn, makes a false confession to protect him). It's not until Miss Marple is able to verify The Alibi for them that the police investigation looks elsewhere. Eventually, Miss Marple establishes that the alibis were clever misdirection - Ann was the killer after all.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "4:50 From Paddington", Dr Quimper is secretly engaged to Emma Crackenthorpe, and hopes to inherit some of her family's wealth. However, he needs to kill his own estranged wife, who won't grant him a divorce, before he can marry Emma.
    • In the made-for-TV movie "A Caribbean Mystery", Tim Kendal tries to murder his wife so that he can remarry for money. Major Palgrave believes he also killed at least two previous wives.
    • A variation in the made-for-TV movie "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", with the final reveal that murderer Marina Gregg's overdose was administered by her husband, not accident or suicide. Miss Marple views it as a Mercy Kill and opts not to tell the police.
  • Tontine: In "4:50 From Paddington", the Crackenthorpe family have a tontine variation, and their solicitor directly refers to tontines when describing it. The quirk is that the inheritance goes directly to the grandchildren, with the previous generation sharing an annual allowance. However, the fewer of them who remain alive, the larger each person's allowance gets. Miss Marple and the police consider it a possible Inheritance Murder motive.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Early in the second part of "Murder at the Vicarage", Inspector Slack's conversation with his team is intercut with Miss Marple talking to the vicar and his wife, with both conversations discussing the facts of the murder. At one point Slack's "So..." leads directly into Miss Marple's "...if we are assuming that..." as she shares a theory.
  • Voiceover Letter:
    • In "Sleeping Murder", after Gwenda Reed obtains her dead father's diary, she reads it on the train home. Excerpts from the text are presented as a voiceover, using his voice.
    • In "Nemesis", Jason Rafiel's letters to Miss Marple are read out in his voice. Sometimes that's when Miss Marple is reading one, sometimes it's as an echo of one she read earlier.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: In "A Pocketful of Rye", Inspector Neele swiftly discovers that the murderer Mr. Fortescue was loathed by many.
    Miss Dove: Forgive me if I seem callous, Inspector, but Mr Fortescue was an odious man. In fact, the entire family are most unpleasant people.
  • Wipe: "A Pocketful of Rye" uses a horizontal wipe to begin flashbacks when the police start interviewing people about the deaths.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In the first season story "A Pocketful of Rye", the police suspect an Inheritance Murder but don't fully understand the motive, as the killer is the only one who knows that the failed Blackbird Mine in Africa, which was originally deemed worthless, has uranium deposits.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the first season's "A Pocketful of Rye", the third victim is Gladys the maid, the accomplice who unwittingly helped the killer to murder Rex Fortescue. She now knows too much, and the killer had always intended to murder her as well as Rex and Adele, continuing the "Sing a Song of Sixpence" Nursery Rhyme theme of the murders.

"You know, Inspector, some of the best murderers are women. Especially in an English village. You turn over a stone, you have no idea what will crawl out"
Miss Marple, A Murder is Announced (part 1)

Alternative Title(s): Miss Marple