A lavish weekend party sees Miss Marple accompany Lady Virginia Revel to her family home of Chimneys - a house which was once prized for its diplomatic gatherings until a rare diamond was stolen from the premises over twenty years ago. The tenacious career politician, George Lomax, has persuaded Virginia's father, Lord Caterham, to host an evening for an important Austrian Count, Ludwig Von Stainach. Virginia, the daughter of Miss Marple's late cousin, must decide by the end of the weekend whether to accept a marriage proposal from George Lomax or to follow her heart and the courtship of another more adventurous suitor, Anthony Cade. Dismayed by the odd array of guests, including socialist spinster Miss Blenkinsopp, Caterham's formidable eldest daughter Bundle and the quietly inscrutable maidservant Treadwell, Lomax castigates his affable assistant Bill Eversleigh, who also has a soft spot for Virginia. It becomes apparent that Count Ludwig has taken a personal interest in Chimneys ...Written by
I knew after the first minute this was going to be really enjoyable, and it was. Starting a drama with a bit of Strauss (Wiener Bonbons) is never a bad idea, it sets the tone. The worst case of saved on a bicycle whilst wearing an anorak as I have ever seen.
We learn that after a party in 1932, a maid Agnes stole a hugely valuable jewel from one of the guests and then vanished. A diplomatic gathering happens at the old family home of the Caterham family, Chimneys. Honoured Guest and dignitary Count Ludwig is found murdered and Miss Marple sets about unravelling a web of secrets and lies.
It's a deep plot, it's not straightforward like Library or Vicarage, but it at least allows a little intelligence from the viewer. I don't see where some reviewers are coming from when they say they don't understand it, have you seen an episode of Waking the dead? This is deep not complex.
Wonderfully acted as you'd expect, it's very much McKenzie that stands out as the class act of the piece. Edward Fox is as usual very good, he plays the unsympathetic aristocrat very well, he's a commanding actor. Ruth Jones and Dervla Kirwan provide the lighter side. Good to see Michelle Collins cast against type, and playing a more dowdy character, she clearly does sinister very well. Matthew Horne is a little silly at times I thought.
I like the humour in it, mainly coming from the Kirwan/Jones combination. The music as mentioned briefly is superb, you can't beat a Strauss waltz, but the incidental music is lovely too. As a production it looks beautiful, gorgeous settings, great shots, it's a visual treat.
It gets an 8/10, it's not brilliant or flawless, but it's imaginative, beautifully produced, and original, Miss Marple fitted in beautifully to this story, she din't seem contrived.
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