Julia McKenzie back as Miss Marple in The Pale Horse

by Lisa McGarry

The award-winning Julia McKenzie returns as Britain’s favourite spinster sleuth, Miss Marple, in a brand-new film, The Pale Horse, dramatised from the novel written by Agatha Christie.

Adapted by Russell Lewis (Spooks, Lewis, Murphy’s Law), the cast includes; Neil Pearson (All the Small Things, Clapham Junction), Pauline Collins (What we did on our Holiday, Upstairs Downstairs, Shirley Valentine), Sarah Alexander (Stardust, Green Wing, Coupling), Holly Valance (Prison Break, Entourage, Taken), Nicholas Parsons OBE (Sale of the Century), JJ Feild (Northanger Abbey, The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton), Lynda Baron (Rome, Colour Me Kubrick, Open All Hours), Nigel Planer (The Colour of Magic, The Young Ones), Bill Paterson (The Forgotten Fallen, Law & Order UK), Jason Merrells (Waterloo Road, Cutting It), Susan Lynch (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Nora), Elizabeth Rider (George Gently, The Street), Jonathan Cake (Fallen, The Swap), Amy Manson (Desperate Romantics, Being Human), Tom Ward (Silent Witness), Jenny Galloway (Charles II; The Power and the Passion), with a cameo appearance by Holly Willoughby (This Morning, Dancing on Ice).

Miss Marple’s old friend Father Gorman (Parsons) is brutally murdered after visiting the dying Mrs Davis (Rider). When Miss Marple receives a mysterious list of names through the post, sent by Gorman moments before his death, she heads to London to investigate. Detective Inspector Lejeune (Neil Pearson) and Police Surgeon Edward Kerrigan (Merrells) puzzle over the killing. But when Lejeune dismisses Marple’s list she is determined to find justice for her friend.

Marple visits Mrs Davis’s lodgings where she finds an identical list of names on paper headed ‘The Pale Horse Inn’. The landlady Mrs Coppins (Baron) tries to help and lodger Paul Osborne (Feild) provides a useful description of a man he saw on the night of Gorman’s death. But Marple comes to another dead end when a person named on Gorman’s list turns out to be recently deceased.

Marple visits the Pale Horse and is greeted by watchful proprietrix, Thryza Grey (Collins), her strange assistant Sybil Stamfordis (Lynch) and cleaner Bella Ellis (Galloway). She meets guests Captain Cottam (Ward) and his wife Kanga (Valance), and their nemesis, local eccentric Roger Venables (Planer). That night Marple attends a ritual ‘Burning’ which remembers the famous witch Goody Carne (Willoughby). She meets the Cottams’ housekeeper Lydia Harsnet (Alexander), folklore historian Mark Easterbrook (Cake) and attractive Londoner Ginger Corrigan (Mason). Over tea the next day Thyrza and Sybil claim to inflict death by black magic, but they are cut short by a blood chilling scream from one of the guest rooms.

Marple’s fears that the Pale Horse is at the heart of something very dark are realised when Captain Cottam is found dead in his bedroom. But are the murders really being committed by magic or is there something even more sinister at work? Sensing the murderer is close at hand, Marple goes to dangerous lengths to test her theory, by visiting the slippery Mister Bradley. Will an ailing hound, a pot of face cream and an exotic love potion help Marple to bring the murderer to justice?