Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Miss Marple Always Caught The 07.30 hrs Train When Travelling Up To London From Saint Mary Mead.

Illustration: PINTEREST

Joan Hickson.
The definitive Miss Marple.
Copyright holder: BBC Enterprises.

The following Text is from Wikipedia.

The character of Jane Marple in the first Miss Marple book, The Murder at the Vicarage, is markedly different from how she appears in later books. This early version of Miss Marple is as a gleeful gossip and not an especially nice woman. The citizens of Saint Mary Mead like her, but are often tired by her nosy nature and how she seems to expect the worst of everyone. In later books, she becomes more modern and a kinder person.

Miss Marple solves difficult crimes because of her shrewd intelligence, and Saint Mary Mead, over her lifetime, has given her seemingly infinite examples of the negative side of human nature. Crimes always remind her of a parallel incident, although acquaintances may be bored by analogies that often lead her to a deeper realisation about the true nature of a crime.

She also has a remarkable ability to latch onto a casual comment and connect it to the case at hand. In several stories, she is able to rely on her acquaintance with Sir Henry Clithering, a retired Commissioner of The Metropolitan Police, for official information when required.

Joan Hickson's Gravestone.
"The archetypal Miss Marple".
Died 17 October 1998, aged 92.
Illustration: FIND A GRAVE

Miss Marple never married and has no close living relatives. Her nephew, the "well-known author" Raymond West, appears in some stories, including Sleeping Murder and Ingots of Gold, which also feature his wife, Joan, a modern artist (though prior to their marriage she is referred to as "Joyce Lemprière", in The The Thirteen Problems stories).

Raymond overestimates himself and underestimates his aunt's mental acuity. Miss Marple employs young women (Clara, Emily, Alice, Esther, Gwenda, and Amy) from a nearby orphanage, whom she trains for service as general housemaids after the retirement of her long-time maid-housekeeper, faithful Florence. She was briefly looked after by her irritating maid, Miss Knight. In her later years, companion Cherry Baker, first introduced in The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, lives in.

Miss Marple has never worked for her living and is of independent means, although she benefits in her old age from the financial support of Raymond West, her nephew (A Caribbean Mystery, 1964). She is not from the aristocracy or landed gentry, but is quite at home among them and would probably have been happy to describe herself as "genteel"; indeed, a gentlewoman.

Miss Marple,
played by Joan Hickson,
Agatha Christie's
"The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side".
Available on YouTube at

Miss Marple may thus be considered a female version of that staple of British detective fiction, the gentleman detective. She demonstrates a remarkably thorough education, including some art courses that involved study of human anatomy through the study of human cadavers. In They Do It with Mirrors (1952), it is revealed that Miss Marple grew up in a Cathedral Close, and that she studied at an Italian finishing school with Americans Ruth Van Rydock and Caroline "Carrie" Louise Serrocold.

While Miss Marple is described as 'an old lady' in many of the stories, her age is mentioned in "At Bertram's Hotel", where it is said she visited the hotel when she was fourteen and almost sixty years have passed since then. Excluding "Sleeping Murder", forty-one years passed between the first and last-written novels, and many characters grow and age. An example would be the Vicar's nephew: In The Murder at the Vicarage, the Reverend Clement's nephew, Dennis, is a teenager; in The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, it is mentioned that the nephew is now grown and successful and has a career. The effects of ageing are seen on Miss Marple, such as needing a holiday after illness in
A Caribbean Mystery.

Little is known about Miss Marple's background, except that she has two younger sisters. One of them is the mother of Raymond, and the other is mother to Mabel Denham, a young woman who was accused of poisoning her husband Geoffrey (The Thumb Mark of Saint Peter).

Joan Hickson
as Agatha Christie's
Miss Marple.
Available on

Joan Bogle Hickson, OBE (5 August 1906 – 17 October 1998) was an English actress of theatre, film and television. She was particularly known for her role as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the television series Miss Marple. As well as portraying Miss Marple on television, Hickson also narrated a number of Miss Marple stories on audio books.
Born in Kingsthorpe, Northampton, Joan Hickson was a daughter of Edith Mary (née Bogle) and Alfred Harold Hickson, a shoe manufacturer. She made her stage debut in 1927, and for several years worked throughout The United Kingdom and achieved success playing comedic, often eccentric characters in London's West End, including the role of the cockney maid, Ida, in the original production of See How They Run, at The Q Theatre in 1944, and then at The Comedy Theatre in January 1945.

She made her first film appearance in 1934. The numerous supporting roles of her career included several Carry On films, including playing The Nursing Sister in Carry On Nurse.

Miss Marple,
played by Agatha Christie's
Joan Hickson.
Available on YouTube at

In the 1940s, she appeared on-stage in an Agatha Christie play, Appointment with Death, which was seen by Christie, who wrote in a note to her, "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple". From 1963–1966, she played Mrs. Peace, housekeeper to Reverend Stephen Young (played by Donald Sinden) in the highly-rated TV series Our Man At Saint Mark's. Hickson played the housekeeper in the Marple film Murder, She Said, in 1961, (based on Agatha Christie's original novel 4.50 From Paddington), which starred Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple.

From 1970–1971, she played Mrs Pugsley in Bachelor Father. Hickson played Mrs Chambers in Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads ? In 1986, she played the part of Mrs. Trellis in Clockwise.

Her stage career included roles in Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit, the Tony Hatch-Jackie Trent 1975 musical The Card, and Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, for which she won a 1979 Tony Award for 'Best Featured Actress in a Play'. In 1980, she appeared in yet another Agatha Christie production, as Mrs. Rivington in Why Didn't They Ask Evans?.

The BBC began filming the works of Agatha Christie in the Mid-1980s, and were conscious of the criticism that had been levelled at the most famous portrayal of Miss Marple given by Margaret Rutherford.

In making a new series, the makers determined to remain faithful to the plotlines and locales of Christie's stories, and most importantly to represent Miss Marple as written. Hickson played the role in all twelve adaptations of the novels produced from 1984 to 1992, and received two BAFTA nominations for Best TV Actress, 1987 and 1988.
When the OBE was bestowed on Hickson in June 1987, Queen Elizabeth II was reported to have said: "You play the part just as one envisages it." When Joan Hickson retired from the role, believing that she should stop while the programme was still at the peak of its popularity, she stated that she had no intention of retiring from acting altogether.


  1. Very enjoyable read, 'Z'. Many Thanks.

    The Steam Engine!!!!!!!! Is it a painting or a photograph? Can you give me the source? I must paint it!

  2. Thanks, John. Delighted you approve of the Locomotive.

    I've sent you Source Details. Please advise if you require further.


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