The spinster sleuth returns to ITV1 on Sunday night in the first of a new series – the sixth, I believe – starring Julia Mackenzie. A Caribbean Mystery finds Marple on holiday at the Golden Palms resort, far from her usual hunting ground of St Mary Mead, when her vacation is rudely interrupted by a murder.
Though the old girl’s appearances were never quite as prolific as stablemate Poirot, Jane Marple appeared in 12 novels and numerous short stories. Agatha Christie created her after apparently being annoyed that an old lady in an adaptation of one of her books was changed to a young girl.
Marple’s first appearance was in 1926. In her early appearances she was more shrewish, an interfering busybody, but the character mellowed.
Despite her popularity, the character had to wait thirty years till Margaret Rutherford famously played the role in a series of films. Since then she’s been played by numerous actresses, incuding Joan Hickson, Helen Hayes, Angela Lansbury – tuning-up for her marathon stint as Jessica Fletcher! – and Geraldine McEwan.
Christie was always asked why Jane Marple never met Hercule Poirot. She pointed out that they were very different people and wouldn’t have gotten on at all well. Occasionally, however, minor characters have popped up in both sets of books. Curiously, there was a Japanese anime series which featured the two sleuths.
In an interesting piece of meta-casting, A Caribbean Mystery also features Charlie Higson as James Bond. Bond is an ornithologist in A Caribbean Mystery – Fleming famously named his character after a twitcher – and Higson is, of course, the author of the Young James Bond novels.
Apropos of nothing, yesterday I was on my way to the launch of Nick Taussig‘s new novel The Distinguished Assassin — a review of that coming up next week — when I walked past this:
Anyways, I expect you’ll be wanting to know what time A Caribbean Mystery is on — it’s 8pm.