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BS: Miss Marple

Strick 20 Mar 04 - 08:19 PM
Pene Azul 20 Mar 04 - 08:38 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Mar 04 - 08:54 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 09:04 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Mar 04 - 11:10 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 11:16 PM
Peace 20 Mar 04 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Mar 04 - 11:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Mar 04 - 12:27 AM
musicmick 21 Mar 04 - 01:24 AM
jaze 21 Mar 04 - 12:08 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM
Strick 21 Mar 04 - 01:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Mar 04 - 02:10 PM
Rapparee 21 Mar 04 - 08:48 PM
musicmick 22 Mar 04 - 12:28 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 04 - 01:21 AM
Dave Bryant 22 Mar 04 - 05:47 AM
Strick 22 Mar 04 - 08:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 04 - 10:12 AM
musicmick 22 Mar 04 - 12:54 PM
Strick 22 Mar 04 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Jaze 22 Mar 04 - 01:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 04 - 02:34 PM
Strick 22 Mar 04 - 03:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 04 - 04:51 PM
michaelr 22 Mar 04 - 06:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 04 - 11:43 PM
Flash Company 23 Mar 04 - 07:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 23 Mar 04 - 10:14 AM
Strick 23 Mar 04 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 04 - 01:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Mar 04 - 01:09 PM
clueless don 23 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,James 23 Mar 04 - 01:39 PM
Strick 23 Mar 04 - 02:18 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 04 - 02:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Mar 04 - 09:21 PM
Strick 23 Mar 04 - 10:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Mar 04 - 11:41 PM
Strick 24 Mar 04 - 12:13 AM
Teribus 24 Mar 04 - 07:44 AM
Jeanie 24 Mar 04 - 08:23 AM
Strick 24 Mar 04 - 10:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Mar 04 - 10:57 AM
Strick 24 Mar 04 - 11:02 AM
Strick 24 Mar 04 - 04:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Mar 04 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,dinnerlady 24 Mar 04 - 08:37 PM
Strick 24 Mar 04 - 09:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Mar 04 - 12:09 AM
Teribus 25 Mar 04 - 03:17 AM
HuwG 25 Mar 04 - 03:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 04 - 10:08 AM
Herga Kitty 29 Mar 04 - 06:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 04 - 11:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 06 - 03:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 06 - 04:03 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 06 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Dazbo 30 Jan 06 - 11:58 AM
Stilly River Sage 30 Jan 06 - 12:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jan 06 - 05:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Jan 06 - 05:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jan 06 - 01:24 PM
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greg stephens 06 Feb 06 - 09:05 AM
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Subject: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:19 PM

My thirteen year old is a passionate Agatha Christie fan, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple in particular. We've watching one of the DVDs from the two British series and I was wondering; is Joan Hickson, Miss Marple incarnate, still with us? The earliest of her version of the series has to be 15 or more years old, so it's hard not to expect the worst.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Pene Azul
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:38 PM

IMDb lists her date of death as 17 October 1998, and her date of birth as 5 August 1906.

Jeff


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM

Thanks. Heard when Jeremy Brett left us, but not this. So sad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:54 PM

Hickson was apparently on the stage for many years, and had met Christie occasionally. I saw an interview with Hickson some years ago in which she said she had recently found a note in her papers that had been sent to her years before by Christie saying she thought Hickson should play Miss Marple. (Don't try to diagram that sentence!).


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 09:04 PM

She was a perfect Miss Marple, too. Miss Marple and her kindred spirit George Smiley are my favorite characters. The antithesis of James Bond and Dirk Pitt.

At my house we're willing to forgive the British Empire anything for refining the classic mystery and learning how to present it properly on TV.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:10 PM

Have you seen the A&E programs to do with Nero Wolf? These are the best around, since the old Perry Mason series, on American TV.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:16 PM

Yes, but they didn't make very many of them and they seem to be off the air. Shame, isn't it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Peace
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:18 PM

I love Stout's Nero Wolfe series of books. They were the first good mysteries I read as a youth, and the TV stuff was pretty darn good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:47 PM

Re: I saw an interview with Hickson some years ago in which she said she had recently found a note in her papers that had been sent to her years before by Christie saying she thought Hickson should play Miss Marple.

Nice sentence, SRS, worthy of P.G. Wodehouse himself.

My favorite sentence from Miss Marple is "By a shifty eye, I mean one that looks you straight in the face and never wavers."

An Archie Goodwin favorite: He knew that I knew that he knew that I knew.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 12:27 AM

I happened to find Nero Wolf playing tonight (Saturday) on the Biography Channel (a spin-off from A&E). My newspaper listing isn't complete for all of the cable channels, so I stumble onto things now and then that I didn't know were playing. I suppose I should break down and buy the damned monthly guide.

They were making a few a year for two or three years, but it doesn't seem to be in the works any more. Pity. They had a nice ensemble cast in that program.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: musicmick
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 01:24 AM

Yes, I thought Hickson was the best of all the Jane Marples. Helen Hayes was pretty good, too. They were both frail and slight and unashamedly old. I noticed that, while the TV shows were fairly close to the novels, the Hercule Poirot series did some real stretching, which was a shame because David Suchet was such a believable Belgian.
I kind of prefered the Basil Rathbone Holmes to Brett's because, let's face it, the Doyle short stories were so short of action or wit.
Turning the Holmes stories into pot boilers and portraying Watson as dumber than Captain Hastings may have been heresy but it made for better theater. The game's afoot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: jaze
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 12:08 PM

I thinks some actors were born to play the characters they did. Joan Hickson was destined to be Miss Marple. Edith Hamilton was also born to be the witch in Wizard of Oz.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM

Margaret Hamilton. Edith wrote down mythology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 01:38 PM

"Margaret Hamilton. Edith wrote down mythology."

Yes, but isn't that a charming transposition in it's way?

I guess while I'm mourning actors from British TV mysteries, I have to say I miss John Thaw of Inspector Morse. The show also had one of my favorite theme songs (the french horn theme is exquisite).

I wasn't aware of Thaws illness until he passed away, but I remember being in an Oxford book store where I learned Colin Dexter had ended the series. Bought an autographed copy of the book. The timing of they're respective ends seems particularly poignant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 02:10 PM

You're right, Strick--I should have added a [grin] on that last remark of mine. I enjoy those kinds of convergences.

As for Morse, I think they must have known, considering how the series ended. It wasn't set up for a possible ambling return of a retired Morse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 08:48 PM

"I thinks some actors were born to play the characters they did."

I played the Lion in Shaw's "Androcles." What does that make me?

For the mystery/action set, I don't think Diana Rigg in the "Avengers" has ever been surpassed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: musicmick
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 12:28 AM

Am I the only one who was bothered by the comic book Poirot of Ustinov? He was not the worst Hercule (that distinction belongs to Tony Randal) but he was a yard shy of Finney and a mile south of Suchet. Besides, Dame Agatha was specific regarding the physical appearence of Poirot. Perhaps, the producers of the Ustinov movies felt that, if the public would accept Margaret Rutherford and Angela Lansbury as Jane Marple, they would buy a gargantuan Poirot.
Incidentally, when I said that the Sherlock Holmes stories were sorely lacking in action and humor, I meant that they were poor material for a visual medium.
I am glad that the Nero Wolfe series is getting some recognition. It is the best American made detective show. It has none of the plastic skinned Hollywood glitz of the network fare. It seems to bathe in a Modigliani color scheme (did I spell that right?), not unlike the Warren Beaty "Dick Tracey" film, but more believable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 01:21 AM

Aside from the stories themselves in Nero Wolfe, I always enjoyed the different roles that the actors in the program played each week. Ironicially, or perhaps not, the noir feel and the ensemble cast of Nero Wolf bear strong similarities to the mystery that Tim Hutton's father Jim Hutton worked on as Ellery Queen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 05:47 AM

I also think that David Suchet is the most convincing Hercule Poirot. He has all those little mannerisms including that walk with the very small steps that really produce a definitive character.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 08:47 AM

Ustinov was never a good Poirot. The worst acting of his career. I never believed Finney's performance, either. Suchet carried it off perfectly, though I could see other actors playing the part.

Rutherford's hyperactive Miss Marple was simply hard believe and harder to watch.

Yeah, STS, I enjoyed the ensemble structure of Nero Wolfe, too. It was like watching an extemely good repertory company, wasn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:12 AM

With the application of good hairpieces and costuming, they really did have quite a repertoire. There was one in particular you love to hate--the short bald guy--who would next turn up in a toupee as a totally urbane character and you'd be half-way through the program before you realized who he was.

Miss Marple/Hickson had some great helpers. I particularly liked John Castle in his various appearances in the program, but the annoying local policeman (can't remember his name) was always so good at being snotty. They did let that character evolve to show that he wasn't completely obtuse. Miss Marple must have come from a very large family--she had a remarkable number of nieces and nephews! Her strength was in her recognition of human nature.

What I enjoyed so much about Morse was the culture and literary material that were integral to the character. Great music and being an egghead (his crossword puzzles, reading the classics, distinct musical preferences, etc.) Remember the episode when the incendiary cassette case was found in his shelves--up to that point, Morse was meerly hurt and puzzled, but when Lewis told him it was something by Toscanini he was highly offended. "I wouldn't have it in the house!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: musicmick
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 12:54 PM

That policeman was played by David Horovitz who, once played a villain on a Poirot episode. I seem to remember that the only relatives of Jane Marple that Agatha Christie mentioned were her nephew, Raymond West, his artist wife, Joyce, and the girl who married the clergyman. Was her name Stuff?
Does anyone remember the Miss Marple movie with Helen Hayes as Jane and Bette Davis as her unsuspecting friend?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 12:56 PM

"There was one in particular you love to hate--the short bald guy--who would next turn up in a toupee as a totally urbane character and you'd be half-way through the program before you realized who he was."

Well I remember the actor. I assume you mean the one who played the bullying "Mr. Strickland" in Back To The Future. Didn't make my life any easier.

The DVDs don't give adequate credit to the cast of Miss Marple, but I think the character you mention was called Jenkins and he worked his way all the way up to Superintendent in The Mirror Cracked.

Morse would have made a fine guest star on "Fraiser", wouldn't he?

BTW, we're starting to like some of the new series coming on the USA Network. My boys have loved "Monk" from the beginning and the first episode of "Touching Evil" wasn't too bad. I was worried about "Touching Evil" since I knew it was yet another American adaptation of a British series and I remember what we did to Robie Coltrane's "Cracker" a few years ago. TE is very different but it works much better than I expected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 01:26 PM

So sorry. It was Margaret of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 02:34 PM

What a hoot--Morse on Frasier! They'd probably end up launching him and the barcalounger over the balcony. (I haven't watched much of Frasier, but what I've seen I've always enjoyed).

My daughter was chuckling at my enjoyment of one of the Harry Potter movies last week. "You really like those, don't you?" she queried. I told her that what I enjoy is the supporting cast. I described (but couldn't remember Cracker as the name) the mystery Robbie Coltrane was in where he was big, sloppy, smart, and troubled. Look at all of the others--Gemma Jones, Zoe Wanamaker, Julie Walters, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, John Cleese, etc. Many of them have visited British mysteries along with being on their own programs. (Gemma Jones was Morse's first deceased love-interest in one of the very first programs).


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 03:11 PM

And Gemma Jones was the Duchess of Duke Street before that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 04:51 PM

Yes, that's where I first encountered her. Loved that program!

The next Professor Dumbledore will be played by Michael Gambone, who was in the short-lived Maigret series, set in France. I've always enjoyed his appearances--and by his filmography, can see that he's quite a prolific actor.

(I haven't forgotten what Rap said about Diana Rigg--she has done some very edgy and unusual mysteries herself in the last dozen years. But in those you won't see her in spandex in a gilded cage.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 06:47 PM

Michael Gambon was great in Dennis Potter's "The Singing Detective", which has just had a Hollywood remake starring "Snortin'" Robert Downey, Jr.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 11:43 PM

The Internet Movie Database is wonderful for boosting one's memory--I was trying to remember the name of the actress (Patricia Hodge) in the short series based on a character created by Antonia Fraser (Jemima Shore Investigates). And then I remembered several other things she was in, including as Portia in Rumpole of the Bailey. Leo McKern was cast extremely well as the crusty old attorney.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Flash Company
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 07:31 AM

Joan Hickson as Miss M, Suchet as Poirot And Jeremy Brett as Holmes were all excellent. I think that Brett brought out the one factor in Holmes that all other portrayals play down, namely, his arrogance.
The other one which I liked was Iain Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey. Absolutely spot on.

FC


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:14 AM

I have a set of tapes of radio plays around here of Lord Peter Wimsey. I've seen some episodes with Ian Carmichael, and after confirming it with a search on Petherbridge realize I've seen those also.

Geez. I seem to have spent some time watching and/or reading mysteries.

Then there are the new ones on this side of the pond, movies of the Tony Hillerman Indian Country mysteries in the Four Corners region (the intersection of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado). I like them in general, but I think they changed Joe Leaphorn too much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:41 AM

The problem with Hillerman on TV is what makes his work good in books. My sister-in-law doesn't like any of the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee books claiming that nothing ever happens. She's right, of course, but what's interesting is why it never happens. The whole point is the difference between our cultures that drives the plot away from what you expect.   Trying to depict the cultural differences in fairly stoic culture makes for a stilted TV mystery though, which is why I believe they changed Joe so much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:02 PM

And what about Roy Marsden as Dagleish and who was the actor in the Cadfael series? He was great. Diana Rigg in Motherlove was grand. I would have to say that Morse and Rumpole are my all time favourites, but this post has sure churned up the old memory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:09 PM

Indian cultures aren't "stoic," and that's a stereotype that shouldn't be used to describe those books, either. The action is mental--there is a lot more internal voice going on in those novels that doesn't translate as well. (They're also great roadtrips/travelogues through the desert southwest.) Redford has to figure a way to see these people moving around without benefit of the energy of their thoughts translated on the screen.

It's awfully hard to come up with solid American contributions to the mystery genre, at least that are on a par with the British ones. I did always like Perry Mason the series and they're still fun to watch in reruns. Barnaby Jones is one my mom watched but I never did. Remington Steele was always a tongue-in-cheek drama that had more to do with maintaining a disguise than solving mysteries. Thinking back, Darren McGavin's The Night Stalker series was a pretty unique contribution to the genre, in an occult sort of way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: clueless don
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM

Although I thought the Hollywood movie of "The Mirror Cracked" was dreadful, I thought Angela Lansbury did a good job as Miss Marple - much closer to the character as written than Margaret Rutherford. I have long suspected (perhaps this is common knowledge, and I just don't know) that it was this performance by Lansbury that inspired someone to cast her in "Murder, She Wrote".

The Hickson shows were great. I even loved the theme music!

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST,James
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:39 PM

I think Helen Mirren was born to be Jane Tnnison, she is marvelous in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 02:18 PM

clueless, there's no connection. There's nothing at all suspicious about Lansbury, who played Miss Marple in a movie, playing a modern Miss Marple-like character who lives in an Americanized verion of St. Mary Meade in a TV series with a name suspiciously like Agatha Christie's Miss Marple book called "Murder She Said". :D


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 02:39 PM

I thought Murder She Wrote was a travesty and was a very crude attempt at being a mystery. Ms. Lansbury's considerable skills were certainly wasted in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 09:21 PM

I enjoyed many of the Murder, She Wrote guest stars, though. If you looked at the program as a retrospective of American film history, who else would have had Hurd Hatfield (The Picture of Dorian Gray) on as an intermitent guest, and had Kathryn Grayson, a goddess when she was in her prime, return to acting to play one of her beauty-shop friends? Look at all of the famously-past-great who happily appeared on the program. I always guessed who done it early on, but it wasn't so much about the mystery, it was about the casting.

When she was absent some weeks, she had such greats as Keith Mitchell (I remember him best for Henry VIII and His Six Wives but I've seen him many other times in things), Jerry Orbach, and others. Like I say, that was a lot of fun but for other reasons than mystery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:17 PM

Seems like there's always one CBS program that's recycles stars that might be considered a little past their expiry date.

Remember Diagnosis Murder?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 11:41 PM

Yes, I always liked Dick Van Dyke in the other stuff he did, but in that series he both literally and figuratively shrank.

Ah--I have flashed on another that was very nice in it's first iteration--Burke's Law with the sexy and urbane Gene Barry. My mom always watched that one and I was a kid paying attention, just old enough to know that Burke was quite the playboy and to know what that entailed. I think the attempt to bring that one back was a disaster. Like Perry Mason, the sequels never really worked, at least, not for me.

This has been a very nice thread, thanks for starting it, Strick.

It wasn't exactly a mystery, but did you ever see the quirky Peter Seller's movie The World of Henry Orient?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:13 AM

"It wasn't exactly a mystery, but did you ever see the quirky Peter Seller's movie The World of Henry Orient?"

No, but I've heard of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Teribus
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 07:44 AM

Cadfael, I believe was played by the actor Derek Jacobi.

Does anybody know if the series of Miss Marple stories starring Joan Hickson have been brought out as DVD's?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Jeanie
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:23 AM

Strick and SRS: "Diagnosis Murder" is still going strong here on UK television ! It has become 'cult viewing' for me and my daughter in the school holidays (it's generally shown on early afternoon TV here). We giggle and heckle and have a generally uproarious time throughout: plotlines and acting so appallingly ludicrous as to be brilliant. If ever taken ill, DO NOT GO TO THAT HOSPITAL !!! (Likewise, do not visit the cosy Midsomer Villages - more murders per square inch than blades of grass on the cricket greens. -(I wonder whether the "Midsomer Murders" series has reached the States ??)

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:47 AM

"Does anybody know if the series of Miss Marple stories starring Joan Hickson have been brought out as DVD's?"

Yes, I believe they cover the entire series now. I think we have them all. Last I saw the best prices were at www.deepdiscountdvd.com, but I've been able to beat them from time to time at the usual sites, Amazon, etc. so check around.

No sign of "Midsomer Murders" here I've seen, Jeanie. Surely they can't have more murders per capita than St. Mary Meade and Cabot Cove?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:57 AM

Yes, I love Midsomer Murders, and I agree--how can it be that no one higher up has noticed the unusual domino-effect density of murders that occur in these tiny villages? They certainly have some entertaining plot twists!

I enjoyed Cadfael, but had to sometimes wince at the twentieth century political sensibilities layered over the twelfth century environment. It may seem contrary to some, but what we understand today is not identical to what we understood 800 years ago, minus the science. Our cultures are cumulative, and as new ideas come along they are considered radical and even threatening for a while until they are accepted in general (what Kuhn called a "paradigm shift"). I worked on (need to write the thesis still) a MA in philosophy, and have spent too much time reading Foucault and the like to be able to immerse myself in Cadfael's mysteries with the same comfort as that with which I watch Marple, Poirot, or Wolf. But I enjoy anything that Jacobi does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 11:02 AM

Spot on analysis of Cadfael, SRS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:24 PM

You know, at my house, this all started because we used to watch Murder She Wrote. One Sunday the middle boy caught part of one of Suchet's Poirot's and at 7, he was hooked. Then he discovered something in the cabinet where I keep the videos only I watch -- the complete Thin Man series and some Charlie Chans. It's cost us no end of arguments about bedtimes when something runs late and a fortune VHS and DVDs ever since.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:07 PM

I don't remember now if I left in a remark about the Thin Man Series. Nope, the search doesn't show it. They were clever yet screw ball mysteries, and have always appeared to me to be an antidote to the Depression. Faux-noir, perhaps. (William Powell is a favorite of mine in My Man Godfrey and Mr. Roberts.)

I've been doing what amounts to "directed screenings" of movies with my kids for several years. (They're now 12 and 15). This is an interesting way to spend an evening, and they always know that it means we'll watch at least a couple, because in the same way it is when you're singing favorite songs, one always reminds you of another.   


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST,dinnerlady
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:37 PM

I have to say that for me Miss Marple will always be the excellent Margeret Rutherford. Check out 'Murder most Foul' made in 1964 in glorious black and white. Oh and as for Sherlock Holmes...thought Jeremy Brett was IT for sexiness.....but then I discovered Basil Rathbone....phwoar factor 10!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Strick
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 09:07 PM

The most interesting things about The Thin Man are:

1) The movie and series title do not refer to the lead character, but someone who appears only in the first movie. Sort of like The Pink Panther.

2) Dashiell Hammett absolutely hated the movies and wished he had never written the book the first one came from. He wanted to write hardboiled, real detective fiction and he hated the idle rich, except when he had money, of course.

3) Myrna Loy was gorgeous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 12:09 AM

Myrna Loy


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Teribus
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 03:17 AM

Strick,

Thanks for the information, I watched them as they came out on BBC and have a couple on VHS tapes. My wife has watched those and really enjoyed them. Hopefully, with the information you have given me, I can get the whole set for her to watch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: HuwG
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 03:31 AM

I must strike a jarring dissentient note here. I thought that Derek Jacobi was the wrong man to play Cadfael, as the character was originally penned. Originally Cadfael was a Welshman (necessarily, so as to understand the laws and customs of Wales, which affected so many of the plots), and a down-to-earth former common soldier and seaman. He arrived on screen with the manners and speech of an Oxford don.

(I agree that by the time the Cadfael stories start, he has been in the cloister for twelve years or more, but since he didn't enter the Benedictine order until he was in his forties, a mere decade shouldn't entirely wipe out his former personality and graft another on top).

Cadfael was played on radio by welsh actors such as Glyn Houston and Philip Madoc. I wish that they had stuck to a Welsh actor for the TV version.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM

HuwG, we've already established that authenticity isn't a long suit in the Cadfael series, but imagine trying to understand a Welsh accent speaking English from 800 years ago. Might as well break out the Chaucer and give the viewers a little break with Middle English. . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 10:08 AM

One less Poirot on the horizon now--Peter Ustinov died last night of heart failure at his home in Switzerland.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 06:20 PM

Derek Jacobi played Cadfael but was also Claudius in the BBC's serialisation of "I Claudius".

There was no Iain Petherbridge but Ian Carmichael and Edward Petherbridge both played Lord Peter Wimsey.

Douglas Wilmer was quite a good Sherlock Holmes. The Speckled Band gave me nightmares...

Long before playing Miss Marple, Joan Hickson was the wonderfully louche Brighton landlady at the B&B where John Gregson and Dinah Sheridan spent the night in Genevieve.

And John Nettles was solving murders in Jersey for years as Bergerac before he became Barnaby and moved to Midsomer.

Midsomer has had loads more murders than St Mary Meade - Jane Marple had to travel to distant parts to solve murders in Dilmouth etc.

Has Inspector Frost (David Jason)made it to the USA? And does anyone in England know where Denton is?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 11:20 PM

Frost did make it across the pond, at the same time Cracker did. I think they were more edgy than what a lot of Americans were used to seeing in their British mysteries. Helen Mirren in the Prime Suspect series came along shortly after them. I see a new one is out now.

I loved I, Claudius. It had a great collection of British actors, many of whom were unknown here when the series was first produced. When PBS replayed the programs here a few years back, there those actors were--Patrick Stewart with hair, etc.

Having experienced a recent vocabulary moment when Amos responded to my use of "bricoleur," I must congratulate you on introducing me to a great new word. How this one passed my attention before, I can't say, but "louche" is wonderful. I tried Amos' trick of using Google: bring up the page and enter the term define: louche and you get the definitions. Louche, like "pentimento" and "palimpsest," falls into a category of words that can be applied to a wide spectrum of situations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 03:16 PM

Bringing back an old thread after a long absence. The Nero Wolfe programs are available on DVD now, and are very well done. I found a couple of reviews that confirm my opinion of the quality of the program: Home Theater Sound and something called Nero Wolfe.org.

Also--has anyone else noticed that all (U.S.) replays of the old black and white Perry Mason series have vanished from broadcast and cable? They've begun to sell selected programs on DVD, but this isn't the catalog of the entire series. Anyone have an idea of where it went or if there is legal action behind the disappearance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 04:03 PM

Reading this thread brought back a lot of memories. PBS ran several of the best.
Now a new series of rewrites has come along and there is a new Miss Marple. The acting and scripts are adequate, but I think it will be impossible to surpass Joan Hickson. All of the Miss Marple- Hickson episodes are available on 5 DVD's in two sets.

I have been getting catalogues from "Video Collectables" but find that Amazon.ca and Amazon.com are cheaper.

Others Available:
Nero Wolfe. Set 1, 3 DVD; Set 2, 5 DVD.
Midsomer Murders. Six sets of DVD
Rumpole of the Bailey. 3 sets
Morse. 6 sets
Philip Marlowe. 3 DVD
Cadfael. 4 sets
Tinker, Tailor.., Smiley's People 6 DVD
Poirot (Suchet). 12 DVD (list price $249.98).
Tommy and Tuppence. 7 DVD (Packaged as A. C's Romantic detectives)
And many others, including the repulsive Cracker. Buy them all (or buy an automobile!).

Missing, unfortunately, is Australian part-Aboriginal detective, Napoleon Bonaparte (a great series of which only a few were shown here. A victim of PC?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 11:48 PM

I've never heard of that Australian one. When did it come out? Did it play anywhere in the U.S.?

There have been two or three dramatizations of the Tony Hillerman Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mysteries. Wes Studi doesn't portray Leaphorn the way I imagine him, he's too stoic, too slim, too young. In the earlier books where he is alone he is younger, but when he was solving mysteries with Jim Chee he was older, slower. There aren't many Southwestern Indian actors playing these roles, either, so it is a rather mishmash of cultures all supposedly playing Navajo and Pueblo tribal police. At least most of them are Indians playing Indians.

Some of the mysteries we discussed earlier are harder to watch than others. Frost and Cracker fall into that category for me. I haven't been able to watch an entire program in the new Miss Marple series to get a reading on it yet, I've only caught fragments. There is a new mysterm the local PBS played here last summer that I saw a few of, Rosemary and Thyme. Anything with Felicity Kendal gets my attention. I suspect it's a stretch to keep finding botanical murder mysteries, but the ones I saw were cute. Pam Ferris is no slouch, either. I just did a search on her at IMDb, and hadn't realized all of the things I'd seen her in were all her. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 11:58 AM

There is a Morse spinoff in the UK now, started last night and it had excellent preview notices. I've taped it but not seen it yet. It's called Lewis and is played by the same actor, Kevin Whatley.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 12:05 PM

Interesting! A search at Amazon.com (U.S.) doesn't reveal any titles under Colin Dexter that are just for Lewis (no hits at all come up). Is Dexter involved with this project?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 05:35 PM

The Lewis spinoff probably will be a few months in coming out on DVD; it won't be released until the series is well along (after release on PBS; we will have to wait (Bleak House DVD will be released in late February, after it has run on TV).
I see a complete set of Morse, in wooden case, lists at $549.00 for the 35 DVD's.
(Bleak House is not released (in N. Am., anyway) until late February after the TV run is complete).

I enjoyed Frost( 3 CD set), but not Cracker.

The "Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte" series I have not found anywhere; seemingly not released on VHS or DVD. I saw two episodes on PBS Seattle, 3 or more years ago.
I have all the novels and some other of Arthur Upfield's books; I actively collected them at one time.

"Rosemary and Thyme" has been released on 6 DVD's; two sets, about 9 hours worth.

Not seen yet but released on DVD's- (not yet on PBS or simply missed by me):
Sergeant Cribb
Young Sherlock
Kavanagh Q. C. (John Thaw)
Wire in the Blood (Robson Green and Hermione Norris are the leads)

Somebody mentioned Diana Rigg in the old Avenger series. Her Mrs. Bradley mysteries had a light touch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 05:54 PM

I couldn't remember the name of Rigg's latest mystery series, thanks for listing it. It might be interesting to compare a program like that to some of the Jeeves and Wooster stories of the same period to see what they were focusing on because the Rigg series concept, for a period piece, brought a different point of view to the social settings (rather like some of the Victorian-period novels by Judith Butler). I don't watch as much television as I used to and I don't usually see all of the episodes in any given series, sometimes missing the entire series before I realise they were being played. (If I still subscribed to some kind of publication with television listings this probably wouldn't be the case.)

I did see a few of Patricia Routledge's Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. They were a nice change from all of the years I saw her in Keeping Up Appearances.

I'm sorry I missed that Napoleon series. Chances are that if it played in Seattle the Dallas station also played it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 01:24 PM

Here in Alberta at the moment, Shaw cable carries both Seattle and Detroit NPR. A nice combination, not only because of the tw0 hour difference, but Detroit has more money and carries some programs not shown by Seattle.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a half-caste, part 'abo,' not PC today. I think that is why the series is not offered.

If it wasn't for NPR and BBCTV News channel, and a couple of channels carrying old stuff like Gleason, I would find little to justify having cable TV.

I think the Hillerman series missed the boat. I have enjoyed many happy moments in the Navajo Nation and the region in general, and find the character development shallow and even the landscapes poorly portrayed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Jeanie
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 04:22 AM

SRS and Q: The "Lewis" programme (shown here in the UK last Sunday) was a 2 hour "one-off", and yes, Colin Dexter was involved in the making of it, and made a brief appearance, this time as a college porter, as he did in all the "Morse" episodes. According to an article in the "Radio Times" most of the "Morse" production team were also involved in this project. I saw it and thought it was very good, filmed and acted in the same style. They also had a newly commissioned signature tune written by the same person who wrote the "Morse" one. There were some very clever little features that made the presence of Morse felt in this story. According to the press over here, although this was a "one-off", there is a liklihood that more will be made in the future.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 09:53 AM

That's nice. Is Lewis taking up crosswords or listening to Mozart operas?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: NH Dave
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 12:04 PM

One of the problems of living in the US after some great times in England is that many of the good British shows take forever to make their way to the US, and by the same token, a good number of my favorite British actors of the 70's die and are long gone before any notice is taken over here.

Oddly enough, when I was in England, a fair number of the US shows were being imported and shown on the independent TV stations, just as we have imported many of the great British shows.

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:19 PM

Yeah, but while the good British programs are imported to the U.S., I've heard that the crap is what is exported to the U.K. Too bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 08:05 PM

They never made a film of that Agatha christie thing Halloween party. That was in my opinion her best Poirot.

Joan Hickson was the sister in Carry on Nurse.

From the earlier stuff, I liked Margaret Rutherford declaiming Dangerous Dan McGrew


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: NH Dave
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 02:22 AM

I never said that we sent the good programs, Sage, but they sure looked good on the British higher definition/resolution TV sets. I wondered a bit why the British sets had so few controls; mainly a power switch, a volume control, push buttons for each of, as I recall, four BBC stations and another four ITV stations, although most locations only had one ITV station back then. No color adjustments, no hue adjustments, and no saturation - color density adjustment out where the owner could tweak them. The reason, as far as I could tell, was that British TV was so uniform across the transmitters and frequencies, that there wasn't any need for these adjustments, unkile here in the US.

   The British made another couple of brilliant decisions. Color TV was only available on the "UHF" sets with the higher resolution, while the old black and white only signal had to be watched on the old, slow scan rate VHF receivers. These had such a low scan rate by design and because they were synched to a 50 Hz Mains voltage, that most of the sets gave off an irritating high frequency signal from the flyback transformer in the back of the set, above the audible frequency for many, but still was perceived by most on another level. My ears had been damaged by too much jet engine noise, so although I could not her the high pitched whistle or hiss that younger folks heard, I felt an opressive feeling whenever I walked into a Telly Repair Shop, and would have to leave before I got physically sick.

   The second smart thing they did was to broadcast ALL of the TV signals for a region from one ceentral transmitter and antenna site, unlike in the US, where anyone with a bit of money and interest can buy a station license, and set it up a transmitter anywhere he wished. The British system had all 4-6 frequencies or broadcast services at one location, so you never had to change the direction in which the antenna was pointing, eliminating all need for an expensive tall mast, a rotator, and a multi-band antenna on top. The British system had the one antenna, frequently fastened directly onto the side of your home, and pointed to the transmitter site for the three BBC channels, and in my case, the East Anglia Broadcast channel.

   A clever well thought out plan.

   Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Jeanie
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 04:55 AM

SRS: No, Lewis is still very much Lewis - though I'm not giving any of the game away by saying that in the new "Lewis" story, a note on an unfinished crossword puzzle by Morse, which is attached to some old case notes, plays a key role in unravelling Lewis' investigation. Lewis' assistant is the "intellectual" of the partnership: He is a theology graduate who was thrown out of studying for the priesthood.

Of the current US imports to UK television, I must say I'm very much enjoying "Desperate Housewives" and all the goings on in Wisteria Lane - good, harmless, fun viewing !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 08:01 AM

CBC is now showing "Marple", a new version of Miss Marple. I watched it last night and thought it dreadful.. did anyone else watch it ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 09:05 AM

This one of those "based on Agatha Christie" type things. The stories have to be re-written to include lesbians kissings, Miss Marple's sexual experiences, completly invented end-of-pier show starring well-known comics etc etc. It's odd, really, considering that Agatha Christie's books are inordinately popular, that TV companies seem to feel obliged to completely rewrite the stories. Rather like an "Oliver Twist" I saw on TV a year or three ago, which had a completely new plot-line. Surely Dickens and Christie, by their ongoing popularity, deserve a bit better than being converted into opportunities for filming coaches, horse,old cars and trains, and inappropriate sex?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 05:37 PM

Saw one of the 'new' Marple shows and agree with greg s.
One of the reasons the old ones are living on in DVD format.

Still like "Bleak House" on NPR; that is a big novel but the cuts are not hurting the main story so far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 07:17 PM

Darn, I forgot to watch it again last night. I did see a couple of Rosemary and Thyme, though. The local PBS station played a series of mysteries opposite the Stupid Bowl.


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Subject: BS: Miss Marple, murder mysteries
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 02:05 PM

When I read Tony Hillerman mysteries, they go down like popcorn. They are fun the first time through. I don't return to them as a rule.

Sharyn McCrumb's mysteries set in the Appalachian Mountain country have appealed to me for years, especially the lady with the Sight, spinster Nora Bonesteel.

I have forgotten the author of the series set in Puritan New England, whose protagonist is a midwife; as a midwife she assists at more than births, and sometimes she is called when there is no doctor for miles around, which may even be those occasions when an examiner/coroner is called for. A very righteous and angry author, as I recall, but the research is impressive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: maeve
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 03:45 PM

@keberoxu - Do you mean "A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812" ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 06:04 PM

Margaret Lawrence is the author's nom-de-plume, and her heroine was Hannah Trevor: a series of three books.
I was mistaken, though, when I said Puritan. It's the years right after the American War of Independence. The setting is Maine, however.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Senoufou
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 03:58 AM

GUEST, yes, I've watched one or two of the Marple series and as you say, they're dreadful. They change the plot shamelessly, and it's a parody of the 'real thing'. I'm surprised at Joanna Lumley, Geraldine McEwan et al lending themselves to such a travesty.

I adored the late Joan Hickson, and thought she was perfect in the role. Old and frail, but sharp as a needle. I have all the DVDs in a boxed set. My all-time favourite is 'The Body In The Library'
I also liked John Suchet's portrayal of Poirot. Not too buffoonish, but eccentric enough to be faithful to the part.

I also have the entire collection of Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot books, plus many of her other stories, as I'm a bit of an addict!


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 07:30 PM

Who else has watched the Miss Fisher series set Melbourne, Australia, in the 1920s? It's based on the books by Kerry Greenwood and stars Essie Davis. It's great fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 02:49 PM

Another Tana French mystery is about to hit the bookstores, I think in the next four weeks. There's another writer who haunts you after you finish the book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 12:00 PM

I was perusing old traced threads and stumbled upon this. In 2017, after the election of Trump, I couldn't stand to have the radio on during my drive time because it was all Trump all of the time. I switched over to audio books and for the next 20 months or so (until I retired) I listened to about an hour a day of books. I've always enjoyed the audio books of Christie, but I was exploring new authors.

I thought I'd bring up Lawrence Block, a prolific writer of mysteries, mostly police procedurals, but he also has a few from the point of view of burglars and assassins. And they are really engrossing. There is a pattern to his writing but it's an inviting voice and I've enjoyed every novel I've read or listened to.

Here is his entry at Fantastic Fiction so you can see what books are in what series. He's a regular writing machine. I first encountered him via Writer's Digest where he was a voice to teach and encourage new writers. It took me a while to look into his fiction, but I'm glad I did. It isn't deep stuff, but it is quite entertaining and he does manage on occasion to surprise me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 12:58 PM

I will also note that I picked up on the television mystery program Castle when it was in it's seventh (of eight) seasons, getting the DVDs from the library. It's a silly romantic romp, fluff mostly. But the premise is that a mystery writer is able to tag along with the police (he eventually becomes a private investigator) and when they have any kind of a reference to a recognizable plot (and they plan a lot of the episodes to do this) he ends up with some line about it. I saw a repeat last weekend, when they realize the premise was traded murders. "It's like Strangers on a Train - you know, the Hitchcock movie, though I prefer the Patricia Highsmith original novel. . . " and they have him playing poker with various living mystery writers playing themselves. He refers to lots of mystery writers, so their producers and writers had to be keeping track of the genre.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 04:50 PM

They did do Halloween party, eventually.


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Subject: RE: BS: Miss Marple
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Nov 19 - 12:10 PM

I've signed up to volunteer at a local museum doing a task that is slow going - scanning vintage Kodachrome/Ektachrome slides. The machines move slowly, so I'll be loading my phone with audio books, mostly mysteries, to listen to as I wait for the flatbed scanner to work. I dropped off listening to those much after I retired, and now I'm working on filling my days with both useful tasks and more mysteries.

Does anyone have any discoveries of interesting authors or characters to report?


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