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Murder She Said Reviews

The first, but not the best, of the "Miss Marple" stories that starred Margaret Rutherford was a bit talky and didn't have as much humor in it as the succeeding films. Nevertheless, it served as an excellent pilot for the remaining movies, and Rutherford was just settling into the role as the redoubtable detective. Rutherford is the female version of Christie's Hercule Poirot in that she always gets her man. She's on a train, reading a mystery novel, when she looks out the window and sees the shade of a train compartment fly up. Then she is shocked as the woman in the next train is being strangled. When she informs the railway cops and Tingwell, they think she's been imagining things, since there has been no report of a murder similar to her description. They believe it's the ravings of an old biddy and send her on her way. Annoyed at the short shrift, she thinks that the corpus delicti must have been hidden somewhere along the railroad tracks near the estate owned by Robertson Justice, a wealthy member of the landed gentry. To keep the case alive, she goes to the mansion and offers to work as a maid in order to get inside the place. Her suspicions are confirmed when she finds the body secreted in a small building nearby. The victim is believed to have been a French girl once married to a member of the family who had died years before in the war. The other children in the family are suspected since they will all share in the estate. But when two of the sons are killed, Rutherford gets to the bottom of things. The real killer is the family medico, Kennedy, who had throttled his wife on the train, then sought to make it look as though it was the aforementioned French woman. His plan was to kill everyone in the family except for the unmarried daughter, Pavlow, whom he would marry for all her money. With everyone else out of the way, all the money would go to her (and him), and it is presumed that he would eventually have offered her the same fate as he did her brothers. Rutherford is delightful, and her days as a comedienne stood her in good stead. Kennedy is a proper villain, and Robertson Justice, who did so well in the "Doctor in Love" series, is also just perfect as the father of the house. The success of this film prompted sequels, the second of which, MURDER AT THE GALLOP, was the best. Scotland-born Robertson Justice made his debut in 1944 at the age of 39 in FIDDLERS THREE and continued until his death in 1975.