With Poirot about to be coming to an end after a massive 13 series run, there’s got to be something to step up and fill the gap. Perhaps, on at least some level, that can be found from Agatha Christie’s other major mystery series involving the legendary Miss Marple. Our friends out at Acorn sent out a copy of “Marple: Fan Favorites Collection”, and for those who haven’t seen any Marple as yet, or haven’t tried the Marple and were looking for something to help get them over the hump of no Poirot, this should prove a great place to start.
“Agatha Christie’s Marple Fan Favorites Collection” brings together a collection of five Marple mysteries, specifically “The Murder at the Vicarage,” “A Murder is Announced,” “At Bertram’s Hotel,” “A Pocket Full of Rye,” “The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side.” Each will offer up a different tale of mystery–and generally murder–for which the police are commonly stymied. But there’s one lady in particular who seldom finds herself too stymied for long, and that’s no less than Miss Marple, a lady with a peculiar talent for spotting the underlying elements of human nature and aligning these elements together in one handy package of crime-solving fun.
Marple mysteries have a way of being complex, much in the same way their Poirot counterparts were, but unlike the Poirot, this seems somewhat less cosmopolitan and much more rural, more small town. Where Poirot was stuffed full of Art Deco marvels and magnificent seaside villas–with the occasional fabulous country home thrown in for variety–this is all about the small town, the assorted squabbles of village life that sometimes get just a bit out of control. Like murder out of control.
This can make for a lot of fun, really, as seeing what amounts to Poirot reskinned makes for some noteworthy deviations from the norm. Anyone who’s fond of the Poirot should be able to migrate nicely into this, so for those about to go through a bit of David Suchet withdrawal in the near future, keep a stock of Marple on hand and you’ll likely be more than ready for the loss. Better yet, for those who like their mystery a little on the darker side, Marple can handle that as well, but also with an occasional comic edge. The first few minutes of “A Murder is Announced” proves that out nicely, with the proceedings getting quite suspenseful until the police inspector trips over a stack of suitcases.
Special features here include the standard introductory pastiche of several available Acorn titles–it’s like a series of five-second trailers, roughly–as well as English subtitles. There’s also a booklet in here offering some background on the Marple series, along with a recipe for a cake known as “Delicious Death,” which actually appears in one of the mysteries, specifically “A Murder is Announced.”
“Agatha Christie’s Marple Fan Favorites Collection” is a fine package of mysteries, and one that’s every bit a match for Poirot in terms of overall quality. There’s plenty of excitement, a good dollop of red herrings for variety, and all around fun to be had.