Playing murder

CoveAre you a fan of crime shows on TV? I enjoy the Weekend Murders on Prime, especially the Miss Marple series, and now that winter has really set in I’m happy to huddle down on a Saturday night and make the most of them.

As with any character you know from well from a book, it is not easy to translate Miss Marple to the screen. They have tried it all sorts of ways. Joan Hickson, all fluffy and pink and unassuming always fitted my idea of her very well.  I have therefore been surprised to find Julia McKenzie a great deal more credible with her straightforward and sensible version of the great detective. Margaret Rutherford’s forceful ship-in-full-sail version ( a la P J Wodehouse’s aunties) is fun too, but a long way from my imaginings. The only actress I find entirely unbelievable is Geraldine McEwan with her sharp, birdlike inquisitiveness and coy innuendo. Miss Marple is not sharp – well not in my mind anyway.

One Christie character who can be played by only one person is Poirot. Who could tolerate anyone else after David Suchet’s superb version? Even Peter Ustinov cannot hold a candle to him. He recently began filming for the last programmes in his complete series of Poirot, so if you’re an avid fan keep an eye on the catalogue.

If you’d like to vote on your favourite Christie character and find out what other people think try Hercule Poirot Central.

I notice from Weekend Murders we now have a new Inspector Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. I didn’t expect to like him as I have always had a soft spot for John Nettles. Like Morse, Midsomer Murders translated to the screen as a much classier act than the original books and John Nettles seemed integral to its sense of style. His replacement has surprised my by being just as engaging. Unfortunately the set solution involving a cunningly insane but apparently normal neighbour, seems to have been replaced with a weekly need to rescue the detective, otherwise I might become a fan.

Happily you don’t have to wait for your favourite sleuth to appear on Weekend Murders, as the library have many of these episodes on DVD.

Who are you favourite sleuths as played on the screen?